List of toddler activites - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 05-04-2006, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A while back I offered to post my list of toddler activities. Some of these we've tried, some we haven't. Some are my ideas, some are not. So, if you have any great tv-free ideas, please post here. Let's make a huge list!

Obviously, please take into account the safety of your toddler. Some ideas would not be good for a toddler who still puts everything in his/her mouth.

--A collection of various bottles and caps to match up. My DS loves to take lids off and put them back on.

--Painting. Finger paints, watercolors, painting on construction paper with plain water.

--Play dough. My DS loves to play with bread dough!

--Build a fort with couch cushions, under tables, etc.

--Get outside. Go to the park. Collect various items from nature. Feed the ducks.

--Cut a design in a half potato and let DC use it as a stamp. This makes great wrapping paper.

--Make big chunks of ice with food coloring in it. Let DC play in bath, kiddie pool, etc.

--This is silly and obvious but a friend does this with her DS so she can "wake up" in the morning. Hard boil an egg. Let DC peel it. This can take quite a while.

--Stickers and paper.

--My DS loves to water the plants outside. He has his own little watering can.

--Let DC tear small pieces of tissue paper and stick them onto clear contact paper. Cover with another sheet of contact paper. Use as a placemat, or cut into shapes and place in window as "suncatchers."

--Balloons. Filled with air or water.

--My DS loves to play with water. When I am trying to cook, I will put an inch or two of water in the sink, and turn the faucet on in a very slow stream. I'll give him measuring cups, bowls, spoons, etc. This makes a HUGE mess, but it's only water.

--Put the stopper in your kitchen sink, put a squirt of dishwashing liquid in, Turn the water on high and fill the sink with lots of bubbles. Then reach down, pull the stopper out to drain the water. Most of the bubbles will stay behind for DC to play with.

--Boxes or bowls with beans or buttons to sort.

Okay, this is all I have for now. Hope this helps!!!
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#2 of 28 Old 05-04-2006, 10:43 PM
 
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some are mine
some are not

outside play what do i hear (try and ID different sounds...plaine, bird, whatever)

we like to sort her toys according to atribute (can you tell i used to be ateacher?...this is a preschool-1st grade math standard): like dump out her stuffed animals and make a pile of all the animals who are big in one pile and little in another...or make noise (squeak, play music whatever) in one pile and all the quiet ones in the other, or sort by type (all bunnies, all bears) or color...
coutn each pile predict which one will have more....this is a very early form of graphing and is fun way to clean up a room....

make simple doughs and use rolling pins and cookie cutters and cook them...(anything tastes good when you use flour water adn butter adn then cover it with jelly when it is out of the oven!)

go to the library...if she finds a book she loves, i take her to the computer and and help her find more books by the same auther and then we find them on the shelf....sometimes we even have to order them from other libraries...lots of excitement there

if we read a book about a certain place we look it up on the map

she sends (And gets) mail with alot of relatives and my friends

my dd loves to type her dad email's while he is at work....she has learned how to type (all by herself) "dada" and "love" this way

read a story then act it out (let child take the creative lead) but i will use eyeliner on her face to make a kitty nose and wiskers after we read a book about a cat and i will be a character adn she will be a character all day....(better than child wanting to be dora or cinderella, IMO)

my dd just loves ot shadow me while i clean (most of the time!!) and she really surprises me with her growing skills, the other day she actually hung up all her dress on coat hangers...or helps me match socks
she will help me write th grocery list and help me locate the items in the store...adn check them off the list...
and at the health food store, she LOVES the bulk bin process...scooping and pouring and finding the PLU # and helping me write it on the tag.
sometimes i even let her pick he rown bulk snack and give her a $ to pay at the check out and she gets to get her change etc...(she loves it!)

and we aregetting into the pool thing now that it is hot: today i had her in a bathing suit with built in floaties at the waist and she had 2 noodles under her arm pits and i wrapped the noodles around her back and held both ends...
i then used her and the noodles like this as a kick board and kicked several laps at the pool and she kicked too...it was fun exercise.

treasure hunt in the sand....cover several items up with sand and try to find them all.
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#3 of 28 Old 05-05-2006, 02:58 AM
 
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Some things we like to do:

Ride bikes

go for walks

water plants

dance (a LOT!)

sing

line matchbox cars up in rows and drive them around

dig in the dirt

use scissors to cut paper

art projects of all kinds

stack empty spools from thread into towers

cook (she LOVES infact - insists - on spreading her own stuff on bread. jelly, peanut butter, etc)

i second the water in the sink idea - she loves to wash, pour, dump, fill, you name it. she could spend hours playing at that. she's also a very good helper at washing the actual dishes. I wash, she rinses, I stack.

count money - she just moved up to paper money, but before that we were doing lots of change

she likes to get dressed and "go to the store". her outfits are hilarious!

sidewalk chalk rocks!

look at bugs

go to the park

i let her help wash the floors - i give her a wet towel and she scoots her feet all over the floor dragging the towel along under them. does that make sense? LOL

I give her all the junk mail to open - she gets to keep the fake credit cards then she uses her scissors to cut the rest up.

