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Inspiration to Play https://inspirationtoplay.com Inspiring everyday play for little ones to learn and grow Sun, 02 Feb 2020 22:14:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://inspirationtoplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Inspiration-to-Play-Favicon-100x100.png Inspiration to Play https://inspirationtoplay.com 32 32 Toddler Board at Home? Try these Valentine Inspired Play Ideas with a Whole Month of Activities Planned for you! https://inspirationtoplay.com/toddler-board-at-home-try-these-valentine-inspired-play-ideas-with-a-whole-month-of-activities-planned-for-you/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=toddler-board-at-home-try-these-valentine-inspired-play-ideas-with-a-whole-month-of-activities-planned-for-you&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=toddler-board-at-home-try-these-valentine-inspired-play-ideas-with-a-whole-month-of-activities-planned-for-you https://inspirationtoplay.com/toddler-board-at-home-try-these-valentine-inspired-play-ideas-with-a-whole-month-of-activities-planned-for-you/#respond Sat, 01 Feb 2020 21:10:42 +0000 https://inspirationtoplay.com/?p=2042 Winter and cold weather make it challenging to get outside and with tons of sickness going around we typically like to stay home over the winter months. Especially this time of year when I am 25 weeks pregnant and I do not want to get sick or have my son get sick. Being stuck indoors […]

The post Toddler Board at Home? Try these Valentine Inspired Play Ideas with a Whole Month of Activities Planned for you! appeared first on Inspiration to Play.

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Winter and cold weather make it challenging to get outside and with tons of sickness going around we typically like to stay home over the winter months. Especially this time of year when I am 25 weeks pregnant and I do not want to get sick or have my son get sick.

Being stuck indoors can have its challenges with a two-year-old little boy to keep entertained and to help our day not feel like it is dragging on and on until bedtime.

That is why I have created a FREE month-long calendar of toddler activities ideas for each day of the week to help you feel like you have something to do together and to help you feel confident as a mom with teaching your toddler through play! Grab your free copy of the calendar and the Valentine Toddler Activity Pack to help you have an activity idea on hand each day to help you get through those winter months with some fun indoor activities! I will go through each activity in the calendar to help you feel prepared and confident with ways you can complete each activity and modify them if you need to.

BONUS: Grab your FREE February Calendar of Toddler Activities and FREE Valentine’s Toddler Activity Pack Here! 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Valentine Inspired Toddler Activities to Help them Meet Developmental Milestones

As a stay at home mama to a 2-year-old boy and 25 weeks pregnant with our second baby, I needed some inspiration to help me entertain my son with fun indoor activities over the cold winter months. Hopefully, this list of play ideas with help your toddler learn new skills and help you feel connected with your little one! I also wanted to make sure I was addressing skills for 2-year-old development. Below you can find directions on how to complete the activities and ways to modify them. This is a very long post, but I wanted to make sure to really give you clear directions and ideas on how to complete each activity at home so you can feel confident and prepared. The activities are ordered in the same way they are listed out in the calendar so hopefully, it will be easy to follow along. The first two weeks are Valentine inspired with the last half of the month being more general activities.

Oats Sensory Bin

Supplies:

  • Dry Oats (we used the oldfashioned oats)
  • Storage bin or container to put the oats into to allow your child to play and explore
  • Towel, sheet, or sensory mat to place under the storage container to help contain spills
  • Bowls, cups, measuring cups, or spoons to work on pouring and dumping
  • If needed you could add small toys such as animal figurines, cars, or foam hearts to extend the play and expand vocabulary used while playing

What to do:

I will be honest, I was going to try to dye the oats red for Valentine’s day and for my son’s second birthday coming up, but when I went to do this I added too much water and I didn’t like how the oats turned out. So I kept it simple and just used regular dry oats. My son didn’t care and it was still fun to explore and play with!  I dumped them into a large under storage bed container and added some measuring cups, bowls, and measuring spoons for my son to use to dump and pour the oats.

I kept it simple at first and then once he was starting to lose interest I added his cars as that is his all-time favorite toy right now. He would cover the cars and drive them through the oats. Then I added some animals and we worked on feeding the animals the oats.

When using sensory bins with toddlers, make sure to clearly explain the rules and expectations before you begin such as no throwing, no eating, and no dumping out the bin. If they start to do some of these behaviors kindly model expected behaviors and re-direct. If they can’t control their impulses you can take it away and then offer it again later and you can model the expected behaviors.

