A friend of mine recommended using spray bottles and food coloring to create a masterpiece in the snow. Of course I had no food coloring and I couldn’t find my spray bottle… so I improvised with Kool-aid and medicine droppers. J and I went outside to create some homemade snowcones. Eventually mom’s fingers were freezing …. J was having so much fun that he was oblivious to his blue fingers (and no, I didn’t have blue Kool-aid). I made an executive decision to move this activity inside.
I filled a couple trays with snow, threw some paintbrushes in with the medicine droppers and let J create. Forty minutes later, he was still having a blast (though the activity had morphed into stabbing colored ice with the dropper, creating a new favorite of his, holes!). To keep the activity going this long, I added a blank slate of fresh snow every 10 minutes or so.
I also had him in the blow up pool to keep J contained with this activity. Much safer on the carpets/furniture this way! It also really helped to keep him focused.
Age attempted? 21 months (this activity could definitely be done younger and I’m thinking would be enjoyable when he’s older too)
Try Again? Definitely yes; he loved it
**It’s snowing again and he’s already asking to paint the snow!
Posted in Age Range, Arts and Crafts, Colors, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Holidays and Seasons, Outside, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Science, Subject, Toddler (2-3 years), Winter
J has discovered a love for pillows. He cracks up when I push him onto my bed of pillows (even when I push him pretty hard!). Of course we jump on them. Recently he’s started pulling the throw pillows onto the floor to create trails on the floor from the chair to the couch. He starts at one end and walks/crawls/moves backwards along the path.
We play stop and go on the pillow trail (stop when mom calls stop, go when mom calls go). I’ve also practiced colors this way. Since our pillows are different colors I’ve called out instructions fro him to follow like ”Stop on a red pillow!”, “Sit on a black pillow!”
Age Attempted: 20 months
Teachable Moments: Follow instructions, colors, Stop and Go, great practice with balancing
Try Again? This is something we play almost once a week.
This is a great first attempt at gluing. It went better than using a glue stick actually. I just put a small amount of glue on a paper plate and showed J how to dip the cotton ball into the glue and then onto the paper. The cotton ball is the perfect size for his hand. He doesn’t end up with glue all over his hands with this activity.
This first time I had J glue cotton balls wasn’t too creative. I was really just filling time with an idea in the back of my head (I think it was from the Toddler Busy Book). As you can see with our example, it isn’t too impressive. It has been snowing outside earlier that week, so I told him we were going to make a snow picture. That was enough for J. It was simply good practice for him, but not necessarily a project to frame.
Please don’t laugh at my snowman. I just decided to show him how to stack three snowballs on top of each other, to create a snowman. I grabbed the nearest marker and quickly added a hat, face and arms. He was impressed. God bless this child who loves mom’s poor artwork!
Age attempted: around 19 months I think; I definitely could’ve tried this at an earlier age.
Teachable Moments: I didn’t really capitalize on this! I just focused on teaching him the purpose of glue and how to correctly use it.
Future Potential: Have him glue the correct number cotton balls next to the number fo the day. Have him fill a shape (work on inside/outside; filling) with cotton balls; clouds at the end of a rainbow, hmmm… that’s all I’ve got!
Posted in Age Range, Arts and Crafts, Concepts, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Fill and Empty, Holidays and Seasons, Inside and Outside, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Subject, Toddler (2-3 years), Winter
I gave J a bowl of colored stones (for his two different colors, but as he gets older I can add more colors) and an empty ice cube tray. The first step was to fill each section with one stone (I wasn’t concerned with colors at this point). It’s basically a simple pattern, each spot needs one stone. Then he emptied the tray and I had him fill one side with red stones and the other side with blue stones.
I’ve done the same thing with the colored pom pom balls. Really you could use anything small enough to fit. Somtimes changing the sorting item is enough to make get J interested again, especially if it’s not really a toy! Oooh, I get to play with rocks now! Oooh paperclips!!! Ooooh erasers!!!
Age? First done (with pompom balls) around 16 months; color sorting at 19 months
Try Again? Yes, as long as the difficulty increases with age. As he gets older and better at counting I can specify the number of stones in each section or have him add one more stone in each subsequent section (so he has one stone in box one, two stones in box two, …). I can also incorporate motor skills by having him use a spoon or tongs to transfer the stones.
I love Dot markers! Oh I wish they had these when I was little! I find myself thinking about tons of different pictures we could create with these cool markers. At this age, however, I’ll stick to the simple pictures.
One such picture is an autumn tree. I drew the tree trunk beforehand and gave J the orange, yellow and red markers to create leaves. He loves the dot markers too, but hasn’t quite mastered them yet. He mostly likes to take the colorful caps off and then of course put them back on.
You’ll notice many of the leaves in the example picture are in the process of falling or have already landed on the ground nearby. Hopefully it looked enough like a tree for Grandma to recognize it!
Age Attempted: 17 months
Teachable moments: Of course you can emphasize that the markers create circles on the paper, take a walk outside to see the changing leaves, talk about how the leaves change from green to yellow and orange and red when the weather begins to chill; this is a good seasonal activity
Try Again? We’ve already done other pictures with dot markers. They make great balloons and bubbles! Sorry no examples to show!
This is another awesome “painting” activity that involves very little mess. It’s perfect for my young toddler.
I drew some pictures on a paper towel with a marker (“A” and an apple, since we were working on the letter A). I gave J some paintbrushes and a cup with a TINY amount of water. As he paints the paper towel, he can watch the marker spread. J really liked this craft and it was simple to clean up! I just used a black marker this time because it was all I had nearby but next time I’ll try different colors. I think a rainbow would turn out great.
**J has since painted a rainbow and a flower. He has also colored his own papertowel and then painted it. I have also since learned that he can paint SO much that the picture basically disappears and it become a tye-dye style art piece. This is perfectly fine, since it’s all about the process IMO.**
Age? First attempted at 18 months; J still likes it at 21 months
Try Again? Yes; we’ve done this often and will surely do it again. Eventually he can draw his own pictures and see how water effects them
We took a bucket on our walk this morning and gathered some colorful leaves. Later, I cut out a piece of contact paper and taped it (sticky side up) to Caleb’s highchair tray. It’s so easy for him to push the leaves onto the paper and then later I put another piece of contact paper (clear obviously) on top. I’m calling it an Autumn placemat. Maybe we’ll make one for all four seasons!
We’ve also done this on “Color of the Day” where he sticks various items of a certain color onto the contact paper (feathers, leaves, fabric swatches, ribbon, foam cutouts, construction paper shapes, magazine clips).
As a side note, clear contact paper is perfect for “laminating” and it’s cheap too!
Age? His first no glue collage was at 16 months; the Autumn placemat was created at 19 months
Try Again? Yes; I forsee lots of ways this can be used. It’s a great alternative to gluing.
**Warning, of course the vibrant colors of the leaves don’t stay for long. Within a day or two most of the leaves were brown (except the green ones). J didn’t care a bit though!
I got this idea from http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/glueless-collages-667490/
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.