Monday, 7 May 2018

Number Hunt and Match - Sensory Play | Toddler Games

I have come across a lot of 'sensory' activities that are set up for babies and toddlers to develop their motor skills and enhance their exploratory instinct. The sense of touch provides a beautiful and different perspective of learning to little ones that I understand helps their little minds develop well. I had personally not given it a try yet but have been wanting to. 

So a few days back I ordered a 5 kilo bag of toor dal by mistake instead of a 2 kilo bag! Just seeing so much of toor dal at home, made me realise it was time to set a sensory activity for the Mini! :D I did not dare to venture out using flour or rice or anything else that I felt will be a problem to clean after. Toor dal seemed doable to start with.

I was apprehensive of how my boy will take to this game and if he is not going to really understand the game and would instead just make a mess! Well, I took a chance and I am so so glad I did. He loved it and spent a good 1.5 hours!

This little game that I set up for him involved hunting the appropriate numbers hidden in a bin full of toor dal and matching them onto a sheet of paper. So by playing with this sensory game, his hand eye coordination, concentration and sense of touch is improving.

First he did the hunting and matching game about 4-5 times on repeat! And then he went onto doing some transfer activity using a spoon and another bowl. It was such a treat watching him pick little bits of dal and dunking them back into the tub! Nope, he did not create any mess, he was very very careful about it. So proud! :)

Oh, the next day he introduced his little dump truck to the bin of toor dal! :D 

Read on to know how to set up this game and how else you can make use of this little sensory bin set up.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Jumping Ropes Obstacles Course | Toddler Games

My little fellow loves to crawl through and jump over things. Under the sofa, over the sofa, under the bed, under the dining table, scramble through our legs! A little cheeky monkey we have! :)

Puzzles and ABCs are his other obsessions. He can keep himself busy with these all day. So combining all these little interests of his, I set up this mini obstacles game. It took me just about 10 minutes to set this up! 

This has been his favourite game so far. We did this two times together and I was done for the day! But the Mini asked for it again in the evening and did the full course twice more! Well not complaining, but this time I just chose to be a cheerleader! Phew!

The little obstacles that I set up for this course seem super simple but for tiny little being who are still mastering their balancing skills, this is huge! I loved to see this little fellow make his way through the rope hurdles and gleefully smile when he made it form one end to the other.

Amidst all the fun, the workout those little legs get by playing this game is significant. A whole lot of coordination comes into play through the entire game. And overall, the joy of jumping around with your mini is a joy you have to experience to understand! :) 

So get up and get jumping with those little monkeys of yours!

Read on to know how we played this game...

Balancing Book on Head | Toddler Games

It's so awesome how easy it is to laugh when you have a child for company. Some of the best moments with my boy are moments like these. The ones filled with giggles! Memories are sweetest when they are sprinkled with fun silly moments and I want to create loads of such memories with my  little boy. 

I attempted to play the balancing game with board books with the cheeky little Mini, ended up just having lots of fun in the process! The little fellow was super amused to see his Mumma walking around with a book on her head. 

Kids love to imitate and so he tried his best to imitate my balancing act, but so adorably failed! :D 

The actual act of balancing an item on the head betters your posture and thereby improves your overall body balance, but with a toddler, the whole point was to just have fun and not really focus on getting the balancing right. And as you can see, a whole lot of fun was had! :)

Watch our goofiness here!

Toy Cars Colours Sort | Toddler Games

If your mini is as crazy about vehicles as mine is, here is a simple fun colour sorting game you can get them to play! They get to do what they love doing... playing with their little trucks and cars while also learning the different colours!

Just to perk up the fun factor, I added in a 'road' using some foam puzzle pieces. The Mini (a miniature version of a me, with regards to orderliness!) obsessed over the 'road' each time it came apart during the process of play! It was super cute watching him set it right and resume the play only after it was as per his satisfaction.

Here he is zooming away his miniatures onto their respective colour coded parking lots!

Read on to know how we played the game...

Sticky Notes Letters Hunt | Toddler Games

My little man is so fond of ABCs these days that he finds letters in everyday objects - The 3 blades of the fan is a 'Y', the handle of my coffee mug is a 'C'! Oh, at a shop yesterday he even sat down at a salesperson's feet to read what was written on his shoes!

So when I set up this little game for him, he was thrilled to bits and we were at it for an hour! So easy to put together and perfect for days when I am exhausted but have a hyperactive toddler to entertain! All I used was the white board and some sticky notes! It is sometimes the simplest of things that brings in the most entertainment.

Read on to know how we played this game...

Playdough Play Ideas to Develop Gross Motor Skills

Play-dough is a wonderful play option to provide to a child for open ended free play. The creativity that can come off such a play is endless and just the process of kneading and playing with the dough can be very therapeutic for little hands and minds. If you are yet to introduce it to your child, I would recommend you give homemade play-dough a try as the contents are completely non-toxic and baby safe. 

The first time I made play-dough at home, my little one was hardly 15 months old. He did not really take to it instantly. He was hesitant to touch it too much. I guess the feel of the play-dough was very new to him and he did not quite enjoy touching it or playing with it too much. I had given him the play dough along with a few cutters. I let him explore it his way and did not push him into it.

