Up and down
Activities for toddlers and babies
Several activities to introduce little ones to the concepts "up" and "down".
Display posters, pictures, and illustrations on your daycare walls, making sure to arrange them either very high or very low to encourage children to look up and down.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Looking "up" and "down" outdoors
When you are outside with your group, encourage children to observe objects that are both up in the sky and down on the ground. For example, they can look up at the clouds, birds, an airplane, butterflies, squirrels, snowflakes, etc. Hang pretty ribbons or balloons from tree branches to encourage them to look up. If possible, fly a kite. Invite them to observe ants, worms, footprints in the sand, a flower, or a shiny rock (supervision required) so they will look down too. Provide small magnifying glasses. They will love using them to look at a variety of things.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look, hear)
To make children look up indoors, hang a wind chime from the ceiling within your daycare. Gently touch the wind chime to produce a pretty sound. Children will automatically search for the source of the sound. After a while, touch the wind chime again.
Variation: Hang several wind chimes from the ceiling. They will produce pretty melodies throughout your daycare. Touch them one after the other and listen closely.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
To attract children's eyes downwards, use adhesive paper to arrange a variety of illustrations and pictures on the floor of your daycare. Babies and toddlers will move around the room to explore them.
ARTS & CRAFTS
"Up" and "down" drawing
Stick large pieces of white paper on a wall. Some pieces must be very high (but within children's reach) while others must be very low, just above the floor. Provide washable markers and encourage toddlers to draw on the paper. They will have no choice but to stretch up to draw on the higher papers and crouch down to draw on the lower papers.
Note: If children are tempted to draw on the wall, simply redirect them towards the paper. At the end of the activity, give children moistened towels. They will love helping you wash the wall and remove any unwanted marks.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Balloon photo album
To attract children's eyes upwards, hang balloons from the ceiling. Use adhesive tape to stick a picture (children in your group, pets, family members, etc.) under each balloon. They will love looking up at this original photo album.
Slide or roll from the top to the bottom
Create a simple slope by setting a piece of wood or a gutter against a chair or another furniture item. If you prefer, you can also set a mattress over pillows. Arrange a variety of toys that can roll or slide down the slope nearby. Suggestions: a ball, a toy car, a figurine, a small box, etc. Encourage toddlers to set one object at a time at the top of the slope (up) and watch them slide or roll down as a group.
Variation for older children: You may also provide a spatula and a shoe. Because of their texture, they will not slide or roll down the slope. Help children understand how some items move down the slope very easily while others don't move at all.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
A small grass-covered (or snow-covered) hill is ideal to help children understand the difference between "up" and "down". Have fun climbing up the hill and then rolling down the other side.
Balls on a hill
Roll balls down on a small hill. Use this activity to explore the words "up" and "down" with your group.
Early childhood educator
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