Thursday, January 3, 2013

Preparation for Winter (with "Toddlers vs. Preschoolers")

I’ve taught 4-year-olds for the past 2 years, but this year I’m with toddlers, so I’m adjusting the curriculum to fit their age. People ask me which age I like better, and I look at them like they have lobsters growing out of their ears, because how can a 4-year-old be compared with a 20-month-old? 

A messy room is a happy room! Here are some of our toddlers at play.

Every age has its advantages and disadvantages, which I have spontaneously decided to address here:

The Downs of 4-Year-Olds:

  1. They’re smart and articulate enough to talk back.
  2. Girl drama! (both friendships and boys)
  3. It’s more stressful to prepare adequate learning activities.
  4. They have more emotional “baggage” and must be dealt with accordingly.

The Downs of Toddlers:

  1. Diaper changing - 12 times a day!
  2. The urge to dump things on the floor trumps the clean-up song.
  3. Separation anxiety is still very much in play.
  4. Repetitive books and songs.

The Ups of 4-Year-Olds:

  1. They say the cutest and most creative things! I love writing their words! 
  2. They’re potty-trained with few accidents and little supervision required.
  3. Science experiments, building complicated structures, cooking recipes, special celebration days, huge projects – they can do it all!
  4. They’re learning how to write their names, sound out letters, and read words.
  5. You can reason with them.
  6. They’re more independent and can follow directions better.

The Ups of Toddlers:

  1. They are adorable! Pretty much anything they do is cute and makes me smile! I just love photographing them, because it always turns out cute.
  2. They're just learning to talk, and it's amazing to watch their vocabulary explode (and their personalities emerge).
  3. Everything is full of wonder; it helps me slow down and enjoy the little things in life with them.
  4. They’re much more prone to hugging and snuggling.
  5. Not as much is expected, so when more is delivered parents are ecstatic.
  6. They’ve had so little life experience and are incredibly easy to influence and shape them for the best.

So there you have it. I love both ages and am thankful to have experience with toddlers and preschoolers. My Christmas break continues for 4 more days, which has given me plenty of time to prepare. Here are some things I'm looking forward to doing with my little ones in the coming weeks:

This snowflake from Inner Child Fun, whose website boasts that it's "art so easy, a toddler can do it"! Indeed, we have done several fingerpainting projects with shapes strategically taped-off, so I can't wait to try this!

Painting with frozen ice a la Getting Messy with Ms. Jessi - I've done this before, but I'm anxious to try watercolor or food coloring (rather than tempera paint) mixed with water for the littles! Here's a way our toddlers can actually experience winter in Florida!

winter craft for kids

Cork-stamped snowflake from No Time for Flashcards - always such great ideas on there! I knew all those corks I've been hoarding would come in handy someday! (No seriously, I have hundreds.)

Adorable little footprint penguin from Meet the Dubiens - such a cute keepsake!


Toilet paper roll bird feeder from LDS Living - this will be fun to hang outside our window and watch the birds!

Snowman in a Bottle by Teach Preschool

Snowman bottle from Teach Preschool... I am thinking of adapting it so the kids can stick cotton balls in the bottle instead of ice (or maybe after the ice melts), because they are obsessed with pressing small items into bottles, probably due to another project we always do together (more on that later!) Yay for working on fine motor skills!

I have so many other ideas, both on my Pinterest winter board and elsewhere, which will be shared on here in the coming weeks!


  1. Too cute, Kirsten! Love our ideas.

  2. You are very write on everything. Here is an alterntive to toliet paper bird feeder only diffrence is you use pinecone which might be bit safer for bords just simple pinecone bird feeder peanutbutter(always expect toddlers to lick pb) bird seed on the pine cone. Also places sell stick back foam in sherts and in shapes like foam stickers toddlers would have blast making art from the sticky back foam and work on fine motor skills at same time.

    1. Great ideas - thanks! I was unable to do the bird feeder last January due to a peanut allergy, but I am hoping to do it one of these days! I love the idea of sticking foam shapes on sticky-backed foam - I'm sure the toddlers would just enjoy touching the stickiness too! :)

  3. Thanks for this post. I have a growing 2 1/2 year old and she is changing. So is her environment. I want to make the best one possible for her as she grows.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...