This activity took J’s matching skills up a notch and was cheap, very easy to prepare and from start to finish allowed for lots of play time.
First, we got some of those growing sponges from the dollar section as Target. I have no clue what these are actually called, but they come in little pill shapes and grow in warm water? I gave J a few new ones to play with during bathtime over the past few days. He’s still entertained by 2 or 3 at a time, so I might as well get good use out of that dollar. I tried implementing some learning during this time, keeping one in hot water and one in cooler water to see which grew the fastest. On another night we kept one still in a cup and the other he got to pour from one cup to the other to see if that made it grow faster. Honestly though, J was paying little attention to the mini-science experiment and just wanted to play with them.
We saved all the sponge creatures and when he finished the entire package I dried them all out and stored them with the packaging for a rainy day. On the back of the package, there is a silhouette of each creature along with its name. I cut those out into individual pieces and had J match the sponge creature to its silhouette. I keep a few different sets of these in ziploc baggies to pull out every now and then. As he improves, I increase the number to match each time. He thinks it’s a puzzle (and he loves puzzles).
This type of matching is actually a little more difficult because…
- they aren’t matching two exact items but rather an object and an image
- there is a size difference in the objects and images
- the silhoueete factor means there is little detail to each object and image, forcing to look at the outline of each object (and J often does not actually know what the object is so he must focus on shape)
- the colors of the image and object aren’t always the same
Age attempted: around 33 months
When I was posting on the Mini Car Wash, I came across a photo that reminded me of something other mom’s might find useful during bathtime..
J has gone through phases where he HATED water in his face. I have always just dumped and moved on, sometimes he was ok with that sometimes he was NOT. I did try to teach him to hold his head up, but fear always made him tilt it right back down.
And then we happened upon this little “game” during bathtime. I got him to try to catch the water dripping from his head in a cup. Getting him focused on this was just what he needed to forget about the water in his face. It works so well for him. In fact if you look closely at the photo, you can see water droplets falling from his eyelashes too, but he could care less since he’s focused elsewhere.
As he got better with catching the water, we moved to containers with smaller openings to increase the difficulty. He likes to try and fill up a bottle, douse the toy fish inside a bowl, drip water onto those little growing sponges, or even get the stream to flow in between his fingers.
We don’t play this game every bathtime anymore since he will now hold his head up. But every now and then he wants to play it again.
I imagine this game would work unless your little one has very short hair since the water needs to drip off the longer hair to form streams.
Age attempted: 2 years
When I was pulling up the old activities using ice, I realized that I never posted this last summer (I took a LONG break back then!). These photos are from this past summer. This is a great outdoor activity but a few simple adaptations can easily bring this activity inside during the winter months and actually works well with a winter theme.
(I honestly just copied this post from the one I wrote for our private family blog last summer. I made very few adjustments – in italics – which is why it sounds like I’m writing from the perspective of summer…. I was!)
J’s homemade water “table” is still one of his favorite activities of the summer. A few days ago we made yellow and blue ice cubes together. This is an activity all in itself and a great way to teach the process of freezing. Let them fill the tray using a scooper or a medicine dropper to include some fine motor skill practice! He’s been patiently waiting to play with them since.
He first separated the ice cubes into bowls by color and chose to make blue water first. I filled the tray with a small amount of water (just make sure the tray is white/clear so you can easily see the water change colors as the ice melts). He really enjoys scooping and stirring the ice cubes, letting them melt in his hands,… **Use this step to utilize motor skill practice with tongs or different size (and length) scoopers or spoons.** I’m surprised at how long a little ice can entertain! When he moved onto the yellow ice cubes I asked him which color the water (currently blue) would become and he of course guessed yellow. I told him it was going to be a surprise that he’d have to wait and see. He wasn’t convinced the water was actually green until the very end when there was no denying it. He was sure it should be either blue or yellow!
(Sorry, I kinda cut off his face!)
We then filled the ice cube trays with green water to play with in the future. This activity is free, entertains a good while and recycles itself too!
Posted in Age Range, Bath Time, Colors, Holidays and Seasons, Motor Skills, Outside, Rainy Day Activities, Science, Subject, Toddler (2-3 years), Winter
Tagged Motor Skills, Rainy Days, Science
I recently read Val’s post about surving the winter with extra fun at bath time (see it here) and was reminded of how I used to set up a car wash for J’s cars. It keeps him busy.
You could do this in the bathtub, near the kitchen sink, outside in the summer or wherever you’re brave enough to try. J gets a “dirty” bin, a wash bin, and rinse bin. When he’s in the tub I leave off the rinse bin and he just rinses them in the tub. Our bins come from the Target dollar section (or maybe their $2.50 section??).
The cleaning supplies he gets is random, a spray bottle, sponges, a dipper (measuring cup), a medicine dropper and a toothbrush all work well though they definitely don’t need all that. He typically lines up all the cars, spray them down, soaps them off with a sponge, rinses and then line them back up (either to be washed again or to “dry”).
You could have them wash their “pets” (plastic animal figures) or girls might like to give their dolls a bath.
Age attempted: These photos are when J was 29 months old; this could easily be done by pretoddlers and might even be entertaining for preschoolers (no experience there yet!)
This activity was simple yet J had so much fun with it. I froze some heart shaped ice cubes (made with green colored water the previous night. I let him play with the melting ice cubes during bathtime on Valentines day. The food coloring helps you keep track of the ice cubes a little easier, but it isn’t necessary. It also colors the bath water as the ice cubes melt which was fun for J.
I gave him a little shovel and he loved dipping the cube in and out of the bath, catching it as it swam around the water, watching it get smaller and smaller,… They melt REALLY fast in the warm bath water so I also put a couple inside a clear cup for him to play with. After our first attempt, I learned to give him just one icecube at a time. This prolongs the activity and he can focus on the one ice cube.
This ended up encourging a good science discussion to. We discussed how different the cold ice felt compared to the warm bath water. We talked about why the ice melted (got smaller) in the heat. Fortunately we’ve also had a lot of melting snow around our house, so I could emphasize the fact that heat melts ice and snow throughout the subsequent week. He now knows what melting means.
Age attempted? 22 months; could be done younger and more in depth science discussed at an older age… or you could teach colors by melting red ice cubes and then
Try Again? Yes
Adapt for older toddler/child?
- I would focus more on the science aspect of this activity.
- Use this to teach colors by melting red ice cubes and then yellow ice cubes, discuss how they mix to create orange. This might be good reiterate an earlier lesson since you could try out all color mixing in one night.
Posted in Age Range, Arts and Crafts, Bath Time, Colors, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Holidays and Seasons, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Science, Subject, Toddler (2-3 years), Valentines Day