Activities to Enjoy with Your Infant and Toddlers
Mary Ellen Maunz gives us tips on how to keep babies and toddlers happy, occupied and learning at home while schools are closed.
Here is our list of Montessori fun and captivating activities to keep babies and toddlers happy, occupied and learning at home - great for when your schools are closed!
Set a routine. Help everyone get enough exercise and social time.
Suggested Fun Activities with Babies and Toddlers:
- Music and dancing
- Seed Germination
- Plant seeds of flowers or vegetables in peat pots/yogurt containers, or directly in the ground.
- Have the children water what they have planted daily and observe the growth process.
- (Zinnias and cosmos are flowers that germinate quickly)
- Leaf Washing
- Take a sponge and cut it into a diamond shape. The child wets it and wipes the leaves of plants in the house.
- For floor plants the child simply goes to the plant, and for smaller ones, bring to your child’s worktable.
- Watering Plants
- Use a watering can to water the plants and outdoor garden daily. (This can be a part of a routine that you construct).
- Take a small paintbrush (i.e. the one that comes with the watercolor sets).
- Put a little bit of glue in a small container.
- Cut out some shapes or allow the child to rip some papers prior to this that the child will glue onto pieces of paper (you can cut a regular size paper into 4 pieces).
- Have extra shapes and paper and encourage repetition.
- Ideally cut the strip of a watercolor pack so that there are not too many colors and show how to use one color, then rinse, before putting paintbrush in another color. Maybe three colors at a time.
- Have a small dish/cup with water to rinse.
- You can use a plastic tray or mat to work on.
- Cut regular paper in half and have extras available where children can get them independently.
- Use of Scissors/Cutting
- Cut strips of paper using card stock paper to allow your child to practice cutting with real scissors.
- Have extra papers to encourage repetition and make it available to them so that they do not have to ask for it.
- Matching Activity
- Use any items (blocks, pictures, etc…) Lay one set out in a column or a row and ask child to find the ones that looks the same and put it next to the first set.
- Try matching Objects with Exact Cards and Objects with Similar Cards. For example, you could have two pictures of butterflies, one red and one blue. Or two blue blocks and those are exactly the same (same size, color, shape).
- Sorting Laundry
- Allow child to help go through clean laundry and sort through items, putting socks together, shirts in another pile, etc…
- Sorting also by items that belong to mom, dad, older brother, etc…
- Sorting by color
- Folding Washcloths and Clothes
- Lay washcloths open on flat surface. Hold with pincer grasp two extremities, lift and bring to meet and line with other edge. Flip/rotate and do the same to fold in 4.
- Fold a few cloths.
- This is a first step in practicing folding other, more complicated items.
- Setting and Clearing the Table
- Can make it part of a daily routine, having child help put table place mats, plates, utensils, napkins, glasses (or help hand you items one at a time if it is too high for them to have any way of accessing the table.)
- Clear the table once done.
- Rinsing/Placing items in Dishwasher/Emptying Dishwasher
- Fill the sink with a bit of water or a tub with a bit of water (or the child can do that) and add a bit of soap. The child can help rinse the plates by placing one at a time in the water, and with a sponge or scrub brush, clear the plate before it will be placed in the dishwasher.
- If the child has a stool to reach the sink, it can be done at the sink, otherwise, a tub on a small table or on the floor by the dishwasher with a towel underneath will do.
- Have a cloth for the child to dry hands as needed and also another one to wipe counter once done.
- Food Preparation Activities
Your child can help prepare daily snacks and meals, from washing fruits and vegetables, to cutting and slicing as well as baking.
- Cheese Cutting
- Cucumber Cutting
- Peeling Clementines
- Banana Peeling and Slicing
- Egg Peeling and Slicing (if you do not have an egg slicer, just peeling hard boiled eggs)
- Cutting sliced apples into smaller pieces to make applesauce (place all cut pieces in crock pot and cook on high, stirring occasionally for a few hours until you think consistency is fine and then turn off. Use a potato masher or blender to soften the texture after it has cooled down considerably and refrigerate.)
- Washing fruits (grapes, blueberries, strawberries): if you have a colander, place in colander, use a pitcher and pour water over it, ensuring that it is well rinsed and then place clean fruit in another bowl.
- Scrambled Eggs (crack eggs, whisk eggs, add salt or other flavoring. Child can grate cheese if possible, or ripe pieces of cheese from sliced cheese to put in a bowl and mix. Great if you have a mechanical whisk.)
- Movement Activities
- Yoga: Mountain pose, tree post, downward facing dog, happy baby pose.
- YouTube has some music with action words
Learn more about the needs of infants and toddlers
Webinar Replay: Understanding Infants and Toddlers