Out for a walk
Activities for toddlers and babies
Presenting a theme related to taking walks with your group will help make your daily walks with babies and toddlers more enjoyable. Take advantage of this theme to explore children's legs and feet, they play such an important role in walking.
Decorate your daycare using visual reminders of the walks you take as a group. See the arts & crafts section for decorations you can make with children.
Print or cut out several different footprints. Laminate them and arrange them on the floor. Hang pictures of babies in strollers or walking toddlers.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (to look)
Make simple binoculars by gluing two empty toilet paper rolls together. Color the cardboard tubes and attach a string that will make it possible for children to wear their binoculars around their neck during your walks. They will enjoy using them to observe a variety of different objects.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (to hear)
Create an original picture book that represents the various sounds you encounter when you take walks in your neighbourhood: a church bell, a car's motor, a truck's horn, a barking dog, a singing bird, children playing, etc.
ARTS & CRAFTS
As a group, make a special poster in honor of shoes and explain how shoes play an important role in walking. Hang a large sheet of paper or piece of cardboard on a wall. Print pictures of shoes or cut them out of catalogues or magazines. With babies and toddlers, glue the shoes on your poster.
Make your own shoes
You will need several empty tissue boxes (two for each child). Let children draw on their boxes or paint them to decorate their shoes as they see fit. Show children how they can wear the empty boxes on their feet, just like real shoes. Older children will enjoy trying to walk with them.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Letter in the mail
Invite each child to make a pretty drawing. When they are done, help them fold it up and insert it in an envelope. Write the address of someone each child is close to on his/her envelope (parents, grandparents, uncle, etc.). During your walk, have children deposit their letter in a mailbox.
Ask parents to accompany you for a walk around your neighbourhood. Ask them to bring their stroller. If parents cannot be present, invite grandparents, uncles, aunts, the cook, or the janitor to join you.
A walk with new friends
Invite other early childhood educators who work with a group of babies or toddlers to join you for a walk.
Variation: Invite a group of older children from your daycare or a nearby daycare to join you. Older brothers and sisters will appreciate this activity.
I choose the itinerary
When you go for a walk with your group, let older children choose between two streets that are safe for young children. Whenever you reach a corner, ask children if they want to go this way (to the right) or that way (to the left).
Recognizing your shoes
Show each child two pairs of shoes (one pair that belongs to the child and another pair that belongs to another child). Verify if children are able to recognize their shoes. With older children, arrange all the children's shoes in a pile and encourage them to find their pair of shoes.
Picture book of your walk (spatial reference)
During walks, we usually follow the same itinerary day after day. We stop at the same spots that babies and toddlers love such as the apple tree, the birdfeeder, the fountain, etc. Photograph the items children like to admire most and use the pictures to make an original picture book. Present the pictures in the same order that you see the items during your walks. Children will like to look at the pictures to revisit the itinerary they know so well. This activity can represent an introduction to spatial reference.
If you wish, you can bring your picture book along on your walks to help young children make the connection between the pictures and the things they see.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
A stroll with my doll
Select a very quiet street (or present this activity in your yard). Take your doll strollers outside and invite toddlers to choose a doll they want to take for a walk. Children will love to push the strollers along the sidewalk.
Variation: On a rainy day, this activity can also be done in your daycare hallways.
Walkin in the rain
Take advantage of a rainy day to go for a walk. Ask parents to provide an umbrella, a rain hat, rain boots, and a raincoat. Let children splash around in the puddles.
Time to exercise
Have children perform simple exercises involving their legs and feet to prepare them for walking. They can, for example, lie on their back and pretend to pedal.
Where shall we go today?
Throughout the week, try to vary your itinerary somewhat:
- Explore a new street.
- Walk on a pedestrian path.
- Walk on a bike path.
- Walk in a schoolyard.
If you have a few toddlers who will soon be changing groups, introduce them to walking like the big kids. Let them walk alongside your stroller or daycare buggy. Variation: Have children practice holding a walking rope in your daycare hallways or at the playground. When you feel it is safe, try using it on a quiet street.
Name the animals
Animals attract children's attention whenever we go for walks. Take advantage of the fact that children like animals and insects to encourage them to name what they see: birds, squirrels, cats, dogs, butterflies, etc. Stop to watch the animals you cross paths with. Describe their actions, their color, the sounds they make, etc.
Early childhood educator
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