Wanna share "lesson plans" for toddler activities? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Toddler Mamas (and Daddies)!

I don't know about you, but I'm reaching the end of a time when I can keep ds (14 mos) entertained by simply pulling out toys. All of a sudden I realize that I need to be PLANNING for our days, 'cause he is just getting more and more precocious by the minute! I've gone to the library and have a stack of "what to do with your oh-so-busy toddler" books, but it won't surprise you to hear that I haven't really had time to delve into them (esp. since they require some critical reading to separate the good ideas from the mediocre ones).

So I was wondering if any others might want to start a "lesson plan" thread where we each take a week and submit 5 (or more) activities that can be done at home with busy little ones. The activities can come from books and other sources (we can even list our sources) and *I* think should be things we all can do from home without having to buy special materials. You could list your activities for Mon-Fri, but of course we all know that we might only get to one a week, and at this age, it is VERY appropriate to repeat activities multiple times. (Are you sensing that I'm a former teacher? I actually have a degree in Early Childhood Ed, but I think Milk Brain has erased all my creativity!!!)

It would be helpful to *me* if the activities were appropriate for 12-18 month olds, but if there's interest in doing the same for other age groups, I'd love it if someone else wanted to organize another such thread. (and I'll print it out and save it for when ds gets there!)

What thinks ye? If even 4 other people are interested, I'll organize us and send out a schedule for posting (I'm happy to go first).

Who's in?
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#2 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 07:18 PM
 
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Hi Breathe,

I'm in! even though I WOH I would still like to think of stuff to do. I was surprised that DD was busy for a long time with a paper tube (from wrapping paper) and a wiffle golf ball. I showed her to put it in and it would roll out the other end, and she was busy for a long time.
I have some websites I browse to look for ideas too, so when I get a chance I will post them.
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#3 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 07:58 PM
 
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El~Thanks for getting this thread started! I have tons of ideas on what to do outside of the home so I'm very interested in seeing what other moms are doing inside. We are on a budget here as well, so inexpensive or no expense ideas are great! And some days I don't feel like going out in 20 degree weather with a toddler. I have lots of backyard ideas and around the neighborhood exploring...stuff that is free. But it sounds like this thread is to offer indoor ideas only? I would be happy to take my lesson plan turn after Christmas.

BTW, my son is 12 months and very interested in everything dh and I do from cooking, laundry, washing dishes, to grocery shopping with me. He also loves animals, reading books with dh and I, taking baths, playing outside in the dirt and listening to me sing. I love to make up songs. Here's a cute one I sing a lot which is to the tune of the 80's commercial for the My Buddy doll, "My baby. My baby. Wherever I go he goes too~repeat over and over."

I look forward to growing into this thread with the other moms.
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#4 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 08:44 PM
 
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awwww- i want to peek in, but am too afraid i won't be able to come up with enough ideas.

i am afraid our "activities schedule" is flown by the seat of our pants!

but i suppose if something seems to really work, then i can certainly share!

so far, he still likes his toys and climbing in and out of things. so i have provided him with some open drawers on my dresser (it's way too big to ever tilt forward), and a large basket with a lid. he climbs in and out. all the while screeching when this or that part of his body gets stuck, but going back in over and again.

???strange????
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#5 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cool. And I do want to clarify that I use the term "lesson plan" VERY loosely . . . The activity nuggetsmom mentioned above is EXACTLY the kind of thing I had in mind (in fact, that was the exact activity I was going to post as an example -- now that's a little eery! have Jacqueline and I been spending too much time together in cyperspace?!?) At this age all activities should be very much child-centered, child-lead, and open-ended for lots of exploration. The only reason I think I need to start planning is ds's increasing boredom with the kitchen cabinets, the pantry, the endless toys, etc.!

Oh, and Heather, outdoor activities are much needed, too, but I guess I was leaning toward indoor play since it's so darn cold here (and when it's not, ds is still intrigued by free exploration!). It would be great to include them, however, for when the weather permits.

Let's give this thread a while to see who chimes in and then I'll get us organized . . . to begin AFTER the holidays, of course!
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#6 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 09:06 PM
 
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I'm in!

Making cookie decorations tonight from a recipe by Nigella Lawson (from NYT) -- might be too seasonal to use later but should be fun (dd loves cooking.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/11/dining/11NIGE.html

A quote:

Quote:
And if the kitchen is a cozier place to be in than the shops right now, I have also always believed that cooking is the lazy parent's escape clause for hands-on child care. True, there is a lot of mess to clear up, but anything is easier than energy-sapping kiddie activities. Besides, ritual is an important part of a family Christmas: it is what makes the season special.
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#7 of 56 Old 12-13-2002, 10:53 PM
 
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I just got a book to help me with exactly this problem. It is so hard to find activities for the under 3 set, I think.

