Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas Theme - Toddler

Welcome to Sweet E's first official tot school post! We have enjoyed a few activities together here and there. But now that she is 19 months old I decided to begin intentional learning themes, just as I did with her older siblings. We're starting slowly, but take a look at what we did throughout the month of December:

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I made some homemade playdough in red and green during her nap one day. When she woke up I provided a few simple tools and cutters to go along with them.

She was curious! She loved squishing her fingers into them!

I helped her with the cookie cutters, but she enjoyed poking around with the tools all by herself. 

I later handed these doughs over to Honey Pot and Little M&M, along with a plethora of other tools and small parts for imaginative play, and they had a blast!

Magnet Play
For her next activity, I provided her with jingle bells, a magnetic wand and MagnaTiles. I showed her how the jingle bells can stay on the MagnaTile "trees" and invited her to add some more. 

She loved how they stuck on there!

So she added lots more! Awesome fine motor action at work!

Then she decided to play with the cup of jingle bells. What a fun sound it makes when I shake it!

This of course led to a mess (which was fun to make) so I showed her how to use the magnetic wand to clean them up. 

As an invitation to the older kids, I challenged them to use our entire MagnaTile collection to build a larger tree, and decorate it with several more magnetic bells. They rose to the challenge and made one as high as the ceiling! It was a great way to offer this simple toddler activity to the big kids in a new and exciting way.

Christmas Coloring Pages
A Dollar Tree coloring book. Pretty self-explanatory, but still a must in our theme because Sweet E loves scribbling with markers!

Paint Play
This was Sweet E's first time using paints. She received Little M&M's old smock, which has held up great over the years. I provided her with a squirt of paint in red and green, as well as paintbrushes and thick paper.

After trying to use the brushes, she decided to use her fingers instead. I'll allow it! Look at how fun it is!

I wanted to try a footprint craft while we had the paints out. So I painted her foot brown, and we attempted a reindeer. This was her first time using glue as well, and she really loved it. We'll have to work this into future themes soon!

The finished craft:

Ball Pit Laundry Basket
We did this activity last Christmas as well, and had to do it again while she still fits in there. She just loves climbing in and out of it!

Puzzle Pieces + Sensory Bin
A Dollar Tree blend of dry beans! She found this in my craft closet from when Little M&M used to play with it, so I pulled it out for today's activity. This was perhaps her favorite yet! I hid the puzzle pieces inside the bin, and she had to dig them out and put them where they belong.

She loved it so much, we did this twice in a row.

Then I extended the activity by adding some scoopers and a small container.

I was so surprised at how ready she was for this scoop-and-pour activity. And even more so at how careful she was. We had minimal mess to clean up when she was done!

And all sensory bins end with the feet going in! How very like her big siblings she is!

Sticker Tree
I came across this activity on Busy Toddler and thought it was just perfect for Sweet E! I cut a tree out of poster paper, and the two of us colored it in. Then I peeled the border stickers away from the sheet, and allowed Sweet E to peel her own sticker "ornaments" to place onto the tree. She quickly got the hang of it!

She did this so independently, from start to finish! We talked about colors as she stuck them on. She went through the whole sheet of dot stickers, then later looked for more!

So easy, and so much fun! Dot stickers are the best!

Color Sorting
In the previous activity, as Sweet E was placing stickers onto the tree, I noticed her matching colors. I would say, "Is that a yellow sticker" and she would gesture toward other yellow stickers she placed on the tree already. So I wondered if she was ready to sort colors yet.

She was so willing to try, and did really well with this activity!

Balls + Sensory Bin
I wanted to extend the activity a bit, and use those ball pit balls with some water! Sweet E loved scooping the balls up with her ladle and placing them in the bucket.

Eventually she sunk her hands into there too! She enjoyed splashing around, and experimenting with the ball pit balls. 

Shaving Cream Hidden Colors
Honey Pot and Little M&M were using shaving cream paint in the bathtub, and I wanted Sweet E to enjoy an activity too. So I placed some in a zip-top bag with a couple drops of food coloring, and allowed her to squish it around a bit to reveal the color inside. She kept looking at her hands to see if they were messy (LOL). I think she was disappointed that they weren't!

Dot Marker Coloring Pages
These markers were always a hit with Little M&M, so I bought a brand new set for Sweet E. I found several cute dot marker templates over at The Resourceful Mama, and printed a couple for her to enjoy. 

I helped show her how to use them, by filling in some of the circles myself, and Little M&M decided to help with the border.

All in all, it was a successful first theme for Sweet E. And I am so excited to continue our activities together!