Easy & Fun At-Home Learning for Toddlers/Preschoolers
It's been 13 days since schools in my area have been shut down, leaving me with no work until further notice. Although my daughter's daycare has been open, I have made the personal choice to keep her home with me. I didn't want to take any risk of exposing her, even if the chances of that happening are minimal. I just wouldn't feel right being at home and having her out there away from me while all of this is going on. I understand that many don't have the same privilege as I do and I definitely do not take that for granted, at least I've been making sure I don't every single day.
I wanted to share some quick (no planning necessary) and fun learning activities with my fellow moms who are also staying at home with the kiddos. These activities can easily be incorporated into your day in order to keep the younger (ages 2-3) ones entertained as well as providing a daily dose of developmental learning. If you have a toddler around this age, you most likely understand how tough it can be to keep them from getting into trouble, having a tantrum, or just simply crying for your attention. I also will be sharing some of the daily routines I've been doing with my 2 year old daughter these past few days since she's been home from daycare. I hope it can serve as an example for you moms out there who also have children in this age group.
Animal Face-Color & Shapes Recognition
I literally came up with this in less than a minute when I began to realize she was getting antsy and bored.
1. On a blank white sheet of paper, holding the paper portrait, draw in the shapes that would make up the face of a cat.
2. Draw two medium size triangles on the top of the page for the cat ears. *Try as best as you can to keep them both the same size.
3. Draw 2 circles underneath for the eyes and 2 ovals for the inside of the eyes.
4. Draw a small upside down triangle for the nose.
5. Draw a straight line down and a curving down smiley for the mouth.
6. Take pink or red colored paper, draw the medium size triangle for the ears. Fold the paper in two layers and cut 2 triangles.
7. Take pink or red colored paper, draw the small size triangle for the nose and cut.
8. Take yellow/brown/green paper, draw the oval shape. Fold the paper in two layers and cut 2 ovals.
9. Take a black sheet of paper and cut 4-6 thin strips for the whiskers. *You can also use pipe cleaners for this part if you have it.
10. Lay out all the shapes next to the quick cat face sketch and ask your child to try to match the colored shapes where they belong on the drawing in order to complete the face. Glue down all the shapes as you say their names and colors out loud and have your child repeat. ("Where does the RED BIG TRIANGLE go? etc.)
11. Glue down the whiskers.
12. Using a black marker outline the facial shapes and mouth.
*You can use this same craft idea to make a bunny face, a puppy face, or any other animal. The idea is to try to incorporate some basic shapes along with colors that your child can identify.
Creative Art Project-School Bus
As I was getting ready to throw out an empty cardboard box, I decided to allow my daughter to use it to create something fun. She loves singing "The Wheels on the Bus" so, I asked her, "Do you want to make a bus with this box?". She immediately responded, "Yes" and was super excited to work on this project. I told my husband to help her out with this one while I got dinner ready.
-Empty Cardboard Box
1. Using construction paper and tape, wrap the outside of the box completely in the desired color.
2. Using red construction paper, cut out small circles for the front and back signal lights.
3. Although my husband forgot, using white construction paper, cut out circles for the headlights and glue it to the box.
4. Using black construction paper, cut out a small circle for the exhaust and glue it to the back lower part. Add some smoke drawings with a black marker.
5. Using black construction paper, cut out 4 circles for the wheels on the bus and glue it.
6. Draw in the front windshield wipers, the side windows, the door, and the bus driver with a marker.
7. I would've also added the red stop sign on the side of the bus which my husband missed.
After they were all done making this, my daughter spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out how she could sit inside of the bus. Therefore, if you just so happen to have a big empty box that your child can actually sit it in, that would be even more of a hit!
I found this Frozen II outdoor chalk set on one of my very last visits to the DollarTree. The great thing about this set besides the fact that it literally cost $1, is that they each came with a holder which can be replaced with more chalk when needed.
1. My daughter was super excited especially when she saw that this was a Frozen chalk set so, at the beginning of the activity, I allowed her to free draw on the ground.
2. Begin drawing the hopscotch boxes as desired. I only did 1-8 because I know this is her first time trying this. As you draw, explain that you are going to be playing a hopping game with numbers and boxes.
3. Do a demonstration to your child of how to get thru the boxes while counting out loud.
4. Now let your child try, counting with them as they go. Remember it's okay if he/she messes up, the point is really to keep them counting and hopping.
I think this is a great learning activity as well as a great way to get your little one actively moving and using up some of that energy they have from being stuck at home all day. Heck, I had so long I didn't play this game it reminded me of when I was a little girl in elementary playing this with my friends and it just brought me so much joy to be able to now play it with my daughter. This is a fun, educational activity that promotes both healthy bodies and minds.
Here are a few of the routines I've been able to accomplish with Celine for this week.
Please keep in mind, by no means were any of these routines or activities planned ahead of time. All of this just happened spontaneously as we went about our day which is why I believe everything has been working so far. For the most part, I've been able to keep her on somewhat of a routine since she's been home and I think going with the flow of the day instead of stressing to stay consistent with a plan has helped with this tremendously. It is important to understand that children at this age are very unpredictable and can easily become bored. Before you know it, they're ready to move on to something else. Although I usually have been coming up with these things in the spark of the moment, I try to always include a bunch of different educational activities and then break it up with more liberal and fun activities, in order to avoid any frustrations both from myself and my daughter. Some parents may disagree with the amount of t.v. time I sometimes include in my daughter's day. However, I strongly feel that it all depends on what it is you allow your child to watch that can hinder or benefit them. Most importantly, how else are we going to get anything that we need to get done at home if we are dedicating our entire day to our children. As caregivers, we deserve 30min. to an hour of our own time in which our kids are entertained and not in desperate need of our attention. Another thing that I always keep in mind as the day goes along in order to not cause stress on myself, is that as long as I accomplish being consistent with meal times, naps, and most importantly bedtime, our day will almost always turn out to be a great one. Toddlers at this stage of life are continuously learning, whether it be by watching you cook dinner, singing a song together, or even by watching you tidy up the house and do the laundry. Remember, there can be a learning experience in everything you do throughout your day with your little one, you just gotta' make it one...
...Sew This is Life!