Choose a Craft
If you’re like me you get distracted by all of the adorable themed arts and crafts activities and forget about regular coloring and painting. Take this opportunity to let your child do whatever they want whether it is painting, drawing, coloring, molding with dough… see what they choose.
Creativity, fine motor, planning, follow through
Hold a spoon with one hand. Place the golf ball on the large part of the spoon and demonstrate to your little one how it can balance if you keep it steady. Now, show them what happens with you tip it. It falls off. Let them try balancing the golf ball while walking around. Too easy for your older toddler? Let them try holding the golf ball on a smaller spoon or between a large pair of tongs.
Stuff to Have
-Cereal or soup spoon
-Golf balls (or similar size ball)
Fine motor, hand-eye coordination
Make 5 large fish in different colors of construction paper, and make 5 small fish to correspond to the colors of the large fish. This is an activity of matching. Matching the mommy fish to the baby fish based on color. Let your child play with how to match the fish together, all along describe what they are doing and what you are doing. If they enjoy matching, they can also sort by size, putting all of the big fish together and all of the little fish together.
Stuff to Have
-Mommy fish: 5 large construction paper fish (all different colors)
-Baby fish: 5 smaller construction paper fish (corresponding to the mommy colors)
Early math (matching and sorting), fine motor, problem solving
Early Science & Math
Let your child choose 3 colors of food coloring. Talk about the names of the colors that they choose. Help your child squirt drops of food coloring into the cups of water- a color per cup- unless you are feeling really artistic and want to mix colors. (Adding these colors to the water cups is an activity in itself!) Use this opportunity to describe to them what is happening when the color goes into the water. Then give it a little swish with a spoon so that the color blends evenly. Now let your child (or help younger children) set 1 stalk of celery into each of the colored waters. Ask what they think is going to happen. Now, go play for a little while but periodically check back to see if any changes are happening. Each time have your child think or talk about what changes are going on in the celery. You should over time start to see the water being drawn up into the celery causing parts of it to take on the color that it is in.
Stuff to Have
3 stalks of celery
3 colors of food coloring
3 cups of water, divided
Colors, early science (water properties and plant growth, observation, fine motor
Cooking & Baking
Work together to blend the food coloring into the cream cheese. This will be the “grass” for the animals. Spread the green cream cheese on the graham cracker and let your child play with the animals on the “grass.” If they eat it right away, that’s ok too.
Stuff to Have
1 Graham cracker
1-2T cream cheese, dyed green with green food color
5 or 6 animal crackers
Makes 1 serving.
Early math, early science, fine motor
Along with these different activities make sure there is plenty of opportunity for large muscle movement, reading books, singing and rhyming every day.
To get large muscle groups working you can do things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler… get creative and have fun doing this together. One fun activity is to pretend to be zoo animals, hop like a kangaroo, run like a cheetah, waddle like a penguin… then, go inside for a snack of Animals on grass!
Get lot’s of reading in too. I’m sure you have a lot of favorite books, we do too. We also like to go to the library and pick up books that relate to what we are doing. Look for books with stories about summer, swimming, camping, going to the beach, flying in an airplane, driving in a car, going to the zoo… whatever relates to your family’s summer. Read the books, talk about the pictures, the colors, and what things are similar to your child’s world.
And don’t forget music and rhymes! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be particularly musical to include music and rhymes in your day, your kids aren’t judging you and there’s no one else listening! The sing songy-ness of music and rhymes is instrumental in literacy and language development (think future reading), plus it’s fun, it gets kids moving, and it can be a great way to change a rough day into a happy one!