How to Change it up:

Once your toddler starts to lose interest with the scoops and bowls, you could try adding in their favorite toy or figurine to hide under the oats to find. There really are no limits when it comes to playing with sensory bins.

Skills Addressed:

Language Skills, Fine motor skills, Cognitive Skills, Problem Solving, Sensory play, practical life skills, following directions

Jumping Hearts Activity

Supplies:

  • Red and Pink Construction Paper or Large Foam Hearts
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors to cut them out

What to do:

First I cut out about 10 large hearts out of construction paper and then placed some masking tape on the back of each one to tape to the floor. I used pink and red paper hearts. Once they were secure to the floor I would tell my son to find a red heart and stand on it. I would ask him to jump to another red heart and so on. I would tell him which color heart to jump to and he would listen to my directions. If he was losing interest I would model and jump with him or get silly. This activity is all about having fun together and working on getting some of those wiggles out.

How to Change it up:

  • Make patterns with the hearts on the floor
  • Find red and pink items from around the house to set on top of the hearts
  • Make it a racing game to see who can jump or run the fastest across the hearts
  • Create a more challenging obstacle course with using the hearts as directions on where to go
  • The possibilities are really endless!

Skills Addressed:

Gross motor skills, listening, following directions, body awareness, motor control, strengthening, color matching and identifying

Color Matching Hearts 

Color Matching Heart Activity Preview Image

Supplies:

  • Use the Color Matching Hearts from the Free Valentine’s Toddler Activity Pack
  • printer and scissors
  • I laminated mine so they would hold up longer for us to use
  • We played with our cards in the Oatsl Sensory Bin

What to do:

First I printed out and cut out the Color Matching Hearts cards from the printable pack and laminated them. Then I added them to our red oatmeal sensory bin and hide them under the oats. I only added about 3 colors that matched at first to make it less overwhelming for him to find them and make a match. We dug them out of the oats and matched them to the correct colors. We would talk about the colors as he was playing in the oats.

How to Change it up:

  • You could turn them upside down and play memory to find a match
  • Hide them inside something such as cups or large easter eggs they have to find them and make a match
  • Lay them out on the floor and do various gross motor activities to find the matches
  • Play hide and seek and hide them around the room for them to find and make a match
  • Have them find something in the room that matches the color on the heart

Skills Addressed:

Following directions, problem-solving, impulse control, motor control, color matching and identifying, cognitive thinking skills, fine motor skills, language skills

Pipe Cleaner Hearts and Play Dough

Supplies:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • play dough
  • Scissors to cut the pipe cleaners

Here’s what I did:

First I cut the pipe cleaners shorter so that I could form them into small heart rings. We like to play on the floor so I put out a tray for the playdough to sit on. Then I put the play dough into a round ball and stuck a straight pipe cleaner into the middle as our post. I then showed my son how to put the pipe cleaner heart rings onto the straight pipe cleaner.

How to Change it up:

  • We like to hide things in the playdough and try to dig them out so I would hide the pipe cleaner hearts inside the playdough for him to dig out
  • Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of the play dough
  • Roll the playdough into logs or balls and squish them between the fingers
  • Talk about the colors of the pipe cleaners or count them as you put them on the post.

Skills Addressed:

fine motor skills, visual-motor skills, visual perceptual skills, fine motor strengthening, listening, following directions, body awareness, motor control, color matching and identifying

Valentine’s Vocabulary Cards Printable with Gross Motor Movements Around the House

Valentine Inspired Vocabulary Cards

Supplies:

Here’s what I did:

First I printed out the cards, cut them out and laminated them for us to use them longer. Then I first showed the cards to my son and we talked about what we saw in each picture. I wanted him to have an understanding of what the pictures were so that when I used that word he would know what picture I was talking about. Then I paced two out on the floor in our living room and had him either jump or stomp to go and find them. I would go off of his interest and use other gross motor movements to go and find the cards. His favorite thing to do is spin in a circle right now 🙂

How to Change it up:

  • Find the real life objects and match them to the card pictures
  • Hide the cards in a sensory bin
  • Hide the cards under objects such as cups
  • Have cars drive to the cards and talk about the pictures on the cards

Skills Addressed:

Gross motor skills, listening, following directions, body awareness, motor control, strengthening, language skills, problem-solving

Mailbox Stations with Envelopes and Index Cards

Supplies:

  • Envelopes
  • Index cards or paper
  • Tape
  • stickers and crayons

What to do:

First I grabbed about 3 envelopes and about 6 index cards. I then taped 3 envelopes around the living room at a height that my son could reach. I had some heart stickers and crayons together we put some heart stickers on the index cards. Then we worked on coloring the cards and I modeled how to draw a line down, line across, and circles for him to try to imitate. Then I showed him the envelopes and how he could put the index cards inside the envelopes as a mailbox.

