Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme offers many activities that will help young children discover these four-sided figures.
Cut several squares out of heavy cardboard. Let babies and toddlers draw on the squares. They can also glue various arts & crafts items such as feathers on the squares. Hang the squares from the ceiling in your daycare.
Squares on the floor
Using adhesive paper, stick colorful construction paper squares on the floor of your daycare (see activity below).
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Purchase a paper tablecloth at your local dollar store. Draw many squares all over it (different sizes). Before lunch time, set the tablecloth on your table and encourage children to draw on it before you serve lunch. This activity can also be done on the floor. If you prefer this option, plan an indoor picnic for lunch.
Square picture book on a ring
This activity is great for diaper changes or waiting periods. Cut a large piece of cardboard into squares. On each square, glue a picture or illustration. If possible, find pictures of square items. Laminate each square and punch a hole in one corner so you can slide them onto a metal ring. Let babies and toddlers manipulate this unique square picture book.
Make your own square-shaped soaps. If you wish, you could even insert a tiny surprise in each square bar of soap. Older toddlers will enjoy manipulating these soaps during your handwashing routine. The more they wash their hands, the sooner they will discover the small surprises.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)
Prepare your favorite recipe for date squares, Rice Krispies squares or any other recipe that can be cut into squares with your group. Older toddlers can pour ingredients, stir them or even cut them with plastic knives.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
Cut several squares out of different types of fabric with a wide range of textures. Sew or glue them together to represent a quilt. Let babies and toddlers manipulate this textured blanket.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Multicolored squares at the window
Cut large squares out of many different colors of cellophane paper. For safety reasons, wrap the edges of each square with heavy adhesive tape. Use a spray bottle to moisten a window that is at children’s level and show them how they can press the colorful squares on the surface as they wish. They will enjoy removing them and replacing them repeatedly.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Have older toddlers paint several Popsicle sticks. Glue sets of four Popsicle sticks together to form squares. You can use the squares as frames. Insert a child’s photo or a drawing inside each frame and use them to decorate your daycare.
Collective textured square
Cut several squares out of different types of paper and cardboard (tissue paper, glitter paper, corrugated cardboard, etc.). Cut squares out of different types of fabric (fake fur, felt, burlap, denim, etc.) too. With the children in your group, press the squares on a large piece of adhesive paper or a large piece of poster board. Let children feel the squares to provide them with the opportunity to explore textures.
Purchase natural wooden blocks. Encourage babies and toddlers to paint them. Once they are dry, children will enjoy stacking them.
Dump trucks with square boxes
Draw several dump trucks on large pieces of cardboard. Of course, the truck boxes will have a square shape. Cut out the trucks. Let children color them or glue various arts & crafts materials on them. When they are done, display the trucks on the wall in your construction or toy car area.
Cut squares out of colorful cardboard along with mouths, eyes, arms, etc. Let older toddlers press the pieces on a large piece of cardboard or a large piece of adhesive paper to create original robots.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Cut square windows out of the sides of a cardboard box, big enough so that children can insert their hands. Cut several small cardboard squares (smaller than the windows) and laminate pictures of the children in your group on them. Set the pictures inside your box. Seal the box with the lid and show children how they can insert their hand through the windows to pull out a picture.
Create a square family by cutting four different sizes of squares out of colorful paper. Draw a face on each square and let babies and toddlers color them. Display your square family on a wall.
Purchase or make your own square blankets. Have fun hiding under the blankets with the babies and toddlers in your group for a simple peek-a-boo game.
For each child, you will need a slice of white bread and a slice of whole wheat bread. Use a cookie cutter to cut a square out of each slice of bread. Insert the white bread square in the whole wheat slice and vice versa. Children will enjoy eating their puzzle bread.
Fill and empty
Collect several small square boxes as well as a variety of square containers (for example empty mushroom or blueberry containers). Provide small items children can use to fill and empty the square boxes and containers such as small blocks, dry cereal, feathers, etc.
Hang a large piece of black felt on a wall. Cut squares out of colorful felt and invite babies and toddlers to press them on the black felt board. They will stick to the black felt. Take advantage of this activity to name colors and explore the concept of size (small square, big square, etc.).
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Provide colorful modeling dough and square cookie cutters older toddlers can manipulate.
For this activity, you will need sturdy cardboard boxes. Fill them with newspaper and seal them with their lid or heavy tape. Let babies and toddlers draw on them. When they are done, invite them to climb all over the boxes.
Cut large squares out of colorful construction paper. Use adhesive paper to arrange them on the floor within your daycare or in a hallway. Have fun jumping on the squares with your group.
A square-filled poster
Glue pictures of square items on a large piece of cardboard. For example, you could use pictures of a square cushion, a square table, a square picture frame, a square block, etc. Display your poster on a wall and point to the different items as you name them.
Learning to say “square”
Using makeup pencils, draw a square on each child’s stomach or hand. Sit in front of a mirror with your group and encourage them to look at the shape as you say, “This is a square.” After a while, transform each child’s square to make it look like a house.
When you go for a walk with your group, have fun searching for squares. Among other things, you may see square signs, windows, sheds, etc.
Early childhood educator
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