I came across some foam ice cream and popsicle stickers in Target’s dollar section. They were too cute to pass up. I thought they were perfect for summer and was sure to put them to good use.
**If you can’t find them at Target anymore, it would be simple to cut out similar foam shapes.**
I created pattern cards as one activity using the popsicle stickers. Beforehand, I began both color and shape patterns on cardstock. I then gave J the pattern cards and a bowl of the extra stickers to continue each pattern.
With the ice cream cones, I created different color combinations for him to mimic.
After already creating my pattern cards, I thought it would be really cute to have made multiple dips on each ice cream cone for him to mimic. Opportunity missed on that one!
Btw, J just set the stickers in place so that we could redo the activity again.
This week is all about finding multiple uses out of these beads from Melissa and Doug.
Here’s our last activity using Melissa and Doug’s Lacing Beads. This is a quick one, but one that kept J entertained for awhile. Basically I just reused yesterday’s activity, but used dot markers instead. I set out a few of the multi-colored lacing beads for him to create with the dot markers.
J loves dot markers. They are a hit everytime I get them out.
J started just playing around on the yellow, orange and red square and decided to cover the entire thing with red dots :)
This week is all about finding multiple uses out of these beads from Melissa and Doug.
For this activity I brought out the magnetic pompoms which are always a winner in our house. Check out this post to see how I made them.
J used the pompoms to recreate the multi-colored beads. This is great practice with shapes, colors, and size. We started with the circle beads since they were the easiest. He tried starting with the outside color and working his way into the center. Of course judging the size correctly was difficult and he ended up with empty space between each circle. I showed him how to start with the center and work out. Even this simple step added a level of difficulty to the activity since now he had to remember which comes first, second and third.
We moved onto the square beads next. These proved more difficult for him to create on his own. His squares kept looking like circles which frustrated him. I try to sit back and let him trouble-shoot on his own since that is part of the learning process. This particular time he eventually asked me how to make them look like squares. I showed him how to make the corners first and then fill in the rest to create squares. This provided the perfect opportunity to emphasize the 4 corners and 4 equal sides of a square.
**If you don’t own this set of beads from Melissa and Doug, you could easily draw your own design on cardstock to have your little one imitate.**
The circles were easily within his ability and the squares pushed him a bit. We didn’t even attempt the star beads because that was too far out of his ability level. A little frustration during an activity can be good (like he had when creating the square beads). It helps them learn how to deal with it appropriately, keep trying, and even ask if they realize they truly need the help. Too much frustration however would most likely mean the activity is too advanced for them. I knew that would be the case if I had asked him to recreate the stars.
This week is all about finding multiple uses for lacing beads like these from Melissa and Doug.
Since J is into patterns right now, I thought he would find this entertaining. I set out the multi-colored beads and had him imitate the color pattern using …. you guessed it, his cars. Of course you could do the same thing using blocks, magnetic pompoms, or even the solid color beads in the same set.
J made these to give to some of our family as a Christmas gift. This was a homemade gift he could feel completely responsible for and KNOW that he created it himself.
Materials: Foam, Magnetic plastic frame (from dollar store), Stickers, Buttons, Googly Eyes, Post-It Notes, Glue
Prep: I cut out the foam frames and gathered materials for J to choose from to create his gifts. **You can also buy prepackaged foam frame crafts and just add the fridge photo magnet on the back yourself.**
We had 4 frames to complete as gifts, so J chose the color for each recipient and the materials to decorate it with. This also meant that one set of materials weren’t used (he didn’t choose the googly eyes this time). I helped make sure he was spelling his name correctly on frames (all except one, which he declared was for Grandpa and would hold a picture of Grandma since he loved her so much… hence no need for J’s name on the frame!). The only other involvement I had in the process was some encouragement to practice creating a pattern with the buttons. He’s all about patterns right now though so not much need to push with that!
He also didn’t complete all the frames at one time. After he finished a couple and chose the materials for the others, I packed some up for him to complete on the plane. This was a great activity to do on a plane, little packing, light-weight and kept him focused.
I was so surprised to see how symmetrical he designed the frame with bubble stickers, maybe he’s finally getting out of that stage where he wants to stack stickers on top of each other!
After everything had dried, I glued a magnetic frame (bought at a dollar store) onto the back so the frames could be placed on a fridge and photos could be traded out easily. **Be sure you don’t glue the frame closed so that photos can be changed out later.**
Age attempted: 33 months
Posted in Age Range, Arts and Crafts, Birthday, Christmas, Holidays and Seasons, Homemade Gifts, Math, Patterns, Subject, Toddler (2-3 years), Travel Activities, Valentines Day
Tagged Homemade Gifts, Patterns, Travel
As a Christmas display, I have a pretty red tray filled with different color ball ornaments. Last year I decided to purchase some cheap plastic ones both so J could help hang some on our tree (without the stress that he would break one) and so he could play with them throughout Christmas. A side benefit is they have become a good learning too for J.
