Thursday, February 12, 2015

Playing Toddler Games

I've been collecting ideas for learning activities for Olive for several weeks and decided to do them all together.  I always loved putting together centers for my students when I was teaching so I knew I wanted to do toddler centers for her to rotate through.  I opted to do pink and red colored activities since Valentine's Day is this weekend, but these activities could easily be done with every day items with no particular theme.  I also used our coffee table since it was the perfect standing height for her to walk around.

I gathered all the supplies in less than 30 minutes and it only took a few minutes to set things up for Olive to find after her nap.  I personalized the mailboxes with scrapbook stickers and had all of the supplies on hand.  I explained the directions to her in toddler terms  - play, so fun and mama will help you, GO!  She was eager to explore and it was fun to see which activities grabbed her attention.

 // 1 //
I squirted pink paint and red glitter glue in blobs all over the inside of the bag.  Zipped it shut and then taped it down to the table.  I figured Olive would LOVE this, but she found it to be a little boring.  I think it might have been more successful had I used a few different paint colors.  Next time I'll try that version for her.

// 2 //
I gathered red and pink pom poms and showed Olive how to sort them with spoons into the egg cups.  She grabbed the spoons and pretended to eat the pom poms which was funny.  I also showed her how to blow them around with the straw.  She enjoyed this center and returned to it often. 

 // 3 //
I picked up the mini mailbox from the Target Dollar Bins and then used foam hearts, heart punched out and stamps punched out to feed the mailbox.  I showed Olive how to do this activity once and she was hooked.  She fed them into the slot one at a time, pretended to count and then she wanted me to empty the mailbox so she could repeat her game.  Definitely a favorite.

// 4 //
I figured Olive would need a lot of help on this activity.  I wasn't sure how easy it would be for her little hands to put pipe cleaners into the colander holes.  Turns out that she was quite capable of doing it once I showed her how.  She'd occasionally get frustrated when the pipe cleaner she was trying to poke in got bent.  So she'd hand it to me to do for her.  She also LOVED pulling the pipe cleaners OUT.  Great activity.  She enjoyed it enough to have bun-bun join in on the fun.  She also enjoyed throwing the pipe cleaners up in the air :)

// 5 //
I gathered 14 clothes pins and put Valentine's Day stickers on them.  I showed Olive how to open the pins and clip them onto the mailbox (also from Target Dollar Bins).  She thought my game was dumb and promptly started throwing them into the mailbox.  It was tin so they clanged loudly which was great fun for her.  She then capped up the mailbox and turned it into a shaker.  Not the game I'd planned, but hers was way better :)

// 6 //
I used large candy hearts from an activity a few weeks ago, repurposed an empty make up wipe container and had her fill it up.  She needed no instructions and started filling right away.  She only wanted my help to dump out the hearts when the container was full.

 It was a lot of fun to watch her bounce from activity to activity.  She really enjoyed most of them and was excitedly babbling through the centers.  The activities required little help from me and allowed Olive to learn and play independently.  We have left these centers up for a few days and will probably keep them up until she tires of them.  She got a chance to go through her centers with her dad while I was fixing dinner.

 Do you have any fun center ideas for toddlers??
Do share!!


  1. Oh my gosh how precious!!! What fun ideas!!! I am pinning these for sure!

    Just saw this and wanted to share!

  3. Those are so cute! And good with refining those motor skills! :)


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