When I first started teaching preschool 6 years ago, planning lessons was very time consuming. Not only did I have to create activities to go along with my themes and make sure each activity fit in with the preschool standards, I also had to prepare each activity (which would sometimes take hours.) I was spending an hour or more getting a 15 minute activity ready! I quickly started looking elsewhere for curriculum help and resources to use that would make my life a lot easier. My sister got me in contact with the preschool teacher her kids go to and she suggested that I look into Mother Goose Time (Now known as Experience Early Learning). So I did. And I am so glad I did. I immediately fell in love with the curriculum and materials they use to aid learning and teaching. I have been using them for the last 5 years to teach preschool. The pricing is reasonable, especially if you take into consideration all the time you are saving planning and prepping. The kids LOVE the activities. I love the visuals for the circle time board. It’s easy for me, the kids, and even the parents to see what we will be learning about that day or that month.
Experience Early Learning has a new curriculum for toddlers!! I was fortunate to get to try it out and I love it! It is really good. I wish I had this curriculum for my older kids when they were younger. The curriculum is geared towards toddlers, ages 18 months to 3 years. I have an 18 month old and got to try the activities out on him. I’ll be honest… most of the activities were a little too advanced for my 18 month old, but I know a lot of other 18 month olds who would have done really well. And my son has to start somewhere, right? So, I had to simplify most of the activities, but don’t worry. Experience Early Learning has activity instructions for a young toddler like my son and for an older toddler who is ready for a challenge.
What’s in the box? There are 4 weeks of activities. Each week is bundled in its own bag. Within each bag, there is a story, story characters, 2 sign language cards, all materials for learning, and 20 activity cards. These cards are labeled for convenience. You can organize it anyway you’d like, but I organized it by the numbers. There are 4 activities each day for your child to do and they are practicing a different skill set for each activity. The picture below shows what is included for just 1 day of learning.
Some of my most favorite features in the box are the books with their story characters, the sign language cards, and the stickers that go along with each story. I am really considering buying a box each month for my son just because of these three features.
All the activities are meaningful and are centered on child play. I believe that children learn through play. You can give your children the materials to explore and see what they can discover for themselves as well as guiding them through a process by asking them meaningful questions. I’ll share what the first day of playing looked like for us.
Activity #1: Storybook
We explored the story. My son would not let me read the story. And that’s fine! He sat on my lap and I helped him turn the pages. He looked at the pictures and pointed out a few things he thought was interesting. I tried to talk about what was going on in the picture. This storybook activity was simple. My son loves to look at the pictures and explore that way. We may not have read the story, but he was learning how to hold a book and how to turn the pages. As we were looking at the pictures I was trying to tell the story in a simplified way so he could see that pictures tell stories. He has not built up his stamina yet for sitting and reading a book, but with practice, he will get there. With Experience Early Learning’s curriculum, he will get to read 4 different books throughout the month. Each book has 5 different activities that go along with it. Hopefully I can read a little bit more of the book each day until we can get through it.
Activity #2: Play Dough
My son is 18 months but everything STILL goes in his mouth. I was a little worried when I saw a play dough activity. I thought about skipping it, but then I decided to give it a try. He loved the play dough activity! (And only tried to eat the play dough once.) It was probably his favorite activity that we did for the day. I am so glad I gave it a chance. I got his older sister involved and we all worked on this activity together. Play dough is really good for strengthening hand muscles and will help develop fine motor skills. I helped him make rain drops and we put a rain drop on the mat that was provided for this activity. I counted the rain drops for him. He doesn’t understand, but I did it anyway. Mostly because I believe that children need to be exposed to something multiple times before they can fully understand it. And I also think it’s a good habit for me to get into (talking out loud to him and counting things in front of him).
Activity #3: Stickers!
This sticker activity was my favorite activity. It is only available in the toddler box, but I wish it was included in the preschool box. The sticker activity was fun for my son and my 4 year old daughter. For my toddler, peeling off the stickers was difficult. I peeled them off for him. Then, he put them on the paper. He laughed through this whole activity. It was so fun for him to be able to place the stickers anywhere on the page. He mostly just placed them on top of each other. My 4 year old asked me to retell the story for that week to her (because the stickers go along with the story of the week). She then retold the story to me using the stickers. I was super impressed and am seriously debating getting the toddler box each month just so I can get the storybooks, and the stickers that go along with that story!
Activity #4: The Color Yellow
By the time we got to this activity, my son was done doing activities for the day. My daughter and I did the activity together hoping he would come join in, but he was done. We held something that was yellow and danced around to the song about the color yellow from the CD that is included in the box. We had a lot of fun. There was lots of giggling and silly dancing. Because my son is so little, I think I needed to break up the activities throughout the day more. We could do 2 activities in the morning, and 2 after his nap. But doing all 4 at once was too much for him. But, up until this last activity, he was having fun and was engaged in the activities. There are lots of other fun activities we did the other days. We are starting week 2 tomorrow and I am looking forward to it!
The kit comes in sizes small, medium, large, and extra-large. The small kit is for 1-4 children. I love this because if you only have 1 child, you can do the activities multiple times. If my son had an activity that he loved, I can plan to do it again with the extra materials. Or I could invite some of his friends over and we could all do some activities together as a group. I have a large group of friends who get together and do a coop preschool for their 2 year olds. This kind of curriculum would be perfect for them to use. Or if you teach multiple age preschool groups, I would definitely recommend this curriculum for the 2 year olds. I can’t wait to see what activities we will do next week!
** I receive curriculum from Experience Preschool (formally known as Mother Goose Time) for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. This is my 5th year using Mother Goose Time, and I am pleased to promote quality educational learning experiences through play with Experience Preschool with Mother Goose Time!