I have been working hard to put together little “themes” or “units” for Lola while I am at home with her. First this year we are doing Fall, then Farm, and Halloween. I have all sorts of ideas for learning themes as well but we are working hard just to get into a schedule right now so I do not want to put too much pressure on our “work!” We are also supposed to be home together to be more relaxed and happy, not stressed & pressured!
I am on a Leave of Absence from teaching Preschool right now so I have a ton of experience planning and interacting with preschoolers but NOT toddlers. I have an education degree to teach toddlers but I am learning a lot right now. Here is my little Fall Theme. ENJOY!
Fall Theme- Toddlers/ Young Children
Vocabulary– Leaves, Acorn, Pine Cone, Pumpkin, Vine, Blowing, Tree, Corn, Scarecrow, Branch, Gourd, Moon, Hay, Barn, Apple, Rake, Pile, Pie, Spider, Web, Harvest
(We get a lot of books from the library that are Fall related and we discuss the items in the pictures to grow her vocabulary. Lola will say (or try to say) any word you want her to!)
Books– Mouses First Fall, Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin, Fall Leaves, Bright Baby Touch & Feel Fall, Ready for Autumn, Fall (by Childs Play), In My Den, In My Tree, In My Patch, In My Nest, etc.
- Corn Kernels- Add acorns & mini Pumpkins & water
- Pine Cones, Leaves & Sticks
- Pumpkin Play-Doh (recipe below) with Mini Pumpkins
- Paper Fringe (or shreds)- Add Pumpkins and paper pumpkins
- Ring Around the Pumpkin-Cut up paper towel rings and toss them around the stem of the pumpkin.
- Finger Painting- Decide what you want to make, then have the kiddo finger paint with those colors on a paper. After the paint dries, cut out the shape of a pumpkin, leaf, acorn, etc. (picture above)
- Cherrio Bird Feeders- Use a pipe cleaner and allow your kiddo to add cherrios until full. Twist the ends together and hang it on a tree!
- Making Pinecone Birdfeeders- Find pine cones outdoors (or buy them), cover them in peanut butter (or Crisco if allergic) and then roll them in bird seed! I have done this in my preschool classrooms a lot and the kiddos love them! I have had to use Crisco before and it makes it harder but it still does work! Add a string or pipe cleaner to the top and hang on a tree or set on your deck.
- Leaf Hunt- I used leaves off those cheap string like leaves or banners. I pulled off the leaves and spread them around the house. I had a Halloween bag and I got really excited to go on a leaf hunt!!! We walked around the house picking up the leaves. (pictured below)
- Lego Stamping- Make cut out of corn and or pumpkins. Allow kiddos to dip the pointed ends of legos into paint and stamp it onto the corn or pumpkins.
- Fruit Loop Fall Trees- Use a paper towel tube and cut out a tree on whatever colored paper you’d like. Add glue and have kiddos add fruitloops in the color of the tree or apples to the paper. (OR do the same thing with Bubble wrap)
- Raking Pretend Leaves Indoors- Again you can buy pretend leaves from the dollar store.
- Sorting Gourds- Sort by big to small or bumpy to smooth
- Painting with Leaf Cookie Cutters
- Painting Pumpkins- Use small or regular size pumpkins and paint them!!! This can be a 2 or 3 day project for toddlers. I would personally use washable paint but that would come off if outdoors.
- Pumpkin Pie PlayDoh- Here is a good recipe
- Laminated Leaves- Hunt for leaves outdoors, glue on a small piece of magnet to the back, then laminate the leaves. This will keep the magnet from getting eaten by toddlers. I would use them on the refrigerator or on a cookie sheet.
I hope you enjoy and can use these ideas!!! Please of course use your own judgement and parenting skills while implementing the activities! I would love to add to my list if anyone has any other ideas or things they do to keep their toddlers busy!!!