Activities for toddlers and babies
Allowing babies and toddlers to explore flowers can develop their senses. They offer bright colors, they smell nice, and they are soft to the touch.
Decorating with real flowers
Purchase a pretty bouquet of colourful flowers and place it in plain sight, but away from little fingers.
Provide several artificial flowers and plastic vases and invite babies and toddlers to manipulate them. Loop the end of each stem and secure them with adhesive tape to protect eyes and mouths.
Find a pretty tree branch that is not too long and not too heavy. Hang it horizontally from the ceiling. Be sure to secure the branch with several pieces of string tied in different locations. Hang plastic flowers from it. At the end of this theme, do not remove the branch. It can easily be adapted for future themes.
Add Hawaiian necklaces (leis) to your costume bin. Encourage little ones to manipulate them (supervision required).
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Draw a large flower on a paper plate. Each petal and the flower centre will become sections that can be used to present food items. For example, you may choose to serve carrots in one petal, celery in another petal, a tomato in the centre and so on. If you prefer, you may decide to deposit pieces of cut fruit in each section.
Flower-shaped food items
Make meals or snacks extra special by using a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut pieces of cheese or slices of melon for example.
There are many different ways you can use flowers to decorate a plain tablecloth. For example you can use adhesive paper to stick fresh or dried flower petals on it. Adhesive paper can also be used to glue pictures of flowers on a tablecloth or individual placemats. Another option is to trace flowers on a paper tablecloth using markers. Let babies and toddlers color them in or draw on your tablecloth as they wish. Serve a snack or a meal on your tablecloth.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, sight, smell)
A real flower
Offer babies and toddlers the chance to touch, smell, and observe a real flower. Use an inexpensive flower or a wildflower since little ones will surely pull it apart as they explore.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (sight)
Fill plastic bottles with water. Add the top portion of artificial flowers to the bottles and secure the caps with hot glue. Children will love to admire these bottles. Small soft drink bottles are perfect for this activity.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (smell)
Tiny scented containers
Deposit tiny flower-scented candles in small plastic containers. Punch holes in the lids and close them. Let babies and toddlers manipulate the containers. If possible, use cube-shaped containers. Children will enjoy building towers with them.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Collective flower craft
Here is a simple craft that can be done as a group:
- Cut a flower shape (daisy for example) out of cardboard. Be sure to have one petal for each child.
- Cut a circle to represent the flower centre. Write the name of your group on it or, if you prefer, glue a group picture in the centre of your flower.
- Let each baby or toddler color or decorate his/her own petal. When they are done, assemble your flower on a wall by gluing the petals around the flower centre.
If you are doing this activity during a period when dandelions are present outside, bring a large piece of white cardboard in the yard and let babies and toddlers draw on it with dandelions. They will leave yellow marks on the cardboard. This is an interesting outdoor activity for little ones.
Colourful flower petals
With your group, deposit colourful flower petals between two sheets of adhesive paper. Press the sheets of adhesive paper together. Hang your masterpiece in a window or deposit it on a table. It can represent a pretty tablecloth or placemat.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Cut large flower shapes out of cardboard. Let each baby and toddler draw on a flower. Glue a picture of each child in the centre of his/her flower or simply write his/her name. On each petal, write something you love about the child (gentle, kind, generous, happy, etc.). Display the flowers in your cloakroom for everyone to see or give them to parents.
At the flower shop
If possible, visit your local flower shop or a flower stand with your group. Ask the florist to collect fallen petals for you. Babies and toddlers will enjoy manipulating them and using them for various collages.
Flowers for elders
With babies and toddlers, make original cards using flower shapes cut out of cardboard. Visit a local retirement home with your group. Children will be proud to present their cards to elders.
A paper flower that blooms
This activity is perfect for toddlers. Cut flower shapes out of construction paper. Fold the petals towards the centre of the flowers. Gently deposit the flowers in a container filled with water. Observe and wait. In just a few seconds, the flowers will open, just like magic.
Deposit a white flower (carnation or daisy) in a transparent vase. Add food coloring to the water. Watch the flower change color over time.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
You will need flowerpots, shovels, plastic flowers, as well as a sandbox, a rice bin, or a cereal bin. Collect several plastic flowers. Loop the end of each stem and secure them with adhesive tape for children's safety. Let babies and toddlers fill and empty the flowerpots with "soil" and encourage them to plant the flowers.
Homemade watering can
This activity is perfect for warmer days. You will need an empty soft drink bottle (the size depends on the ages of the children in your group). Punch tiny holes all over the bottle's surface to create a fun watering can. Children will love to use it to water their toes or flowers.
Depending on the season, admire the flowers that are growing in front of houses when you go for walks with your group. Help babies and toddlers notice the pretty colors. Name the different types of flowers and the colors you see. If possible, take pictures. You can use the pictures to create a picture book.
Take pictures of your group, an early childhood educator, and even a florist as they perform various activities involving flowers: smelling, watering, cutting, planting, admiring, etc. Laminate the pictures and name the different actions with babies and toddlers.
Flower picture book
Collect several pictures of flowers. Laminate them on construction paper. Let babies and toddlers look at the pictures. You may use postcards if you wish. In the educatall club, you will find flowers that you may print. Build your group's vocabulary by talking about their beauty and naming the colors.
Early childhood educator
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