Tag: toddler
in Toddlers

15 Bucket List Activities for Toddlers in Kansas City

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Are you looking for things to do with your toddler in the Kansas City area? Here are 15 activities around Kansas City you don’t want to miss!

If you are looking for activities to do at home you can see my post 50 Outdoor Activities to do with your Toddler. However, we all know sometimes you just need to get out of the house!

If you are a mom, grandparent, or babysitter these are great ideas to get you out and about!

in Toddlers

Teaching Preschool Skills with Playdough

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As a mom and preschool teacher, I love to find new ways to teach foundational skills to my kids. I get especially excited when I find something that can be used to teach many different skills at once. That is why I love using Play-Doh so much! You can use to teach letters, numbers, counting, colors, shapes, sorting, and size!  Yes, it can be a little messy at times, but I have found that if you set a few simple ground rules, the kids do just fine with it. Download my poster Play-Doh Rules as a reminder for your kiddos!

 

Learning Through Play

Many of the examples I will give below are for teaching foundational skills. The key word here is teaching. Meaning you are interacting and playing with your child. At this age, teaching can be playing with, talking to, copying, and interacting with your toddler or preschooler. Kids LEARN through PLAY! This is something adults tend to forget. Their knowledge is expanding through every activity, game, or interaction they have each day. So, while you might feel like you are just playing, your child is LEARNING!! With that said, your child also learns a lot through free play. So, there are benefits with structured play as well as free play.

My daughter (2 1/2 years old) making a house with her Play-Doh.

 

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How to Teach Preschool Skills with Playdough

The first thing you need, obviously, is playdough. You can either buy Play-Doh which is available HERE, or you can make your own. I tried making pumpkin playdough once and it was a complete and utter failure. Not really something I want to try again, but maybe someday in the future! So, here are a few blogs that give some great playdough recipes! Just click on any of the links to visit their page!

 

Living Well Mom has a great, simple recipe for playdough in 10 minutes! She also has a gluten-free playdough recipe for those gluten-free kiddos!  You can find it HERE. If you click through her blog you can also find several playdough mats and other playdough resources to use with your toddler!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you are looking for something a little more complicated, but also super fun and creative, you should visit Sweet as Honey for her Supersoft Swirl Playdough Recipe! I’m loving the swirls of different colors and the glitter!

Of course, you can always find more playdough recipes on Pinterest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ways to Teach Letter Recognition

Lakeshore Uppercase Letter Stampers & Lakeshore Lowercase Letter Stampers-These are my favorite stamps for playdough! They are great for stamping letters in your name, sight words, alphabetical order, or just free choice! There are so many ways they can be used and the kids love them too!

 

My daughter tracing and naming the first letter in her name.

You can also work on letter recognition by rolling out the playdough and using it to form the letter. My daughter’s name starts with R so we like to practice “her letter” a lot. This is a great hands on way to show your child how the letters are formed as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ways to Teach Number Sense

Play-Doh Shape and Learn Numbers and counting These are great little number mats. Each number mat has that many shapes associated with the number. You and your child can form the number with playdough, while working on counting, shapes, and colors at the same time!

Counting

You can also practice counting objects with playdough. Simply making them into a shape and putting them on the table. I reccomend teaching your child to point to each object as he/she counts. When they get a little older, I would also teach them to move each object into a pile once they have counted it. This will help to prevent counting an object twice or counting too fast.

Ways to Teach Shapes and Colors

Teaching shapes and colors is so easy with playdough! You can manipulate the playdough into different shapes while talking about the colors. If you want something more structured, Play-Doh makes a shapes and colors play mat, but I don’t think it is completely necessary to have!

 

Some other skills you can teach using playdough:

  • size
  • colors
  • shapes
  • patterns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways to Teach Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are important for children to be able to manipulate smaller objects such as buttons, zippers, and pencils. There are many ways to strengthen a child’s fine motor skills and playdough is definitely one of them. Here are some of my favorite fine motor playdough tools to use with my daughter and students.

