Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Activities for Toddlers (Part 1)

For each project I will highlight several developmental skills it enhances (but by all means not all). Often we do things, but don’t think about why. And sometimes we don’t do things because we don’t think they will make an impact. Now every kid is different and what one gains another might gain something different. But that’s okay. It’s most important to present the opportunity for our children and let them tell us what they learn from it. The key points that I will discuss include:

Language Development: Language skills develop by talking, singing, and reading together.
Gross Motor Development: This refers to large movements, such as walking, jumping, crawling, climbing, etc.
Fine Motor Development: These skills are those small tasks that require a lot of hand-eye coordination, such as painting, using a spoon, coloring, picking up items, transferring from one hand to another.
Creative Development: Creativity may be taught, but only if it is supported.
Sensory Development: Sensory skills refer to hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, exploring, and looking.
Cognitive Development: This is our knowledge base; we learn from our experiences and grow from there.
Enjoyment Development: Having fun is so important for children to engage in as often as they can.
Social Development: Learning to work together and “be” with other people creates a well-balanced child.

** All of the following ideas can be easily varied for older kids**

Painting pumpkins
This took us about 3 minutes.
Materials: pumpkins, paint, brush, washcloth
Directions: I bought these small pumpkins as the grocery store. I let my daughter choose between two paint colors. I put paint on the brush and helped her paint the pumpkin. It’s okay to help at this age because they need to learn what to do. I suggest not doing it for them, though.

Language used: pumpkins, paint, red, brush, orange.
Fine motor skills: painting with brush
Creative skills: she could paint anywhere on the pumpkin (and the highchair as it turned out)
Sensory: touched the pumpkin and paint. And my daughter tasted it, too.

Cognitive: remembered other pumpkins she has seen around the house.
Enjoyment: it was fun.
Social skills: we worked together to paint the pumpkins.

Fall Sensory Table
Items include silk leaves (from Target’s dollar spot), gourds, soft pumpkin that plays music, trick-or-treat pumpkin bucket. You can come up with your own ideas. Try not to do too much.

Language used: leaves, pumpkins, gourd, trick or treat, bumpy
Fine motor skills: picking up leaves, pushing soft pumpkin’s button, putting items in bucket and taking them out.
Creative: not sure what she does, but she plays with them a lot.
Gross motor: Stands while playing.
Sensory: different textures – soft, bumpy. Listens to music on pumpkin, loud sound when she puts something in the bucket.
Cognitive: can find the pumpkins or leaves when I ask her. Connects to other items in the house.
Enjoyment: She plays there often for fun.
Social: we play together to figure out what the items are and repeat the words often.
Brown Leaf, Brown Leaf, what do you see?
Teacher-made book that I created while I was student teaching. I took the idea from a friend.
Materials: square paper, cut out leaves, scrapbook paper (grass), printer, eliminator, double sided tape, binder rings, hole punch.

Directions: There are lots of ways you could make a book like this. This is my version. 1.

  1. Decide what the text will be. Mine was Brown leaf, brown leaf what do you see? I see a red leaf looking at me? And so forth for three more colors. The last page is “I see a big tree looking at me.”
  2. Type or write text on paper.
  3. Cut out leaves and tape under text.
  4. Tape scrapbook paper with grass under leaf.
  5. Laminate, be sure to round the corners otherwise the corners are too sharp.
  6. Trim to size you want. I use 8 x 8.
  7. Punch two holes on the side.
  8. Use rings to clasp it together.
Language: The repetitive text makes it interesting to listen to. Older children (3 or 4 years old) will be able to “read” the story even though they don’t know how to read because the colors prompt them. Words used: brown, red, yellow, green, leaf, leaves, tree, see.
Gross motor: Taking the book off the shelf and carrying it to the spot she wants to read it or to one of us.
Fine motor: Flipping through the pages
Creative: Books always encourage imagination
Sensory: Touching the book, listening to the story, looking at the pages and colors
Cognitive: Kids learn the text and anticipate the pages. When read over and over again memory skills are enhanced.
Enjoyment: Reading is fun. Able to look at it on her own.
Social: Learning to read together

Foam Sticker Picture
I previously did this with a fish scene.
Materials: Paper, foam stickers, laminator
1. Laminate paper
2. Help child place stickers on paper
3. Put creation on child’s level

Language used: bats, ghosts, cat, house, stick, moon, pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, orange, black
Fine Motor: Placing or helping place stickers on paper
Creative: Stickers can be placed anywhere
Sensory: Stickers are sticky and soft. By placing it at their level they can go back to it and touch it.
Cognitive: Reinforces other words and ideas used for Halloween. Memory to go back to it wherever it is in the room. I asked questions like where to stick the sticker.
Enjoyment: Creating a new picture is fun and seeing again is enjoyable.
Social: Working together is a great skill to practice.
Be sure to check back next Tuesday for Part 2!

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