Today I decided to pass the time making a big huge mess. We painted with pudding on the kitchen floor…well on butcher paper taped onto the kitchen floor. I turned it in a whole afternoon event, first we made the pudding together (and the mess started). It’s a great cooking activity with quick results!
Then I stripped him down to his diaper, taped some butcher paper onto the floor and set out a plate of pudding with some of his toy cars. We drove the cars through the pudding and then down the paper. After awhile we painted with our fingers (and yeah, I had to show him to use his fingers since he tends to be a pretty clean little boy).
This is a great form of finger painting even when they’re little since it’s completely edible. J is not one to put anything and everything into his mouth, so he actually didn’t even realize the paint was so tasty until maybe 15 minutes into the activity. Of course once tasted, the painting was temporarily halted (until his belly was full). He absolutely loved pudding paint. He did some slipping and sliding, got a sugar rush, and creating a big mess. All the makings for a perfect afternoon!
Clean up was interesting. Lesson learned: have a plan to get baby from kitchen to tub w/o tracking pudding through the whole house (or all over my clothes). We ended up taking a quick bath in the kitchen sink and then finished upstairs in the tub.
See the mess I had on my hands!
Age Attempted: 17 months; could be done earlier since the paint is edible
Try Again? It does take some prep and there is obvious clean up with this activity but I think it’s worth it for a special activity every few months
I started rummaging through each room in our house, on the search for potential activities for J. I came across the game Connect Four and knew J would love it. He loves any form of the “In and Out” game! It also happened to coincide with our circle week, so the circle-shaped chips would be another opportunity to reinforce our shape of the week.
At 16 months, he wasn’t ready to play the games per the rules, but learning to fit each tile into the slots was a good challenge. He loved it and still does (at 21 months). Once he was able to easily manipulate the tiles where he wanted them, we started working on placing all the black tiles on one side and the red tiles on the other, alternating black and red rows, counting tiles as he places them into the slots, etc.
This game really is a great learning tool from a very early age. I invision being able to reinforce patterns through this too and of course eventually learn to play the game as intended.
Btw, the tiles can be used alone as an easy option for matching colors. Just have two bowls and let them separate the colors.
J at 16 months
Age: J started at 16 months and still “plays” Connect Four at 21 months.
Try Again? Yes; I did learn that this is easier played on the floor where J can sit up on his knees to see the top of the tray. Our first attempt was in the highchair (doable but not ideal setting)
J at 20 months
Our most recent activity included construction paper and water and it entertained J for 10 minutes easily which is quite a feat at this age. I added some sponges and got another 10 minutes…then added ice and got 5 more minutes out of him. This was SO easy, required basically NO prep work, and less clean up than after a meal.
Our color of the day was green, so I gave him a piece of green construction paper and a small dish of water. I showed him how he could “paint” with his finger and he began his masterpiece. He then painted with the sponges and ice. He had a blast. We got to talk about wet and dry. I did have to add a second piece of paper since the first became rather water logged. Unfortunately my artist’s hard work dried by the end of naptime, so nothing to show off to dad.
I’ve heard of mom’s using paint brushes for this, but I didn’t have any that were small enough. We do use some larger ones to paint the deck outside with water, so that’s an idea.
Age Attempted: 17 months; I should’ve done this one much earlier. I think he could’ve enjoyed this as early as one year.
Teachable Moments: Talk about wet and dry, the color of paper he’s painting, paint lines/dots/shapes/letters
Try Again? Definitely. We have since added paint brushes to this activity. I use thisas a quick go-to activity on extended family trips to visit Grandparents since it really only requires some construction paper.
Sounds simple, huh? I was surprised this wasn’t as easy for J as I thought. I layed out a piece a construction paper (the color of the day was orange) and an empty tupperware. I thought this would be an activity he could do mostly on his own, but I was wrong. I had to get the tear started. The act of pulling each side separate directions is a motor skill I hadn’t anticipated being so difficult for him. It probably didn’t help that J really doesn’t like creating messes (though he has his moments I guess!). I think the most enjoyable part of this activity was moving the torn pieces in and out of the tupperware!
Later that afternoon for “art time” we glued the pieces on some white paper to create an orange collage. Using contact paper would’ve worked better. I don’t quite have a good strategy for teaching glue usage yet!
Age attempted: 16 months, for J this was difficult
Teachable moments: Motor skills, color orange, how to use glue (Don’t you all wish the lesson of the day included learning the color orange, learning to tear paper, and learning to use glue!)
Try Again? I’ll probably wait till he’s a little older