Activities for toddlers and babies
A plant in your daycare
To introduce your theme, set a real plant in your daycare. A non-toxic hanging plant is ideal. Observe the plant with your group and explain how the presence of plants in our environment can be very beneficial in simple terms.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
A watering can for rinsing children's hands
Set a pretty watering can next to your sink. During your hand washing routine, use the watering can to rinse the soap off children's hands.
Seeds for dessert
Crumble chocolate wafers to represent soil. Arrange the cookie crumbs in tiny pots or add a small quantity of cookie crumbs to children's bowls or plates. Set tiny round food items on top of the cookie crumbs, blueberries for example, to represent seeds. Show children how they can dig a tiny hole in the centre of the cookie crumbs, place a few blueberries in the hole, and cover them with additional cookie crumbs. It's just like planting actual seeds.
If the children in your group have already eaten spinach, it may be interesting to serve baby spinach at lunch time. The tiny spinach leaves are perfect for making a connection with your theme. Children will love eating leaves like those that grow on plants!
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look and hear)
Fill several clear (and dry) plastic bottles with a variety of seeds. Each bottle shall contain a different type and size of seed. Seal the caps with hot glue. Let babies and toddlers manipulate the bottles and notice the different sounds they can produce by shaking them.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Watch a plant grow
To understand a phenomenon, there is nothing like seeing it with your own eyes. Watch the following video with your group so they can observe an accelerated growth cycle. It's quite impressive, even for adults! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZMjBO6A7AE.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Modeling dough and seeds
Create a simple imitation game. Provide several small plastic flower pots (used for starter plants). Fill them almost to the brim with modeling dough. Invite children to press the dough in the containers, as if it was soil. Next, use modeling dough to form several very small spheres to represent seeds. Have children drop them in the pots. Add plastic flowers or tree branches children can plant in the dough. If you wish, you may even add empty watering cans. Little ones will enjoy pretending to water the plants.
Hang a large piece of paper on a wall. Cut leaf shapes out of different shades of green construction paper. Draw several stems (different lengths) on your mural to represent sprouts or shoots. Invite babies and toddlers to glue the leaves on either side of the stems (younger children may glue them next to the stems). In the end, you will have an impressive mural to admire.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A plant for my home
With your group, fill tiny flower pots with real soil and plant seeds. Water the seeds daily. When the plants begin to grow, let each family bring one plant home. Parents can continue to care for the plant with their child.
Create a gardening bin. You will need gardening gloves, hats, plastic containers, and plastic flowers. Let babies and toddlers explore the contents of your bin as they see fit.
Seeds in plastic bags
Seeds can germinate in plastic bags and provide children with the opportunity to observe the whole process. Add a few cotton balls to several Ziploc bags. Add a few seeds. Use adhesive tape to stick the plastic bags in a window. The bags will become tiny greenhouses and make germination possible.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Imitating a growing plant
Invite toddlers to curl up in a ball on the floor. Show them how they can slowly unfold their arms and stretch them upwards to represent a growing plant that is looking for sunshine. If needed, watch the video suggested above again to help children understand.
Plant picture book
Print and laminate various types of plants. Select plants babies and toddlers may recognize: daisies, a tomato plant, a carrot, grass, a small pine tree, etc. Look at the pictures with your group and name each plant.
Early childhood educator
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