Activities for Toddlers
childhood activities especially suitable for teaching toddlers. Seasonal
learning ideas that can be included in a wide variety of themes.
Preschool Activity Theme For ToddlersSensory: Pudding Paint
Michelle T. suggests this texture & taste toddler activity saying, "It was so much fun to watch them painting and eating at the same time. And with very young children you don't have to worry about them eating it or putting it in their mouth."
Materials: Instant pudding, food coloring, small containers for pudding, long sheet of bulletin board paper or heavy craft paper, soap and water.
Prepare pudding and tape paper to a table. Teachers can pre mix food coloring
with the pudding or let the children do it. Give each child their
own container of pudding, then let them use their fingers to do the rest.
Talk about how it feels between their fingers, about the taste, and the
Phone Book Beams
Materials: Old phone books, large sheets of paper and tape.
Description: Cover old phone books in paper (preferably using only one color). Make sure that you wrap (or bind) the entire book. Lay them out on the floor for toddlers to use as low balance beams.
For additional activities
that use inexpensive items take a look at Home
Animals On A
Materials: Clip art program or pictures of animals, for example; ants, monkeys, turtles and any animal that lives in a tree or that may sit on a log. Foot long tree branches, string to hang your branches up with and tape or glue. I find tape works best.
Just make copies of your pictures and have children cut out pictures
or teachers can pre cut them. Then have children tape the pictures to
For additional activities about animals take a look at the Animal Theme.
Ideas For Toddlers
Materials: Construction paper, feathers, paint, toilet paper rolls, glitter glue pens, clear contac paper and streamers.
Firecrackers: Try this for the Fourth of July. Paint toilet paper rolls red, white or blue. Then set aside to dry. Using glitter glue pens, draw on strips of white construction paper. When glitter is dry staple each strip inside the tube. Then glue a construction paper star to the end of the strip.
Sunflowers: Pre-cut yellow triangles and a brown circle. Ask each child to glue the yellow triangles around the brown circle. Then ask them to add a green streamer to the bottom of the flower.
Materials: Ovals made of red construction paper, about 8½ x 11. For black heads, small ovals of black construction paper attached to the top by the teacher. Black adhesive circles which are available at any office supply store (used for coding files).
Description: Each child is given one red oval ladybug with several strips of black circular stickers. The children then peel the stickers off the paper and attach them to their ladybugs.
Each ladybug is very unique because each child puts the stickers in different places. I fold the paper that the stickers come on so that the stickers partially pop up for the children who cannot scratch to get them off.
Crawlers Theme is in the Rainbow
While the children are drinking and making shakes listen to Raffi's
My Sillies Out.
Materials: Lunch paper bag and cotton balls.
Description: Place cotton balls in a lunch size bag. Ask the child to reach into the bag and grab a handful of cotton balls. Put the cotton balls on the floor and count them out loud as the child watches, or helps.
More sensory activities are in the award winning 5 Senses Theme
Materials: Three or more tin cans that fit inside each other; edges sanded if not smooth; contact paper a solid color; pictures from any book or song that you are going to use.
Description: Cover each nesting can with solid colored contact paper. Use clip art graphics or copies from felt board or storytelling books to create images to put on the cans. I used Grandpa's Farm images of different animals for toddlers. You could use the Napping House or Green Grass Grew All Around for older children. As you sing the song or tell the story, remove the cans one by one with the correct image on it. When you are finished, they all nest back together, and the children enjoy recalling the information themselves.
Comments: This is an indestructible way for the children to be able to retell stories and songs on their own.
Lots of story time picture books are listed
in Preschool Books Listed by Theme
Materials: Large sensory bucket, play sand, large plastic tub, small plastic frogs, snakes, insects, etc.
Description: Place the play
sand in a large sensory bucket (the kind you use for water play). In the
middle of the bucket, dig a hole large enough for your plastic tub to
fit in and fill it with water. Place the animals around the sand
and in the water and let the children explore your indoor pond!
Materials: Empty 2 liter soda bottles and balls.
Description: Teachers set
up plastic bottles like bowling pins, have toddlers use a
lightweight plastic ball to roll from a short distance to knock the bottles
down. This will be best accomplished
by showing them, the first time, what you want
them to do. The bottles do not have to be set up in a specific way
so try to get the toddlers to
help set up as well as bowl.
Materials: Felt circle for face, eyes, nose and different mouths for feelings (mad, happy, sad, etc.), eyebrows for mad = straight lines at angle, sad etc.
Description: Teachers create a face board and use the different faces to show toddlers; happy, sad, mad, scared, etc. Felt works really great because it sticks and is easy to get off and on quickly.
Comments: Kids love making the faces with the face board.
The Feelings and Emotions Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room
Materials: White work gloves; red, yellow, green, blue and orange paint.
Description: Take the white gloves and paint the fingers only of both hands. Paint them red, yellow, blue, green, orange, so that you have two of each color. Then, sing this song.
Repeat this with all the colors allowing the toddlers to show you the colors.Tune: "Are You Sleeping"
Comments: This is a great attention getter and I was really amazed at how the kids waited for the teacher to say the next color.
Friends, friends 1,2,3Comments: Kids love this song my preschoolers sing it all day!
An entire Friendship
Theme is in the Rainbow Resource
Materials: Ice cubes that have been colored with food coloring, re-sealable plastic bags.
Description: Put the ice cubes in re-sealable bags. Let the children watch the ice cubes during the day. Ask them what is happening. Then they can play with the "bags of water" as the ice cubes melt.
Partners Row Your Boat!
Description: Partner up the children and have them rock back and forth as if rowing a boat. Sing the song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" while rowing the boat with their partners.
Comments: The children will initiate this activity on their own once they get to know the song and motion. Prepare to do this several times in a row. I also do this with everybody holding hands in one big circle and rowing the boat together. It is a lot of fun.
Gayle's Note: A teacher from England, Kirklander, adds, "We sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat often but we have an extra verse:
Rock, rock, rock your boat, Gently down the stream,
The noise is terrific and it usually wakes all the sleeping babies but they love it!"
Row, Row Your Boat
Materials: A large or medium sized plastic boat.
Description: While singing the song Row, Row, Row Your Boat one toddler holds the boat, doing whatever he or she wants with it, mine generally rocked it back and forth. At the end of the song, it is someone else's turn and he or she must pass the boat to that person.
Comments: They really did a great job of taking turns. They absolutely loved this activity!
There is a Ocean
and Sea Theme in the Rainbow
Materials: Plastic eggs, small dinosaurs and teacher made "sand goop" (recipe below).
Cook on medium heat stirring until thick. Cook to touch. Put dino into the plastic egg and cover with "sand goop". Place in "nest"."Sand Goop" Recipe
On Monday, talk about dinosaurs
and how big their eggs were. Show the children the "eggs" YOU found.
Say, "Look how big they are. What kind could they be?" The
eggs should still be wet. Tell children that we have to watch them
until they turn white and crack. When ready, let children finish cracking
them open and find their dinosaur.
More dinosaur activities are in Preschool Activities for a Dinosaur Theme
If you have a Toddler Activity or an idea you'd like share... E-mail Gayle
Preschool learning activities, themes
and ideas that enrich year round early childhood curriculum