A day of toddler fun- little bit of everything

We’ve had some pretty busy days here, so I am way behind in posting.  Here are some quick ideas for toddler activities I tried the other day with Bl (16 mo): Continue reading “A day of toddler fun- little bit of everything”

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Geez, kid, how many tools are in that bag? (a lesson in estimating)

I’m not sure if I have mentioned before how much Br (3 3/4) loves tools.

A favorite story of my Father-In-Law’s is taking my oldest (Br) when he was about 2 1/2 with him to a paint store. Br noticed and properly identified a flat-head screwdriver.  The person was impressed, so my FIL bragged for her to bring over a phillips-head screwdriver, which BR also noticed & properly identified.  After exclaiming on what a bright child Br was, her colleague came over and asked my child “What’s your favorite animal?” To which Br replied “Yellow!”

Aww, children :)

So, my son is often carting around tools to “fix” things.  The other day I decided to grab a little math learning opportunity & introduce the concept of estimating.

Bag o' tools
Bag o' Tools (if you're wondering, he is also holding the "Hold-On Handle" attached to our stroller. I'm not sure why)

I asked Br “Do you want to play a little game with me?” (That is pretty much guaranteed to get his attention) When Br asked “What?”, I replied ” An Estimating Game!” I explained to Br estimating is making an “educated guess” of how many there are of something, using your observations about it.

I suggested he fold down his bag so we had a better idea of how full of tools it was.

Br folding the bag to see how full it is
Br folding the bag to see how full it is

Then we each took turns estimating how many tools were in the bag.  Br estimated “6” & I estimated “8”.  Then we opened up the bag to see how close our estimate was to the correct number.  Of course, we had some help, which made it more difficult to count:

Our helper
Our helper

If someone hadn’t kept needing to use the tools as we pulled them out, this would have also have been a nice opportunity to do some sorting and incremental counting.  As it was, I was lucky to get them lined up, counted, and snap a picture in between Bl wandering off with them…

Checking our estimates
Checking our estimates, before the "tool monster" borrows them. Man, I NEED to clean the carpets!

There were 10 tools.  We talked about how a lot of the tools (4/10) were screwdrivers, which are a “skinny tool”, and how that might have effected our estimates.

All in all, it was a pretty successful way to use an existing interest to introduce a new math concept!

If you are looking for some other great ideas to keep those little minds sharp this summer, you can check out some great links to ideas in the link-up for the Smart Summer Challenge

smart summer button '11

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Recycling for the toddler set- quick, cheap, & easy transfer activity

Bl (16 mo) is at the developmental stage where he is really trying to understand spatial relationships- particularly “what fits into what”.  I’ve stockpiled lids and containers for a while (must to my poor husband’s chagrin), figuring they would useful at some point…. :)

We’d just emptied out a particularly interesting container (one of the “Super Puffs” baby snacks containers, by Plum Organics), so I made a simple activity for Bl with it:

Bl recycling activity 1
It was so interesting, Br (3 3/4) had to "help" too


Bl recyclable activity 2This is the most basic version:  I added a mixture of lids to a small bowl, made sure the lid was open on the container, and modeled for Bl dropping a lid inside.

I think the “kerplunk” as they dropped in and the mix of bright colors made this especially appealing.  Br even wanted to do it!  Bl did get frustrated when he closed the lid, and didn’t have the fine-motor skills to open it on his own.  I modeled for him how it opens, in case he wanted to try later.

Bl went back to this multiple times throughout the day. After the first occasion where he’d actually put ALL of the lids in the container, he immediately walked to our pantry & “asked” for a snack.  Apparently he’d worked up an appetite!

With an older child, you could increase the challenge by:

  • having them use tongs or tweezers to transfer the lids (works on the hand shape & muscle control for writing)
  • have them sort the lids first: by color, size, etc.
  • Draw numbers or letters on the lids and have then put into the container “in order” (numerical or alphabetical)

Here is a list of other great suggestions for activities with recyclables from Teach Mama

Do yo have any great ideas for activities with recyclables?  Or suggestions on how to save them without it taking over your house?

My husband’s really hoping for some good answers to that last question :)

Are you interested in learning more about Montessori? I certainly am! Right now, they have an amazing giveaway for a Montessori Training Course & 12 Montessori albums at Living Montessori Now (giveaway ends July 19th, so hurry over!)

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