Activities for Infants and Toddlers

Apr 6, 2020 | Uncategorized

As caregivers, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to provide our children with opportunities to learn and grow. There are many things that parents can do in the early formative years to foster their child’s development. Here is a list of creative ideas to help you get started.

Birth – 6 months

Face Play: Your baby loves looking at your face. Play games making silly faces at your baby. Allow your baby to touch your face. Guide their hands to different parts of your face as you name them aloud.

Reaching: Place objects just out of your baby’s reach to encourage them to propel themselves forward during tummy time.

Music Time: Play simple children’s songs and sing along to your baby. Remember, repetition is great for language development. Your baby will enjoy hearing the same song over and over!

Texture Fun: Allow your baby to explore different textures. As they begin to scoot and crawl, put new fabrics, sticky contact paper, bubble wrap, tin foil, and other fun new textures in front of them to explore.

Fun with Reflections: Provide your baby with a mirror during tummy or play time. This allows them to explore their own facial expressions and movements. While holding your baby, stop in front of a mirror and talk to your reflections “Look at that baby! That is you. Look how happy you are.”

6-12 months

Taste-safe Finger Painting: Mix ½ c flour with ¼ c salt. Add a few drops of food coloring to ½ c water and stir into flour mixture. Whip until well mixed. Adjust amount of water for desired thickness of paint. Can keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.

Water Sensory: Fill a pan or shallow tote with water and allow your baby to splash and play with toys, cups, or kitchen utensils.

Indoor Climbing: Pile pillows and cushions on the floor and allow your baby to crawl and climb over and around them.

I Spy: Fill and empty clear plastic jar or bottle with sand and small items (a small plastic toy, bottle cap, clothespin, button, paper clip, etc.). Glue the lid shut, and allow your baby to play with the bottle. Now watch as they notice the objects appearing and disappearing!

12-24 months

Squishy Sponges: Give your child a container of water and a sponge. Show them how to wet it and go around wiping and washing things outside.

Wagon: Make a “wagon” for your child, tying a piece of string to a shoebox. They will have fun dragging it around the house, filling and emptying the box with whatever they find.

Popcorn: Hold the corners of a blanket with your child. Put small balls or stuffed animals on the blanket, and wave the blanket up and down, chanting “popcorn, popcorn, pop, pop, pop!” When all of the items have fallen off of the blanket work together to pick them up and play again.

Shadow Fun: Shine a flashlight on the wall of a dark room. Your child will have fun making shadows with their hands and small toys.

Basket Run: Fill a basket (box, large bowl, or other container) with balls or small toys. Set another container a few feet away, and show your child how to transfer the balls from one container to the other. They will have fun moving the objects back and forth.

Treasure Hunt: Give your child a basket or other container. Go on a walk and help let them find “treasures.” You might choose to look for leaves, rocks, or sticks. (Make sure to remove any items that may pose a choking hazard before letting them play with their treasures at home.) Older children may enjoy doing leaf rubbings when they get home with the leaves they find.

Ice Paints: Fill an ice cube tray with water and add a drop of food coloring to each cube. Use half of a popsicle stick to stir in the color, and leave the stick in the tray before freezing overnight. Your little one will enjoy painting and watching the colors mix on paper (watercolor paper works best), cardboard, or the sidewalk!

24-36 months

Bath Paints: Stir together 2 parts soap (preferably something tear free) and 1 part cornstarch. Portion into individual cups (or an ice cube tray) and add desired amounts of food coloring. Your child will get a change to have fun and be creative during bath time!

Bubble Snakes: Cut the bottom end off of a plastic water bottle, and cover the opening with an old sock. You can secure the sock with duct tape or a rubber band if needed. Dip the end with the sock into dish soap and water. Blow into the mouth of the bottle to make a “snake” of bubbles. You can add drops of food coloring to the sock for colored snakes.

Taste Safe Slime: Mix ¼ cup chia seeds into 1 ¾ cup  water with desired amount of food coloring. Cover the mixture and let it sit in fridge overnight. Uncover and slowly mix in ¾ cup cornstarch, mixing until you get the consistency you want. It should be slimy but easily come off your hands. Store slime in the fridge, and add a little bit of water each time you take it out to use it.

Toy Car Wash: Give your child a container of water, soap, a sponge, washcloth, and/or brush. Teach your children about cleaning and enjoy an engaging activity at the same time! If you worry about water on the floor, let them play outside, or sitting in the bathtub or on a beach towel on the floor.

Sensory Bottle: Fill a plastic water bottle or jar 1/3 with water and mix in food coloring. Fill the remainder of the container with baby oil (or cooking oil, if you don’t mind the yellow tint). Add glitter if desired. Glue the lid shut and watch as your child is amazed the swirling colors and bubbles. Variation: After mixing the contents of the bottle, drop in an Alka-Seltzer tablet. Now you can sit together and watch the colored bubbles rise and fall like a lava lamp.

Cardboard Box Car:  Help your child decorate a cardboard box to look like a car. You can use paper plates and brads to make wheels and a steering wheel, and markers or paint to add some color. You could even host a drive in movie!


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