Thank you to E’s Mum for ‘delivering’ these activities and letting me know how they went with the write up! I have added little bits from me (because I can’t help myself!) in bold!
Activity 1: Drawing
It is NEVER to soon to introduce children to the wonderment of drawing and whatever they produce is magical! Thick crayons are useful at this age as they can get a firm grip on the crayons making ‘marks on the paper’ easier for them.
E loves holding and looking at crayons, I only give her a couple at a time though as otherwise she loses focus and gets distracted instead of using them for the purpose of drawing. She was happy to draw – not always managing to make marks, but still enjoying the experience.
After she had finished her masterpiece she decided, like all good artists, that she was unhappy with the imperfections and tore it up into little pieces, giving me each piece saying ‘ta’.
Activity 2: Match Mummy, Match Daddy!
When I made this activity for E, it was with the intention that she could not only be introduced to the concept of matching but also rehearse using the two most important words in her life; Mummy and Daddy! What would actually happen though was totally guided by E and her natural curiosity and exploration! Nothing is ‘wrong’ and therefore what actually happened made me giggle!
When I presented this box to E, she was very excited and began examining the photo cards very closely, asking ‘what’s that?’ She definitely recognised they were faces, whether she recognised it was her Mum and Dad is another thing.
Before long, she was posting the cards through the box slots and seemed perplexed about where they were disappearing too. She got on all fours trying to see inside the box! She wanted her cards back!! Rather than open the box and retrieve them for her I thought I’d see what she would do!
This is when the play took on a new dimension, ‘I want my cards back!’ She didn’t know how to open the box, so what did E do? She peeled the pretty paper off of course, I’m sure she was expecting to find the cards underneath the paper!! Love it!
Activity 3: Toddler Sorting
I set out a bowl filled with two different coloured balls, two jugs and some kitchen utensils for scooping and so on. If you wanted to, you could put a colour marker on each jug; one red and one blue to encourage colour sorting (particularly for those two to threes) or leave it totally open-ended as in this post.
E began by ‘stirring’ the balls in the bowl with the large spoon I had provided for her. She then began spooning the balls up with the ladle and spoon and dropping them into the jugs I had provided. There was lots of babbling as she played. Sometimes directly to me, but also talking a lot to herself it seemed.
She began immediately piling all the balls into one jug, talking lots as she did this. I can honestly say I have no idea what she was playing in her head, but she seemed like she knew her objective and played and played.
Carrying the different objects around, examining the jugs and using each utensil to balance balls in. She tipped the jugs up so the balls would fall out and she refilled the jugs and peered inside etc.
She seemed like she may have been cooking! She seemed to ‘taste’ things on these oversized spoons!
The fact E didn’t sort the balls into colours this time does not matter at all! Presented with the same activity again on another day, she may well do this. Today though, she role played. The fact she lead the play and went in her own direction is fantastic. Not only did she recreate experiences and use her creativity and imagination, she also rehearsed her language! Whilst babbling, E knew exactly what she meant!! Beautiful open-ended play at it’s best.
Activity 4: Toddler Water Discovery
For this activity, we simply put water and bubbles in a bowl and ‘hid’ some colourful objects for E to discover!
At first E tentatively looked at the bowl that I had given to her. She poked at the bubbles and had a good close look at what she was about to put her hands into!
Once she had dipped her finger in and found it was safe all of the objects were soon out of the bowl, then back in again, then out again!!
She removed all of the objects and began splashing the water around with her hands. This was a sit still and look playtime, which is unusual for E – perhaps it was because she associates water with baths and baths are for sitting still??! Anyway, after splashing around she got bubbles on her hands and arms, she looked at them and then began trying to blow them off.
After a while, there was very little water left in the bowl and she started loading and unloading the objects again, she noticed that when she moved her legs that the water that had spilled from the bowl swooshed around underneath her and between her legs – I think she liked the sound and feel of this as she became quite excited!
She loved the whole experience, even though she was soaked – in fact I think that was one of her favourite parts, her socks squelching while she ran away from me when I was trying to get her out of the wet clothes – she thought it was hilarious – and because this was a planned activity I found it all rather funny too!! To expand this activity further, you could sit with your child and discuss the colours of the objects as they pull them out.
Once again, thank you SO much to E’s Mum for delivering and writing about E’s experiences with these play ideas! Hope you enjoy as much as E did!