Activities for toddlers and babies
Summer is a wonderful season for toddlers and babies. For the first time, they are discovering grass, flowers, and outdoor games and activities. This theme was created to explore the joys of summer with little ones.
My summer daycare décor
Display sun, cloud, flower, and bird decorations made by the children in your group throughout the daycare.
Sun: Have children paint paper plates using yellow poster paint.
Clouds: Cut cloud shapes out of blue construction paper and encourage little ones to stick cotton balls all over.
Birds: Cut bird shapes out of heavy cardboard and have children glue feathers on them.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Sound game during walks
Summer is ideal for taking young children on long walks. Present a sound game during your daily walks. Fill empty water bottles with different elements (rocks, rice, dried beans, etc.) until they are half full. Seal the cap of each bottle using hot glue. Hang the bottles from your daycare buggy or stroller using short pieces of string (supervision required). Let children explore the bottles during your outings.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
This activity is perfect for rainy days. Purchase small sandbox toys such as shovels and buckets. Fill a large container with sand, dry cereal, feathers, or rice. Personally, I prefer using cereal since it is easier to clean up. Have fun filling, emptying, and digging with the children in your group.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, taste)
Outdoor Jell-O bin
Jell-O is perfect for little explorers because of its texture, color, and taste. Fill a container with Jell-O and children will love to manipulate its contents. If your container is relatively small, four packages of Jell-O should suffice (follow package directions). Set the container in the refrigerator until the Jell-O is set.
You may choose to add toys (balls, plastic fish, etc.) to the mixture before setting the container in the refrigerator. Children will love to dig the items out. It is best to wait a few minutes before letting children manipulate the Jell-O since it could be very cold if it has just come out of the refrigerator.
ARTS & CRAFTS
During dandelion season, provide small buckets and encourage children to fill them with these pretty yellow flowers. Provide a large sheet of white paper and show children how, if they slide the dandelion heads across the paper, they can use them to draw pretty designs and pictures.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
My summer vacation
Here is an idea that will give little ones a sneak peek of their summer vacation. Ask parents what they are planning on doing with their child prior to this activity. This will make it possible to create a link between each child's family life and their daycare environment. For example, if a parent is planning on visiting a farm, bring your plastic farm animal figurines out into the yard and let children play with them. If one family is going camping, set a few small tents in your yard and let children play in them. If a visit to the botanical gardens is on another family's agenda, plant flowers with your group and water them with pretty watering cans.
In my vegetable garden
This simple imitation game is great for developing object permanence. You will need several plastic vegetables and an indoor or outdoor sandbox (or a container filled with cereal or rice). Let children hide the plastic vegetables in the container. Show them how vegetables are planted and harvested. Add tiny watering cans, small shovels, and miniature rakes.
Variation: My flower garden
Instead of plastic vegetables, use plastic flowers. Let children plant the flowers in the sand. For safety reasons, loop the end of each flower stem and hold it in place with colourful adhesive tape (sold in hardware stores).
Bottle and funnel
You will need a large funnel with a wide opening and an empty 2-litre plastic bottle. Deposit them next to your sandbox. The sand in your sandbox must be dry. With your help, show children how to place the funnel over the bottle's opening. Encourage little ones to fill the bottle with sand. You may also try using different types of containers.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND MOTOR SKILLS
Books in the swimming pool
As soon as the weather is warm enough, fill your kiddie pools with water and add plastic books. If you wish, add a small amount of bubble bath to each pool. The bubbles will hide the books. Children will enjoy exploring the books in the water.
Discovering summer through pictures
Print several illustrations and pictures that represent summer. Have fun hiding them throughout your daycare: in toy boxes, in a shoe, between the pages of a book, etc. Every time a child finds a picture during the day, name the illustrated or photographed item while sharing it with your group.
Early childhood educator
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