How to Change it up:

  • You could create actual cards to put into the envelopes
  • Use more craft supplies such as paint or markers to draw on the cards
  • Hide the cards inside the envelopes (not taped up) and have them open the envelopes to find the cards
  • Work on colors, numbers, or letters with drawing them on the cards

Skills Addressed:

Listening, following directions, fine motor control and coordination, body awareness, hand strengthening, pre-writing strokes, problem-solving, visual motor skills

Love Potions or Fizzy Colors!

Fuzzy Colors Toddler Play Idea

Supplies:

  • Muffin Tin
  • Baking Soda
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Squirt Bottle or Water Bottle
  • Food Coloring
  • Storage Container to help Contain mess
  • Sensory Mat or Towel to help with the mess

What to do: 

First I prepared the activity by gathering the supplies. I filled each muffin tin with a little bit of baking soda and then I added a few drops of food coloring to each muffin tin. ThenI covered each muffin tin spot with more baking soda so that the food coloring was not visible just to make an added surprise as to what color would show up. Then I filled up the squirt bottle that we got from Dollar Tree in the kitchen area, with half water and half vinegar. I just eyeballed this and I tried to use more water compared to vinegar. I placed our sensory mat down on the floor with the under bed storage container and then placed the muffin tin inside the container. Once it was all set up, I showed my son what to do and how to squeeze the bottle. First I mostly squeezed the bottle and he would point to which muffin tin spot he wanted me to show the color. Then he wanted to do it all on his own! He loved calling out the colors and trying to decide which color would show up! The best part was that we could keep playing even after all the muffin tins were filled up with water/vinegar. I just dumped the liquid mixture out into the storage container and then added more baking soda if needed and he could do it over again!

Fuzzy colors Toddler Activity

He loved helping me add the baking soda to the muffin tin and look at those practical life skills!

How to Change it up:

  • Talk about when colors mix what color that could turn into
  • If they are older, you could have them help with more of the set-up of the activity
  • You could hide objects in the baking soda for them to save and get out of the potion
  • Use various containers and sizes and you could use more bottle-type containers to make it look more like a potion
  • You a different types of squirt bottles such as a liquid dropper or these tools from Learning Resources.
  • The possibilities are really endless!

Skills Addressed:

 Following directions, fine motor skills, practical life skills, motor control, hand strengthening, color matching and identifying

Reaching Up High for Sticky Hearts 

Supplies:

  • Red and Pink Construction Paper or Large Foam Hearts
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors to cut them out
  • You could also create a sticky wall out of contact paper

Here’s what I did:

First I cut out about 5 medium-sized hearts out of construction paper and then placed some masking tape on the back of each one to tape to the wall. I used pink and red paper hearts. Once they were secure to the wall I would tell my son to find a red heart by reaching up high for it. I would try to get them just high enough to where he would have to go up onto his tiptoes to reach them.  I would ask him to grab another heart down and so on. I had a container/basket next to me that he could put them inside. I would tell him which color heart to try to grab down to listen to my directions. If he was losing interest I would try to add a silly element such as funny sounds or playing chase with him to see who could get the hearts.

How to Change it up:

  • Make patterns with the hearts on the wall
  • Find red and pink items from around the house to set on top of the hearts
  • Make it a racing game to see who can grab the hearts the fastest
  • Use stickers or crayons to draw on the hearts
  • Create a more challenging obstacle course with using the hearts as directions on where to go
  • The possibilities are really endless!

Skills Addressed:

Gross motor skills, listening, following directions, body awareness, motor control, strengthening, color matching and identifying

Red or Pink Bubble Foam Sensory Bin

PICTURE!