Since the play-dough stays good for about 6 months, if stored well, I gave it a break and reintroduced it after about 2-3 months. This time around, my little boy seemed to enjoy it better. I did away with the cutters and added a few more props to the play dough such as tiny little baskets for him to put them into, a little ladle to pretend play and bowl to mix it all up in. Since there was not much of touching the dough this time, I guess he enjoyed this play better than the earlier attempt. 

He just turned two a couple of months back and so I decided to make a fresh batch of play dough and see how he took to it this time. I planned a lot more activities around it and to my happiness he loved it. He shows a lot more concentration these days and loves quite time activities. In this post, I am listing down a few little props that pair well with play dough and also help in motor skills development.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

DIY Memory Board Game | Toddler Games

Since the Mini has begun showing interest in identifying letters and has always loved puzzles, I thought I will the two together and make a little game for him. Using two cardboard sheets, bottle caps and some basic craft supply, I made this Memory Board game. 

The goal of this game is to find two matching letters hidden away under the little windows. To start with, you have to open one window and read the letter written inside and then open another window to look for its matching letter. If the two letters do not match, you shut the second window and then open another one to again check if it matches the letter from the first window. The key is to remember the letters that are behind each window as you play along and thereby get the matching right as you play further.

The outer panel is like an envelope letting me use multiple worksheets to keep the interest alive and matching options endless! Currently I have made worksheet only related to letters, but I do plan on making more options as his interest widens and once he has mastered these sheets.

This game helps those little minds improve concentration, focus and attention. Identifying letters and numbers becomes fun through this game. And most importantly, it keeps the little ones busy in a fun productive way! 

Mixed Basket - Objects Hunt | Toddler Games

My Mini is currently on a vocabulary-building spree. Everyday he picks up at least 5 new words these days! He points at random items and asks for their names. 

Every night when I dress him up for bed, he pints and asks what his shirt is called and what his pants are called. I would answer 'Night Shirt' and 'Night Pant'. He would want me to repeat it a few times and then smile back. A few nights back, I answered with just 'Shirt' not really realising it and immediately 'Night Shirt' came the reply! It was the very first time he was saying those words and I was pleasantly surprised :) It just goes to show how much these little ones absorb by just listening to us speak to them.

So one evening last week, with things lying around the house, I put together this 'Mixed Basket' game for him. I gathered random items and put them all into a plastic basket. He has taken a liking for the white board that we recently got for him. So, I just wrote the names of the objects on the board and called them out a couple of times. He doesn't read yet, but the process of seeing me write on the board made it more exciting for him. He enjoyed identifying letters from the words I wrote and fishing out the related object.

He loved doing this over and over again! And I loved the glee on his face when he related to the correct object when I called out its name! Thankfully no workout for mommy in this game! :D 😄

Read on to know how we played this game...

Hoppy Hoppy Colour Match | Toddler Games

And we are back with yet another fun toddler game! So this particular game has two main advantages:

  • Toddler entertainment.
  • Mommy workout!

So all you mommies needing a workout but do not have time away from mommying, get down there and play this game with your little ones! :D

I noticed my son loves it when I get down there and participate in the play with him instead of just explaining how it's done and asking him to play. Also, the energy level is super high these days, I need to channelise it productively! Also, lately colour matching interests him a lot, next only to identifying letters.

So, to cater to all these little aspects, I set up this little colour match game in our balcony. It just needs a few colourful plastic balls and tiny colourful baskets. The game caught my little guy's attention and we had a fun filled hoppy time playing this!

Watch us hop around and play in the video at the end of the post. After a few rounds of playing, you can see the mini's hopping turns into scraping against the wall! :D 

Yup it definitely was tiring! That day, mommy needed a nap too! :)

Here is us hopping away and having fun:

Read on to know how we played this game...

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Stacking and Target Practice Game | Toddler Games

About two weeks back, just about half hour or so to his bed time, my little boy and I were playing with his foam puzzles. These are ABC foam puzzles that interlock just like regular jigsaw puzzles and which can be attached from all four sides and so can be made into different shapes and 2 structures. 

So after playing with them as usual, we were sort of bored and that's when I got an idea of stacking it all up and getting my little guy to throw a soft ball at the structure with the aim to tumble it down! Ah, sounded fun when the idea played in my head! 

In less than 5 minutes, we were at it and having a ball of a time.... OH, the fun we had!!! Never mind it was less than half an hour for bedtime, we shared some hearty laughs while the mini's little hands got some little workout by all that throwing and in the process some hand-eye coordination exercise happened too. All, while having loads of fun!

Read on to know how we played this game...

Muffin Tray and Balls - Colour Pattern Matching Actvity

The Mini has been quite fascinated by colours, just like any other two year old. Colour matching activities interest him a lot and I have been putting together a lot of simple little games using our bunch of colourful plastic balls, play-dough, Popsicle sticks, his toy cars or whatever else that I can find around the house. 

Being a baker Mumma, I have a fair bunch of baking material stocked with me at home. So this particular activity needs a 6 cavity muffin pan. However, if you do not have a muffin tray but do find an equivalent item, maybe six paper cups, six steel cups or whatever you feel will suit the requirement, feel free to use it. Early learning is all about simple fun stuff for me, using simple items and nothing expensive or specially bought material. 

My son was 25 months when I introduced this activity to him. He couldn't get the hang of it at the first go. He just had fun with grasping the balls and placing them randomly in the muffin tray :) Its fine. If an activity engages a toddler for a good amount of time, it is time well spent. Eventually after a couple of attempts, he got it and enjoyed doing it over and over. Try it with your little one!