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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Easy toddler Activities to do while you are staying home



Many parents are finding themselves at home with their children nowadays as we are dealing with the impacts of Covid-19. I truthfully consider myself lucky to be able to be at home during this unprecedented time and while yes, things may be challenging, it is nowhere in comparison to the amount of work our essential workers are putting in day in and day out. If you are one of those people and are reading this, Thank you.

Although I did some activities at home before our lockdown began, I relied heavily on our playgrounds, our community kids programs, play centres and the mall (mainly for me) to entertain my two young-ins. I definitely had to up my creative skills and polish up on some of my teaching skills to keep my children entertained while we stay home
(this is our tenth week). Both my kids are at two developmentally different stages (1 year old and 3 year old) so I am going to list some activities and blogs that have inspired me that also have resources and activities for different ages groups and different skills set. The activities on each blog vary from a super simple set up and clean up to a little more prep involved so you must decide what you'd like to do for that day and how much time you have to do it.

The links I am including are from various blogs and education specialists whom I personally loved and have tried many of their activities and they have been a success.

I've listed a few of my favorites below



Resources/ Materials Needed

I suggest having these items in your tool box

  • Blocks/Lego
  • Pom-Poms
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Construction Paper
  • White School Glue-I personally love the Elmers brand
  • Kids paint
  • Food coloring
  • Paint brushes
  • Dot stickers
  • Crayons/markers/sidewalk chalk
  • Long craft paper
  • Sensory bins
  • Magnatiles
  • Alphabet magnetic letters + numbers
  • Pastas or beads for lacing
  • Painters tape
  • Clothing Pins
  • Plastic measuring cups
  • Funnels 
  • Children's Scissors
A lot of these materials I've purchased at our local dollar store or arts store. You may already have some of these items in your home already so be sure to check your cupboards.

Lego/Blocks/Popsicle Bath: If you have a toddler in your life, be sure to check out Susie Allison's page Busy Toddler. This mom has saved me when it comes to planning activities and if you haven't tried one of her activities before I bet you will after this!  One of my favorites is the super simple and little prep and clean up involved Lego and/or Popsicle bath. We do this at least once a week and both my kids love it. For some reason, building with blocks is more fun in water and there are no worries of dirtying your clothes with Popsicle stains! Oh and if you can invest in a water table, it's great for outdoor water play!
Another one of my favs from Busy Toddler is dot sticker tracing. Draw various shapes or patterns on craft paper and have the child trace the pattern by placing dot stickers of the same color to complete it. Again, super simple, and easy clean up!  I could list a hundred more that I love from Susie's blog but I'll let you decide on your favorites by checking out her page!

https://busytoddler.com/



Color Sorting Activities + More : I've done different color sorting activities that ultimately lead to the same goal. Color recognition.  I've listed my favorites here but if you have one to share, please let me know! I love learning from each of you!

For this first activity, set up different color construction paper (I chose red, blue, yellow, orange, green) on a coffee table or a table of some sort that the children can easily reach. Next, I hid corresponding color Lego blocks around the house. Both my kids had to hunt for the pieces (also a skill) and return it to the corresponding colored paper. I told them there were six of each color so they knew how many to look for and how many were missing (also a mathematical skill). When one activity teaches more than one concept it's a winner for me!



Another color sorting activity is to line a muffin tin with round colored paper. I cut round circles out of construction paper in the colors corresponding to the pom poms I had. Next, I put pompoms of three different sizes in separate bowls. My son had to pick up a pom pom using a clothing pin (also a spatial skill) and place the pompom in the right colored muffin tin hole.

If you have food coloring on hand, you can have a little science experiment exploring what color mix creates a new color. You can also try the walking water activity. See my instagram story highlights for that.



Another big one for many toddlers is home made slime! Not only has my son just played with it for a good hour each time just by stretching it, patting it, breaking it, etc he also enjoyed the process of making it! All you need is food coloring, white elmers glue, contact solution and baking soda. Be sure to check out my instagram stories for the recipe. When you are done playing with it, just stick it in a freezer safe bag and you can use it again for another time. Of course, you can always buy premade slime, but making it is half the fun!


My last color sorting activity comes from Resources4learning blog. Check out her instagram or pintrest page for this and other great learning activities using the materials listed above. For this color activity, you are not only reinforcing color recognition, but also letter identification and spatial skills. Similar to the activity listed above, you set up different colored construction paper on a magnetic surface (or a table child can reach). Next, you have a bucket filled with magnetic alphabets. The child picks up a letter, ask them what letter it is they've picked up, and then they place the letter on the same colored paper.

https://www.pintrest.ca/resources4learning



If you are working with number and letter recognition, try alphabet freeze dance. Have the magnetic alphabet on your fridge in alphabetical order. Play some music and randomly pause it and shout out find me the letter "  " . The child runs to the fridge, finds the letter you choose for them to find, picks it up and gives it you. If it's correct then you repeat the process, playing the music once again and asking for a different letter or number each time. Assist the child if they are having difficulty finding the letter by giving clues such as "the letter is blue, or it's beside letter W, or its on row 1, etc."

Cheerio Sensory Bin: Because I have a one year old, doing activities both my kids can enjoy without me watching them like a hawk because my little one will have something not appropriate for her age level makes me feel more comfortable. I love this Cheerio Sensory bin activity by abcdeelearning. I don't need to worry if my daughter eats the material because well its Cheerios! In a plastic bin, pour cheerios, measuring cups, bowls, spoons and fine motor scissors (I'll link the ones I use below). Have the child pick up the cereal with the materials in the bins and transfer them to the bowls. Again dry and easy clean up (if you can see a pattern here with all the activities, I like simple clean up). That's not to say we don't have fun with paint and modeling clay, but when you are short on time, easy clean up activities is the way to go! Plus have the child part of the process cleaning up! Huge life skill right there!

https://www.amazon.ca/Learning-Resources-Water-Motor-Pieces/

https://abcdeelearning.com/


These are just some of the activities I've done while we are staying home and physical distancing as there are too many to share. Remember, kids don't need fancy and expensive toys to play and learn with. A child naturally learns by playing and exploring and providing an opportunity to do that will develop many skills that they will take with them throughout their school years and through their life.  If pretend play with you is all you can do for now, trust me, that is enough! Penelope Leach said it best when she said “For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play. 
 If you can, get outside (maintaining physical distancing) and have supervised free play too. There is so much to learn exploring nature and is also great for our mental health.

 If you like to know of others activities, check out my Instagram page and check out the pages and websites of the highlighted list above for more fun activities for various ages!

If you try some of these out, let us know what you think! Have fun!
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