Critters in the Litter
Activities-emphasize sense of touch
Don’t forget to water our flowers.
They are always thirsty during the summer. The early morning is the best time
to water, but they will take it when they can get it!
developed: Observation, gross motor.
Watch Me Grow!
Stand next to a tall post that has
been inserted into the ground. Have your tot stand with his back to it. Make a
mark for his height. Write his name on it. Measure the growth of the plants
with blocks. How many blocks does it take to reach the top of the plant.
developed: Mathematical (counting/measurement)
Can you name this garden animal?
move a rock that is 60 times its own body weight (That is
like you lifting a truck!)
breathe through their skin
live for 12 years
produce as many as 1,500 offspring a year
sing in a definite and changing rhythm
Did you guess an earthworm? Earthworms are a great garden
friend. A pound of worms eats ½ pound of kitchen scraps each day. Worms turn
these dead plants into rich organic soil. Anything that comes from a plant can
Smell the compost. It should have a sweet, earthy smell.
When adding food scraps to the compost, bury them. That will keep them from
developed: Sense of touch, sight, smell.
Smell the Flowers…and Herbs
Your toddler had a fully developed
sense of smell at birth. You may have memories associated with smells.
Pick 2 of these items with easily
identifiable smells. Say, “Let’s smell the flower.” Hold a flower up to her
nose and show her how to smell it. After you have smelled 2 things put them on
the table. Ask your child to point to “the flower.” Help her point if she
doesn’t know how and then smell it again together.
developed: Sense of smell
Expose your little one to a variety
of sensory stimuli-colors, music, language, natural and mechanical sounds,
touch, smell, taste-to ensure that, as an adult, she will have the most
flexible brain power for learning. Listening, watching, and giving words to
experiences demonstrates interest in children and makes them feel like their
thoughts and words are important.
Provide a variety of flowers for
smelling. How does it smell? Which flower scent do you like the
developed: Sense of smell, sight, touch.
The Smelly Game
Select three different items that
have a distinct odor, for example, an orange, a pickle, and lilacs. Suggest to
your child that you both pretend to be bears on a walk. Say, “Little Bear, I
smell something good.” Pretend to pick an orange from a tree. Take off some of
the skin and let your 2-year old smell it. Continue with the other tow items
that you have selected.
Say, “Little Bear, let’s sit in the
grass and smell these things again.” Finally, say to your little one, “Would
you like to taste one of the things that we have smelled?”
developed: Sense of smell and taste.
Can you guess what is inside without
looking? Use items with different textures such as marshmallows, cotton balls,
sandpaper, rocks, seeds, fabric in the bag. Put the items out on the table. Put
one item in the bag while your tot closes her eyes. Have your tot feel the item
inside the bag. When they have felt it, put the item with the other things. Can
they guess what it is? Have them point to it.
developed: Sense of touch, sight.
Explore in the circle with the
magnifying glasses. Can you find any ants? Seeds? Rocks? Flowers?
developed: Observation, sense of touch.
Take a hike!
Look for creepy crawlies. Underneath
old logs and rocks are great places to look. Don’t forget to watch out for
poison ivy-leaflets three, let it be!
developed: Gross motor, sense of sight, touch, smell.
This is a nice game to play outside
in warm weather.
Sit down on the grass with your
toddler curled up in your lap. Pretend to be asleep and then wake up. Say “
come on, baby bird, it’s time to fly.” Very slowly get up and flap your arms
like wings. Fly around the yard and then say, “let’s fly to the tree.” Give
specific directions to help your toddler learn the names of objects. Whisper to
your baby bird, “it is time to go back to the nest.” Go back to where you were
sitting, and let your baby bird curl back into your arms. Repeat this game over
and over. You might even ask your baby bird to fly by himself, then come back
to the nest.
developed: Bonding, gross motor, listening.
See the Little Spider
This fingerplay lets you and your
toddler share some fun. Walk your fingers along his arms and legs like a
See the little spider climbing up
(walk your fingers slowly up your
See the little spider stumble and
(walk your fingers quickly down your
See the little spider tumble down
(walk your fingers down your child’s
See the little spider stop at your
(stop at your child’s feet)
Now find a spider to quietly watch
or look for spider webs. Notice the delicate silk and designs.
developed: Listening, language, sense of touch and sight.
Ants, Flying Butterflies,
ants, crawling ants,
ground, on the ground
around, all around
butterflies, flying butterflies,
air, in the air
grass, in the grass
(Tune: Are You Sleeping?)
The Hollow Log (Tunnel)
Look for hollow logs. Who lives
inside them? How about underneath them? Remember to return the log carefully
back to where it was.
At home use boxes, pillows, and
sheets to make a “hollow log.” Show your toddler how to crawl through the
“hollow log.” Tell her, “Let’s crawl into the ‘hollow log.’” Start crawling and
encourage her to follow. Comment with “We are inside the hollow log” and “Now
we are outside the ‘hollow log’”
developed: coordination, gross motor, language, creative play.
Stepping-stones (Lily Pad Pond)
This is a version of the balance
game “Twister.” You will need a package of paper plates and a little
imagination. Scatter the plates around the floor so that the child can step
between them. Now imagine the ground is the sea and the sea is full of sharks.
Only the plates are safe. Can she cross the room to rescue teddy and get back
safely? A foot in the water means she looses her toe. (You may have to give the
smallest children a hand the first few times you play.)
If your child is easily scared,
pretend the plates are lily pads on a pond. Pretend to be frogs jumping to the
other side to find the best insects for lunch.
developed: balance and planning skills.
Take your toddler outside and
discover all kinds of wonderful things.
Feel the wind in your hair
Feel the raindrops on your face
Smell a flower
Watch a butterfly
Hold a worm in your hand
Lie in the grass and look at the clouds
Squish your toes in the mud
Care for plants and watch them grow
Taste fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden
developed: Nature Appreciation
Did you know
…if a ladybug lands on you it is considered good luck?
…they are also called ladybird beetles?
…they come in all different colors, like yellow and orange?
…they can have any number of spots (each species has a
different number of spots)?
...are great garden friends? (they eat lots of aphids-an
undesirable garden pest)
…you can buy ladybugs for your garden?
…you need to water the garden then let those ladybugs go (in
the evening) and they will stay as long as there is food for them?
Skills developed: Observation
Will you read to me?
Take a moment to enjoy a book
What Brain Research Says:
Reading or telling a story to your
child will help “grow” her brain and encourage her to associate books with what
she loves the most-your voice and closeness. An adult’s vocabulary is largely
determined by speech heard within the first three years.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar-snack
Read story to the group. Have them
pretend to be a very hungry caterpillar and snack on some of the food the
caterpillar in the story did. Finish with a mint or lettuce leaf if you like.
You can use cheese shapes and bread shapes for the different types of food.
Drink through a straw and pretend it
is a butterfly tongue (proboscis).