Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme will make it possible to explore various light sources such as the sun, stars, candles, and flashlights with little ones during the day, but most of all, at the end of the day, when it gets dark outside.
Light at the end of the day
The end of the day is sometimes a period that is more difficult with babies and toddlers, especially during winter months, when darkness arrives much earlier. Hang tiny white or blue Christmas lights from the ceiling in your daycare. Turn off your main source of lighting and offer your group a calm activity. For example, you can set a large container filled with feathers on the floor and encourage children to toss them up in the air. You can also blow soap bubbles or offer a container filled with different types of lights that can safely be manipulated by little hands, laminated musical cards, brief massage sessions, or a special snack served with warm milk.
Collect several old CDs. On the side that contains writing, stick a piece of white cardboard to hide the text. Let babies and toddlers draw on it. Hang the decorated CDs next to a window. The shiny side of each CD will reflect the sun's rays.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Lighting a soft candle can really change your group dynamics during lunchtime. Be sure to set the candle in a safe spot, far from little hands or, better yet, use a battery-operated candle.
To add a touch of fun to waiting periods, use empty water bottles to make your own unique discovery bottles. Children will love to manipulate them during diaper changes or during the transition period before naptime. Insert shiny objects or even glow-in-the-dark items in the bottles to make them especially interesting for young children.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Purchase glow-in-the-dark stars. Laminate them with adhesive paper so they can safely be manipulated by little ones. Hold them under a light and encourage babies and toddlers to touch them.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Flashlights and books
Provide flashlights and encourage children to use them to explore books under a blanket or in a small play tent. Even if it isn't perfectly dark, children will find this activity very interesting.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Glue-free stained glass
Purchase colourful clear paper (almost like plastic wrap, sold by the roll). Spray a small quantity of water on a window or mirror that children can reach. Show children how they can stick pieces of clear paper on the surface. Let them add and remove pieces of paper as they wish. If children stick the clear paper on a window, the effect will be quite pretty when the sun is shining. If you wish, you could also provide laminated pictures.
My little sunshine
Transform paper plates to make them look like little suns. Simply let babies and toddlers paint them with yellow poster paint. Hang them from the ceiling.
Pretty stars for your naptime area
Cut several star shapes out of cardboard. Invite babies and toddlers to draw on the stars. You may also suggest they glue pieces of shiny paper and glitter on the shapes. When they are done, stick the stars on the walls in your naptime area.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A job for you
Give little ones a small job or task and invite them to take turns turning off your daycare lights when necessary. Toddlers can use a stepping stool to reach the light switches. Hold younger children in your arms so they can complete this simple task.
Fill a large container with different types of lights children can manipulate. They will love to explore flashlights and various toys that light up. Show children how they can turn the different lights on and off. Say "on" and "off" with them. If the items contain colourful lights, name the colors.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Under the table
Laminate several different pictures and illustrations and stick them under a table or in a hiding space. Encourage children to walk or crawl to this area to discover the pictures and illustrations using a flashlight. Name the items with your group.
Early childhood educator
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