The book is called Slow and Steady, Get me Ready. It basically provides one activity per week from birth to age 5. All activities are age appropriate and help them develop some skill. They are also designed to be done with regular household items.

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.as...404727&loc=106

I did one right after getting the book - basically tying some scraps of fabric together to make a long "scarf" with different colors/textures. And then taking a shoe box and cutting a hole in it and teaching the child to stuff the scarf in and pull it out. DS played with the box and then the scarf by itself for a good 15-20 mins (about an eternity in toddler-time!)

So anyway, I am not affiliated with this book at all, I just think it is great. It has recipes for things like homemade finger paints and clay. And I haven't looked ahead, but I guess the ultimate goal is reading/school readiness at age 5.

Looking forward to sharing more ideas with you mommies!
Jenn

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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#8 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 12:24 AM
 
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My dd is 27 mths and we have no real plans each day for play, but here are some that have cropped up. Oh, before I take credit for all of the creativity, let me say that I am a single Mom livign with my brother, who dd adores, and he watches her while I go to school 2 days a week, which is when some of these things happened (ok, most, I am not that creative like Uncle is!)
*A large box- always a fun item. Young toddlers will love to climb in and out and play a game of peek-a-boo, older toddlers will enjoy playing pretend.
*A one-person tent. An easy to set up, small tent may take up the whole living room, but it is a great source of entertainment
*Dry rice. Try to keep it in the kitchen, off the carpet! Pots and spoons added and your toddler is ready to "cook" and it sweeps up easily.
*Finger paints and a plate (we use those new animal-faced paper plates, dd loves them).
* Play-Doh. The old stand by. I let dd all over the house with it though, so it ends up drying out! It is pretty cheap,Maybe not good for young toddlers since it looks so appetizing!
*A deck of cards and a shoe box with a slit cut in the top.
*Old egg cartons are fun for toddlers to collect things in. Maybe lay out some small items and ask your toddler to put them all in the carton (more for older toddlers)
*You could make up a dress up box of old clothes, like maybe some size 4 t-shirts from a yard sale, old scarves, stuff like that. Even little boys like this!
Ok, that is all I can think of right now. Nothing real creative, just so,e of what we have done over the past year and currently!
This cold weather sucks! We get bored here everyday!
I am going to by dd some good, useful toys, like a little shopping buggy for Christmas this year to help ward off this nothing-to-do-in-winter drag!
Sara
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#9 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 01:13 AM
 
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I'm in but please schedule me late in the list. You know, moving, house hunting, temp. housing, blah, blah, blah...

Analisa, Mama to Meg 12/12/01, Patrick 12/24/03, Catherine 12/24/03, Ben 2/26/06
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#10 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 02:35 AM
 
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Please include me, too. I'm brain dead now, but I'll try to come back with ideas this weekend.
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#11 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 02:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Guys, nice to meet some new people here! Just wanted to say that there's no pressure to send in ideas right now -- In fact, there have been multiple other threads where people write in w/activities, but I find them to be overwhelmingly long and therefore end up not really getting any help from them. What I was thinking was that we could have this be an ongoing forum where someone contributes a list of activities each week -- you know, a manageable number of things -- and then we can all check in each week to be refreshed with a few creative ideas. Then you also get plenty of notice before your week comes up, and you can do your own "research" of the toddler books. So nobody stress, okay?

Sounds like we've got a good group of moms who want to participate! Let's see how many others chime in over the weekend. Everyone have a good one!
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#12 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 05:01 PM
 
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I'm in. I already have some good ideas from reading this thread! The dry rice thing intriques me - I was thinking about beans or something but worried about choking. Rice never occurred to me!
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#13 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 05:15 PM
 
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i will read your posts later, cause im about to make lunch.

here are some activities we did last week.

1. put objects into a brown paperbag..have baby pull them out and then you tell them what it is....and they pull out another object. ****use different textures and colors** discuss the differences.

2. throwing a ball into an empty laundry basket!

3.puzzles! we love wooden animal puzzles--i got ours at target.



i'll post more and better ones next time, i look foward to reading yours! i need new ideas.
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#14 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 05:24 PM
 
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Count me in too! DD is 18 mos. We like to make sock puppets and finger puppets to play around with. She also sits in a little tub and takes a "boat ride" in it she loves that. I also let her help me cook by stirring, dumping the cup of sugar in ect.
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#15 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 06:56 PM
 
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I'm in!

