I love my family
Activities for toddlers and babies
Family is so important for little ones. This theme will make room for each child's family within your daycare and therefore create a home-daycare connection.
Cut a triangle and a square out of heavy cardboard to represent a house (for each child). Stick a picture of each child's family in the centre of his/her house. Laminate the houses and display them on a wall, at children's eye level.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
My family during diaper changes
Ask parents to provide a family photo (father, mother, brothers, and sisters). Display the pictures on a wall, next to your changing table. During diaper changes, encourage children to identify their family. Look at the pictures and name the child from your group who is part of each family.
Before you begin, be sure to put all toys away in the correct spot. Select three workshops and set material related to family-life in each one. Invite toddlers to explore the contents of each of the three corners you have chosen to introduce them to workshop activities.
- Collect toys that can be linked to a family home such as a Fisher-Price house, figurines, toy cars and trucks.
- Offer a simple role play game involving items regularly used by parents such as plastic utensils, baby bottles, hats, a stuffed dog, etc.
- Set up a small table and offer blank sheets of paper, glue sticks, and pre-cut printed family members or characters children enjoy that can be colored and then glued on the paper to represent a family.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Invite parents to photograph their next family outing (dinner at Grandma's house, a walk in the forest, or a trip to the museum for example) and write a brief description of their day. As a group, look at the pictures and discuss them. This activity will help children recall something that took place in the past and make connections.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (smell)
Give each child's parents a scarf and ask them to deposit a few drops of their mother's perfume or their father's cologne on it. Let babies and toddlers manipulate the scarf bearing their parent's scent.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)
Cookies for my family
Bake cookies with your group. Toddlers can help you add ingredients and stir. Younger children will enjoy manipulating the different ingredients while sitting in their high chair during the baking process. For example, you can deposit a spoonful of flour or sugar on their tray. Encourage children to smell the ingredients too. Let each child take a few cookies home at the end of the day. They will be proud to share them with their family members.
ARTS & CRAFTS
A link between the daycare and home
To create a link between children's two main environments, gather material for a simple craft. Deposit everything in a small Ziploc bag for each child along with instructions. Each family must complete the craft together, in the comfort of their home. Ask parents to send the completed craft back to daycare with their child. Here are a few ideas:
- They can complete the house suggested in the "Area setup" section. Provide the house shape for each family along with crayons parents can use to color the house with their child before adding their family photo.
- Insert a large construction paper heart in each child's bag and encourage families to decorate it together. Provide crayons, stickers, tissue paper, and glue.
Display the finished crafts on a special wall for everyone to see.
A calendar for my family
You will need a large piece of construction paper or heavy cardboard for each child. At the top of each child's paper, glue one of his/her drawings. Add a picture of the child's family below it. Finally, glue a printed calendar in the bottom section of each child's paper.
I love my family
Cut out several hearts for each child, one for each of their family members. Use large hearts to represent mothers and fathers and tiny hearts to represent children. Invite children to decorate the hearts that represent their family before gluing them on a large piece of paper. Write "My family" at the top of each child's paper. If you wish, you can write the name of each family member under a heart.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Invite parents as well as big brothers and sisters who can attend to come eat a special afternoon snack with the children in your group. Give toddlers the opportunity to help you prepare a special snack such as a fruit salad. Plan a simple activity that requires your guests' participation. For example, you can give each guest a bottle of soap bubbles. As a group, have fun blowing bubbles.
Give each family an empty photo album. Ask them to fill their album with pictures of their family. They can also include pictures of grandparents, friends, and pets. Deposit the completed photo albums in a special bin. Take them out every now and then and let children flip through them. They will come in handy on days when children miss their parents.
Print a pretty family portrait (a child's family, an animal family, or even a family children are familiar with because of a television show). Glue the portrait on cardboard and laminate it. Cut the portrait so that you have two pieces. If the children in your group are able to easily complete this simple two-piece puzzle, cut them again to create a four-piece puzzle and so on.
Goldilocks and the three bears
I really like this story about a bear family. It introduces little ones to the concepts of small, medium, and big. After reading the story to your group, print three bears (a small one, a medium one, and a large one). Color them and display them on a wall, from smallest to largest. Have fun naming the family members with the children in your group (Baby bear, Mama bear, Papa bear).
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
When parents join you for the special afternoon snack, take advantage of the fact that several adults are present to explore a few simple parachute games. Warning: Seeing the parachute move can be scary for very young children.
Collect several pictures of different animal families. Encourage toddlers to act like the different animals (walk like a mouse, gallop like a horse, round their back like an angry cat, etc.).
Gather any books you have that talk about families. Read them to your group, paying special attention to the following words: mother, sister, father, brother, etc.
Early childhood educator
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