Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Cotton balls and Q-tips


To further develop fine motor and sorting skills for my toddler

  • cotton balls
  • Q-tips
  • Two containers (one for the cotton balls and one for the Q-tips)
Like many toddlers, my daughter likes to play and explore objects that are not necessarily toys.  A couple of weeks ago, she found the Q-tip holder in our bathroom and dumped out all of the Q-tips.  I watched what she did with them.  Instead of just dumping them and moving on to the next activity, she began picking up the Q-tips. One by one, she put them back into the container, making sure each one was flat and fit back into the holder correctly.  She managed to put them all back and then proceeded to dump them back out and do it all over again.  She must have spent a good half an hour doing this. It was amazing to me that she was so focused on this and was practising attention regulation despite the distractions near by.

She also gave me inspiration for this post.  This activity could be used to develop fine motor skills, sensory exploration as well as sorting.  I set out the cotton balls, Q-tips and put containers for each of them so she had separate containers if she wanted to sort.

Here is what I used:

What are your toddler's favourite bathroom accessories?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Food Colouring Magic


To give my daughter the opportunity to practise learning the names of colours in a fun way


  • food colouring
  • milk 
  • dish soap
  • Q-tips
This activity is actually a science activity for children slightly older than my daughter.    I decided I would try it with my daughter anyway since we had some milk left over that she did not finish this morning.  Thanks to my cousin for suggesting this activity a couple of months ago:).

I poured the milk in a clear bowl and added drops of food colouring.  You can easily add counting as a skill to this activity by having your toddler count the drops.  Bean decided which colours we would use by naming them.  I may mix the colours together next time so she has more than four to choose from.  Next we dipped a Q-tip into the dish soap and swirled it around.  You can try it and see for yourself what happens next ;).

Monday, 16 March 2015

Book Review- From Head to Toe

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle is a fantastic book for children learning their body parts as well as names of animals.  This book is a fun teaching tool and quite interactive.  It's another one of Bean's favourites.  It's very cute to see her flip through the pages by herself and carry out the actions!

Have you come across any good children's books for teaching your child his/her body parts?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Tissue Boxes & Scarves

This activity is one I did with my daughter when she was younger, when any random household object would turn into a simple toy.   You will need a long canister or tissue box and some scarves.  If using a long canister cut out a hole the size of a dime on the lid so the scarf can be pulled out easily. You may want to pull out a tiny bit of the scarf just so your baby has something to hold on to, to begin pulling.

Your child may put the scarf back into the container.  Try tying two scarves together for even more fun!

Here are some photos of ones I made:

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Literacy & Puppets


To promote literacy through puppet play


Various hand and finger puppets

Children are like sponges, they absorb everything in their environment.  Creating an environment in which literacy can be practiced is important and easily done.  Having books(board books, paperbacks and hardcover) available and within reach in all the areas where your toddler plays is one easy way.  Also, writing materials that are age appropriate encourages practising emerging writing skills.  Bean has colourful wooden letters are a favourite of hers.  Toddlers learn through sensory motor skills so I thought it would be good for my daughter to feel the shape of the letters.  A great gift we received last Christmas were magnetic letters which have also been a hit with her.

A fun way to reinforce some of those early literacy skills is with hand and finger puppets.
Finger puppets are a great tool for promoting language and literacy in young children.  They can be used to tell a story and as props if telling a story or singing a song without pictures.   I use finger puppets when we sing Old MacDonald.  

Bean enjoys playing with her hand puppets most (easier for her to use) she names them and makes the corresponding sounds.  Her father uses different accents for the various puppets which makes it especially exciting for her. ;)

It's easy to make your own puppets if you don't have any.  You just need some socks and a couple of buttons or an old glove for finger puppets!  Below are some of my daughters favourites.

How do you encourage your little one to learn and use words at home?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Matching mittens


To engage toddlers in the cognitive skill of sorting by finding pairs


  • basket
  • various mittens and gloves (adult and children's sizes)
A great indoor winter activity, this one is super easy to put together as you likely have everything you need already!   I filled a basket with Bean, my husbands and my mittens and gloves and let my daughter do whatever she wanted.  I wanted to see if she would find the pairs of gloves and mittens and notice the size, shape, colour and texture.  This activity works well with more than one toddler as it makes it slightly more difficult to find a matching pair!  I've seen it done in daycare in the toddler room and it's always a lot of fun to watch.  Of course when there is more than one toddler, social and language skills are also being practiced.