Is this a bad mommy thing to do? Ds (13 mos) has not yet learned how to unscrew caps, so I've been giving him plastic spice containers with rice, beans, cloves, peppercorns, etc in them. He loves things that rattle. I promise I won't do this anymore once he has figured out how to open them!

Thanks for the thread, El! We'll definitely need it come Jan/Feb/March...
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#16 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 07:00 PM
 
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I have four kids, ranging from 24 months to 10 years. We are homeschooling. We lean towards unschooling, so I have a very structured environment that encourages them to dive in and learn.

It may be easier to explain how I've set our house up. I tend to go with a lot of Waldorf materials (nature-based) but I like Montessori ideas as well.

We have a six room house. Two of those rooms are used as bedrooms, and there is nothing but beds and clothing storage in them, so the kids don't really play in their room (or ours).

Our family room is our "reading/music room".....there is the piano, instruments (guitars and other small items), the computer, bookshelves and seating. The books are all at their level, and they are welcome to read whatever they want as long as they put it back when they are done.

Our kitchen has a Community Playthings sink unit, which has a sink that is actually a dishpan sunken into the top. Underneath there are two doors and plenty of storage for all of the kids' kitchen utensils.....they have plates, cups and bowls, mixing, cutting, slicing and grating tools, as well as a few plastic boats, people and cups for water play. My two younger kids LOVE using this unit.....I fill it up with water, colored water or snow, and they scoop and pour to their hearts' content. My 24 month old has been using this for quite a while now.

Our playroom has a train table, a block area (dollhouse, unit blocks, small colored blocks, tree blocks, lincoln logs, plus little wooden animals, cars, people, trees and signs), a housekeeping corner (wooden kitchen, cradle, highchair, table/stools, cash register, scales, chalk board, dress-up stuff, doll clothes, playstands and a rocking/step boat) The kids stage some pretty elaborate scenarios in the housekeeping area. Sometimes after they go to bed at night I'll go in and move the playstands around to make a cafe or store....something to fire their imaginations. They also use the blocks a LOT......they make entire cities with them.

Our front room is a combination of dining area and homeschool room. We've got a big table in there, plus a 2 1/2 by 4 foot sand table, two bookshelves (that hold math manipulatives, puzzles, table toys, etc) and a 6 1/2 foot long wooden bench (picture a picnic table cut in half lengthwise). My DH cut three holes in the top and I sunk three full-sized dishpans into it, thus making three "stations". In these pans I put various things......right now there are beans in one, along with scoops, cups and a sorting tray; in the second one there is modelling beeswax; and in the third there is a magnet kit, which has magnetic wands, marbles, hardware, etc. Some of the other things I put in there are: threading beads, balancing moon game (Hearthsong), our rock, shell or feather collection (along with a corresponding guide), small wooden marble run with a couple of marbles, stacking trolls (also from Hearthsong). We also have a nook that is curtained-off from the rest of the room......in there there are tons of shelves with games, reference books, reading tools, art/craft supplies, and a small craft work surface.

When I am working with the bigger kids, my younger two kids will use these stations, the sand table or some of the table toys. Sometimes I'll put the cover on the sand table and use the top for playdough or finger paints. They also enjoy drawing/scribbling with crayons.

If I could have nothing else for my kids, I would make it a priority to have a sensory table......it is easily made by taking an old coffee/end table and making a hole on the top to sink a full-sized dishpan or similarly-sized plastic container. That way, you can vary what's in it.....beans, rice, sand, water, snow, ice, playdough, or messy toys like the magnet kit, threading beads, etc. If you use an endtable/cabinet, it can double for storage underneath. My 24-month old son has been using ours since he could pull himself up to it, and he will spend hours a day sifting sand, or sorting beans and rice, or splashing in water.

Good luck, and as I think of stuff, I'll post!

Jen/Twelveducks
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#17 of 56 Old 12-14-2002, 10:23 PM
 
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Wow, twelveducks, your house sounds so cool! Can we come over to play, I mean learn? What a great environment for home learning!

Jenn

PS: Thanks for the idea of the learning table. I think I am going to scour the yard sales for an end table this spring.

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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#18 of 56 Old 12-15-2002, 01:24 AM
 
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I'm in NH! :P

Yes, yardsales are a wonderful resource. I'm very lucky in that my DH is constantly bringing home "dump finds"....so many things in this house were thrown away before we got them! Not that you'd know it......I really like to paint stuff, so it usually gets a good coat of white paint and it looks brand-new.