Play-Doh Scissors– Playdough scissors are great for toddlers to practice cutting with no real danger. These playdough scissors are great, but were a little top heavy for little hands. They also have two small holes for the fingers, and I prefer the ones that have one larger hole so they can use more fingers for closing the scissors. I have linked to a pair that would work better HERE. I love these Play-Doh scissors for many reasons. Number one, the blades are not sharp like real scissors so they are child-safe. Number two they have a large hole and a small hole for the thumb. This teaches kids the correct way to hold scissors. Number three, it is a great fun way for kids to learn how to cut before using actual scissors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Smart Dough Extruders– These little extruders will keep your kiddos busy, while also strengthening their hand muscles. I have a set of these at school and my kids loved making new creations with them! You basically put the playdough in the tube and use the pusher to push it through the tube to make a shape. This is great for strengthening hand and finger muscles, which will help develop fine motor skills.

 

 

 

Even if your child is simply playing with playdough, there are many skills to be learned. So again, while it can be messy, your child is learning! Playing and learning go hand in hand for children. It won’t always be pretty, tidy, clean, or structured and that is okay! Have fun!

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in Uncategorized

The Benefits of Using Sign Language with your Baby or Toddler

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Have you ever been at a loss about what your toddler wants, where they are hurt, or why they are having a tantrum? Chances are, your answer is yes. It is almost impossible to tell what your child wants, needs, or feels if they are unable to communicate with you.


Implementing sign language on a consistent basis can help your child learn how to communicate before they are able to talk. You can easily teach your baby simple signs to communicate what they want or need. This can help lessen or even eliminate meltdowns over not being able to communicate.



I know you might be thinking, But I don’t know any sign language! How am I supposed to teach my child? Your knowledge of sign language does not matter. You don’t have to be fluent in ASL to learn the most important signs and teach them to your baby. There are many apps, programs, books, and flashcards out there that can be used to learn and teach one sign at a time.


Where to Start:

Begin by using a few signs daily. Don’t try to learn and teach your baby everything at once. You might start by signing “drink” or “milk” when giving your child a drink. Then show them how to do the sign with their hands. Do this consistently until your child starts to use the sign on their own. Once they have started using that sign, start adding in other signs like, “more” or “all done.”


Again, consistency is key. Many parents use signs inconsistently and then give up all together when their child isn’t showing interest. Your child will begin to pick up signs more quickly when used more often. Do remember it will take time for your child to learn signs. Don’t expect them to pick them up overnight. Continue to teach and one day out of the blue, your child will pick up a sign and begin using it regularly!


Resources:

Signing Time DVDs: Signing Time is a wonderful resource and fun way for you and your child to learn sign language together. The DVD is simple and straight forward, yet kid and family friendly. There are also many DVDs to choose from based on you and your child. You can find the Baby Signing Time Collection, My First Signs, and if you’re really excited about it, the Signing Time DVD Eco Pack.


Free iPhone Apps:

Signing Time TV by Two Little Hands
https://appsto.re/us/uBuI-.i


Baby Sign Language Dictionary – Lite Edition by Baby Sign and Learn
https://appsto.re/us/v7cFF.i


My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary LITE by My Smart Hands
https://appsto.re/us/UqI3v.i


Baby Sign and Learn by Baby Sign and Learn
https://appsto.re/us/M7CUy.i


Baby Sign Language: Learn sign Language, ASL, & Ameslan For Babies Kids & Toddlers! Free by Kinetix
https://appsto.re/us/8o5yV.i


Paid iPhone Apps:


Baby Sign Language Dictionary – ASL Edition by Baby Sign and Learn
https://appsto.re/us/eMDDF.i


Baby Sign and Learn – American Sign Language Pro Edition by Baby Sign and Learn
https://appsto.re/us/6MEvF.i


Baby Sign Language Beginner Signs – 400 ASL Signs by Selectsoft
https://appsto.re/us/geYUQ.i


Flashcards:

 




If you have any questions about using sign language with your child do not hesitate to send me an e-mail at imperfectlyperfectmamablog@gmail.com. I have been using sign language my whole life and would love to help you incorporate it into your family’s life.


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