Gosh - some days I don't feel like I do anything with her. Now reading this list I feel much better! lol These are pretty much our everyday activities. We don't do every one of them every day, but you get the idea. There are some that we only do occasionally - like making and sending handmade thank you notes for gifts - that I didn't list.
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#4 of 28 Old 05-05-2006, 04:31 AM
 
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Great ideas!

Just subscribing for now and will post this weekend.
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#5 of 28 Old 05-05-2006, 08:28 AM
 
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oh I so need these ideas thanks ladies will think and post some others later
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#6 of 28 Old 05-05-2006, 08:37 AM
 
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we go to contruction sites and watch are the machines work. (this helps satisfy ds's never ending obsession with back hoes, bulldozers, forklift. dumptrucks, etc..!)
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#7 of 28 Old 05-05-2006, 08:44 AM
 
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Great ideas!

My DD's latest obsession is washing the dishes (and her toys). I pull the learning tower up to the sink and fill a wash tub with warm water. She has a blast and I can get things done in the kitchen!!!
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#8 of 28 Old 05-05-2006, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All great ideas mamas! Let's keep them coming!!
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#9 of 28 Old 05-06-2006, 12:08 AM
 
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Great ideas! I need to come back later with some more...
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#10 of 28 Old 05-06-2006, 12:41 AM
 
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I taught dd to turn over rocks to look for bugs, and I swear she now fills about 1/3 of her day bug hunting.
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#11 of 28 Old 05-06-2006, 02:17 PM
 
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My daughter is incredibly melodramatic and one of our new activities is that I read a book outloud and she acts it all out. We do this over and over and over and she learns her "lines" so when the characters speak I stop narrating and she says her lines. Then when my dh gets home we put on a play for him. She loves it! We are currently staging "Jim Jump"
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#12 of 28 Old 05-06-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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Jeanie- it's funny, I have a 2.5 yo and we do pretty much all the stuff you said! Great thread.

More along the "helping" lines... help me dust with a duster and has a little broom to push stuff around with

Fuzzy balls- you can get them at the craft store- I give her tongs and she uses them to pick them up and move them from container to container- great for improving handstrength!

Lots of phone time, both real and pretend... a call to grandparents is a great way to redirect her if she is cranky... also lots of pretend phone calls to various friends.

She feeds our cats, and has been since she turned 2... I think this is a great preventative measure from playing in the food, she leaves the food alone unless she is feeding them, and has only sampled it 1-2 times.

An extrovert, married to my introverted dh since '01, mothering my girls C (2003) and G (2006).

 

Love homeschooling, reading, cooking (most of the time grain-free except for when I'm not ), lactivist, former and wanna-be cloth diaperer and baby-wearer...

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#13 of 28 Old 05-06-2006, 02:56 PM
 
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mud. hours of enjoyment. add water or dirt as neccasary.
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#14 of 28 Old 05-06-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyPage
She feeds our cats, and has been since she turned 2... I think this is a great preventative measure from playing in the food, she leaves the food alone unless she is feeding them, and has only sampled it 1-2 times.
LOL I forgot about this one. If I don't let her feed the dogs (twice a day) and put them in thier crates I get in a LOT of trouble. lol

I like your tongs idea. I'm going to have to try that one.
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#15 of 28 Old 05-30-2006, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(bump)

Anyone have any new ideas? We were doing so good....

My new one is giving DS buttons to sort and put in containers. He LOVES them.

He is also VERY into lids these days. Putting them on, finding the proper size, etc.
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#16 of 28 Old 05-31-2006, 07:23 PM
 
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When I'm cooking, ds will stand on his "helping chair" at the counter and help me fix the meal. I give him a bowl and some spoons, spatulas, etc. and all of the scraps of whatever I'm cooking--ends of carrots, potato peels, onion skins, etc.

Reading, reading, reading. At home or at the library.

He loves to stand at the sink, too, and wash cups, toys, whatever. I let the water run slowly and he gets into it big time. Lately he's been into the bathroom sink, too.

He loves the playground, the park, the local nature center.