Supplies:

  • Red food coloring
  • tear-free bubble bath
  • Container for the sensory bin
  • blender or hand mixer
  • water
  • towel or sensory mat
  • any bowls, scoops, or toys you would like to add to the sensory bin

Here’s what I did:

First I made the bubble foam by using 2 parts water to 1 part bubble bath. I used about 1 cup water and 1/2 cup bubble bath and added a little bit of red food coloring to the bowl and then used a hand mixer on med-high to whip the soap and water together to make the bubble foam consistency. Use a big bowl and you will ned up with stiff peaks. Once it was a consistency I liked, I dumped it into our sensory bin and added some cars for him to play with since that is my son’s favorite toy right now. You could add spoons, cups, bowls, or measuring cups to add a scooping element as well.

How to Change it up:

  • Add different toys or use different utensils to explore the material
  • Play with the foam inside the bath for easier clean up if it is messy
  • paint with the bath foam in the shower/bath
  • Hide foam letters in the bubble foam

Skills Addressed:

Motor control, following directions, impulse control, sensory play, practical life skills

I Love you with My Whole Heart Printable Craft

Valentine Craft and Coloring Page

Supplies:

What to do:

I had cut out some small pieces of red and pink paper that were prepared ahead of time. Then I printed out the printable, I love you with my whole heart. I made a couple of copies just to have on hand if needed. I also had some larger pieces of paper and tissue paper available for my son to tear up himself if he wanted. I placed some glue on the heart printable and showed my son how to place pieces of the paper onto the glue. Of course, he wanted to try to the glue so I would let him with direct supervision and I would not let him try to lick the glue. We talked about the colors of the paper and I gave simple directions on where to put the paper. I let it dry and we had a fun/cute little craft.

How to Change it up:

  • You could use crayons, markers, paint, or stickers to use on the heart
  • Tape the heart to a vertical surface for working on shoulder strengthening

Skills Addressed:

 listening, following directions, fine motor skills, colors, visual motor skills, language skills

Saving Frozen Animals/Toys from Ice with Warm Water

Saving Frozen Animals in Ice

Supplies:

  • water
  • toy animals or objects you can freeze inside water safely
  • containers to freeze the toys we used a muffin tin
  • freezer
  • cups and scoops or squirt bottle to use with warm water
  • storage bin
  • towel/sensory mat for the cleanup

What to do:

First, you will need to prepare this activity the night before to freeze the toys in some water. We used small animal figurines and a muffin tin. I placed an animal in each muffin in and filled them up with water. The animals were not completely covered. Then I put them in the freezer to freeze overnight. The next day I got them out of the muffin tin and put a few of them in a storage bin on the floor with a towel underneath and another container with warm water. I used a squirt bottle from Dollar Tree for my son to squirt warm water over the frozen animals to help melt the water and free them out. We would talk about warm and cold, dumping and pouring the water, and what animals we were saving. Then I let him play in the water with the animals. You could also play with this in the bathtub or shower to help with clean up.

How to Change it up:

  • You could use baking soda and vinegar to help break up the ice
  • you could use hammer or tools to free the animals from the ice
  • You could add colored water to work on colors
  • Change up what utensils you are using to explore the materials

Skills Addressed:

Listening, following directions, fine motor control, practical life skills, language/vocabulary

Obstacle Course Over and Under to Find Toys

Supplies:

  • Favorite Toys
  • Pillows
  • blankets
  • couch cushions
  • chairs

What to do:

You can set up an obstacle course by using various items from your home. We like to set up tunnels with blankets and chairs for him to go through and under. Then we use cushions and pillows for him to walk or crawl over to look for things. You could also use actual crawl tunnels if you have them. I like to hide some of his favorite toys under blankets for him to try to find and save. We try to make this a silly and fun game!

How to Change it up:

  • Change up what toys or how you set up the obstacle course
  • Use bolsters or large foam blocks if you have them to create even a harder challenge
  • Add more steps to the obstacle course to make it harder
  • Use a puzzle at the end with the pieces the beginning for them to put into the correct place

Skills Addressed:

Gross motor skills, listening, following directions, body awareness, motor control, strengthening, problem-solving

Hiding Objects/Toys Under Cups

Supplies:

  • Favorite small toys
  • Cups

What to do:

We like to hide small toys under cups for my son to try to guess what is under the cup or for him to guess which cup has his favorite toy. We like to start by using two to three cups to hide small toys under for him to try to guess what is under or for him to try to find a specific toy. We like to talk about the toys as we play and try to make it silly and fun!

