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November 18, 2013

10 Easy and Fun Toddler Time Activities

After the debacle of homeschooling with a toddler last year, I went into this year with a firm grip on reality; He's in charge!

As much as I would like to say that, "We set our ship on a straight course each morning and while we may veer slightly when needed, we always get to our destination".....I can't!

Critter is like the iceberg that took down the Titanic! Sinking our school ship is no feat for my pint sized tot. The only thing that keeps our day from crashing to the bottom of the ocean is PREPERATION!

Last year in my original blog entry Toddler Time, I gave over 15 ideas for keeping young children like my little Critter busy during school. He was 19 months when we started homeschooling for the first time. Now, at 2 1/2, he needs more things to keep him stimulated, interested, focused and learning. Also, now that he is older, I not only want to keep him busy so that I can teach, but I want him to be learning at the same time.

So here is what we have done so far. Even if you don't homeschool, these are fun ideas to buy you a few minutes in your busy day.

                                                                                  
                         FISH BOWLS 
These were so fun and simple to make! I just used my Cricket machine and cut out big fish bowls in several colors, with seaweed and sand cut-outs for decoration. I glued them together and then laminated them. Then I cut out large fish with my Cricket, drew on smiley faces and laminated them as well. If you want to make something like this, you could do it by hand and skip the laminating step. In hind sight, I really wish I would have used a true green, instead of the yellow-green color, but it was all I had at the time.

Critter LOVES to play this game! Now that he is starting to get the matching down, he really loves to pretend like he is confused and puts all the fish into the wrong color fish bowl!


SAND



















Always a favorite and it keeps him busy longer than any other activity. I added in a paintbrush & he uses it to brush all the little grains of sand from his toys.


LETTERS ON A COOKIE SHEET
Obviously, Critter is not going to be learning all the letters of the alphabet this year. These are actually for his brothers to use for spelling games. However, it is good for his fine motor skills to move magnets around of differnent shapes and sizes. Also we can count, line them up in rows, sort colors, and.....when all else fails, BRING IN THE MONSTER TRUCKS!!



COUNTING BEARS
These are from the older kids' math manipulates.
They are cute and fun and Critter loves to play and sort them into cups.
Our favorite sports team in this house, wears green and yellow. He gets a little confused with those two colors because he thinks they belong together, as you can see!


HIDE-N-SEEK
This game reminds me of the Turtle Shell game they had on The Price Is Right! It's pretty cute to watch him try to find the hidden erasers, especially when he is hiding them from himself!
TAPE TRACK
I use masking tape or blue painters tape and make race tracks for him in the dining room...




...and the living room, AND across the furniture!
PAINT, PAINT, PAINT
With SPONGES 
With BRUSHES
With STAMPERS

With FINGERS
I love the Crayola finger paints and the giant 4 paint palet option for toddlers. It is so much easier for him to control his brush and get the color he wants. Not that that matters after a few minutes, when they all blend into unknown marbled options!



DITALINI NOODLES
I colored these very dark and bright by using rubbing alcohol and food coloring gel.
They are great for pouring and scooping.




PIPE CLEANER NOODLING
This takes a LOT of concentration for Critter to bead these little ditalini noodles onto the pipe cleaners. We haven't done it this school year, so he may now be more coordinated. In the end, after lots of encouragement to keep him going, he was one proud boy of his bent up pipe cleaner and noodles!



GEL BOARD
This is dollar tree hair gel, squeezed into a Ziplock bag with glitter glue and beads. I taped it down to a white board, wrapped it in contact paper, and coverd the edges with ducktape to seal it in. Next time I won't wrap it so tight, but I was afraid of a major mess happening when he got his hands on it. Ideally, he could push the beads around with ease and trace around with his finger. As it is, he just gets annoyed. 



SCISSORS
This may seem like a no brainer, but my kids have all started using scissors around age 2. It is great for dexterity and offers a mental challenge to manipulate both the scissors and the paper at the same time. Critter has a shoebox that he keeps all his little scraps inside. It's like a million miniature trophies that he loves to touch and sort and show to everyone!






So, there you have it! Another installment of how I keep my sanity, daily.
Well...this, coffee and a lot of prayer! 


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