Have fun with apples - here are some activity ideas for you to try with your little ones...
Apple prints - Start by covering the table and putting out different coloured paints in shallow dishes. Cut two apples in half; one vertically so you get the core and seed shape. The other horizontally so you get the seeds in a star shape. Dip each paint brush into the paint and cover the apple. Carefully press each print onto card. Paint on a stalk or some more seeds, when its dry, to finish it. Think of someone you appreciate or care about to send the card to them as a surprise. Talk about how nice it is to send other people notes of thanks. This is a great way to show the little ones how to appreciate others.
Hand-print apple tree - Take some brown paint and cover hands with it to make a great tree trunk! Press onto some card or paper. Take an apple and cut it in half then paint on green paint. Do lots of apple prints to make leaves for the tree! Use a finger dipped in red paint to add apples to the tree. Talk about apple seeds growing into little saplings, then growing into big trees and producing apples on them.
Apples and counting - Take an apple and cut it into slices. How many slices can you count together. Then pick out all the seeds. How many are there to start with? What about if you take one away or add a few more? Eat some of the slices and how many are left? Do lots of counting activities and see how good even the smallest toddler can be at counting with a bit of help.
Number recognition - Draw some apples - about ten of them - and colour them in in red, yellow and green. Write the numbers 1 to 10 on some paper and cut them out. Place a number in front of a couple of plates and ask your little one to count out the right number of apples into each place. So, if the number 2 is written they must count out 2 apples.
Colour sorting - Take 3 envelopes and draw an apple on the front of each one. Colour one red, one yellow and one green. See if your child can sort all the apples you coloured in the above activity and put them in the right envelope. Help them to start with, and then see if they can do it alone without you looking. Try it with some other things too.
Healthy eating - Show your little ones how lovely apples can be to eat too! They are great for printing, and counting and craft but best of all they taste great!
Go on an apple tree hunt round your area and see how many you can find... or other trees with fruit on them. Have fun!
So often activities that the children enjoy doing can be beneficial in different ways besides them having fun. They may think they are just having some painting time but in fact they are learning about other things too. In the activity below, they are practicing their painting and printing skills, but learn all about shapes and numbers too with a little guidance.
Prepare an area for painting. Find some cookie cutters that are simple shapes (square, circle etc.) or some plastic shapes from a shape sorter. You could use household recycling such as kitchen roll tubes, the ends of small boxes or plastic pots. Put some different coloured paint into 6 different shallow dishes and place a shape into each one ready to go.
Ask your child to do some printing with the shapes Encourage them to do it neatly, in rows, so the shapes can be easily identified. When they have done a few, then suggest they do an abstract piece of art and drag the shapes, mix the colours and over print the shapes to make something of their choice. Ask them what the picture is? Is is a sunset over hills; is it a dinosaur on the beach? Keep a note of their explanation on the back of the picture.
When all the pictures are dry, have a chat about the shapes and ask some questions.
Count and answer the questions together first and then see if your child can do it alone. Display the picture and practice each time you pass by.
Learning can be so much fun and so easy! For lots more ideas for activities, and explanations about learning for parents and childminders, go to ToucanLearn!
Babies and toddlers love experimenting with textures. Finger painting offers a great activity that allows them to play with textures and make patterns. Yes, it's messy, but so much fun for you and your babies! Perhaps the safest place to do fingerpainting at home is while strapped into a highchair; at least that begins to contain the mess - make sure you also put newspaper down on the floor though, or better yet, use a vinyl tablecloth as a floor cover. Experiment with patterns, swirls, handprints - if you're really brave you could even do foot printing and foot painting!
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