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Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


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Exploring red

Activities for toddlers and babies

 

AREA SETUP

Red paint and marbles
To present the theme to your group, simply pour a small amount of red poster paint inside empty plastic bottles. Drop a few marbles in each bottle and seal the caps with hot glue. Deposit the bottles on the floor and let children shake them. They will enjoy seeing red lines appear inside the bottles.

 

Red ceiling
Hang tiny red Christmas lights from the ceiling in your daycare along with red balloons. If you wish, you could also add hearts cut out of red construction paper.


ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS

Personalized tablecloth
Use a large roll of white paper to completely cover a table. Set several red crayons and markers in the centre of the table. Allow babies and toddlers to select the crayons and markers they prefer and use them to draw on the paper. The end result will be a personalized tablecloth that can be used at lunch time or at snack time.

 

Red lunch
Serve red fruit punch at lunch time. You may also use a red tablecloth or red plates to decorate your table.

 

Fun diaper changes
Add a drop of red food coloring to a clear plastic water bottle. Avoid shaking the bottle. Seal the cap with hot glue. Hand the bottle to a child during a diaper change. He/she will enjoy shaking the bottle and seeing the red food coloring mix with the water.


SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)

Tiny red heart
This activity is great for developing object permanence. Use a red makeup pencil to draw a heart on each child's tummy. Be careful if children are wearing light-coloured sweaters since the color could transfer to their clothing. Hide the heart drawn on each child's tummy with his/her sweater. Encourage babies and toddlers to lift their sweater to see the heart over and over again.

 

SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)

Special dip for red fruit
Depending on the ages of the children in your group, select a variety of red fruit (strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, etc.). Encourage children to dip the fruit pieces in vanilla yogurt before eating them.

 

Frozen snack
Fill the sections of an ice cube tray with vanilla yogurt. Press a strawberry into each section. Set the ice cube tray in the freezer. Once the yogurt is frozen, remove the yogurt cubes from the tray. Cut each frozen cube in half and observe them with babies and toddlers. They will like seeing a little bit of red inside the yogurt cubes. Help them notice how the red portions look like hearts. Depending on the ages of the children in your group, cut the yogurt cubes into smaller pieces and enjoy them as a snack.

 

SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look, smell, touch)

Red flower petals
Purchase a bouquet containing red flowers. Set it somewhere children are sure to see it and invite them to manipulate it throughout the week. On the last day of your theme, let babies and toddlers touch and smell the flowers. Encourage them to pull on the petals. They will enjoy observing and manipulating them. Set a piece of adhesive paper on a table and have them press the flower petals on it. Variation: Ask a florist to prepare a bag of freshly fallen flower petals for your group. During the week, visit the florist and pick up your package. Children will love manipulating the petals. Variation 2: Purchase a few additional red flowers and give one to each child. They will be happy to give their flower to their mother at the end of the day.


ARTS & CRAFTS

Red modeling dough
Invite children to manipulate red modeling dough. At first, encourage them to manipulate the dough without offering additional tools. After a while, add plastic containers that can be filled and emptied, empty paper towel rolls that children can roll balls of dough through, plastic animals or toy cars that can be used to create prints in the dough, etc. With very young children, add a small amount of red modeling dough to Ziploc bags. Supervise children as they manipulate the bags.

 

Paint and felt
Painting on felt is a great activity for young children. Use white felt to create an important contrast. If you wish, cut large heart shapes out of the felt pieces. Use adhesive tape to secure the felt on the table if needed. Let babies and toddlers paint on the felt with red poster paint.

 

Red collective project
Hang a large piece of white paper on a wall, at children's level. Set a variety of red crayons and markers nearby. Depending on the ages of the children in your group, offer markers, chalk, wooden pencils, etc. Let babies and toddlers explore them and encourage them to fill the paper with red markings.

 

MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

A red toy from home
Pick a day and invite children to bring a red toy from their home to daycare: a block, a rattle, a book, a figurine, etc. Deposit all the toys on the floor and invite children to manipulate them. Name the color "red" often during this activity.

 

Red day
Invite parents to dress their child with a red clothing item on a specific day. Help children notice the many red clothing items. Variation: If you prefer, have children wear red mittens. When you go out to play, help babies and toddlers notice that they are all wearing red mittens. You can purchase red mittens for your group at the dollar store. Of course, you could also do the same thing with dollar store socks.

 

Red sock bin
Purchase several different types of red socks and use them to create a simple manipulation bin. Encourage children to slide the socks onto their feet or hands.

 

COGNITIVE ACTIVITIES

Paint up high and down low
Integrate arts & crafts, motor skills, and "up" and "down" concepts into a single activity. Hang a large piece of white paper on a wall. Squeeze two large dots of red finger paint on the paper, one at the top and one at the bottom. Encourage babies and toddlers to stretch their arms to reach the paint that is way up high and crouch down to reach the paint that is down low.

 

Red+White=Pink
Let babies and toddlers explore red paint on a piece of paper. After a while, encourage them to add a small amount of white paint and invite them to mix the red and white paint together. Variation: Dip each child's right index finger in red paint and left index finger in white paint. Show them how they can press and rub their index fingers together to see pink paint appear. Variation 2: Pour a small amount of red poster paint in the palm of your hand. Pour white paint in the palm of a child's hand. Rub your hands together to discover pink paint.

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS

Homemade badminton game
Inflate red balloons. Give toddlers paper plates. Toss the balloons up in the air and encourage older toddlers to catch and propel the balloons to each other using the paper plates. Since balloons are very light, they fall to the ground slowly. This makes the game easier for little ones.

 

Streamer dance
You will need a roll of red party streamers. Cut several different sections and give each child two pieces (supervision required). Show them how they can move the streamers to the sound of music. Variation: Use light red scarves instead and dance around with your group.

 

Red blankets
Collect several red blankets. Ask parents to share any red blankets they may have with you. Have fun hiding under the blankets, playing peek-a-boo with them, and using the blankets to build forts. You can also hide items such as large balls under the blankets and let children discover the objects.


LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES

"Red" is the word
Throughout the theme, use the word "red" in as many sentences as possible. Identify a variety of red items present within your daycare. You can, for example, say, "I am washing your mouth with a red facecloth." or "You are putting the red block on top of the tower."

 


Chantal Millette
Early childhood educator


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