To help families at home with a toddler during this period of social distancing, we wanted to provide a list of activities that you can easily do at home, with materials you probably already have, which will be enriching for your children and geared to their current plane of development.

 

  • Practical Life
    • Work on Self Dressing – Make a game like “Beat the Clock” with a timer. Try to do it faster each time.   Bonus:  Mom, Dad or siblings join in.
    • Cleaning – Toddlers love to clean. Get them a small brush & dustpan or a push brush sweeper (only assemble one piece of the handle so it’s child sized) and let them clean the floor or a rug.   They also love to wipe tables down.  Give them a small spray bottle and rag to wipe down different surfaces.
    • Food Prep
      • A cooking or baking project – the toddlers are great choppers and mixers. Think of meals they can help to create by prepping the ingredients.   Pizzas are great because they can chop the toppings and then can help assemble the pizza.   Most baking projects will give them an opportunity to crack an egg, help measure and mix the ingredients, and pour into a pan or cut the cookies.
      • Food cutting on a tray just for them – Banana peeling & cutting, apple, pear, pepper, carrot cutting, etc. If you don’t already have a crinkle cutter, we suggest you get a couple.  You’d be surprised how many things they can cut with them!
      • Spreading Work – Crackers, bagels, rice cake, bread with jam, peanut or sunflower butter, hummus, cream cheese
      • Self-Serve Snack – Set up a self-serve snack area with containers with cut up fruit and veggies, cereal, seeds, raisins, craisins, etc.
      • Table Setting – Set up a table setting station with their own plates, bowls, cups & silverware. Bonus:  take a cloth placemat and draw a place setting on it for each family member for them to set the table.
    • Transfer Work – This can be anything from spoon transfer to tongs to pouring
      • Pouring – Place two cups, bowls or small pitchers on a tray. In the cups you can place water, rice, dry beans or pasta for the children to pour back and forth.  Bonus:  include a funnel for them to use as they pour.
      • Spoon Transfer – A spoon and two bowls on a tray or a spoon with a bowl and a muffin tin. Anything can be spooned!  Bonus:  add more bowls or use muffin tin to add sorting objects by shape & color.
    • Mirror or Glass Door Washing – In a basket or container – a small spray bottle, squeegee, small towel for drying.
    • Stringing – A shoelace with dry pasta, buttons, cut up straws or beads.
  • Science/Nature
    • Signs of Spring Walk – Take a walk (while keeping your social distance) looking for signs of spring (nests, robins, flowers, tree buds)
    • Nature Box – Collect sticks, seed pods, stones, etc
    • Weather – At this time, we would be talking a lot about the weather (transition from the cold winter to the temperate spring). Discuss the weather each day and remark on how it’s changing.  If it’s raining, take a walk and jump in the puddles.  Talk about what clothing we need to wear for the different types of weather.
    • Fly a KiteBuy or make a kite and try to fly it. Talk about how you can feel the wind and see what it does, but you cannot see it.
    • Birds – Talk a walk and look for birds. Close your eyes and listen to their calls.   Youtube has some great bird call videos.   See if you can guess what bird it is from its call.
    • Plants – Talk about how plants grow from a seed or bulb. Please some seeds and take care of them each day.   Remark on how they grow a little each day.
  • Sensorial
    • Sorting – You can pretty much sort anything in any way:
      • You can sort by shape, color, texture, use & size
      • You can order items by weight (lightest to heaviest) or shade (lightest to dark)
    • Smelling Jars – convert old spice bottles, mason jars or Tupperware into smelling jars. Fill them with smells the kids can recognize (lemon, cinnamon, mint, vanilla, etc)
    • Tasting – Have a tasting! Tasting can be almost anything:  Different apple types, different pear types, different sour items (you won’t believe how much toddlers love lemons, rinds and all), sweet vs. sour, sweet vs. savory, different types of cheeses.
    • Mystery Bag – Make a mystery bag with different objects. Have them close their eyes or put on a blindfold and reach their hand in to guess what they are feeling.
    • Color Study – Start with one color and find everything with that color and put it in a basket
    • Color or Shape Search – Ask them to go find something around the house of a specific color or shape. Bonus:  Take it outside and go on a search.   Look for architectural shapes in the city.  Find colors on doors or in nature.
  • Art
    • Scissor Work
    • Gluing
    • Painting with fingers, brushes & sponges
    • Bonus: Let them use scissors to cut construction paper or tissue paper into small pieces, then they can glue the pieces onto a piece of paper that they have painted or drawn on, tying it all together.
    • Make prints with bubble wrap
    • Build a city, house or train with cardboard boxes and paint it.
  • Culture
    • Pick a relevant (or random) topic and learn about it. We frequently look to holidays and cultural celebrations for inspiration for cultural topics.   When learning about a topic, there are many types of opportunities to learn about or experience.   Discuss the holiday, topic or culture, watch related YouTube videos, listen to and dance to the related music, cook or eat a meal related to the culture or celebration, create art related to the culture or depicting it.
  • Music & Listening
    • Music Listening Time – We have been listening to women artists this month during listening time, but you can choose any genre, artist or topic (songs about love, crying, seasons, etc). Pick some examples
    • Nature & City Listening – Open a window, turn off all lights and sounds and lay on the floor listening. Talk about what you hear.   Go out to a park or the woods and do the same.
    • Dancing – Have a dance party. Toddlers love dance parties and they’re a great way for them to get exercise and expend energy on days when their not able to get outside to run around.
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