How to Change it up:

  • Use more cups and toys to make it harder
  • turn it into a memory game
  • count the cups or count as you put the small toys inside the cups

Skills Addressed:

following directions, problem-solving, cognitive/thinking, language skills

Color Sorting Pom Poms

Supplies:

  • Pom Poms
  • Colored pieces of Paper or Muffin Tin

What to do:

I got out our pom pom collection and first just sorted out 3 colors of pom poms, red, blue and green. I first used construction pieces of paper of the same color and showed my son what colors to put onto the paper. Then when he got bored with that I used a muffin tin and placed one pom pom in a muffin tin and had him place the others inside to match the color.

Another way that we changed it up was by using our mega blocks and putting the correct color pom pom inside the mega block.

How to Change it up:

  • Use various containers to put the pom poms into to work on color sorting
  • We have used magnatiles as boxes to put them inside
  • Easter eggs to match colors
  • Use tongs to pick up the pom poms to add a fine motor component

Skills Addressed:

Color matching, fine motor skills, problem-solving, visual motor skills, language skills

Pipe Cleaners and Cheerios

Supplies:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Cheerios

What to do:

First I placed about 5 cheerios onto a pipe cleaner and showed my son how to take them off. Of course, he liked to use his mouth to take them off haha, but he would use his hands as well and then eat them. Then I held the pipe cleaner and showed him how to put the cheerios on the pipe cleaner. You can have your child practice putting the cheerios on the pipe cleaner.

How to Change it up:

  • Talk about the colors of the pipe cleaner
  • use string or yarn to make it harder
  • count the cheerios as you put them on

Skills Addressed:

Fine motor control, visual motor skills, eye-hand coordination, using two hands, language skills

Unwrapping Puzzle Pieces

Wrap Puzzle Pieces Toddler Activity

Supplies:

  • Wrapping Paper
  • Tape
  • Puzzle

Here’s what I did:

First I wrapped up the puzzle pieces with leftover wrapping paper. Then I had my son open them up and do the puzzle! He loved unwrapping the pieces and guessing which animal was inside! Wrapping toys is a great way to keep him entertained and engaged or a longer duration!

Wrap Shape sorter pieces toddler activity

How to Change it up:

  • Wrap shape sorter pieces as well!
  • Add a gross motor component by hiding the pieces and going to find them
  • add more tape to make it more challenging to open them up
  • Find other small toys to wrap up as well and then talk about what they found

Skills Addressed:

Fine motor control and strengthening, visual motor skills, language skills, problem-solving

Car Washing Sensory Bin with Soap and Water

Train wash sensory bin

Supplies:

  • storage bin
  • towel
  • cars/trains
  • cups/sponges/washcloth
  • tear-free soap

What to do:

We love cars and trains around here and water so why not add them all together for the perfect combo! It can get a little messy as you can see my son always loves to get inside the water bin. You can always do this in the bathtub as well. I like to make a soapy water bin and then have a dry container or towel nearby to put them in once they are clean. We pour water over the cars/trains and use a sponge to get them clean.

Painting cars toddler activity

How to Change it up:

  • If you want to make the activity last longer you can try painting the cars or trains first and then washing them to get them clean
  • Get them dirty by using foam soap first as well!
  • Create a car washing station with first getting wet, rubbing soap on them, and then washing off and drying off to follow more directions.

Skills Addressed:

following directions, sensory play, practical life skills, fine motor skills and coordination, problem-solving, impulse control

Color Sorting Cars and Toys

Supplies:

  • Various colored cars or toys you already have
  • Colored paper to match the colored cars you have

What to do:

Find cars or toys your child likes to play with and find the matching color piece of paper to go with it. Then work on sorting the cars by the color by rolling them onto the correct colored paper.

How to Change it up:

  • You could create a colored parking garage with drawing parking lot spaces and then coloring them in different colors to match the cars.
  • Add more or less colors to make it easier or harder
  • Create ramps for the cars to go down to go to the correct colored paper

Skills Addressed:

color matching and identifying, problem-solving, fine motor control, listening skills, visual motor skills

Kicking Ball and Knocking over Stacked Blocks

Supplies:

  • A ball that your child can kick
  • Blocks or cups that can be knocked over with the ball

What to do:

Work on stacking blocks into a tower and then set the ball up so your toddler can work on kicking the ball to knock them over. Place the ball at different distances to make it easier or harder.

