guides the way
We provide a suggested roadmap of activities, routines and experiences each day from the date your baby was born to his or her fifth birthday.
That’s right – more than 3,200 age-appropriate activities at your fingertips. Every weekend is catch-up time for you to repeat favorite activities if you wish.
How it’s organized
Today’s Plan is organized into two sections—Playtime, Storytime, and Bedtime activities appear to the left of the grey divider line, and WeeSchool activities are are the right. The activities to the left, beginning with Playtime, are all optional and can be used or skipped as it fits your schedule and style. WeeSchool is an optional curricular program designed for parents and professional day-care providers looking for a more comprehensive, turn-key curriculum program to use in addition to the rest of the Today’s Plan activities and routines.
Playtime Activities have been designed around common items you will find in or around your home or outdoors. You will not have to purchase any additional items to do these activities. We will continue to suggest activities each day that are relevant to your child’s age and stage to encourage the expected monthly developmental milestones and healthy overall development.
Storytime Activities come in two options: Storytime and Storytime Plus. Storytime Plus provides a specific activity built around a specific, but common children’s book—if you don’t have that book we provide a link to Amazon to purchase it. Don’t worry, we have built multiple activities around each book, so you will find new age-appropriate activities tied to each book as our child ages. On the other hand, Storytime (vs. Storytime Plus) provides generic advice, appropriate for your child’s age, about how to read any book to your child purposefully to stimulate physical interaction with the book, recall of letters and words, engagement with you, etc. These general directions will change as your child ages. So, if you don’t have and don’t want to either purchase or borrow a book that we have suggested in Storytime Plus, you can substitute a book you already have , and follow our recommendations for how to interact with your child effectively, no matter what his or her age.
Bedtime and Bathtime Routines
A consistent bedtime routine promotes healthy sleep and a broad sense of wellbeing in your child, helping him or her fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer with fewer awakenings overnight. Bedtime routines provide rich, daily bonding opportunities with your little one. These positive early experiences create a healthy environment that helps build sturdy brain architecture and lay the foundations of resilience in your child.
The bedtime routine consists of two parts—bathtime and bedtime story. You will find tips for both in Today’s Plan that will help you evolve your routine as your child grows.
Maybe you like to play music during bathtime (you will find terrific bathtime music in the activity Library), or sing a particular song while your child transitions from tub to toothbrush. Your routine will be unique to what you and your child enjoy and find soothing.
An important component of any bedtime routine is reading a bedtime story to your little one.
The Library provides Bedtime Story activities for favorite classic children’s books, e.g., “Goodnight Moon,” “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book,” “Guess How Much I Love You,” “The Going to Bed Book,” and “365 Bedtime Stories,” to name a few. Each Bedtime Story activity offers four age-appropriate options from which to choose.
You are likely to find this special, quiet time with your child as the day winds down to be one of your favorite times of day as well.
WeeSchool is an optional add-on to ParentPal that can be done in addition to the rest of the Today’s Plan activities and routines. It provides a more structured learning approach, like what you might find in a childcare center or pre-school. These longer-form activities use specific toys, books or in-app content to expose your child to 100 concepts organized into 12 subject areas, including cognitive, physical, social-emotional development, language arts, math, science, and the arts.
Before each month begins, we will remind you which resources you will need to acquire to complete a month’s worth of WeeSchool. Most of these resources will be used multiple times over time in different ways as your child ages. For example, the concept of Listening is taught using the popular children’s book, “My Mouth is a Volcano” by Julia Cook. To fully explore the concept of Listening, you and your little one would complete new WeeSchool activities using that book in months 14, 26, 30, 32, and 35.
Unlike Playtime activities in which days can be skipped, we urge you to do the WeeSchool activities in order, just like your child would do in pre-school. Otherwise, your little on might have missed an important building block of understanding that comes before the one you are about to introduce. Following the sequence will give your child the necessary context and grounding upon which to build full understanding of the concept.
Some parents will want to use WeeSchool and others won’t, either because additional resources are required or because they feel they are getting enough structured curriculum in a pre-school, Head Start program, or childcare center. It’s your call. But we encourage everyone to give it a try! You will enjoy the engagement and it will foster the right kind of development in your child.