Archive for the ‘Learning Activity’ Category

My twins got a floor puzzle that I love! It is the Infantino Counting & Shapes Floor Puzzle. I have used it to teach their numbers 1-10, colors, and shapes. Here is a video of the girls playing a short activity to find shapes and numbers on the puzzle. I like to call out a number, a shape, or a color and the girls have to put their small plastic animal on that part of the puzzle. We also build the puzzle together, which helps with their spacial relationships and fine motor skills. Also while we building the puzzle, we discuss the shapes and colors of the shapes. We also make sure we put the numbers in order (but this is a skill the girls are still trying to acquire). I would say this puzzle is a great learning tool for any toddler or preschooler trying to learn their shapes, colors, and numbers.

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We took our 3 kids trick-or-treating and got way too much candy. I was trying to come up with some cleaver ways to “use up” the candy other than just eating it. If you have a toddler who is 2 and over, then these learning activities might come in handy. I have started a blog to keep a list of learning activities that I do with Cooper (now 3). The twins are now 18 months old and I am going to start some more formal learning activities and lessons with them and add it to the blog as well. But for now, if you care to check it out, here is a link to the candy themed lessons that I have compiled.

Candy Themed Lesson Plans and Ideas

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Cooper at 12 months

Anna & Molly @ 13 months

Target Skill: Fine Motor
Target Age: 9-18 Months

You Will Need:
Either an old formula container, coffee container, or yogurt container with a plastic lid
Round head clothes pins

Cut a round hole in the lid of the container.

Allow your child to try and place the clothes pins through the hole of the container. You might need to show your child how to do this at first.

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I love Becca’s blog called Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers! She has some great ideas on there for activities that you can do with your little ones. You should check it out. Remember, I have been on a quest to come up with some new ideas with the twins on how to teach them their colors. With 12 month olds, it has to be something hands-on so they can experience color through all of their senses. We do some flash cards while they are sitting in their highchairs, but flash cards for colors are not really all that engaging. So when I saw Becca’s blog post Color Mixing With Ice, I got a great idea.

What you Need:
Ice Cube Trays
Large Mixing Bowl
Food Coloring
Water Play Table, Plastic Tub, Wash Basin, or Bathtub
Measuring Cubs, Old Plastic Contains (ex. yogurt containers), and large spoons

1. In a large mixing bowl combine water and food coloring (color of your choice)
2. Pour the colored water into the ice cube trays and freeze over night.

3. The next day take the colored ice cubes and place them in a large plastic container and bring them outside to play with (or inside inside a bathtub)
2. Let your child have fun experimenting with these ice cubes inside a water play table, wash basin, plastic tub, or bathtub filled with water. Give your child some measuring cups, spoons, and old plastic containers to pick up the ice cubes with and put them inside a container filled with water.
Note: The food coloring might stain your child’s clothing. I let the girls play with the ice cubes in just a diaper. You could let your child play with this naked in the bathtub or with old clothing on that would not matter if it gets stained.

How I used this activity:
So far we used this to work on the color yellow. The girls seemed to enjoy this activity. I just played along side of them and talked about the color yellow ice cubes and then also talked about how they were melting and turning into yellow water.
The girls just got a new water play table so I let them play with the ice cubes in their new water play table. This activity held their attention for quiet a while, 15-20 minutes. The ice cubes all melted by the time the activity was over. Great warm summer day activity.

This would be a great activity to teach mixing colors to create new colors, Color Mixing With Ice, like Becca suggested. I plan on doing that activity with my 2.5 year old son this coming week.

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Trying to think up some new ways to teach my twin girls their colors. I came up with this one and it was big hit! My daughters are 12 months old. This activity should only be used on toddlers who have been transitioned to whole milk and do not have milk allergies.

All you need to make edible finger paint is the following:
Vanilla Pudding Mix
Whole Milk
Food Coloring

1. Make Vanilla Pudding according to the directions on the box.
2. Add a few drops of food coloring to the pudding.
3. Mix the food coloring in with the pudding. And Presto… YOUR DONE!

How I’ve used it:
I gave a dollop of the colored pudding to the girls on their highchair trays. Then let them run their fingers through the mixture and eat it off their fingers. While they are playing with the colored pudding, I talk to the girls about the color they are using. It is a fun activity. It is a little messy so I suggest doing this activity in just a diaper. This activity held my daughter’s attention for about 10 minutes, maybe 15. After we were done with the activity, we just went outside and played in the sprinkler and water table to wash off all the pudding 🙂

One Reader Wrote me a few questions and concerns so I thought it would be worth while to include them in this post:
1) what about the sugar in the pudding mix?  are your daughters having sugar already?  or if they are having sugar-free, isn’t the chemicals in that a concern?
I use regular pudding mix that has sugar in it. They just had their first birthday and had their first taste of sweets, cake and ice cream. I figured this activity will be done, at the most, once a week and I only give them a dollop of pudding on their highchairs. Most of the pudding does not even make it into their mouths anyways. I would not want to feed my girls sugary foods daily, but a fun activity like this every once and a while won’t hurt (in my opinion).

2) i’m thinking that milk is ok?  my baby is just turning 1 this sunday, so we havent quite transitioned her into whole milk.
After you baby turns one it is okay for her to have whole milk, that is unless he or she has an allergy or intolerance to dairy. My girls are still breastfeed at 12 months, but I have introduced them to some foods recently that have whole milk in them and I know they don’t have an intolerance to dairy/ whole milk. My girls have also been eating organic yogurt since they turned 10 months old. So as long as your baby is over 12 months of age and does not have an allergy or intolerance to dairy, this activity should be fine.