The zoo--we have a family membership and have gone more times than I can count.
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#17 of 28 Old 06-01-2006, 01:33 AM
 
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The other day we looked at the newspaper inserts and found and named all the body parts depicted. (19-mo, kinda young for a lot of the previous ideas)
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#18 of 28 Old 06-01-2006, 04:53 AM
 
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we planted a garden together and she has her own spaecial little watering can which she uses to water them, they get watered half to death so i have to encourage her to water other plants too

Yesterday I took an old egg box and we went out into the garden to colect things and she caught on very quickly and we found feather, stones, flowers leave etc and she had a ball we then came inside and stuck them all on a big piece of paper, she was so proud of her picture when we were done.

At what age can they cut things? ( she is now 20months)
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#19 of 28 Old 06-01-2006, 08:34 AM
 
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We love water play here, too, but I give DS a baby bathtub, so he can slide his cars and guys down the slopes into the water. It also lets him play at the dining room table (read: out of my way when I'm in the kitchen trying to cook). For a variation I give him bubbles or food coloring to tint the water, or both. He also loves squirt bottles -- I save old dish soap and salad dressing bottles and he has a grand time squirting water with those.

He loves to sort/move/count dry beans. He has some construction-vehicle toys so the beans become "rocks" and he can play with those for a long time. I also give him a couple of different-shaped containers to put the beans in and out of -- a narrow-necked bottle, a shallow pan, etc.

We are making a felt board. I have a big (2-yard) piece of beige felt that I lay on the floor (until DP gets around to devising a way to hang it ) and a dozen or so smaller pieces of colored felt that I cut into various shapes. DS will ask for different shapes/objects, and then he can arrange and sort and play with and make up stories with the pieces on the large felt.

We make cards to send to friends and family -- with glue, pussywillows and other flowers, pieces of colored paper, stickers, and crayons. That's fun. The glue alone will keep him occupied for a long time. I also will sometimes cut colored paper to make shapes, then draw those same shapes in the same colors on a piece of typing paper. Then he matches them up and glues them down.

A while ago I cut a slit in the lid of a coffee can and let DS feed playing cards through the slit. It was only big enough to let one card through at a time. To extend that activity, I ask him to do only the red or black cards, only the face cards, the number cards in order, etc.

DS loves, loves, LOVES to type. We set up an old Imac in his playroom and I open up a Word doc, make the font fun and big (like, 72 pt) and let him go to town. He also adores www.starfall.com and begs to do it several times a day.

Somebody gave us a growth chart painted like a giraffe, made out of MDF, I guess we are supposed to nail it to the wall but it's pretty ugly so we keep it under the couch and use it as a slide for DS's toys and cars. You could use a big piece of cardboard (the side of a packing box, say) or even a wrapping-paper roll (empty, obvy) for a "tunnel" -- prop it up against the couch or chair or coffee table and gather all the cars/trains/little guys and let them slide/roll down. Bonus -- have races.

Puzzles, stickers, coloring, activity books, online games and stories, of course.

Not long ago I left out an envelope of pictures and DS had the best time laying out all the pictures, rearranging them, naming them ("this is Mommy and me, this is Mommy and Baby Pru" etc.) and then bringing them to me one by one ("Can you bring me a picture with Julian and Mommy? Now bring me a picture with the kitty in it") as I : surfed MDC :

Oh, and I recently taught him how to do the Hokey Pokey. God help me, I even downloaded the Wiggles version of the song, so I didn't have to listen to myself singing it anymore.

HTH! Keep the ideas coming!
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#20 of 28 Old 06-01-2006, 09:25 AM
 
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these are all wonderful. Dd is quite young still (13 months) but we have tried some of these, and I love all of them for later use.

Can I ask--where can I get a learning tower type chair, cheap???? She is a good stander, but not tall enough or stable enough that I want her standing just on a chair, yk? But I LOOOOOOVE cooking and I want her to be able to enjoy it too, not just hang out in the ergo...


Our ideas:
-sandbox
-water table (just got one, hours of enjoyment!)
-watering plants
-park -climbing slides, baby swings!
-indoor playground (there's a great one in our town)
-going for walks w/ergo
-sorting games--with blocks, plastic containers
-playing with clothes, socks, shoes, trying to put them on me, on her (while I fold laundry)-she also loves to try and put diapers on her head.
-SINGING! she loves to do action songs, and will do them over & over & over to cds, or to my lovely voice
-reading books (she doesn't always make it all the way through, but loves to hand them to you and have you read a few pages, and then hand you another one.

but I love some of these more creative crafty ones, and certainly will try an edible playdough with her sometime! (wheat free, as she's allergic).
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#21 of 28 Old 06-05-2006, 12:59 PM
 
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We've found some fun alternatives.

Because our toddler is a runner, and REAL fast, we only go to parks that are small and fenced. Or we walk with him, take him to indoor places that have play centers.

But at home we have lots of fun!

