Spring Week 9: April 30-May 4
At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson
There is just a little prep for you before getting started on this activity. Free hand a petal template and use it to make 5-7 petals. You can do it! I have free handed petals for the last 5 years, and drawing is NOT my strong suit. Then cut out a stem (just a long very skinny rectangle, leaves, and a circle out of orange or yellow for the center of the flower.
Now your child can build their flower by gluing the petals to the round center, and then the stem and leaves. Just like any art project with a toddler or preschooler, the process of putting it together is what they will learn from. The final product isn’t really important. Offer suggestions, but let your child take the lead in making their creation. They will learn what a flower looks like with time, right now they are practicing fine motor skills and learning about the different materials and colors. If you wanted, you could make your own flower ahead of time if you would like to demonstrate to children what they could make, or sometimes it is fun to make your own along side of your child. This way you can narrate what you are doing, while giving your child ideas for their own project. Keep the age and experience of your child in mind as you go through this activity and assist as you see appropriate for your child.
Stuff to Have
Flower parts: 5-7 petals, stem, leaves, yellow or orange round center
Markers, crayons, paint (optional)
Fine motor, colors, problem solving
Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.
Stuff to Have
Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors
Fine motor, colors
Early Science & Math
Several years ago when I was working with one year olds, I learned that adding food color to water was a fun and easy early science activity for that age group. This activity extends on that by adding the carnation component. You’ve probably all done this activity at some point in your life, and it’s always fun to see the final product.
Let your child pick out a food color to add to the water for the carnation. Let them squeeze in a few drops and give it a little stir. It will be exciting to watch how the color changes the water. Trim off a small amount of the carnation stem, and then place it in the colored water. Talk about how the carnation is just like us, it needs water to live but instead of drinking it uses it’s stem like a straw to suck up water from the cup. It will take some time for the carnation to change, so find something else fun to do and check back periodically to see if there are any changes to the petals. The colored carnation will be fun to see, and will maybe start building a little understanding of how the water went from the cup all the way to the flower petals making it a fun early science activity.
Variation: leave one carnation out of water and the other in the water. Compare over several days how they are different.
Stuff to Have
White carnation (as many as you would like to color)
Glass of water
Food colors of your child’s choice
Cooking & Baking
I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t always gotten this one to work for me! It’s a fun process though… so plan on abstract flower cookies! Roll dough into balls and roll each ball in a colored sugar. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Once dough balls are on the sheet use kitchen scissors to cut the balls in half. Then, cut each half into three parts. This should kind of result in a 6-petal flower, but don’t open the petals up, it actually worked better for me when I smooshed them down a little bit and then as they bake they kind of spread out into a flower shape. Bake according to package or recipe instructions.
This is a great activity for your child to roll and dip into the sugar, you can do the cutting of the dough, and then they can enjoy watching the transformation through the oven door, and tasting their creation!
Stuff to Have
Sugar cookie dough, homemade or store bought
Various pastel sugars
Baking, science, fine motor, colors