3) What about the food coloring and it’s role in causing hyperactivity?
Yes, I know there are studies that show that food dye can exasperate attention deficit/ hyper activity. So if you are at all concerned with this issue, don’t do this activity. I figured that the girls eat mostly organic, homemade babyfood anyways. They get very little processed foods that contain dyes and food colorings. I think my motto is “everything in moderation”. The girls ate a very insignificant amount of the pudding doing this activity for me to really be concerned.

4) Wouldn’t pureed food do the same trick to teach the babies their colors, without any additives or sugars?
Sure thing! What a great idea. I think that babies under the age of 12 months could really enjoy this activity using their pureed veggies and fruits. So if you don’t want to use pudding with food coloring, this is a great alternative.

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I just made a really fun file folder game for my 2.5 year old son who loves garbage trucks. I plan on using this activity to reinforce how to count from 1-10. I have been also trying to create some new activities that Cooper can do quietly and independently at the table during table time, blanket time, or times of transition. Cooper loved the game so I thought I would share with all of you.


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Age: 0-2 years old

This is just a fun and easy activity. It takes absolutely no prep. All your need is you and your baby or toddler.

What you do if you sit with your child, hold them or sitting on the floor facing one another. You tell your child you love them so much. Then you proceed to tell them how much you love each part of their body and then you kiss it. The activity might go something like this:

I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH (child’s Name)!
I love your cute little noses more than anything in the whole wide world (Kiss your child’s nose)
I love your elbows more than you can know (Kiss your child’s elbows)
I love your toes sooo sooo very much (kiss your child’s toes)

You get the idea. Once your child starts to get older, you can ask your child to kiss your body parts or kiss a doll or stuff animals body parts. They actually enjoy telling you or their stuffed animal that they love you or them sooo much!

I do this at bedtime with all of my children. My 2.5 years old still loves it when I tell him how much I love him and the proceed to kiss every inch of his body. He giggles and squeals. Man I am going to miss this stage, because I know there is going to come a time when my little man is going to grow up and not want mommy to kiss him all over. So I plan to soak it up while I can!!!

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This is a great activity that you can do with your pre-toddler. It is simple and does not take much planning at all. This activity helps with language development and categorization (if you choose to find objects in the same category).
1. Collect a couple of objects. If you can try to find objects that are in a similar category, such as animals, cooking utensils, or clothing items. You will also need an blanket of some sort.

2. Hide one of the objects under the blanket. Ask your child, “Where the “_____”? You will want to hide the object under the blanket so your child will know where the object is. Then have your child crawl or walk towards the blanket. Have him lift the blanket or help him lift the blanket to find the hidden object. Once he finds it say, “You found the “_______”.  Then clap your hands and applaud your little one for finding the hidden object. Then, explain the object that you hid purpose, function, or properties (color, shape, texture, size, etc.).

4. Repeat the same activity with all the other objects you gathered. To add some variety, you can try hiding the object in a box or something with a lid for your little one to open and shut. Once you are done finding all the objects, tell you child how all these objects are related to one another. For example, you may have chosen all kitchen utensils. Tell you child that all these objects are use to help cook in the kitchen.

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I have decided to start teaching the twins their colors more formally. The girls really enjoy touch and feel books and feeling different fabrics and small objects. So I thought this would be a fun activity for them.

1. I decided to die some chunky pasta. I got the idea from the Totally Tots Website. What a cleaver idea. So I died some bow tie and spiral pasta purple.

2. I found some objects that were purple. They included a purple baby spoons, a purple ball, purple socks, purple gloves, purple fabric squares, purple toy cars, purple ribbon, purple Easter egg, and Foam-cut out-purple shapes.

3. I put the objects into a wash basin with the purple died pasta. I placed the wash basins on top of old sheets or old shower curtains to contain the mess from getting all over the floor.

4. The girls seemed to really enjoy digging into the sensory tubs. I gave them some spoons, scoops, and cups to dig with. I also gave them an empty wash basin to scoop pasta and objects into. I did sit with them on the first day this tub was introduced and talk to him as they scooped into the wash basin. When the girls found a purple objects, I made sure to name the object and the color of the object. I also described the shape, texture, and use of the object they found.

5. After the first initial day of playing in their sensory tubs, I used this activity as a blanket time activity. It held their attention for about 15 minutes of independent structured play on their blankets.

NOTE: Do not leave your child unattended if they do this activity. I found my girls putting the pasta in their mouths several times and I had to tell them no. This could be a choking hazard to leave your child unattended with these pieces of pasta.

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Age: 0-18 Months (you can do this longer, but I have found with my son, that he did not really have the patience to this activity beyond 18 months)
How long to spend on this activity: 10-15 minutes
Skills Targeted: Language Development

This is such an easy activity. All you have to do is carry your little one in your arms and walk around the house. Go up to different items and things in your house and show them to your little one. Let your little one touch the item. Name the item, describe it, and its use. When I say describe it, I mean, discuss its color, shape, texture, and its other noticeable traits. You are helping to develop language with your child by engaging in a meaning dialogue between you and your baby. You are also spending quality time holding your child as you walk from room to room. For me I need to have built in time to spend quality time with my kids one-on-one since I have three. This is a great activity to be intentional about spending one-on-one time.

For instance, you might walk over to a lamp. You would let your little one touch the lamp. Then you might say something like this: “ This is a lamp. Do you feel the fabric on the lamp shade. It is rough and has ridges. The lamp shade is white. The bottom of the lamp is brown. You want to feel it? Does it feel smooth? We use a lamp to give us light. (Turn on the light) See the bright light. Mommy uses this lamp at night to read a book before she goes to sleep. This lamp is a small lamp.Notice how I used lots of adjectives to describe the lamp.

Optional: You can sign the objects name to help develop sign language with your little one.

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