We have 2 kinds of "sand boxes". One is the regular sand box, which has a small layer (3 inches) of regular sand in a large-ish rectangular bin with a cover. For winter play and sand toys.

The other kind of sand is actually corn meal, in a smallish sealed container we pour into a cake pan. DS uses different tools of his making, spoons, etc. to play in it. He loves the texture of our fake sand.

We take pictures with words he's working on (photocopied) and cut them in half, then he gets to put them back together, saying the word each time. He then gets to glue each of them onto a piece of paper.

We have huge rolls of paper. We use a whole large sheet and after he's colored, painted, drawn on it we use it as gift wrapping, so family get 2 gifts at once.

When I'm working (from home via phone and internet) we discovered we need something for him to enjoy. We are working on making an outdoor water exploration kit. a few lengths of PVC pipe straight lengths and curves and attachments, some buckets, the kiddie pool full of water...so he can change them like blocks and still run water through them.

A clothes line hung a bit high that, when not in use, he can have a fort (we make it for him). We have to use a rug rather than let him on the grass to sit due to allergies and hives resulting though.

He helps make food. Breaks eggs for scrambled eggs, pours cup fulls of things in with my supervision.

He even plays on the internet when I'm doing paperwork at the desk (for supervision) with a stuffed animal that is called "webkinz". (That is one of the few places we let him play, though he absolutely loves all things computer and such.**just a note saying I don't benefit from webkinz, I just like the site.

He has his own keyboard and his own telephone during my work to play office with, and some paper and crayons and such.

We have an old poloroid camera that we occasionally get film for so he can take his own pictures. Even when we don't have film, he'll pretend to take pics and pretend to take them out and hand them to the person he took the picture of.

He helps me shape cookie dough for cookies.

He sweeps.

He acts out anything he's seen on the tele, or from any book we're reading.

Part of our bedtime ritual is that he gets a book read to him and his stuffed friends (he has 6 now that have to go everywhere...they have a soft bag from the grocery they travel in). Then he tells his friends and I about a book. Sometimes one book per friend, though he's very frustrated that he can't read, so I take over if he's very frustrated not being able to read the words.

We are occasionally given sticki notes by my family, and he loves "writing notes" and sticking them on everyone's bedroom door.

And another thing he enjoys is making "notes" for what we're going to do for the next day. He usually helps me draw a picture about what we do first, then next, then last. We use a long pipecleaner over and over, hanging it on our bedroom door. He LOVES these "to do" lists.

Just a few of the things we do.

Thank you for listening!

Kim Paluch
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#22 of 28 Old 06-05-2006, 06:33 PM
 
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We make an alphabet train -- we cut out big letters out of colored construction paper, line them up like a train and then go through the house and find things that start with each letter. It's hilarious --- especially when the ice or icecream for "I" melts and we stand on the letters for our name.
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#23 of 28 Old 06-05-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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Thanks, Mamas!

Samantha, Mama to Elizabeth, September 24, 2004
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#24 of 28 Old 06-06-2006, 05:14 PM
 
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Hi there...i've been following the thread as my dd is Very active and i don't always feel like i (or dh) am involving her enough. Most of these ideas are fab but seem to be more for older toddlers. Any suggestions for an active, highly mobile 12 monthe old who tastes tests Everything? (the more she likes it, the faster in the mouth it goes)
thanks
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#25 of 28 Old 06-07-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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This thread has lots more ideas, too!
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#26 of 28 Old 06-07-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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#27 of 28 Old 06-08-2006, 11:11 AM
 
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dh is obsessed with our spice drawer. He wants to take the spices out ... unscrew the caps, put the caps back on, sprinkle spices everywhere ...

SO: I bought those cool laundry bags from trader joes - they are paper bags filled with dried lavender and you put them in the dryer to make your clothes smell nice. I oped one up and filled a used spice bottle with the lavendar and let dh go to town. He was busy for nearly an hour - walking around sprinkling things with lavender (the dog, the couch, the bed, the floor) - putting lavender in bowls, putting it in cups. He loved it. Then, when he was done (it was empty), we brushed everything onto the floors and used the VACUUM (his second obsession) --

he got to play, I got some free time while he played, and then we got a clean and good-smelling house to boot!

I am drying some lavender from our garden right now, and I imagine you could use mint, chamomile, scented geraniums. Any edible, good smelling herb.
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#28 of 28 Old 06-08-2006, 12:14 PM
 
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I put little toys or snacks in those plastic easter eggs and bury them in the sand (she has a sandbox outside as well as a tub of sand for indoor play). The neighborhood kids love digging up the eggs as well (they are 4 and 5; DD is 17 mths).

We also play "find the pea." I put a pea under one of her stacking cups, with her watching, then move the cups around, and she lifts them til she finds it and eats the pea.
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