Things that fall
Activities for toddlers and babies
A theme that provides little ones with the opportunity to watch different items fall to the ground is perfect for exploring cause and effect and observing their environment from different points of view.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
It’s raining on my hands
Set a small watering can filled with lukewarm water next to the sink where children wash their hands. At the end of your handwashing routine, help toddlers rinse their hands by using the watering can to gently pour water on their hands, like rain.
Maple tree samaras look a lot like helicopters as they twirl to the ground. When you are out and about with your group, have fun collecting samaras. When you have enough, toss them up in the air and watch them spin downwards. Bring a few samaras back to your daycare and let children explore them.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look and hear)
Ping-pong ball invasion
Provide your group with a spectacular show. Purchase a large quantity of ping-pong balls. Set them in a box. Lift the box and let the ping-pong balls fall to the ground. The balls will bounce impressively off the floor. Children will enjoy watching the show and listening to the sound of the balls hitting the floor. Traditional ping-pong balls are big enough to be safely manipulated by babies and toddlers.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
Fill a bin with puffed wheat cereal. Let children manipulate the contents of the bin with their hands. Fill the palms of your hands with cereal. Raise your hands over the bin and let the cereal fall back into it. Invite children to do the same and encourage them to observe the cereal as it falls out of their hands. After a while, add objects that can safely be manipulated by little hands to the bin to encourage children to pursue their exploration.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Set a large square piece of adhesive paper on the floor. Use wide adhesive tape to hold the corners in place. Prepare a variety of lightweight arts & crafts materials such as feathers, glitter, tissue paper, pieces of tissues, etc. Show your group how they can drop the items over the adhesive paper and watch them twirl downwards. The items will stick to the adhesive paper. At the end of the activity, gently raise the adhesive paper and display children’s original masterpiece on a wall.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Soap bubble party
Invite parents, grandparents, or children’s older brothers and sisters to join you for snack time. Afterwards, give each guest a small container filled with bubble solution. Have them blow bubbles simultaneously. Babies and toddlers will like to watch the bubbles float to the ground. Small bubble wands are ideal for this activity.
Fishing at lunch time
Babies and toddlers like to toss their plate on the floor when they are seated in their high chair to explore cause and effect. Redirect this behaviour by attaching a string to their high chair tray. Tie a small stuffed animal or other toy to the end of the string. Encourage children to toss the toy off their tray and watch it fall. Encourage them to pull on the string so they can pick the toy up and toss it again. Since the string will have to be quite long, constant supervision is required. Remove the strings at the end of the activity for security reasons.
What is the weather today? Depending on the season, is it raining or snowing? Take the time to observe falling rain or snow in front of a large window with your group. You could even illustrate the weather by sticking pictures of rain (or snow) on a wall, next to your window. When it is raining or snowing, point to the corresponding picture. Get dressed and go explore the falling rain or snow outside too.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
If this theme is presented during fall, rake the leaves in your yard to create a large pile. Show children how they can grasp leaves in their hands and toss them up in the air. Watch the leaves fall to the ground together. Repeat several times if children seem interested.
If this theme is presented when it is snowing, go outside to observe snowflakes with your group. Provide square pieces of dark felt. If you wish, glue them on heavy cardboard. Show children how they can hold them out to catch snowflakes. Admire the snowflakes with the children in your group before they melt away.
Early childhood educator
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