Friday, July 23, 2010

Activities for Preschooler and Toddler

I wrote last week about activity bags that I had been making for both of my girls, age 4 (almost 5) and 2. I was inspired by this post at My Delicious Ambiguity, these posts at Walking by the Way, and this website which has books you can purchase to make your own preschool activity bags. I wanted an easy way to just grab an activity and not have to search for the components. My mother in law usually keeps the girls one day a week (she is on summer vacation) so I have used that time to get my bags all put together. I keep the items in gallon ziploc bags and put those bags in canvas bags that I plan to label. I still haven't decided if I will use workboxes for my preschooler and tot trays for my toddler or just fill their bags for the week and let them have them in the canvas bag, still figuring that one out.

I also made a few actvities that both of my girls have enjoyed, just in different ways. They don't fit in ziploc bags but can be stored in the canvas bags. Thought I would share since they were inexpensive and easy to make.

I got the inspiration for these fish at Counting Coconuts. I don't sew, but my grandmother does and she offered to make these for us. They were supposed to have embellishments on them that they could count but my grandma wouldn't do it-she was afraid they would pull them off and get choked! Both girls have enjoyed the game this week as is but you could add the embellishments, felt numbers, or paper clip on whatever skill you are wanting to work on. You can also work on colors this way.

I don't live anywhere near a Target but actually got the chance to go this week and picked up these small foam shapes in the dollar bin. I then used an oatmeal container to store them in, wrapped it in pretty scrapbook paper, and cut the lid like a shape sorter. My 2 year old likes to do the shape sorter while I work with my preschooler on other skills. We have used them so far to practice patterning and following complex directions (give me 2 yellow circles and 1 blue square). It has also been used as a basketball game!

I have had the idea for this in my head for a long time. Making Learning Fun has instructions for clank cans and I have always wanted to make one. I have been saving the metal juice lids for a long time and finally decided to make my own clank can. I wanted one that both girls could play with so I got ABC stickers at Target dollar bin and put them on the juice lids. I wrapped a baby formula container with scrapbook paper, cut a slit in the lid, and let the girls play. My toddler stayed occupied with this for a long time and my preschooler had a blast looking at all the letters and putting them in. This is really open ended-you can put anything you want on the lids-pictures, colors, ABCs, numbers, etc. I left the back of the lid empty for now, I can't decide if I want to do phonics and put a picture to go with the letter or do the lowercase letter on the back. I only have 18 lids right now, so that is why the whole alphabet isn't there.

This is a toddler activity I made. I found an elephant shape online and used it as a template to cut out different types of scrapbook paper. You could make this into a file folder game or just leave it as is. I think these elephants are so pretty!

Here is a picture of the contents of my toddler's activity bag.

Here is a picture of the preschooler's activity bag. All of this is split between several bags by category: letters and phonics, numbers and counting, patterning and visual discrimination, and just for fun!

Several of these activities came from Making Learning Fun, some from Along the Way, a few from Carisa at 1+1+1, and a few from ChildCareLand.

I have really enjoyed making these things and seeing them get so much enjoyment out of them makes the time commitment worth it. I hope this is as helpful as I think it will be when baby sister gets here in October! I still have a list of activities I would like to make and add more to it almost daily. There are some really creative people out there in the blogosphere!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Looks like a lot of fun!

  2. Awesome!!! Thanks for sharing everything you made in one place, it is great! I LOVE the ABC clank can, and the shape sorter-I need to make both of those!!!

  3. I love what you did with the foam blocks. We have some and still haven't used them. LOL Such a cute container!

  4. I love the idea of using activity bags! To answer your question about Before Five in a Row, I have been pleased with it. Honestly, I use more ideas from than the actual manual. And sometimes I wonder if my son is going to like the book we're reading because they aren't books I'd choose, but he has loved each and every one so obviously the author knows more about children's books than I do! :) I like that it is a literature based program and I can select as few or as many activities, discussion, and projects as I like. I think it's perfect for right now (he's 2 1/2) to bridge the gap between toddler and preschooler. Hope that helps!

  5. You really have been busy! And with a baby on the way too. That's inspiring. I got a lot out of this post and with the links too. I really like the ABC jar using the lids for the letters! I don't have any homemade activities yet but now I have some ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love the ABC clank can and the shape sorter. It's nice to see all these plastic bags together. I'll be trying these activities soon. Thanks for sharing!

  7. You are so inspiring - I am bookmarking THIS post because I love all your activities so much!!! Congratulations on another girl (yay!) - so exciting! :) Thanks for the comment on my post! :)

  8. I love ALL of these ideas!! I want to make/do it all with my little girl!! Especially that clank can! And the fish! I, too, have seen those activity bags around the blogosphere and yours have finally motivated to actually do something about it!! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Great ideas! They all look like so much fun, and I also like how cute and nicely set up they are. Good job!

  10. Absolutely love your ideas! The shape sorter and ABC clank can are great! I love making fun stuff from everyday objects! Thanks so much for sharing!