Oct 21, 2008

It's Toddler Tuesday

It's Toddler Tuesday! Time to share ideas of activities for Toddlers -- ages 2 to 4 years old. Whether you're a babysitter, grandma (like me), parent, sibling, daycare provider, aunt or nice neighbor, I hope you'll find some good ideas in this weekly post. If you have ideas to share, please post the idea on your blog, then leave a comment here. You're welcome to cut and paste the Toddler Tuesday banner to put on your blog. RAINY DAY / INSIDE ACTIVITIES Colder weather is settling in here in southwestern Ohio, and it reminds me of the upcoming months when my grandson, Brayden, and I will not be able to spend ninety percent of our days outside as we do now. So, time to gather up some ideas for inside activities! Animal Hide and Go Seek I've done this activity outside with Brayden, and I can't imagine why it wouldn't work just fine inside as well! I bought some very inexpensive plastic/rubber animals at a discount store -- I think there were about a dozen in the package. Before Brayden arrived in the morning, I hid six animals (in plain site) around the yard, then gave Brayden a bag and we went looking for wild animals! I told him there were "six wild animals", so when he found one, we would keep count (reinforcement of counting and numbers). When we do this activity in the house, I will contain it to one room or area -- if you get him wandering around the house, he'll lose focus on the activity before finding the animals! Pretend Veterinarian Help your child gather several stuffed animals. Pretend you are a pet owner with a sick or injured pet. Your child can examine and treat your pet. Additional props that make the pretend play more fun include a bathroom scale, a stethoscope, adhesive bandages and a dog leash. STOP and GO To Music Play various types of music (classical, rock and roll, polka, jazz, reggae, country western) and have your child move to the beat of the music. When the music stops, it's time to freeze. Start the music again and move and dance. Cooking Together I have "cooked" with Brayden several times now, and we both enjoy it. At this point, he is limited to "dumping" and stirring. Crockpot recipes work well for us -- lots of ingredients that I can cut and measure ahead of time. I try and have each ingredient measured and in it's own bowl or cup before he arrives in the morning. I put him on a stool at the kitchen counter, tell him what we're making, and describe each ingredient as I hand it to him to dump into the crockpot. He really enjoys it and enjoys smelling the food cooking throughout the day. (Though, bless his heart, he is a very picky eater and won't even taste his own cooking!) In the near future I plan on blowing the dust off my bread maker and teaching him about making bread. Any kind of cooking you can do that doesn't involve the stove or sharp knives is good! ================== A phrase I say when Brayden is a little frustrated when trying to accomplish a new task is "if it doesn't work at first, try, try again." He totally "gets it" and repeats the "try, try again" on his own now. It's a great phrase to teach young children and does help relieve their frustration, knowing that it's OK to not get something the very first time you try it. So I was delighted when I found this activity: I Think I Can For this activity you'll need the book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. A library will have a copy, but this is one of those books you'll want to own. Materials * The Little Engine That Could Directions 1. Read the book The Little Engine That Could to your child. 2. Talk about how the little engine thought he could make it up the hill, even though it was a very hard thing to do. 3. Ask your child if she thinks she can do something that may seem hard at first, then play the "I Think I Can" game. 4. Ask your child to try different things like "Can you hop on one foot?" or "Can you touch your toes?" 5. Demonstrate for her, then say "I think I can, I think I can" as you hop or bend together. 6. Try this game when you're encouraging your child to pick up her toys. ("Do you think you can put away all your cars before I pick up these puzzles?") ===================== Bottles and Lids Materials -- Collection of bottles and lids of varying sizes Directions 1. Save small plastic bottles with screw-type lids. 2. Your toddler will have lots of fun matching lids to bottles, putting the lids on, taking the lids off, and starting all over again. 3. A bottle collection is also great fun for the bath, or for water play outdoors. ======================== Monkey, Monkey! Too often parents focus on the bad things children do, while letting the good slip by without comment. Brayden reacts extremely well to positive reinforcement. In fact, the other day we were at the festival mentioned in a previous post, and he did well talking to people, saying hello and good-bye, etc. When we got in the car, I said, "You know what I like about you, Brayden?" "Huh?" "I like how you say hello and good-bye to new people. That shows people what a very nice boy you are." That was all that was said. About two hours later, we went to MacDonald's and were sitting in a booth, I saw Brayden -- whenever anyone would walk by our table, he'd give them a quick wave, then look at me and smile. That was his listening to and acting on the positive reinforcement I'd given him! This is a simple way to reinforce and reward cooperation and kindness. Materials Plastic linking monkeys Directions 1. Hang a plastic monkey on the wall in a place where you can add more monkeys to make a chain. 2. When you catch your child being especially kind and cooperative (that is, playing quietly with siblings, helping out without being asked, picking up toys without being reminded, and so on), reward her with a monkey to add to the chain. 3. When the last monkey is hung, treat the whole family to an ice-cream sundae, trip to a local playground, or special afternoon of games. ================ Guessing Bag - I think this sounds like fun! I'm going to try this one this week. Brayden has a very inquisitive mind and I think he'll have fun with this game. I will start out slow -- put just one item (that he's very familiar with) in the bag to start with, and let him get a feel for the game before trying several items as described. Materials * Pillowcase or drawstring bag * Small, unbreakable household objects Directions 1. Place a variety of small, unbreakable household objects inside a bag. 2. Close the bag so the objects are not visible. 3. Have your child feel the objects through the bag and guess what they are. I'm looking for... MUSIC ACTIVITIES I need some help. I'm looking for ideas on for Music activities for Brayden. He is apparently VERY musically inclined and VERY interested in musical instruments. Does anyone have any experience with musical instruments for toddlers (age 2 1/2 - 3 yrs.)?? I'm sure it's too soon to start him on actual music lessons, but what are the alternatives? Currently he tries to finger the holes on a flute, uses a pick to strum songs on an autoharp and is madly in love with all things to do with guitars! I want to encourage this interest, but never past the point where it stops being fun. Any ideas??

1 comment:

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I taught Suzuki violin several years ago and my youngest student was 3. While I would recommend waiting until age 4 or 5, especially for boys, there are many things you can do for him!

Sing with him and move and clap in rhythm. Dance. Let him pound on the piano. Take him to kid-friendly concerts (and leave if/when he loses interest so it doesn't become a chore). Just keep it fun, expose him to as many different instruments as possible, and perhaps in a few years, he will have some ideas what he'd like to play. Violin, cello, piano, and flute can all be started at an early age if you can find a Suzuki teacher.