Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Part1

We're starting something new. Panda is almost 20 months and wants to learn. So we are starting a pre-preschool with him. We will be doing several activities throughout the day and repeating them for 3 or 4 days before switching to new ones. I will post what worked and what didn't. These are also great boredom busters for people with toddlers who are trapped inside with cabin fever tots. This weeks activities are winter themed... more or less. Some of these objects are very small. Panda is pretty good about not putting things into his mouth anymore, but I was still with him closely supervising while he worked.
 Pushing pom poms through a small hole in Tupperware`
This is an old activity for us that I made new by making some yarn pom poms to use instead of the craft pom poms and cotton balls we've been using. He liked the new texture. I thought they looked a bit like snowballs.
 Beading pony beads onto pipe cleaners. Panda has been beading large wooden beads onto a shoe string lately. This was a little more challenging and worked those fine motor skills. I used wintry colors to keep with the theme. 
He really enjoyed working with the tiny beads and the tinkling sound the pipe-cleaner made when he hit it on the ceramic bowl. He also really enjoyed pulling them off the pipe-cleaner and watching the pony beads clatter and dance around the table as they fell. Notes, next time don't use clear beads. They were hard to find in the carpet later. 

 Wrapping blocks in icy looking tinfoil. More fine motor skills, sensory, color, and shape play.
Panda tried wrapping a few blocks, but he really enjoyed crumpling the tinfoil into little balls and manipulating them. Facepalm moment, why didn't I think of this before. This is a great activity for toddlers. 
Clipping clothes pins to a bucket. There are 10 little winter gnome people here. Later this will become a counting exercise, but right now it's  all about fine motor skills, and cause and effect. 

We had to take the tinfoil off of the bucket because it made it a little hard to put the pegs on for Panda. He also liked that he could slide the pegs back and forth on the bucket rim like  a rail.
Of course there was some outside play before nap-time.
After nap-time it was time for some sensor play. We played with  Snow Dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose. He loved it! He dug spoons in it, crumpled it, smashed it, and so forth. He did try a tiny taste, but  was quick to figure out that this was not for eating... Next time I will be sure to put a mat under the table. Oye!
Bear was late coming home from work so Panda had extra sensory time. Here is his winter sensory table.
And that is how our day went. I hope you enjoy this new venture we are attempting. I would love ideas and to hear what you have done Join us on Tuesdays, leave a link in the comment section. Lets see where we can take this. Shine on!


  1. You have such amazing ideas! I'm so going to get my hands on aluminum foil (we don't use a lot of disposable stuff here, but I think I will definitely make an exception here! We tried beads and Little Man just kept on trying to eat them. SIGH... But I really think he'll dig the wrapping cause we spent a good while wrapping and unwrapping his cars and tractors into baby blankets the other day! :-) Thank you for sharing...

    Is your son a "everything in mouth" little man? How do you deal with it without creating a constant "no" environment?

    1. Hi Yanic, Thank you, and sorry in advance for how long this is.. But... We don’t normally have aluminum foil on hand either. We are a low waste family. The crumbled nuggets we are making each day I am saving and will be used for future sensory bins.
      We also don’t want to create a “No” environment. However, ‘No’ does have its place. I try and save it for things like touching a hot stove, and running into the street. When it’s saved for really important things, it has a greater effect. I no longer think of ‘No’ as a bad word. Just a useful word that has a proper place.
      We work with consistency and redirection a lot. Panda is getting better about not putting everything in his mouth these days, however he still does try and sample things from time to time. I try to gauge whether he is going to eat something or if he’s just trying to feel an object. I give him about half a second or so and then if he doesn’t figure out to spit it out I say something along the lines of, “That’s not food. Yucky. Spit that out”. I try to have a lot of things he can sample on hand. We do sensory bins with potato flakes, oats, flour, starch, and the like. Then I don’t need to worry if he tries a nip. We have also used leaves, cut grass, plastic practice golf balls, play silks, and other ‘larger than he can fit in his mouth’ items. With nature items, if I know it’s not poisonous or something he can choke on, I try to let him figure it out on his own. Taste is very much a learning tool at this age. My boy has eaten more than his fair share of dirt, dandelions, and grass, and I’m ok with that.
      Panda is a thrower. We keep a bin on hand for him with giant white pom pom’s in it. They are slightly larger than a tennis ball. When he throws something we say, “That’s not for throwing. Can you find something that is ok to throw?”. If he looks lost we help him find the “snow ball” bin and what could have been a “no” situation turns into a happy indoor snowball fight. I also used this in the daycare. Before this we used wool balls for “ok to throw” toys. The basket is kept in the open in the living room at all times for him. Redirection works for hitting as well. “Ouch! It’s not nice to hit Mummy. Hitting makes owies. You can hit this pot/drum/sofa/pan/bowl/etc”. And if all else fails there is the “That’s not for ____,” sentences. Followed by showing him what an object is for or redirecting him to a new item.
      If all else fails, just remind yourself it IS a phase and it will pass. You’ve been down this road before. It’s only been two days of this Pre-pre-schooling.. But I have to say Panda has embraced it fully. A pleasant side effect is that it’s given him a lot of focus. And in my husband’s words “Tamed the savage crazy out of him”. He does seem calmer. I’m usually writing to others asking for help. Sorry for the novel length reply, but I do hope something in here is useful to you. Have a blessed day, and shine on.

    2. It is all truly helpful, thank you... we try to keep NO for big things as well... like hitting the TV with the wooden spoons (his new favorite thing in the world) or opening up the oven door whether or not there is something in there (at 400'F most of the time)... *sighs* I know it's a phase... It,s just a first for us as our daughter was very tame. Everyone keeps telling m it,s cause I have a boy, but I don't believe that. I've known wild little girls and very tame little boys.

      And dirt and dandelions is a favorite spring/summer time meal here as well. LOL! I just worry about stuff like the crayons (oh yes, so many chewed melted crayons, yum!) and the play dough (I know it says non toxic, but I'm pretty sure we are not suppose to eat it by the handful either. :-P) I'm sure you get the picture.

      Our boys are 4 months apart, this gives me hope... Thank you

  2. Oh goodness this brings back memories, it seems like so long ago we did things like this. He looks like he was really enjoying it. Have fun!

    1. Thanks Kim. I will come to you often for ideas I'm sure :) He has been loving it and has been very intent on completing his "work".

  3. LOVE the clothespins! I'd not have thought to dress them up! Definitely brings back the memories... enjoy the giggly-times & breathe through the screams.

    1. Really Mouse? With all the clothes pun people we made as kids? Do you remember how red Mum would get when she has to go hunting for her clothes pins and then all our "princesses, Wizards, Kings, and queens" would all end up on the clothes line helping to dry clothes? She had the fanciest clothesline in the neighborhood ;)

  4. Oh, I would have thought of clothes maybe - but not hats & scarves. *shrugs*