Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme provides activities involving scarves, blankets, and pieces of fabric.
To present the theme to your group, set a box filled with square pieces of fabric in a corner. Be sure to offer different types of fabric to make it possible for little ones to explore different textures (silk, burlap, felt, etc.) and colors. Let children explore the contents of your fabric box freely.
A blanket on the ceiling
Your parachute can be hung from the ceiling, like a canopy, to add a touch of color to your decor. You can also hang a blanket from the ceiling and decorate it with star-shaped phosphorescent stickers.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
A very soft blanket
This activity is great for periods when children are tired, such as the end of the day. You will need a soft blanket or a sheer curtain. Sit little ones on the floor and gently slide the fabric over each child's head. Sing a lullaby as the fabric caresses their skin. At the end of the song, you may choose to tickle them under the fabric.
During diaper changes, have a few scarves handy. Play peek-a-boo with children simply by hiding your face with one scarf at a time. You may also choose to briefly hide a child's face. Wait for him/her to remove the fabric before saying "Peek-a-boo".
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (smell)
Cut square pieces of fabric large enough to be safely manipulated by young children. Add a few drops of vanilla on each piece of fabric. Let babies and toddlers explore the fabric pieces and discover this new scent.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (hear)
This activity is perfect for developing object permanence. Set an alarm clock or a timer under a blanket on the floor and wait for it to ring. Let children look under the blanket to discover the source of the sound. With toddlers, arrange several blankets on the floor. Hide the alarm clock or timer under one of them. Encourage children to search for the clock/timer when the alarm goes off.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Painting on felt can be interesting for young children since its texture offers slightly more resistance than paper. Use wide tape to secure a large piece of felt on the table for each child. Invite children to paint on their piece of felt. Once the paint is dry, glue the felt pieces together on a wall to represent a quilt. If you prefer, you could also sew the felt pieces together.
Fabric and adhesive paper
Secure a large piece of adhesive paper on a wall so the sticky surface is towards you. You can apply wide, colourful tape (available in hardware stores) around the edges to hold it in place. Invite children to stick pieces of fabric all over the adhesive paper. They can remove them and rearrange them several times (supervision required).
Invite babies and toddlers to draw on a white bed sheet with markers. When they are done, use the bed sheet as a tablecloth at lunch time or hang it in your reading corner like a canopy.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A blanket from home
The scent of their home is reassuring for babies and toddlers. Select a day and ask parents to send a blanket from their home to daycare with their child. Let children play with their blanket throughout the day. You may also choose to offer dolls and stuffed animals. Children will enjoy wrapping them in their blanket to rock them or put them to bed.
Felt shapes and containers
Cut circles, squares, and triangles out of colourful pieces of felt. The shapes must be big enough to guarantee they can safely be manipulated by little ones. Let the children in your group explore the shapes. Provide different types of plastic containers and encourage children to deposit the shapes in them. Children will enjoy putting the shapes inside the containers and taking them out over and over again.
While the babies and toddlers in your group are watching, hide an object under a blanket. Wait to see if the children will lift the blanket to find the object. The ability to understand that the object is there even if they no longer see it is called object permanence. Children normally acquire it around 9 or 10 months of age.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND MOTOR SKILLS
Deposit soft objects on the floor (sponges, small stuffed animals, tiny cushions, etc.). Cover the objects with a blanket and secure the edges of the blanket with wide adhesive tape (sold in hardware stores). Encourage babies and toddlers to crawl on top of the blanket.
Give children small scarves. Have fun moving the scarves to the sound of fast-paced music.
Drape a blanket over a table to create a hideaway. Within this newly created hideaway, stick pictures on the floor using adhesive paper. Provide flashlights children can use to explore the pictures. Name the different items for babies and toddlers.
Early childhood educator
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