Activities for toddlers and babies
Blue water, sun, and sand are but a few of the interesting elements this theme will make sharing with babies and toddlers possible.
Cut beach pictures out of travel magazines and display them on a wall. Invite parents to share pictures of past beach vacations with you and use them to create a very special mural that can be displayed at children’s level for the duration of the theme.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
To introduce your theme in the morning, set several colorful beach bags on the floor. Add a variety of items to your bags. For example, one beach bag could contain a beach ball and another one could have a beach towel in it. A small plastic fish or boat could be hidden in a third bag. Let infants and toddlers manipulate the bags and discover their contents.
Sand bucket snacks
Purchase several small sand buckets. Wash them well and fill them with children’s snacks. Hand each child a bucket and invite them to eat its contents. Variation: To create a larger snack that children can share, purchase a larger bucket and fill it with snack items. Show children how they can pass the bucket around, taking turns eating a small handful of whatever it is you have chosen as a snack.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, look)
Reading at the beach
Bringing a good book to the beach is always a good idea. Let that inspire a fun backyard activity. Fill your kiddie pool with water and add plastic-covered foam books. Children will enjoy grasping the books as they float by in the water. Name the objects children see as they flip through the pages of the books.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Prick several colorful beach umbrellas in the ground throughout your yard. Set toys under each one. Let children play under the umbrellas so they are protected from the sun’s rays, just like at the beach. Encourage them to look up at the umbrellas. Name the colors they see.
Find large seashells and let children manipulate them. Let them observe these treasures of the sea.
Seashells in a bottle
Fill an empty plastic water bottle with tiny seashells. Add water and a few drops of food coloring. Seal the cap with hot glue. Let children manipulate the bottle to provide them with the opportunity to observe small seashells safely.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Creating your own sand
Here is a simple recipe for making “homemade sand”. The texture of this preparation is a lot like wet sand. The sand is very soft, and children enjoy manipulating it.
4 cups of unbleached flour (approximately 540 grams per my calculations)
½ cup of vegetable oil
Simply mix the flour and oil together. At first, the flour won’t stick. Keep mixing until the preparation has the texture of wet sand and you can form balls that are easy to crumble. If you wish, add crushed sidewalk chalk to small amounts of homemade sand to create different colors. Essential oils represent another interesting addition for an extra special sensory activity.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Beach towels at snack time
Set several beach towels on the grass in your yard. Invite infants and toddlers to sit on the towels. Two children can sit on the same towel if they wish. Serve a special snack. The towels will help delimit children’s personal space.
Exercising on my beach towel
Set several beach towels on the grass in your yard to represent yoga mats. With older toddlers, have fun executing different yoga poses. Name the body parts involved for each pose. For example, you may invite children to lie on their back or on their stomach. In a standing position, you can invite children to press their feet firmly into the ground or in a seated position, encourage them to feel the ground under their bottom. At the end of the activity, have children set their head on their beach towel, as if they were about to perform a handstand.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Inflated beach toys indoors
This activity is perfect for a rainy day. Inflate several beach toys such as a beach ball, a buoy, a mattress, and a small boat. Let children grasp the toys, climb over them, and carry them around your daycare. Constant supervision is required.
Flipflops are inexpensive and colorful. What’s more, children love manipulating them. Fill a bin with several pairs of dollar store flipflops in different sizes. Let babies and toddlers play with the contents of the bin. After a while, set a few beach bags on the floor and encourage them to fill and empty them with flipflops. Invite older children to find matching flipflops.
Early childhood educator
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