What you need: a variety of of colorful ornaments, the more you have of each color/type the more patterns possible. (I found packages of 12 for $1 at the dollar store).
I used the ornaments to set up a pattern for J to continue. We started with colors, then added textures to the patterns (glittery, shiny, smooth, and bumpy). I also had J come up with his own patterns for me to continue. This adds another level of difficulty to the activity.
You could include other fun ornaments in your patterns too, candy canes, angels, bells,… there are so many options available! Or just look around at the Christmas decor you have in your home. What can be used for a little pattern practice? I’m sure you can find something!
Age attempted: 31 months
In lieu of Christmas soon arriving, I thought I would introduce/reintroduce some of the great homemade toys that we have around our house. Homemade toys are perfect for little ones! Why spend tons of money on things you can make easily?
Remember this Homemade Geoboard post? J still enjoys it today. I recently put one together for his older cousin and included some example patterns with the board. I took example photos of shapes, patterns, letters, numbers and pictures on the geoboard for him to replicate. For even older ones, you could simply include a list of things to create and leave off the pictures. That would add a level of difficulty.
I think this would made a great homemade Christmas gift!
Posted in Age Range, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Early Toddler (18-24 months), Homemade Toys, Math, Motor Skills, Patterns, Preschool (4-5 years), Rainy Day Activities, Shapes, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Homemade Toys, Motor Skills, Patterns, Shapes
I came across these whistles at the party store (I think 12 per bag) and decided they would be an easy and cheap toy for J. I of course don’t use them as whistles, but as a stacking toy for him. They’re great to use for separating colors and for creating patterns. I have also rolled out some playdoh and had him stack them the opposite way (small side stuck into the playdoh). Maybe I’ll create a peg board at some point so that it works better. For now, he enjoys stacking them as in the photo and of course knocking down the towers and rolling the pieces all over the floor!
Age: 24 months, but this would be a great toy for a younger toddler.
In one of my trips through the dollar store, in search of cheap, light weight “toys” to keep my toddler busy on planes, I came up with this version of stringing beads.
I bought a couple packages of sponge curlers (the kind some of us slept in when we were little). They came in black and pink in our dollar store. I took them home and sliced some in thirds, some in half, and kept others the full length. I keep them in a small wipee box with some pipe cleaners. The sponges are perfect to string on the pipe cleaners. I think it’s a little easier for them use the pipe cleaners than regular string, making this activity possible at a younger age. Wealso make jewelry with them or link them together to create a chain (thought J needs a lot of help with that).
This makes a good plane/travel activity because it keeps them occupied for awhile, it reuses the same materials from other plane activities (so you have to pack less), and it’s lightweight. The disadvantage is that the sponges can be decidedly fun to throw around on the plane (but at least they don’t hurt if they hit you and they’re cheap, so it’s not terrible if some are lost). This works well for J now at 23 months; our first experience with this plane activity (at 14 months) didn’t go as well.
Age attempted: 14 months (too young for on the plane), better by 18 months and good at it by 23 months
Teachable Moments: We’ve worked on the meaning of push and pull with this. You can make patterns with the different colors, practice counting by assigning a different number of sponge beads for each pipe cleaner
Try Again? This is usually an activity I either bring on the plane or have in the hotel; it is saved for those events to keep it’s novelty but still gets used fairly often
Posted in Age Range, Counting, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Homemade Toys, Math, Motor Skills, Patterns, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Table Time, Toddler (2-3 years), Travel Activities
Tagged Counting, Homemade Toys, Patterns
J is really into matching his toys. He is constantly finding ways to organize trains, tracks, blocks, beads,… We have these Melissa and Doug wooden lacing beads and I noticed J was constantly turning the wooden tray over so that he could match the colorful beads to the pictures on the tray. Unfortunately there were only a few pictures to match. So I decided to create a matching board that included all the beads. This was something I did quickly while J was playing nearby, so the final product certainly has mistakes! I just traced each bead and then added color to match each one. You could probably create a board like this using powerpoint that looks much more professional. J didn’t notice the mistakes at all. He loved the board and went straight to work.
Age attempted: 22 months
Teachable Moments: label the shapes and colors, recognize color patterns, number recognition
Try Again? Yes, I pull this matching board out maybe once a week
You obviously could create a matching board for lots of different toys your little one already owns. Letter blocks, stacking toys, flashcards, cars, trains, letter/number magnets, … I’m sure you can come up with lots of ideas. Please share your ideas!!
Posted in Age Range, Colors, Counting, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Games, Homemade Games, Math, Patterns, Shapes, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Colors, Counting, Homemade Games, matching, Patterns, Shapes