Activities for toddlers and babies
Children don't always appreciate naptime, but this theme suggests many ideas to make naptime fun for little ones.
Cut moon and star shapes out of yellow construction paper. Cut white cloud shapes out of white cardboard. Encourage toddlers to stick white feathers on the clouds. Print sheep shapes (Educatall club), cut them out, and have children glue cotton balls all over them. Hang these shapes from the ceiling or stick them on the walls of your daycare and in your naptime area.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
This activity is great for helping children transition to naptime. Fill a container or bin with a variety of soft items that represent calm and sleep. For example, you may fill your bin with books, stuffed animals, feathers, blankets, pieces of fabric (silk, fur), musical toys (lullabies), etc. Let babies and toddlers manipulate the contents of your gentle bin freely.
Stars are often associated with sleep. Print and laminate several stars and use adhesive paper to stick them in children's plates. Children will enjoy discovering the stars hiding under their food.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Fill a large container or bin with different types of flashlights. Before naptime, give children the opportunity to explore the contents of the bin. Turn the lights off. This activity will help children's eyes get used to the dark. If you wish, glue a piece of clear colourful plastic on each flashlight for a colourful experience.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
My blanket's caress
Right before naptime, use each child's blanket to caress his/her body. Gently pull each child's blanket towards his/her feet.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Let babies and toddlers paint or draw on a white bedsheet. When they are done, hang the bedsheet over your naptime area to represent a canopy. Children will admire their masterpiece before falling asleep.
This is my spot
Make unique signs or posters to identify each child's naptime spot. Encourage babies and toddlers to personalize their sign or poster. Let them decorate a piece of cardboard. Write each child's name on his/her sign and add a picture. Display their signs or posters above their bed or mattress, making sure they are out of children's reach for safety reasons.
As a group, make a decorative quilt. You will need several felt squares (different colors). Let babies and toddlers paint on the squares. If necessary, use adhesive tape to secure the squares on the table to make painting them easier for little ones. Once the paint is dry, sew the squares together to represent a quilt or simply glue them on a large piece of cardboard. Hang your quilt on a wall.
Purchase a white pillowcase for each child. Use wide adhesive tape to secure them on a table. Provide fabric markers (supervision required) children can use to decorate their pillowcase. Children can use their pillowcase for the "Surprise pillowcases" activity explained below.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A small bed for my stuffed animal
You will need an empty rectangular tissue box for each child as well as a facecloth. Have children decorate their box. Show them how they can set a small stuffed animal inside their box and use their facecloth to represent a blanket. They will love having their stuffed animal sleep next to them at naptime.
Ask children's parents which lullabies they sing to their child to put him/her to sleep. Write the lyrics of each lullaby on a piece of paper and use them to create a songbook containing different lullabies you can sing to your group at naptime. If you wish, print several copies and send a songbook home with each child. This represents a great way to create a home-daycare connection.
Rocking my doll
Invite children to rock their favorite doll. This represents a great imitation game. Play a CD containing soft music or lullabies. Provide baby bottles. At the end of the activity, have children set their doll in a baby bed.
Set several pillowcases containing different items on the floor. You can, for example, insert books in one pillowcase, stuffed animals in another pillowcase, rattles in a third pillowcase, etc. Encourage children to explore the pillowcases as they wish. This activity will provide young children with the opportunity to discover items available within your daycare.
To introduce children to numbers, print and laminate several large sheep (Educatall club). Write a number on each one. With babies, numbers 1 to 3 will suffice. With toddlers, you can use numbers 1 to 5. Laminate the sheep and display them on a wall, at children's level. Have fun counting sheep together.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Sit on the floor with your group and show toddlers how they can rock from side to side. You can also set a baby in your lap and rock him/her gently. Sing lullabies and provide cushions for extra comfort.
Sit in front of a mirror for a simple imitation game. As a group, have fun pretending to yawn, snore, open and close your eyes, etc. Children will think this is very funny. Encourage them to look at their reflection in the mirror.
Blankets and cushions
You will need several pretty blankets. Have fun hiding under them with the children in your group and playing peek-a-boo. You may also use the blankets to build cabins and forts or to create simple obstacle courses. Add cushions children will have fun climbing over.
Print and laminate pictures and illustrations of sleeping children, blankets, and stuffed animals. Laminate them and insert them between the pages of your books. Children will love discovering them as they turn the pages.
Naptime picture book
Print several pictures and illustrations related to the theme: a mother rocking her child, a child sleeping in a hammock, a stuffed animal, a swaddled baby, etc. Laminate them. Look at them with your group, naming what you see for babies and toddlers.
Early childhood educator
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