Activities for toddlers and babies
Wrap a long piece of invisible thread around several blocks. Be sure to select different shapes and colors. Hang the blocks from the ceiling.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
The tallest block tower
Prepare this activity before children arrive in the morning or just before naptime ends. Build tall block towers and encourage children to observe them. Let them tap the towers to make the blocks fall to the ground. Encourage them to manipulate and explore the blocks.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, look, taste, listen)
Water, ice cubes, and strawberries
Insert a strawberry in each section of an ice cube tray. Pour water over the berries. Set the ice cube tray in the freezer. For each child, pour water in a clear sippy cup. Drop a strawberry-filled ice cube in each glass before sealing them with the lids. Children will enjoy observing their ice cube, feeling how cold their glass is, and tasting the water. Show children how they can swirl their sippy cup to make their ice cube hit the sides of their glass and produce a sound.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (smell)
Gather as many fabric blocks as possible. Wash them and add a few drops of the natural essence of your choice on each one. For example, you may add a few drops of vanilla (beware of allergies). Let infants and toddlers manipulate the blocks and encourage them to smell them.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Personalized store-bought blocks
Purchase unpainted wooden blocks. Let infants and toddlers paint them. Once the paint is dry, apply non-toxic varnish (must be done by the early childhood educator). Let children manipulate their personalized blocks as they wish.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
The gift of giant climbing blocks
You will need several cardboard boxes with lids. Find accomplices that will enjoy drawing on the boxes for your group. Parents or a group of older children will be happy to decorate the boxes. Once this step is done, have your accomplices give you the boxes so you can stuff them with crumpled newspaper. Doing so will make the boxes sturdier. Set them on the floor and let infants and toddlers explore these giant blocks. They will spontaneously try to climb over them. Don’t forget to share who helped you create your giant climbing blocks as a gift to your group.
Blocks in different play areas
Set blocks in different areas throughout your daycare. Here are a few ideas:
- Add fabric blocks containing pictures in your reading area. Look at the blocks and name the items with your group.
- In your toy car area, provide small blocks children can use to fill dump trucks.
- Add blocks to your figurine bin. Children can use them to represent chairs or enclosures.
- In your kitchen area, blocks can represent food.
- Bring a bin filled with blocks outside. Children will enjoy playing with them in the snow or sand.
Silly blocks (object permanence)
Play a simple trick on your group. Hide blocks in unexpected places within your daycare. For example, you can hide blocks in children’s shoes or mittens. You can also insert blocks in puppets. Encourage children to put their shoes or mittens on and play with the puppets. They will enjoy discovering the blocks.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Homemade block sorter
Foster children’s fine motor skills by making this homemade block sorter. It is much more adapted to young children’s capacities than store-bought versions. You will need a plastic container with a lid. Cut a hole in the lid, big enough so that children can easily insert blocks. Show infants and toddlers how they can insert blocks through the opening. Once all the blocks have been inserted, remove the lid, empty the blocks on the floor and start over again.
Make your own song block. You will need a square box. Glue a picture or illustration associated with a song on each side of the box. For example, for Twinkle, twinkle little star, stick a large yellow star on one side. Show children how they can toss the box up and watch it land on the floor. Sing the song corresponding to the picture showing on your song block with the infants and toddlers in your group.
Early childhood educator
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