Activities for toddlers and babies
Apples and baskets
Collect several plastic apples. Place them in baskets and deposit the baskets on the floor throughout your daycare. Babies and toddlers will enjoy filling and emptying the baskets over and over again as well as carrying them here and there during the day.
If you don't already have one, hang a tree branch horizontally from your ceiling. Use ribbon or string to hang plastic apples on the branch.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
A personalized tablecloth
Use adhesive paper to stick pictures and illustrations on a plastic tablecloth. Your decorated tablecloth will make lunches and snacks fun for little ones. Variation: Use neutral-coloured placemats instead of a tablecloth and glue pictures of apples on them. If you wish, you can also use adhesive paper to glue apple pictures directly on each child's highchair tray.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (to taste)
Different ways to explore apples
Encourage babies and toddlers to explore apples to introduce them to a variety of textures throughout the week. If you prefer, present them all at once as a taste test. Simply arrange them all in a plate and let children try each one.
- Cut the apples in thin slices.
- Cut the apples in cubes.
- Cut the apples in sticks.
- Serve applesauce.
- Pour a glass of apple juice for each child.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (to look)
When we serve apples to young children, we tend to cut and serve them very quickly. Instead, sit with your group and cut the apples in front of them. Explore an apple core and show children the apple seeds. If possible, photograph each part of an apple and display the pictures in your kitchen area.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Apples and paint
For this activity, you will need small apples cut in two and a small quantity of poster paint in a plate. Let babies and toddlers dip the apples in the paint and encourage them to make prints on a sheet of paper. Children may also prefer to paint the apple pieces instead of making prints. Let them explore as they wish. The goal of this activity is to let children play with the apples, not to create masterpieces.
Cut an apple silhouette out of red, green, and yellow construction paper. Let children color the three apples. Offer elements they can stick on the apples such as glitter, feathers, pieces of yarn, etc. Use the apples to decorate your daycare.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Prepare a simple recipe with your group
If the children in your group are very young, you may choose to simply transfer applesauce from one bowl to another with babies and toddlers and encourage them to deposit fruit pieces (blueberries, raspberries, or small apple pieces) on top when they are done.
Bake an apple pie with your group. You can use store-bought pie dough and cut your apples ahead of time. Simply ask children to arrange the apples in the rolled-out dough. Of course, children will want to eat a few apples too, so make sure you have extras! Sprinkle cinnamon, brown sugar, and sugar on the apples. Children will enjoy smelling and tasting everything. They will explore with their eyes and their mouth! Bake the pie in the oven and encourage children to appreciate the sweet smell in the kitchen throughout the baking process.
Red, yellow, green
You will need a red apple, a green apple, and a yellow apple for this color recognition and color association game. Real apples or plastic apples will both work. You may also visit the educatall club for printable apple illustrations (See educa-decorate-Apples).
With babies: Introduce them to colors simply by naming the color of each apple.
With toddlers: You can paint three paper plates: a green one, a red one, and a yellow one. Once the plates are dry, encourage children to associate each apple to the plate of the corresponding color.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
To stick and un-stick
You will need Velcro (male and female), a large drawing of a tree (or a drawing of a large branch), and construction paper apples that are big enough to be manipulated by little hands. Add a piece of male Velcro behind each apple. Apply pieces of female Velcro on the tree. Babies and toddlers will enjoy sticking and un-sticking apples on your apple tree. You can also find printable apples in the educatall club.
Plan an outing at a local apple orchard. If an outing isn't possible, search for an apple tree in your neighbourhood. You can also ask someone to deposit apples or small applesauce containers at the playground or at the start of a walking trail. Children will be excited to discover their treat. Another option is simply to hide apples throughout your yard.
Apple picture book
With very young children, I prefer to use pictures instead of illustrations. Photograph apples, apple trees, and apple recipes and use the pictures to create an original apple picture book you can look at with your group.
Happy apple exploration!
Early childhood educator
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