Activities for toddlers and babies
It is strongly recommended that you use the word "doll" instead of "baby" when playing with children. This will help them understand that there is a difference between dolls, which are toys, and actual babies.
Print and laminate pictures of dolls and display them within your daycare.
To present this theme to your group, use pretty ribbon to hang several different rattles from the ceiling. Whenever you walk under a rattle, shake it to produce a sound and attract children's attention.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Fill a large container with several plastic and fabric dolls. Add baby bottles, pacifiers, baby blankets, diapers, and rattles. Deposit the container in the centre of your daycare and encourage children to manipulate its contents.
Waiting periods at lunch time
Print several different sets of paper dolls on magnetic paper (using only larger clothing items and accessories). Cut out the various shapes and invite children to stick them on cookie sheets. Children will enjoy dressing the dolls over and over again as they wait for their meal. Supervision required.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)
It's time to feed the dolls! Give children the opportunity to help you prepare pureed food. Show them how they can mash a ripe banana using a fork (supervision required). Allow babies and toddlers to taste the pureed food they prepare and pretend to feed the dolls.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (hear)
For this activity, you will need a CD of your favorite lullabies, baby blankets, and dolls. Turn the lights down to create a relaxing atmosphere. Show children how they can rock the dolls to the sound of the music. This activity is great right before naptime or at the end of the day to help everyone relax.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Gather makeup pencils, facecloths, and plastic dolls. Invite children to draw designs on each doll's face. Show them how they can use wet facecloths to wash away the makeup and start all over again.
A small bed for my doll
Collect several boxes large enough for dolls to fit inside. Shoeboxes represent great options. Invite babies and toddlers to decorate a box as they wish using crayons, paint, or stickers. Show children how they can set a doll in their handmade doll bed. Provide facecloths children can use as tiny blankets.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A doll from home
Select a day and ask parents to bring one of their child's dolls from home to daycare to help children establish a bridge between their home and daycare environments.
Boy, girl, and ethnic dolls
If possible, purchase dolls that represent the children that make up your group or dolls that represent various ethnic groups. In spite of the fact that babies and toddlers are very young to recognize differences, presenting dolls that represent other ethnic groups is a great starting point for breaking down or avoiding cultural barriers. Be sure to include male dolls too.
I can care for my doll
Caring for dolls represents a simple role play activity for babies and toddlers. Encouraging them to comb your dolls' hair or wash them with soapy water and facecloths before drying them off are interesting suggestions.
Pointing to a doll's body parts while naming them is a great way to teach children how to name their own body parts.
Variation using stickers
Ask toddlers to place stickers on a doll's body parts as you name them: arm, leg, cheek, etc. This will provide children with the opportunity to show you which body parts they are able to recognize.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Out for a stroll with my doll
Let children pick a doll that they can bring outside for a stroll. Children can either set their doll in a toy stroller, in a toy carrier, or simply in a small backpack (with the doll's head sticking out).
Socks for tiny feet
Dressing dolls can represent a challenging task for little ones. To help children practice, provide socks they can slide on their doll's feet. If you wish, choose oversized socks to simplify the task. You can also cut the top off a few socks to make simple hats. Socks can be used to represent sleeveless dresses in the same way.
With your group, name the accessories that can be used when children are playing with dolls. You can simply print pictures or illustrations (rattle, diaper, baby bottle, etc.) representing each item and explore them together.
Early childhood educator
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