How to Change it up:

  • Use a smaller or larger ball to make it easier or harder
  • Use various sized blocks or things to knock over
  • Work on colors or counting as you are stacking

Skills Addressed:

Gross motor skills, body awareness, motor control, strengthening,

Pulling Toys out of Bag and Identifying Them 

Supplies:

  • A Bag such as a makeup bag, purse, or backpack
  • Various small toys from around the house, try to choose different textured toys to add more of a sensory component

What to do:

Add about 3-4 toys to the back to start and have your child reach inside to pull them out. Make this a silly game by talking about what they could find inside and having big reactions so they will want to keep playing. Have them pull the toy out and try to identify the toy they picked out.

How to Change it up:

  • Add more or less toys to make it easier or harder
  • have them guess what toy they grab before pulling it out
  • have them sort the toys by colors or categories once they pull them out

Skills Addressed:

Problem-solving skills, listening, attention, cognitive/thinking, language skills

I know this is a long post, but I really wanted to make it easy for you to have literally all of the play ideas right here in one post for you to find and use to help make the planning easy for you!

Please download your FREE Activities Calendar and Valentine’s Play Activity Pack Here to make play easy and fun for both you and your toddler!

Download Your Free Printable

  1. Click the link to the activity ideas calendar and activity pack. Where you will enter your email address to become part of the Inspiration to Play Community! You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly newsletter! Just click this link to take you to the FREE Valentine’s Day Toddler Activity Printable Pack and Calendar!
  2. Print the activity pack and calendar to have easy access! 
  3. Cut out the activity cards and laminate them to make them more durable for toddler’s hands. 

Valentine's Toddler Activity Pack and Calendar Preview Image

Share

Do you know any other toddler mamas who are looking for easy indoor toddler activities? Please share this post with them so they can have easy to do toddler activities planned out for them so they can feel less overwhelmed and confident in finding fun activities to do with their toddler!

 

Valentine Inspired Play Ideas for Toddlers Pin Image

 

The post Toddler Board at Home? Try these Valentine Inspired Play Ideas with a Whole Month of Activities Planned for you! appeared first on Inspiration to Play.

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Colorful Rainbow Foam Sensory Play for Toddlers https://inspirationtoplay.com/colorful-rainbow-foam-sensory-play-for-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colorful-rainbow-foam-sensory-play-for-toddlers&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colorful-rainbow-foam-sensory-play-for-toddlers https://inspirationtoplay.com/colorful-rainbow-foam-sensory-play-for-toddlers/#respond Wed, 17 Apr 2019 02:57:26 +0000 https://inspirationtoplay.com/?p=314 Messy Sensory Play is so much FUN! Toddlers love exploring new objects through touching, putting things in their mouth, banging it, throwing it, moving it around. Sensory Play is a great way to entertain and allow your little one to learn! That is why I made some fun Rainbow Foam for my 13-month-old to help him […]

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Rainbow Sensory Foam for Toddlers

Messy Sensory Play is so much FUN!

Toddlers love exploring new objects through touching, putting things in their mouth, banging it, throwing it, moving it around. Sensory Play is a great way to entertain and allow your little one to learn!

That is why I made some fun Rainbow Foam for my 13-month-old to help him learn and explore a new texture and experience! For this activity, I had a pacifier handy in case he was wanting to put the foam in his mouth since it is bubbles. I didn’t think he would like the taste of soap in his mouth so I was right there with him watching him and gave him the pacifier if he looked like he was going to put it in his mouth. If you feel like your little one would constantly put this in their mouth than maybe you should wait until they are a little older. You know your child best and you decide if you feel they can handle this activity.

Rainbow Sensory Foam Bin

 

How do you set it up?

Materials

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click a link and make a purchase we will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This greatly helps out our family. Please read my disclosure statement for further details.)

Rainbow Sensory Foam Bath Bin

Look at those little hands going through the rainbow foam 🙂

 

Here is a picture of what the rainbow foam looked like in our Ninja food processor.

Rainbow Sensory Foam Green

What is the Goal with this Activity?

The goal with this rainbow foam is allowing the toddler to explore a fun texture and use their senses. They will learn about how the texture feels on their hands and body, what it smells like, how it moves across the surface, and how their own body moves when using the rainbow foam. There are a lot of ways you can incorporate different skills with sensory play.

