Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme will give children the chance to explore cold items. They will touch them, observe them, and sometimes even taste them, making this the perfect theme for summer months!
Display pictures of cold things throughout your daycare. Use pictures of things babies and toddlers will recognize such as ice cubes in a glass, frozen treats, an ice cream cone, etc. In the educatall club, you will find several printable illustrations in the ice cream shop theme. Decorate your daycare with children's crafts too. See the arts & crafts and moral and social activities sections below for ideas.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Making snacks interesting
Throughout this theme, serve cold food items at snack time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Freeze yogurt tubes. They will become healthy frozen treats.
- Offer ice cream.
- Make your own fruit and yogurt bites.
- Prepare homemade frozen treats by mixing fruit pieces and yogurt in a blender and pouring the mixture in ice pop molds.
- Make your own slushies by combining ice cubes and fruit juice in a blender,
- Prepare frozen banana treats.
Frozen banana treats
Ingredients (serves 8):
- 3 large bananas that are ripe yet firm
- 2 cups of milk chocolate chips
- Multicoloured candy sprinkles
- Cut each banana into three or more pieces (depending on their size) and insert a Popsicle stick in each one. Set them in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- During this time, melt the chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl set over a pot of boiling water. Remove from heat and dip each banana piece in the melted chocolate. Roll the bananas in the multicoloured candy sprinkles and set them in the freezer for six more hours.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
Ice cube tray and ice cubes
Prepare ice cubes for the babies and toddlers in your group. Use fairly large containers since children will surely try to put the ice cubes in their mouth. Give them their pacifier if you do not want them to lick or eat the ice. Set a container filled with lukewarm water on the floor. Let the large ice cubes float on the surface. Sit babies and toddlers around the container. They will enjoy manipulating the cold ice cubes in the lukewarm water. Add more lukewarm water if the water becomes too cold.
Fun ice shapes
To make fun ice shapes, use the molds normally used in your sandbox. Fish and starfish shapes are easy to find. Simply fill them with water and set them in the freezer. Once the ice shapes are ready, remove them from the molds and use them in a container filled with lukewarm water, just like in the previous activity.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (to look)
Pretty ice decorations
During water games, fill aluminum pie plates with water with your group. Add food coloring or glitter as well as a piece of string that crosses the entire plate and is a little bit longer so it hangs over the edge of the plate. Set the plates in the freezer. Once the water is completely frozen, remove the ice from the plates and hang the ice decorations in a tree. Observe the decorations with your group. Supervision is required since pieces of ice could fall off as the ice decorations melt in the sun.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Frozen paint is often used by early childhood educators. Simply freeze paint in small containers with Popsicle sticks. Children will love to paint with the frozen paint blocks. If children are tempted to put the frozen paint blocks in their mouth, give them their pacifier.
Print pictures of different frozen treats, ice cream cones, slushies, etc. Let babies and toddlers glue them on paper plates. Hang the plates from the ceiling. Variation: Instead of using plates, use a large sheet of adhesive paper to make an original poster with your group.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Giant ice cream cone (group activity)
Cut a large triangle out of a piece of cardboard to represent a cone. Display it on a wall where babies and toddlers can see it. Cut several circles out of different colors of construction paper. Tell children they are scoops of ice cream. Have each child decorate one scoop with crayons. Glue the scoops on top of the triangle to create a giant ice cream cone. Variation: Glue a picture of each child on his/her ice cream scoop.
Fresh fruit and frozen fruit
To help children feel cold with their fingers and their tongue, deposit pieces of fruit that are at room temperature on a table. Add pieces of frozen fruit such as raspberries and blueberries. If you choose to offer bananas or apples, cut them into tiny pieces. Let babies and toddlers explore the differences.
Wash your hands in cold water and in lukewarm water
When you are helping children wash their hands, run lukewarm water on one hand. On the other hand, run water that is slightly colder (but not too cold). Explain the difference between lukewarm and cold to children. Variation: This activity can be done in a small swimming pool with a pitcher of lukewarm water and a pitcher of water that is slightly colder. Gently pour the water on children's hands.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Walk for a treat
Take your group out for a walk to a nearby corner store or ice cream shop to purchase special frozen treats or ice cream cones. If possible, enjoy your treat at the playground.
One advantage of frozen treats is that they are often quite colourful. Whenever you serve such a treat to your group, have fun identifying the various colors with babies and toddlers.
Ice cream taste test
Select two or three fruity ice cream flavours. Print and laminate pictures of the corresponding fruit. For example, show children a picture of a strawberry to represent strawberry ice cream. Taste each flavour with your group. To help babies and toddlers identify each ice cream flavour, be sure to show them a picture of the corresponding fruit each time they take a bite. Have fun naming each fruit with them.
Early childhood educator
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