Easy Activity Round Up
For a couple months now I have like many of you amazing mamas, are at home working my day job, with my toddler and the million other things to tackle that have come along with this pandemic.
Almost immediately my inbox messages on Instagram jumped to around 1200-1400 in a 24 hour period! Most of what was filling my inbox was a plea for easy activities to do with your child/children now that they are at home full time 24/7!
As a blogger, one who has spent most of this time creating and curating beautiful activity content for you on https://www.instagram.com/mylittlelambblog/ I felt like I was letting you all down because I 100% did not have the time or mental capacity during this to create that content for you.
My solution to be able to support you all through this time was to use my expertise in Early Learning to search through Instagram and share to my stories activities every evening, created by other talented creators that I know would be achievable for you during this time. I highly recommend checking out this accounts and showing them some love for all the hard work and dedication they do to provide amazing content to make our lives easier and help support our children’s development.
This post is going to be a permanent resource that I will share those activities with you so you can reference and do with your child/children when it works best for YOU ( because that’s important) and your family.
Letter Match Sensory Play
Want to spice up your kiddos’ learning this week? Turn it into sensory play! We used our dyed beans as a way to practice uppercase and lowercase letters but you could do letters in their name, numbers, shapes, or even finding letters and building sight words for older kiddos.👍🏼
Other sensory bin fillers you might have on hand: rice, dried black beans, coffee beans, cereal (Cheerios, fruit loops, Chex), uncooked pasta, oats, chickpeas, feathers, cotton balls, pom poms, cut up plastic straws. – Post Caption
Trace the Rain Pre-Writing
Here’s a quick, easy pre-writing activity to go along with the rainy days we’re having over here (😩 anyone else?).
I drew dotted lines going in different directions from each rain cloud for Kade to trace. For the slanted lines, we were able to talk about and make connections to the way he writes the letter “K” in his name.
It’s important to focus on nailing down the simple strokes before really trying to push turning them into actual letters- that will come much easier if they are comfortable with the different types of lines and curves!✏️ – Post Caption
This was so fun! Kade and I went out in our yard with a bucket and collected items we thought might be fun to paint with. We grabbed a few sticks and then brought it all inside and I used rubber bands to turn them into paintbrushes!
I put some paint on a paper plate and we painted away. We loved seeing what we could do with the different textures and I loved watching Kade get creative. He used brush strokes, swirled the brushes, splattered paint with them and tried making prints with them.
Such a simple, fun way to get outside, engage in a sensory experience and also be creative.🌿🎨 -Post Caption
FLOWER THREADING ACTIVITY 🌸
This Flower Threading Activity is an easy and fun way to use up old flowers. Isn’t it nice to have an activity ready for your toddlers without heading out to the store for supplies? I love it!
Threading activities are one of our favorites. Kids are always thrilled to create their own designs, patterns and choose colors. Better yet, they’re having a whole lot of fun and improving many skills all at the same time. Fine motor, concentration, focus, creativity and in dependency are all areas of childs’ development involved in this activity. How awesome! –Post Caption
DANDELION CARD CRAFT
It’s quite simple to make, so even the littlest ones can follow along. They’ll love using the q-tips to make the dandelion which makes this card craft a unique one! – Post Caption
Turning a NO into a YES!
I decided to turn her love of pulling clothes out of the cupboard/basket/washing line into an activity!
My biggest tip for baby play (or any age play really), is to turn all the things you find yourself saying “NO” to, into play 👌🏻 you won’t go wrong 😜 (eg. See my ‘no-tub’ post from a couple of weeks ago!) .
There were two parts to this:
1. Pull the clothes off the wall
2. Walk around the house with them draped over her shoulders 🤣
Miss 11 months is very much in the Envelopment schema right now and loves draping things over herself and walking around with them. So the second part to this activity was important 😜
An activity like this develops:
👉🏻 Gross motor skills – reaching high and pulling hard develops large muscle groups 👉🏻 Can fulfil the enveloping (wrapping self in clothes) trajectory (pulling down) and transporting (carrying clothes around) schemas 👉🏻 Hand/eye coordination 👉🏻 Emotional development – fulfilling an observed interest and saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’
THE NO TUB
Something we’ve used for a long time, when the temptations of all the ‘no’ objects get a little too much!
The no tub is personal to each child – anything that you find yourself saying ‘no’ to them having, place in a tub and make them as safe as possible for baby to explore – eg. Wind up cables and put masking tape around them, remove batteries from remotes, use an old phone, clean keys etc .
The idea is to take the ‘power’ out of these objects that babies become obsessed over, because they hold a lot of power through curiosity! Babies want to explore everything – it’s only natural that the things we won’t let them explore, drive more curiosity. .
