I have finally, finally stopped procrastinating on Pinterest for long enough to write this post about some of the fun activities Junebug and I have been doing since Christmas. It’s not an extensive list, just a few of the stand out things we’ve made together or I’ve made for us to play with. Really, one of our favourite things is to go outside. We go to the park or the botanical gardens to explore, collect sticks or have a picnic. Now the weather is improving I am excitedly searching for inspiration for awesome things to do in our back garden.
The reason I am wanting to celebrate all the fun we’re having is that I am surprised by how much I love having a toddler! I knew I loved babies and I’ve worked with school-age children a lot but the toddler years were more of an unknown. I was aprehensive… but I love it!
So here we go:
Giant Threading Beads
I cut up old kitchen and toilet paper tubes to make the beads and Junebug helped me paint them. Once they were dry they are great for threading onto pipe cleaners. This is good fine motor practise and a fun way to talk about colours and introduce patterns. Junebug enjoyed wearing it as a necklace too.
Lightbox with transparent shapes
This was super easy to make and Junebug loves playing with it. It’s just an opaque box which I think I found at the supermarket with a battery powered led light string stuck inside. Then I found these cool coloured shapes on amazon which glow really nicely and make good patterns. We also use cut out pictures on here or magnetic letters, lots of fun! It’s best in the evening with the curtains drawn.
For Thanksgiving we made and autumn leaf garland to decorate the house so I thought it would be nice to have something for spring. This was a very simple craft. I cut out some butterfly shapes and covered them in glue then helped Junebug stick scrunched up tissue paper and coloured cellophane to the wings (more fine motor practise). I doubled a small pipe cleaner around the middle, twisted it and shaped the ends to look like antennae. June bug helped me thread them onto a ribbon which now hangs in our front room.
This is still a bit beyond Junebug to do herself but she enjoys making the pictures with me and talking about who is on them. It’s a good sorting activity too to mix them up and get her to help me find all the red sticks etc. Easy to make it’s just 5 large craft sticks, one colour for each photo, glued to the back of a photo, then cut with a craft knife.
This is one of Junebug’s absolute favourite activities, I love it too as she can sit for ages playing with it independently. She gets the box out of the drawer and asks me for the little table and then sits on the kitchen stool, bless her. More fine motor skills practise, we like to poke things into our playdoh; large wooden beads, craft sticks or little coloured matchsticks.
Junebug loves ‘rab rabs’ so this seemed like a fun idea which also incorporated her love of pom poms and learning colours. I printed bunny shapes in all the colours of the pom poms we have then cut out and laminated them. To attach the tails I used self adhesive velcro on the tail of the bunny and the pom poms. Junebug loves counting (starting at 3) and talking about colours (especially pink and orange) so this game works well. We also make them go to sleep and sing ‘hop little bunnies’ with them.
Drawing in the big lightbox
Self explanatory really, we put a length of lining paper in the bottom of her big lightbox and she sat inside to draw. Junebug loves it when we draw with her and requests endless cars, I’ve got quite good at drawing cars now. The lightbox itself I made nearly a year ago, it’s just a large box on its side with holes poked in to put battery powered light strings through. Then I covered up the wires on the outside with wrapping paper.
Large scale painting
A happy recycling day opportunity arose and after speaking to some kind neighbours we scored a couple of massive boxes to play with. One I will save to make games for Junebug’s birthday party. This one we are in the middle of turning into a fold-a-way playhouse for outside. This was such a great time together getting covered in paint and creating something really fun. We used sponges to make the brick ‘house’ side, into which we will cut a window and door. then we used our hands to print flowers and butterflies on the ‘garden’ side. I have never seen a child get paint all over herself quite so much but her huge smile and giggles made it worth the mess. When it’s done we’ll be able to stand it up on the deck and play house, I’m so excited!
Other things Junebug enjoys are baking, reading, playing with her soft toys, collecting things in bags (especially my things), musical instruments and singing, jigsaws and dressing up. I love that she’s often quite happy to entertain herself while I try to keep up with the never-ending piles of washing up and laundry!
Remember: toddlers aren’t scary!