This cute little toddler craft is super simple and only requires a few materials.
To get started, you will need:
2 large paper plates
red and green washable paint
dry watermelon seeds
glue (I used Tacky)
Have your child paint (by hand or with a brush) each paper plate. One should be green and the other red. Once dry, cut out the center of the red paper plate. Using a Q-tip, dab the center of the green paper plate with glue. Place the red circle that was cut onto the center of the green plate. Using the Q-tip and glue, glue seeds to red portion to resemble the inside of a watermelon. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to count out those seeds with your little one!
Building blocks, also referred to as “blocks” or “toy blocks”, have been around for decades and for all good reason. Their simple design and construction encourage a host of developmental skills, which make them the ultimate educational toy. In order to maximize the educational benefits of building blocks, try these 10 building block activities to aid in building your child’s development:
Stack em’–The most obvious way to use building blocks is to allow your child to simply stack them or build with them (it doesn’t matter if it is in an ordinary or extraordinary way)
Knock em’ down–Small children, in particular, are known for their enjoyment of knocking things down. Building blocks are no exception.
Sorting–Learning how to sort objects, or categorize objects, is a fundamental skill critical for understanding the world. Sorting with building blocks can be done by color, shape, or size.
Experiment–A great way for small children to learn the laws of physics is to experiment with objects. Building blocks are great for this purpose because they are shaped like many of the objects found in our daily lives (sippy cup=cylinder, toy box=cube, etc.). Experiment by testing each block to find out if it: slides, rolls, can be stacked, teeter totters, etc.
How do they fit?–Not all blocks are treated the same. Using an empty, clean and dry juice container, have the child test each block to see if it fits through the mouth of the bottle. This activity not only teaches patience and perseverance, but the child will learn that some blocks have to be rotated for passage through.
Make faces–This is my favorite activity using building blocks. I love that it allows for creativity, but it also teaches the parts that make up a face and the spatial sense involved in where those parts are in relation to one another.
Mathematical operations–Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. All can be taught with a simple set of multi-colored building blocks.
Counting–What a simple, versatile, yet completely appropriate activity that couldn’t be more crucial to a child’s development. With a set of multi-colored building blocks in hand, the counting opportunities are virtually endless–count how many blocks in all, count how many by shape, color or size, count according to how it moves or doesn’t move…should I go on? Count backwards, skip count by 2’s, by 3’s, or by 4’s, play a game where some are taken away and then count to see how many were taken. I think that’s enough for now…
Form letters–Create individual letters or create simple words. This is a great phonics activity for young ones. When teaching letters, it is always best to begin with the capital letters. Although you may find it difficult to create some of the letters using building blocks (I was not able to create the curved ones–“S”, “G”, “C”, etc.), the majority of them can be made.
Pretend Play–By far, the best way to use building blocks is to engage your child in pretend play. Boys and girls alike enjoy pretending and it is through this symbolic play that they learn about the world around them and develop their language.
Since this week is going to be all about watermelons, I thought it was appropriate to begin our fun with some sensory play. This took place by simply cutting a watermelon into slices and then watching my toddler explore. It turns out that watermelon is a great “material” to use for sensory play. Not only does it have texture and is edible (a must for my toddler), but it is colorful and has many dimensions–the rind (which is hard), the “flesh” (which is squishy) and the seeds (which are slimy). Although I did let my toddler explore the seeds, I had to be on guard so that he wouldn’t eat them (because like everything else, he wanted to). Sure, the seeds wouldn’t harm him if eaten, but why would I let him eat the seeds when I don’t? The caution about this sensory play is that it is super messy and the “water” is actually sugar water so it is super sticky. Try to aim for a warm day when you can head outdoors : )
Of all the things a mom can pull out of her kitchen cupboard and give to her toddler for an amazingly good time, Jello has got to be the cheapest and easiest to make.
Prepare the Jello according to the package directions (remember that it has to “set up” in the fridge for a bit) and serve with a nice side of toddler-friendly utensils. My toddler loves to use a spatula and a handheld strainer (in addition to his hands!) to stir, mash and smear the Jello all around his play space. For added fun and exploration, create what I call “Jello-scapes”. Our favorite is a safari Jello-scape. Use green Jello and a pack of wild animal figurines to create a safari adventure. These small, realistic-looking figures are perfect for toddlers…perfect for little hands, yet not too small for those who are still in the oral-fixation phase, they aid in animal identification and they can be used in a variety of toddler activities!
Here are some other Jello-scapes that utilize these inexpensive figurines…
Ocean adventure–blue Jello and a pack of underwater creatures
On the Farm–green Jello and a pack of farm animals
Dinosaurs–green Jello and a pack of dinosaur animals
At the Zoo–blue and green Jello and a pack of Zoo animals
In the Woods–blue and green Jello and a pack of woodland creatures
Looking for a healthier Jello alternative? If your toddler is anything like mine, he STILL loves to put things in his mouth. Because I know he will want to taste-test the Jello, I make a healthier alternative that suits our lifestyle. Here is a quick and easy recipe from the coconutmama:
4 cups fresh squeezed fruit juice or coconut water
Directions Pour juice in a medium size saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin powder over juice and stir. Turn the heat on medium-low and bring the juice to a simmer. Mix until gelatin is dissolved. Turn off heat and add honey if using. Pour into a 8×8 square baking dish. Refrigerate until jello is set, about 2 hours.
As a teacher, I know the most important thing to remember when organizing a stress-free kids event is to stay organized with a well-developed plan. No matter how simple or how elaborate you want your kids birthday party to be, you can implement a fun-filled party by taking advantage of a few birthday party planning ideas:
Plan ahead. Being prepared will significantly reduce your stress level the days leading up to the party. Begin planning at least 6 weeks before the birthday party.
Make a list, check it twice. Write down your ideas for the party and keep a party planning checklist of the things you will need to implement the party. Make multiple copies of your list and keep them in spots that are handy. You will be more likely to refer to the list and check things off frequently rather than rushing to get everything done right before the party.
Don’t spend a lot. Money alone can be a source of stress. Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune to give your child the best party. Most times, kids aren’t even going to remember all the fancy details. Instead, go green. Make use of household items for decorations, games, and party favors. Invitations can be personally made by your child on recycled paper.
Consider the time of day. If you are not a morning person, then a kids birthday party scheduled for mid-morning is probably not a good idea. Other reasons for scheduling an afternoon party are to allow yourself extra time for the little details, allowing time for family and friends to arrive from out of town, and to have more control over when the party ends.
Enlist some help. When it comes to party planning, kids can offer the most enthusiastic help of all. By having them help with decorations and game set-up, it teaches them responsibility and adds their personal touch to their own party. If that option does seem too stressful, don’t be shy to ask friends, family, and neighbors to lend a hand.