Back to “School” Essentials for Toddlers

Back to School Toddler Essentials
It is that magical time of year where all the kids go back to school. Well, not all of the kids. Toddlers are not quite ready to fill their backpacks with books and supplies and head off to the bus stop. However, there is no reason why your tyke cannot join in on the back to school fun!

Toddlers love to learn. Their brains are like little sponges. They also love toys and have the attention span of a gnat…or close to it. So, it is important to provide resources and activities for “school” that are fun and engaging, but not necessarily time consuming.

I have been an elementary teacher for thirteen years. When I had my daughter, I realized that I just could not go back into the classroom. I was fortunate enough to find a position teaching online, so I am able to also be home with my daughter. For the vast portion of my day, my instructional focus is on the nine-year-olds on the other side of the computer screen.

Each day, I have two sets of lesson plans. One for my fourth graders on my laptop and one for my two-year-old on my…lap. For my toddler, I try to choose some activities that require my interaction and some activities that my daughter can work on independently while I am working.

*The following include affiliate links to Amazon. These are resources that I personally use and all opinions are 100% my own. 

Color Sorting and Matching Essentials

Identifying colors and shapes help build your child’s vocabulary while developing their pre-literacy and pre-mathematical skills. You may have also noticed that your toddler is naturally very curious about about the world around them. (Understatement of the century.) The identification of an object’s attributes, like it’s color, size, and shape help your toddler understand the world around them a little better.

Rainbow Counting Bears

Your toddler can sort these colorful little bears into their respective containers. After your child has mastered color matching, you can use these same materials to practice counting skills. You can even begin building their knowledge of addition and subtraction by asking questions like, “How many more red bears are there than blue?” or “How many blue bears do we need to add to make equal groups?”

Color Matching Pie

I am not sure who loves this activity more, my toddler or myself. This “Super Sorting Pie” comes with various sorting cards. For example, your toddler can sort by color, type of fruit, or number. I love this resource because it helps your child begin to classify, which is a higher level thinking skill. It is very interesting to watch your toddler make decisions like, “Do I put the green apple with the red apples or the green limes?” The pie also comes with toddler-made tweezers to place the fruit and practice fine motor skills.

Paint Swatches and Clothes Pins

Once your toddler has mastered the colors of the rainbow, you may want to begin introducing shades of color and color variations. For this, you can go down and pick up two sets of paint swatches (free!) and some clothes pins. Glue one set of the paint swatches to the clothes pins. Ask your toddler to match each swatch to it’s corresponding color. This is a great time to introduce new vocabulary to define shades of a color like “aqua”, “teal”, and “turquoise”.

Color Matching

Scroll down and click the next page to read about essentials for ABC’s and 123’s!