Outdoor motor skills
Activities for toddlers and babies
Decorate the ceiling
Hang beach balls, inflatable animals, and other inflatable toys from the ceiling.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Here is a fun activity that can be presented in your yard or at the playground. If there is a pedestrian path nearby, organize a collection activity during one of your walks. Give each child a small container. I like egg cartons since children can sort their findings in the different cavities. They can even be decorated. Invite babies and toddlers to find treasures in nature (grass, flowers, rocks, branches, etc.). Encourage them to add their findings to their container. At the end of the activity, sit on the ground and look at the items collected by each child.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
Wet sponges and tiny feet
Sponges are fun because of their colors, but also because of their texture and due to the fact they are lightweight. Soak several sponges in lukewarm water. Deposit them on the ground and invite toddlers to walk on them. They will discover an interesting texture (supervision required since children can be tempted to put the sponges in their mouth).
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (hear)
You will need an alarm clock or a stopwatch. Program it to ring a few minutes later. At the playground or in your yard, hide the alarm clock or the stopwatch in a more or less difficult hiding place depending on the ages of the children in your group (object permanence). When the alarm rings, encourage children to search for it. Give older toddlers a chance to hide the alarm clock with you.
ARTS & CRAFTS
The bed sheet
This arts & crafts activity will become a motor skills activity once the paint is dry. Hang a white bed sheet or blanket on your clothesline or a tree branch. Use pieces of elastic fabric to hang it if it is too high. Provide paint and paintbrushes and give toddlers the opportunity to paint standing up. Younger children can be seated on the ground, in front of the bed sheet or blanket. Let the paint dry. Variation: If you wish, cut holes (circles) out of the bed sheet before the start of the activity. Children will enjoy paying peek-a-boo while they are painting. Bed sheet and balls: Once the paint is dry, encourage children to throw balls through the holes. Children can also run through the bed sheet, crossing over from side to side.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Invite a group from another daycare to meet you in your yard or at the playground. Bring several different outdoor games to explore such as balls and hula hoops. Play together. You can bring blankets for very young children. Simply set them on the ground and arrange small toys just out of their reach to encourage them to stretch their arms to catch them. If you set a blanket under a tree, hang a wind chime from a tree branch so that children will look up.
With the arrival of nice weather, babies and toddlers are suddenly discovering new elements during your walks or periods of outdoor play. They are attracted to the tulip growing in your flowerbed, the first worm they see, the pretty red bird in the tree, etc. Name the things they see when they are out and about. When you return inside, make a list of their discoveries. Later, print pictures of the different items. Laminate the pictures and use them to create an interpretation book that children will love to admire over and over again.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND MOTOR SKILLS
Bring several different colors of party streamers outdoors. Cut different lengths and allow babies and toddlers to hold them in their hands (supervision required, give little ones their pacifier). Invite children to wave the colourful streamers in the air and even run around the yard. Variation: Play music in your yard and have children move the streamers to the sound of the music.
Take pictures of different items in your yard such as a picnic table, your swings, the slide, the sandbox, etc. Hide tiny objects near each photographed item (books, stuffed animals, a snack, etc.). Show children a picture and invite them to name the item before searching for the treasure that is hidden nearby.
Early childhood educator
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