Activities for toddlers and babies
Encourage your little sailors to discover boats, water, and fish.
Display pictures of different types of boats on a wall (sailboats, cruise ships, fishing boats, etc.), at children's eye level. Close to the area where you greet children in the morning, deposit a bin filled with plastic boats. Let children manipulate them to introduce your theme.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Right before your hand washing routine, draw a boat on each child's hand using makeup pencils. Invite little ones to run water on their boat. Give them soap and encourage them to make their boat disappear, promising to draw another boat on their hand later in the day.
This activity is great for children who are exploring cause and effect and Newton's law of gravity by throwing objects on the floor. For each child, attach a felt fish to the end of a short string glued to his/her highchair tray. Sit each child in his/her highchair (their boat). Show them how they can catch a fish by pulling on the string. Let them toss the fish overboard over and over again (constant supervision required because of the string). Remove the string at the end of the activity.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)
You will need blue Jell-O and clementines. Prepare the Jell-O as per the instructions on the box and pour it into small bowls. Deposit the bowls in the refrigerator until the Jell-O is set. Arrange tiny clementine sections on the blue Jell-O to represent little boats floating on water.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Blue paper collage
You will need different types of blue paper: tissue paper, cardboard, construction paper, etc. Let children tear them into pieces. Encourage them to stick them on a large piece of cardboard or a large piece of adhesive paper. Cut pictures of boats out of magazines and have children stick them on the pieces of blue paper to make it seem as if the boats are floating on the water.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Cut a boat shape out of a large piece of cardboard. Let babies and toddlers draw on this boat shape. Draw circles to represent portholes (windows). Photograph the children in your group and glue each child's picture in one of the portholes.
A boat I recognize
If parents of the children in your group own a boat, ask them to share pictures of their boat with your group. Fishing boats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats all qualify. If you live close to a river or a lake, visit a local marina with your group. Photograph the boats you see to complete your collection. Laminate the pictures and display them on a wall. Let children admire them.
Sink or float
You will need a large container filled with water. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to the water. Set little boats that will float and other objects that will sink next to the bin. Encourage children to add the items to the water one at a time. Help them notice how the boats float and the other items sink.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
A boat trip
Set cardboard boxes or laundry baskets on the floor. Let babies and toddlers explore them. Encourage them to get in and out of the boxes or baskets. Show them how they can sit in them and pretend they are boats. Encourage them to row as you sing Row, row, row your boat.
Early childhood educator
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