Month: May 2013

Sensory Play With Farm Animals

Today we set out on a new learning adventure. The activity…sensory play. The theme…Toddler Activities

On the Farm

I am SO excited about this theme and even more excited to share all of the toddler activities ( 2 week’s worth!) that go along with it! For now though, let’s focus on this sensory play with farm animals…

My son and I headed outside early this morning to soak up as much vitamin D as possible. We have been lacking because of the ridiculous amount of rain we get each week here in Germany. Although, I guess we did have the rain to thank for the abundance of mud we had to play with. So, with a pile of mud and an inexpensive pack of plastic farm animals (with corral fencing included), we created a little farm to play in. Toddler ActivitiesActually being outdoors for this activity was ideal. We had natural light, fresh air, mud, grass and plenty of room. Nathan seemed to really enjoy squishing the mud through his fingers and walking the pig through it all. I was actually surprised that by the end of our playtime, that he wasn’t completely covered in mud. We both had such a great time, I think I could adapt it (for our next rainy day) to be contained in a sensory table. If you’re like me and don’t have a sensory table purchased from a teaching supply store, no problem. A long, shallow Rubbermaid container works perfectly. Set it on a sturdy surface (e.g. a kiddy table or another container that is filled with winter jackets) and be sure that it is at a comfortable height for little ones.

Body and Movement Activities for Toddlers

Activities for Toddlers
This past week was so rainy and cold here in Germany. That, combined with an active toddler, meant that I needed some fun activities that would get us moving, but would be appropriate for indoors. Well, I didn’t have to think too hard to come up with the theme, “Body and Movement”. At 19 months young, my toddler has started learning parts of the body and what better way to teach about those parts than to actually get them moving? So, here are a week’s worth of activities for toddlers that teach about the parts of the body and how they move…

Body and Movement:

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

From Head to Toe

Make a Mini-Me

Play “Mommy Says”

All About Faces:

Mr. Potato Head

Fruit Faces and Pancake People

Fruit Faces and Pancake People

The easiest way to incorporate learning is to do it with what [almost] every kid loves…food! For this week’s theme, “Body and Movement”, Nathan and I first enjoyed an afternoon snack of fruit faces. Although my 19 month old was more interested in eating the pieces than identifying them, I think this is still a great activity for teaching the features of the face–eyes, ears, nose and mouth.¬†Toddler Activities

We then enjoyed our “Friday Fun Breakfast” with pancake people (I try to make Friday’s a little more fun/special since it marks the end of the workweek). Again, a simple and fun way to create faces that can also encourage healthy eating. Toddler ActivitiesThis activity can be used over and over and not get boring just by adding new ingredients. Try some of these…

raisins

dried fruit

nuts

chocolate chips

whipped cream

 

 

 

Create-a-Kid

To implement this week’s theme “Body and Movement”, I didn’t have to look very far to find teaching materials. My son and I both have body parts, and they move, so that is what we used. I did, however, think it would be beneficial (and fun) to make a mini version of my son so we would have additional examples of what we were learning about. Having such a model, would encourage my son to make generalizations between concepts learned. In other words, he would learn that an arm and leg are parts of a real human being, but they also can exist on an image that looks human but isn’t real.

Here’s our little model…Toddler Activities

Here’s how we made it…

I gathered 3 large brown paper bags. I cut them each down the side and across the bottom so they would open and lie flat. I then placed them on the floor and had my son lay down on them. I traced around his head and torso with a pencil. I then traced an arm and then a leg–I had to work quickly because a 19 month old doesn’t stay still for long! Once completely done with the tracing, I cut out the pieces, added some color and taped everything together to form a little person. I then taped everything to a wall so our body would be on display.

Here’s how we used it…

My son really enjoyed “studying” the small character. He seemed to look at it for quite a while and would touch its different parts. I would ask him where certain parts were–the head, shoulders, feet, etc. He, at times would need prompting, so I would point to the part on my body and then guide him as he found it on our model. I would also take off parts and help him place them back on the model as we identified them. Overall, this was a fun activity that offered an engaging learning opportunity.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

As part of our weekly theme, “Body and Movement”, I had to incorporate this popular nursery rhyme. This song is so catchy and so appropriate for teaching little ones to identify parts of the body. I love that when sung with the motions, this song is so engaging for me and my toddler. It’s a great way to catch his attention when he needs redirection or when we have to wait for something. Check out this fun video that features the song. I love how it modifies the song a bit so it becomes somewhat of a game for me and my son…