Here is a very simple game to play with a toddler. The rules are simple–the child will mimic what is being done. By doing so, the child learns to follow simple direction and important vocabulary.
“Mommy Says” is a modified version of the game “Simeon Says”. Because the original game involves thinking skills that are too advanced for my 19 month old, I changed the game to be more developmentally appropriate by omitting the “catch” (player is out if they do a movement that wasn’t preceded by the “Simeon says” phrase). To play, state, “Mommy says to…” and the child should do as stated. Actions should be simple as well as the movements. If the child needs support with following the direction, then show him/her the action as you restate it. Always give the child the opportunity to do the action independently first before providing the “answer”. This not only allows them time to think about what was said and should be done, but also communicates that they have a turn in the conversation/game. Examples include…
touch your nose
touch your eyes
touch your ears
bend your arms/knees/neck
As the child learns a few of the action words through repetition (e.g. touch, bend), incorporate other words to expand their vocabulary. Examples include…
stomp your feet
stretch your arms
wave your hands
wiggles your hips
This week’s theme was completely inspired by a recent purchase from the toy store. After months of searching, I was finally able to find a Mr. Potato Head here in Germany for my 19 month old son. Because he is learning to identify body parts and their movements, owning a Mr. Potato Head would only aid in his skill development. Plus, the toy is a classic (and inexpensive), so I was able to break my “never pay full price for a toy” rule. Now that we have had Mr. Potato Head for a week, I have to say that he really does live up to his name. Nathan has enjoyed mastering how to put the pieces into the small holes and we have had many fun moments creating new and interesting “looks” for Mr. Potato Head. Here is one that Nathan created with just a little bit of help from mom…
We actually ended up buying the Mr. Potato Head Tater Tub. It has more pieces, which means more options and more fun : ) Get yours today…
This week has been all about watermelons for me and my toddler. I was inspired to create some toddler activities as I was slicing up a beautiful specimen on Mother’s Day. Watermelons are not only colorful and tasty, but they have several different dimensions to them. All of this, to me, equals a great learning opportunity for a little person! So, here are a whole week’s worth of watermelon activities for you and your toddler:
- Sensory Play With Watermelon
- Mosaic Watermelon Craft
- Paper Plate Watermelon
- Felt Watermelon Counting Activity
- Watermelon Songs (with visuals and a game!)
- Watermelon Popsicles
- Plant a Watermelon
This is a great toddler craft for many reasons. It involves just a few, inexpensive materials, it’s engaging, and it aids in skill development (fine motor control, color and shape recognition). Here’s how to create a mosaic watermelon…
- Cut some green and red construction paper into strips and then into squares. Two pieces of paper should be plenty.
- Cut a piece of contact paper the size you want your piece of watermelon to be. Take off the paper part to reveal the sticky side.
- Turn the sides of the contact “paper” under at each end so it holds the piece in place for your toddler.
- Guide your toddler as she/he places red and green squares onto the sticky side of the contact sheet (it’s okay if they are randomly placed, as long as they are placed so they stick!).
- Flip the contact sheet over and place a piece of tissue paper in a coordinating color to the back. This will act as a filler to cover any exposed contact paper parts and add color. *This is optional. My toddler didn’t quite fill up the space, which is okay. But, I needed a backing.
- Cut mosaic watermelon to resemble the shape of a piece of watermelon.
After we completed this craft, I was thinking that it would be cute and more watermelon-like to add a few small pieces of black construction paper to the mix (to stand in as seeds). This toddler craft is lovely as the sun shines through it while it hangs in a kitchen window.
This is a super simple counting activity that I came up with on the fly. I love that it features the watermelon (our theme for this week) and is something I can keep “on file” as my little one grows in his understanding of numbers. For example, this could easily be used with preschoolers to not only teach counting, but basic number operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
Here’s how to make it…
felt pieces–one green, one red and one black
scissors (use a good pair so it cuts nicely)
glue dots (about 8-10)
Using a large paper plate, trace half of the plate onto the red piece of felt (use the edge of the felt as a guide). Next, trace 3/4 of the paper plate onto the green piece of felt (again, using one of the sides). Cut out both pieces. Place the red piece on top of the green piece so that some of the bottom portion of the green is showing (it should resemble a piece of watermelon–the green rind and then the red “flesh”). Using the edge of the red felt as a guide, place one glue dot every inch or so in between the red and green pieces so that they hold together in place. With the black felt, cut out the seeds. I folded a small piece of black felt in half and then cut out a shape that resembled a seed. By folding, I was able to get two seeds per cut.