People often as me how I deal with a baby and an open art area (for example), but the truth is – the art area has become so normal, because it’s there all the time, that she doesn’t obsess over the things in it – most of the time, she doesn’t even go there! I’m using the same concept with this tub – make ‘exciting’ things into ‘normal’ things .
This activity is great for:
👉🏻 Curiosity – they get to explore things that are new and exciting, in a safe way
👉🏻 Fine motor skills – manipulating the objects 👉🏻 Normalising everyday objects .
*** if you are using objects that pose a safety risk, make sure you are supervising closely and remove those objects if you leave the room . -Post Caption
I can almost guarantee you’ve got everything you need for this activity already 🙌🏻 if you don’t have ribbons, use pieces of string, streamers etc .
I set this up last night as a distraction for Miss 11 months (and the big girls) this morning, because I desperately need time to wake myself up before being climbed on in the morning 😬
This would work really well in the kitchen drawers as well, as a way to buy you a bit of time prepping meals!
Just cut different lengths of ribbon and place them inside drawers, with a little bit sticking out to pull on!
An activity like this is great for: 👉🏻 Fine motor skills – grabbing the small pieces encourages the pincer grip (thumb and forefinger) 👉🏻 Gross motor skills – reaching, crawling, standing and pulling 👉🏻 Cognitive development – making connections between action and reaction, thus developing understanding of cause and effect .
** always supervise baby activities, ribbons can pose a strangulation hazard! Make sure any free standing drawers are anchored . -Post Caption
POM POM BATH
1. POM POM BATH – pom poms, food colouring (no it won’t stain their skin!) and a bath 🙌🏻 originally got the idea from @simply.play.today
Dandelion Rock Family
These are super simple to make and you can recreate them over and over.
They look so cute when finished and you can make up your own story about your dandelion family. We infused interesting dandelion facts into our story. Meet our dandelion family: 👩🏻🦰Momma rock loves her new purple earnings,👨🏼 papa rock’s beard is filling in nicely, 👶baby rock needs a quarantine haircut, and 🦁 dandy-lion in looking cute as ever! They live happily among the dandelions and love playing in the sunshine! They welcome the bees on their fancy hairdos and their flowers open in the morning to greet the sun and close at night when the go to sleep. -Post Caption
DIY LAVA LAMP
This classic lava lamp science experiment is a perfect one for toddlers and preschoolers. It uses just a few materials from around the house, is practically mess free, and is mesmerizing to observe 🙌🏼. I loved how simple this experiment was to prepare and was amazed with how long it kept Em (3Y) engaged.
You’ll need: vegetable oil, water, food coloring, clear glass, Alka Seltzer tablets
1️⃣ Color about 1/2 cup of water with food coloring.
2️⃣ Break the Alka Seltzer tablets into 2 or 3 pieces and place in a small container.
3️⃣ Fill a clear glass about 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Then add the colored water. Don’t fill the cup more than about 2 inches from the top.
4️⃣ Add a piece of an Alka Seltzer tablet to the cup.
5️⃣ Watch the blobs of colored water travel up and down the cup like a lava lamp!
Infants love staring at faces! Your baby might be staring because they love you so much they just can’t look away…but research also shows that babies, even those less than an hour old, tend to stare at face-like images longer than any other pattern. This simple activity is perfect for infants and toddlers (and is also a sweet activity while staying distant from family and friends during the pandemic).
You’ll need: photos of family/friends, tape or frame
1️⃣ Collect photos of family and friends- I printed these from our printer at home on card stock paper
2️⃣ Hang, laminate, or frame the photos- I used plastic standing frames from Ikea, they are child-friendly! You could easily just tape photos to the wall instead.
3️⃣ Select up to four photos for your child to observe at a time. This is great for practicing tummy time or sidelying.
This activity requires adult supervision. -Post Caption
PRACTICAL LIFE PLAY
🧽 Outdoor practical life work is not only engaging and fun, but also purposeful. Toddlers especially love anything that involves a water + sponge. I set this large bowl up with water and Sonny-sized sponges and demonstrated how to wipe the dirt off the garage door.
He had fun wiping, splashing and working on an activity that took me seconds to prepare. My expectation was not to have a sparkling clean door, but rather introduce Sonny to real work we do at home that he can also be a part of. 💦
As the weather gets nicer, we will be looking for lots of ways to work outside. Cleaning the garage door will certainly be a work to return to. -Post Caption
LEGO SORT & DROP
All you need are two things and you probably already have them. LEGO bricks & a box! I wrapped our box in white paper to make the colors stand out, but that’s optional.
