Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme will help you prepare for the arrival of new babies and toddlers within your group. Welcome children with brief activities and encourage them to participate to give them the opportunity to get to know each other.
Prepare your group for the arrival of new children. Ask new parents to provide a picture of their child. Laminate the pictures and display them at children's eye level. Point to the pictures and name each child.
Prepare several new exploration bins. When a new child needs your attention, you can set an exploration bin on the floor and let babies and toddlers explore its contents independently. When they begin to lose interest in the bin, simply replace it with another one.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
A stuffed animal for you
Purchase a stuffed animal for each child. Hand each child his/her stuffed animal as they arrive in the morning. Let them play with it and bring it home at the end of the day. Encourage parents to bring their child's stuffed animal to daycare each day. It will represent a link between their home and daycare.
When you go for walks with your group, be sure to walk in front of each child's home and show them the home of any baby or toddler who will be joining your group soon, if possible. You could even inform parents that you will be coming. They can wave to you with their child.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
A little corner just for me
Decorate a small area for each baby and toddler. Create personalized posters that can be used to identify each child's cubbyhole, bed, etc. Little ones will enjoy admiring their poster, especially if you are able to add pictures.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, look, smell)
Gentle relaxation activities
When a new child joins your group, it can be demanding for everyone involved (children and you). Plan several calm activities to help everyone relax.
- Soft music
- Feathers that can be tossed up in the air or used to tickle each other
- A bin filled with different types of fabric that can be manipulated
- Very light blankets children can hide under
- A container filled with stuffed animals children can hug one by one
- A bin filled with storybooks and picture books
- Scarves with various scents (drops of vanilla for example)
ARTS & CRAFTS
Create a welcome sign for the children who will be joining your group. Encourage children who already attend your daycare to help you. They can, for example, draw on a large banner. Let them help you glue the letters of the word "WELCOME" on your sign. Display the sign near your daycare entrance.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Integration and introductions
During each new child's integration period, invite parents to sit with your group. Introduce each child. Plan a brief activity you can all enjoy together to create a fun atmosphere before parents leave for the day. If you wish, you could also serve a special snack.
I am creating a game for you
Depending on the ages of the children in your group, ask them to help you prepare a special game that can be used to welcome and integrate new children. For example, you can prepare exploration bottles. Simply pour dry pasta or uncooked rice inside empty water bottles. Your group will be proud to present the game they created to newcomers.
The people I see each day
Photograph all daycare personnel children will see each day: the cook, the administrator, the early childhood educator in the room next to yours, etc. Display the pictures within your daycare, at children's level. When new babies and toddlers cross paths with these people, they will recognize them.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Big brothers, big sisters
For babies and toddlers integrating your group, it can be comforting to see a familiar face during the day. Invite older brothers and sisters from other daycare groups to visit the nursery. If possible, have them blow bubbles for the children in your group.
Create a picture book that will help newcomers create a bridge between their home and their daycare setting. Ask parents to provide a picture of an item their child is fond of: a toy, a stuffed animal, their room, etc. If you wish, you can also add a picture of each child being rocked by his/her mother, with his/her pet, etc. Various pictures of your daycare group can complete your book. Name the people and items in each picture as you turn the pages with the children in your group.
Early childhood educator
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