• Little School
Remote Learning Tips for the Youngest Learners

Thanks to Stephanie Petronelli, Young Toddler Teacher and Little School Education Coordinator, for this guest blog post! 


During our time away from the classroom, we would like to offer resources for families in our community to help make the most of their time at home. First, this schedule mirrors the one posted in all classrooms with the exception of our language and music programs. We invite you to incorporate outdoor play, life skills, art invitations, FaceTime with a relative, or simply snap a photograph to share with us! We know that our little ones crave structure and routine; however, it is most important for your child to feel loved, safe, and heard during this time. A planned activity is just the cherry on top! 

Here are a few activities our Little School teachers recommend for home learning:

Home Activities:

  • Set out a bowl of cheerios and/or pasta with string or pipe cleaners. Use the cheerios and/or pasta to string one-by-one.
  • Gather objects from the playroom and sort them into categories by color or shape. 
  • Recycle used pouch tops by dropping them into paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls (if  you have them). Tape the rolls to the wall above a bucket to keep the game going. 
  • Set out on a neighborhood stroll on foot, bike, or scooter and wave hello to all the people and animals you see along the way.
  • Gather your trucks and plop them into a bucket of soapy water. It’s truck bathtime! 
  • Roll a toilet paper roll in sunbutter and then in bird seed. Hang the feeder in a nearby tree and see what kinds of birds nibble on it throughout the day. 
  • Cover a canvas or surface with foil. Offer your child one or two Q-tips and a squirt of paint. The Q-tip will force great concentration and allow for this activity to last longer than a minute. 
  • Go on a scavenger hunt around the house or in your backyard. Looks for shapes, colors, or signs of spring as your garden comes to life in the coming weeks.
  • Squirt paint into a plastic bag and close it tight for a mess-free painting activity. Infants can try this during tummy time by using their fingers or simply placing it under their stomach as they wiggle. 
  • Spread some joy and encouragement in your neighborhood with colored chalk or by simply posting a heart or rainbow in your window for others to admire from afar. 
  • Do you have old markers that have run out of juice? Drop them in a jar and fill it with water. Within hours you will have your own homemade watercolor! 
  • Move a selection of your child’s toys, books, etc. into storage and slowly reintroduce each week. These toys will become new and exciting once they are brought out of the closet. 
  • Providence Children’s Museum is offering virtual programming on their YouTube Channel.

Sensory Bins: 

Do you have an extra bin, box, casserole dish, or bowl lying around the house? Fill it with objects that can be easily scooped, dumped, and/or poured. This activity will entertain even our youngest toddlers while challenging their fine motor skills and tapping into their keen interest for dumping and pouring. WARNING: This activity may require close supervision to avoid covering your home in said loose parts! 

Some objects you can find in our sensory bins during choice time are:

​Beans, rice, wood pellets, bird seed, aquarium rocks, shredded paper, corn kernels, beads, packing peanuts, chickpeas, feathers, buttons, cotton balls, dirt (for the brave souls), or plain 'ole soap and water. Food coloring may be added to rice, pasta, water, etc. Take this to the next level by adding string or pipe cleaners for a lacing invitation.

Salt trays can also be made using table salt. Older children can practice letter formation with their finger tips, a spoon and/or fork, or a popsicle stick. Tape a photograph or rainbow to the bottom of the tray and top it with salt for younger children. They can move the salt around the tray to reveal the hidden image.

​Cooking:
Our little ones love to get their hands dirty in the kitchen! Build a pizza together or let them choose a recipe from a cookbook. Try this No-Cook Play Dough recipe for an activity that will last longer than mealtime.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)

Taste Buds Kitchen is offering FREE online At-Home Cooking classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. Sign up HERE. All recipes can be made with simple ingredients from your pantry.

Simply open the spice cabinet and smell away! This is a great way to introduce your littles one to spices such as cinnamon, paprika, and garlic, but you might want to skip the pepper because that is a smell that will not leave your nostrils! Ask your child these questions: Which one smells the best/worst? Which smell is your favorite? Mix those spices with a base such as white paint or liquid glue for a spice paint activity. 

 Movement Activities:

The Little Gym of Smithfield is offering At-Home Virtual classes for all ages. Tune in to their daily 20-minute videos on The Little Gym of Smithfield Facebook page.

Music Together offers short clips of our favorite songs on Youtube.com or you can simply tune into the Music Together (Children's) Pandora station. Break out your musical instruments and boogie to the music. 

Click HERE for more online yoga classes for children beyond Cosmic Kids Yoga. Yoga is a gentle reminder to pause and breathe, even in the most challenging times.

Literacy:

  • Head over to the Little School Community Page to hear stories from our teachers.
  • Listen to a read aloud from space. Click HERE to choose from a selection of titles.
  • Tune in each day at 12 p.m. EST on Instagram with Pete the Cat creator, James Dean (@petethecatofficial) for a LIVE virtual storytime.
  • Use crayons, markers, or glitter galore to create good ‘ole fashioned snail mail for our loved ones we cannot be with during this time.
  • Join author Mo Willems for Lunchtime Doodles (#MoLunchDoodles) at 1 p.m. EST.

Virtual Tours:

We are thinking of all our Little School families during this time and hope that these suggestions help to fill your days with fun and make this transition as positive as possible. As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or share what is working best in your home! And remember that you and everyone else around you is doing the best they can, so snuggle in close and enjoy these quiet moments with family.