Use a knife to make a different slot for each color brick, outline it with color, and then let the kids drop them in! Easy peasy! We’ve been doing this for years! Kids can repeat it again and again.
This works on color recognition, color sorting, and some simple motor skills. -Post Caption
PAINTING UNDER THE TABLE!! 🎨
I’ve done this with students before and thought it was high time to try it with my kids! 🙌 Annabelle was SO EXCITED and thought it was pretty funny that we were going to pretend to paint the “ceiling” like Michelangelo… but instead paint UNDER the table.
WHAT YOU NEED: paper, painters tape, scissors, WASHABLE paint, paint brushes, somewhere to put your paint, and a table or chair. You can find most of our favorite art supplies linked in our Amazon shop. ☝️
SET UP: Tape pieces of paper on the underside of your table. Bigger is better. Try to tape most of the way around the paper to hold it in place. I used my feet to hold up some corners while I was doing this under bigger tables.🤣
WHAT TO DO: Since we’re talking about Famous Artists this week, we told kids a little bit about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel before we got started with this and how he painted the ceiling… but you can also just introduce this as a fun painting activity!
Encourge kids to lie on their backs or sit up under the table to paint! Each kid will have their own style. You can see ME and my kids in action doing this in stories right now. ☝️🤣 It was pretty entertaining trying to fit under my daughter’s tiny table. 😜 -Post Caption
COLORFUL POM POM WALL!! 🌈
Do you remember the paper tunnels we love to make for balls and cars? We thought we’d change them up a bit and use them on the WALL, instead of the floor! All you need is paper, Pom Poms, and painter’s tape! We also grabbed a few paper tubes from our recycling bin! This is an activity we love to do again and again!!
Just fold the paper into tunnels and tubes, tape them together and stick them to the wall. Easy peasy! This is a great way to use up all of your TP rolls too! -Post Caption
This is done with paper towel and fine tip markers, how fun!
If you’ve never made a bubble tower, here’s how it works…
– Fill a small bowl with water
– Add a drop of food coloring for a fun “pop” of color 😉
– Squeeze in a few drops of dish soap
– Give the kids a straw and start blowing bubbles until they begin to topple over!!
And of course remember to remind your children to always blow OUT of the straw so not to accidentally suck in the soapy liquid 😝. For safety, this activity is likely best for children over age three!
I hope this fun little activity brings you just as much joy as it brought these little cuties!!! -Post Caption
✨Beads on a Line✨
Today we tried a new activity I like to call “beads on a line”. Not only did it provide a rare moment of peace and quiet, but it also worked to strengthen those important fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. The tactile sensation of the glass beads was also a beautiful and irresistible addition. Simply spread out a large piece of paper, draw a few squiggly lines, and pair it with whatever small objects you might have on hand- glass beads, coins, beans, or even legos! Once the older kids had their fill of fun, Teddy jumped in and happily turned clean up into a bead transferring activity 🙌🏼 -Post Caption
A tray of baking soda and coloured vinegar. 💥
Such a fun and easy exploration for kids that incorporates
colour mixing. 🌈 -Post Caption
One of our favourite little activities: play dough puzzle.
Find some objects and make some imprints in the dough for your child to match up.
My kids then always enjoy making imprints for me to match up.
It may last a few minutes then lead to more play dough play… or they may do it for a while.
Either ways, it’s great for developing fine motor and problem solving skills. -Post Caption
A simple nature tray! 🌿🌼
I set up this #invitaitontoexplore for Ben, and while he was looking at and touching the different items we would end up going over what they were called! we reused our @melissaanddougtoys tray to set this up #recycleandplay
He’s so into finding different things outside that I knew this would be a hit, after a while he started collecting his own items and putting them in the tray 🙌🏻 I would label them as he would bring them, and he would try to say the word.
I love how much early literacy can be explored through just everyday simple play! 🎉 -Post Caption
COLOUR SORTING WITH NATURAL ITEMS 🎨🌿
Here is a simple diy colour sorting activity. All you need are some wood slices from a fallen branch (I actually bought mine from the dollar tree) and some acrylic paint!
Paint a portion of the wood slice in the colours you want and you will have a colour sorting activity that can be used for so many other things as well.
For older children you can turn it into a memory matching game! Swipe ➡️ to see.
For toddlers, it’s a great way to start introducing colours and how to sort them. You can bring this activity indoors or keep it outdoors (stored properly).
I LOVE using natural elements for play and learning and usually find children super receptive to theses items 💚I can’t wait to use them in our classroom!
TIP: Have your children participate in searching for the wood/sticks and help with the painting part 👍🏻 -Post Caption