Things you will find in my suitcase
Activities for toddlers and babies
For this theme, explore a variety of things children may or may not pack in their suitcase for a trip.
You will need one large suitcase or several small suitcases. If you prefer, simply use a large plastic bin with a lid and pretend it's a suitcase. Set the suitcase(s) on the floor within your daycare. Display pictures of different types of suitcases on the walls of your daycare.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
In my suitcase, there are things to discover
To introduce your theme, fill a suitcase with objects the children in your group will enjoy exploring. Every morning, fill it with new items: books, musical instruments, puppets, etc. Let children manipulate the contents of the suitcase freely.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
In my suitcase, you will find a variety of hats
A summer vacation requires hats to protect our head from the hot sun. Purchase or collect several different types of hats: baseball caps, straw hats, wide brim hats, etc. Ask parents to share any hats they no longer wear with your group to add to your collection. Little ones will have fun placing the different hats on their head...even if they are much too big! Arrange the hats in a suitcase and have fun trying them on with your group.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
In my suitcase, you will find sunscreen
Foster autonomy by turning your sunscreen application routine into a game. Sit on the floor with the children in your group. For each child, apply a dollop of sunscreen on one body part. If you wish, you could even use the sunscreen to draw a happy face on each child. Encourage babies and toddlers to spread the sunscreen all over their body, just like paint. Children will love this activity that may have the power to make sunscreen application enjoyable for all.
ARTS & CRAFTS
In my suitcase, you will find arts & crafts materials
While on vacation, we often explore nature. Children love filling their suitcase with the treasures they find. Visit your playground, simply explore your yard, or go for a walk with your group. Encourage toddlers to set items they find in nature in a small suitcase. For example, they could add rocks, branches, leaves, grass, wildflowers, sand (in a container with a lid), etc. Later in the day, set your treasure-filled suitcase on a table. Explore its contents with your group. Provide homemade modeling dough and let toddlers press the items they found in the modeling dough. Variation: You may also add plastic insects. Children will love using them along with the items they found and your homemade modeling dough to create insect-filled scenes.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
In my suitcase, you will find memories
At the end of summer vacation, children's suitcases are often packed with souvenirs of all kinds. Ask parents to share souvenirs they may have kept from past trips (that can be manipulated by little hands) with your group. For example, you could fill a suitcase with a beach towel, a seashell (supervision required), a special toy, a musical instrument, a postcard, a small handbag, etc. Encourage children to explore the contents of your suitcase.
In my suitcase, there are old photos
Items that represent the past help babies and toddlers create memories. Ask parents to provide pictures of their child's last vacation or of a recent outing they enjoyed as a family. Laminate the pictures and add them to a suitcase. Invite parents to write a brief description behind each picture they send in. Look at the pictures with your group and describe each one.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
In my suitcase, you will find bathing suits
Fill a suitcase with everything children need to play with water: bathing suits, beach towels, rubber ducks, and inflatable toys. Let children explore the contents of the suitcase for a few minutes before helping them put their bathing suit on. Let them play with the accessories from your suitcase in your kiddie pool.
In my suitcase, you will find tickets
On vacation, we often travel by car, by airplane, by train, or by boat. Set up a variety of activity corners in your yard. In one area, create a small hill by setting naptime mattresses over a pile of cushions. Children can pretend to drive over the hill. In another area, fill your kiddie pool with water and add plastic boats. Use hula hoops or blocks to represent a road network. Set different items representing several means of transportation on the floor and let babies and toddlers use them to explore the activity corners.
In my suitcase, you will find books
Books are ideal for relaxing while on vacation. Fill a suitcase with books that are sure to interest the children in your group. You may also add old magazines. Take the suitcase with you wherever you go. Children will appreciate discovering its contents at the playground, in your yard, within your daycare, etc.
Early childhood educator
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