Laugh & Learn: Tot School all About Play

Laugh and Learn LogoA friend of mine and I were both individually facilitating learning at home with our children, who are currently around 2 years old. We both decided not to send them to a 2’s program in the fall (in which they would be 2 1/2) and to spend the time with them doing other enrichment activities. Therefore, we thought it would great to have a collaborative environment that would foster learning when at home. So, my friend and I decided to do a light version of ‘tot school’, or what we would come to refer to as Laugh & Learn. I say a light version as we wanted a more creative curriculum to teach them with play. So, no formal circle times (they would get that from the four or more structured activities a week they did outside the home), just learning around play. We also wanted to stay true to the children’s play style and organic to the way they interact.

We decided to start with colors to promote the recognition and differentiation of them. We would focus on an individual color for one week and if needed, do another week before moving on. (We both have been pointing out colors to our children for a while.) Overall, we would promote as many instances the color of the week can be highlighted. During the color weeks, we will NOT be ignoring other colors, just largely focusing on the chosen color. We would have a couple weekly continuity activities as well as daily activities.

The weekly activities we did are:

Brown Bear Book
The activity that would kick off each color for the week would be a painting project — the Brown Bear Hand Painting.
After each color was transformed into the animal, we would put it into a clear protective sleeve and put the name of the color on it. (We waited on including the words from the book until the end.) We hung the picture in our homes and reiterated the color and pointed out the words whenever possible.

What we loved the Brown Bear Hand Painting Project was a fun activity that turned into a book at the end of teaching the colors. We decided that when we move on to another topic (shapes, numbers, etc) we would also do a painting project (hopefully that can be turned into a book!). We did find several nice options to bind the artwork as a book.  We found the paper, after the paint and glue dried, was very wrinkled so we wanted to make sure their artwork was well preserved. So in addition to making a book of the actual artwork, we would also scan each piece of artwork so they are preserved and can make a sturdy keepsake.

OberBargain Tip: I didn’t own any washable child safe paints, construction paper, etc. After doing a little research on Amazon, big retail chains and crafts stores, I found utilizing a 50% or 40% off a color pack was the way to go.  I bought a Crayola 10-color washable paint set for less than $4, which was perfect for my child who doesn’t care to paint!

Color Cards
We liked this activity as it allowed for a new image everyday while reinforcing the color of the week and precious week. The idea in this blog is called completing the color chart. Both my friend and I executed this idea in a little different way, but utilized the main concept of each week of hanging up the word that says the color of the week and having the child select one of the appropriate color cards from a bin and each morning. The card will get be hung up next to the appropriate color card row. (The previous weeks colors cards will remain.) So, at the end of the week, it was a gallery of the featured color photos.

Fish Bowl Craft
For this activity, we created and added to the fish bowl each week with an appropriate color. So blue was one of the first colors, so we painted the plate blue. The first week was red, so we added a red crab, etc. As we kept adding a new color, we added a new ocean element.


So, every day we would have at least one activity focusing on the color and the weeks activities would consist of things like:

  • coloring page
  • painting
  • wear the color / color song
  • color collection (put all the colored items together and name the item/color)
  • read books on colors as well as point out that color in other books
  • have a meal that has the color in it


Here are some helpful tips we found researching colors and teaching toddlers and children:

  • Children learn nouns before colors so when teaching colors, use the color after the noun (from a study done by Scientific America). It will help build the connection more fully
  • Introduce learning primary/main colors first (Red, Blue, Yellow, Black and White) and only later add the other colors (suggestion from several sites)
  • Children learn better with multi sensory experiences
  • For children to point out a color iIt takes several different receptors to process so be light in jumping in to assist them — give them 15 seconds before helping

I also found the tips from an educator on her website helpful. It provided good pointers as to how to refer to colors as well as other suggestions for activities.

So with that, we started Laugh & Learn. Below are the links to what we did for each color

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7 Responses to “Laugh & Learn: Tot School all About Play”

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  4. Rose says:

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d want to find out more details.

  5. […] Admin: Sure Rose. What type of additional details are you… » […]

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