Jen/Twelveducks
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#19 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 12:45 AM
 
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Just lurking but thought I'd share something that worked for me when "desperate" - pulling up a chair to the sink in the kitchen, and filling it a little with water, and totally surrounding the floor with towels - then giving plastic cup, ladle, a few toys, etc and letting my ds play in sudsy water. He still loves to do it now at 2 1/2 but when he was from maybe a 16 months to about 2 it was a lifesaver (he was a very early walker and great balance etc). I was able to prep dinner, cook or whatever with him beside me and redirect him, and often if he got wet enough he got a bath in there too as the finale. You could also do other things in there, like shaving cream, or whipped cream or like the pouring beans idea whatever to keep in contained. Now he likes to get up there and "clean" with a diaper wipe and his cars or especially the sponge - he loves to pretend to clean. And you get a wet floor and towels which you can scrub around with your feet and get a moderately clean floor out of the bargain too.

HTH somebody
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#20 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 02:20 AM
 
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The bowl of dried rice and the playing cards with shoe box were hits in our house this weekend! Yay!
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#21 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 11:19 AM
 
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I'll take a week!! Let me know when!!
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#22 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 01:45 PM
 
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Count me in too! I used to be an elementary school teacher, and I had no problem thinking of ideas for my students, but my 16 month old, now that's a different story! :
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#23 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 06:38 PM
 
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I'm loving some of these ideas. I plan to try a few. I'd like to contribute too.

DD could spend hours in the bathtub pouring water from empty shampoo bottles into cups and a plastic easter egg. She puts the lids on and squirts the water onto herself and pretends to wash her own hair. She just had a birthday and someone got her this great cup with holes in the bottom that she can give her rubby ducky showers with too.

Today it was pretty enough to go outside and "mow the lawn." Our next door neighbors just got two puppies so that was a big hit today too. We have bamboo in the back yard and we pretend that it's the jungle and look for monkeys and tigers. We call out for them and everything. We have a clothes line that we like to chase each other around sort of like tag. We like to play hide and seek around the big evergreen tree and sometimes we pull out the bubbles (the glycerin ones that don't pop when you catch them.)

When we're stuck inside we do a lot of cooking. DD has a rolling pin and spoons, pots/pans, a teaset. While I cook she likes to pretend she is making hot tea. I have her little table and chairs in the kitchen so she uses it as her stove. She also pulls up her chairs to the counter and helps me pour the ingredients in.

I'll share more as I think of them.
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#24 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 08:02 PM
 
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I'm in for a week. One of my goals for myself is to learn how to stay at home with dd. I am generally always working on getting us somewhere else, and I think that is stressful and doesn't allow her to explore anything at her own pace.

I am planning to hide little things inside little boxes and tins and other containers about the house in places she goes. She loves it when she gets surprised.
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#25 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 08:09 PM
 
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Here's a good one for holiday time, that I read in a great book called "Things to do with Toddlers and Twos" -- take a wrapping paper tube and some little balls (we used the cats' toy balls with the bell inside) and show the child how to roll the ball through the tube. You can hold or tie the tube up on something at an angle (ie along a stair banister or between two chairs) or you can just hand it to the child. DS put the ball down the tube many times and thoroughly enjoyed discovering that it came out the other end.

Another idea I want to try soon is to take some velcro tape and felt and cut out a shape from the felt. I'm going to cut mine in the shape of a Christmas tree. Then with other felt I'll cut little "ornaments" and put the velcro tape on them and DS can decorate the tree over and over by sticking the ornaments on.
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#26 of 56 Old 12-16-2002, 11:25 PM
 
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Count me in also. I was just going through some books last night to come up with some new ideas!! I will post some in a bit.
Thanks!
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#27 of 56 Old 12-17-2002, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Looks like we've got a good crowd here! I'll make up a schedule for posting and we can begin after the holidays.

For those of you who already posted lots of ideas, do you still want me to assign a week to you?
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#28 of 56 Old 12-17-2002, 03:14 PM
 
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I think it would be a great idea for each of of to be assigned a week. I wouldn't mind thinking up some new ideas
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#29 of 56 Old 12-18-2002, 08:37 PM
 
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Another fun thing we did yesterday was

I cut flowers and shapes (triangles squares etc) from craft foam and when I cooked pasta, the shapes stick on the condenstaion on the window. Also you can play flower collecting by throwing the flowers on the floor and picking them up and putting them in a basket.

The greatest part was that DD tried to stick the shapes up there this morning when there wasn't any condensation. It cracked me up. But you can spray the water on the window it works too. Of course I don't mind fingerprints on my windows. My mother will be mortified.

I'll take a week. Maybe I will also try to summarize the activities already mentioned sometime
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#30 of 56 Old 12-19-2002, 03:25 AM
 
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