You can focus on fine motor skills with using their hands, using paint brushes to move the rainbow foam, or even things like scoop and pour if you have containers for them to work on that. We love to use plastic bowls and measuring cups to work on scoop and pour! Nothing too fancy here!

You can also work on language skills by talking about what they are doing and giving them words for the textures and actions they may be experiencing.

Rainbow Sensory Foam Bath Bin

What are they learning?

It looks like such a simple activity, but it is so much more! With this simple activity they are learning so many skills:

  • Fine motor skills with working on using an isolated index finger to spread the rainbow foam on a surface
  • Body Awareness with figuring out how their hands move to use the rainbow foam in the container or on the surface
  • Hand-eye coordination to use the rainbow foam in a certain spot you tell them to (hopefully)…
  • Attention span-concentrating on using the rainbow foam to explore
  • Problem solving-figuring out how the rainbow foam feels, smells, and moves on the surface
  • Language Development-talk with your child while doing the activity, place words with the actions that they are doing such as, “go up, or go down,” “this feels squishy”
  • Following directions-they are following a simple direction to put the rainbow foam on the bathtub wall or in the container
  • If you use paint brushes this can also work on crossing midline and coordination.

Just because an activity doesn’t look like much, doesn’t mean it isn’t full of great learning opportunities!

How can I make this easier or harder for my child?

Easier

  • If you have a child that is having a hard time using their hands to explore the rainbow foam, give them a utensil such as a paintbrush, or a kitchen utensil such as a spoon or spatula so they can explore it, but not to the extent of putting it on their body yet. Hopefully, with increased exposure, they will be more willing to use their hands to explore this texture.
  • Model the behavior you want your toddler to complete. Show them what to do with the rainbow foam.
  • Give them a large space to explore with the rainbow foam.
  • Allow them to sit while doing the activity as standing can be more of a challenge for some.

Harder

  • If you have a child that needs more of a challenge with this activity try these suggestions out!
  • Use paintbrushes to work on spreading the foam to work on crossing midline and fine motor skills of holding onto the brush.
  • Add fine motor manipulatives to the rainbow foam. If your child is older and you are not as worried about them putting things in their mouth you could try other small items such as foam shapes, fun erasers, beads, gems or pom poms to the rainbow foam for them to pick up.
  • Give them simple directions to follow with the foam, such as paint up high, or paint down low.
  • Slowly give them new objects or items to explore with the foam one at a time, (this can keep their interest in the activity longer)
  • If you have an older child they could work on shape, letter, and number writing in the rainbow foam.

Adaptations

  • You can always change up how they play with the rainbow foam
  • Have them use their feet in the bathtub to explore the foam
  • Put the rainbow foam inside a large bin for them to sit in and explore with
  • Put the rainbow foam in a ziplock bag if you don’t want it to get messy
  • Make a rainbow bath by adding water and having a colorful bath time fun!

The possibilities are endless!!

Have I convinced you to make some rainbow foam to play with your toddler?

Rainbow Foam Sensory Play for Toddlers

 

Rainbow Sensory Foam Sensory Play for Toddlers

 

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Cardboard Coin Drop Activity for Toddlers https://inspirationtoplay.com/cardboard-coin-drop-activity-for-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cardboard-coin-drop-activity-for-toddlers&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cardboard-coin-drop-activity-for-toddlers https://inspirationtoplay.com/cardboard-coin-drop-activity-for-toddlers/#respond Tue, 26 Mar 2019 04:51:22 +0000 https://inspirationtoplay.com/?p=267 Need help entertaining a toddler? Grab that empty box and make some of your own cardboard coins! Toddlers are not the easiest to entertain. They need a lot of supervision and help to learn. They are constantly putting things in their mouth and making a mess. They love exploring new objects and my 13-month-old loves […]

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Need help entertaining a toddler? Grab that empty box and make some of your own cardboard coins!

Toddlers are not the easiest to entertain. They need a lot of supervision and help to learn. They are constantly putting things in their mouth and making a mess. They love exploring new objects and my 13-month-old loves trying to figure out how to put things inside of containers. He is constantly opening and closing containers and trying to figure out how things fit inside.

That is why I made this cardboard coin drop activity for my 13-month-old to help him learn and explore a new object!

Cardboard Coin Drop Activity for Toddlers

 

You need to make some cardboard coins for your toddler!

This idea first came to me when I was inspired by a fellow OT on Instagram @OT_Mama_of_Twins. She has awesome baby and toddler play activities!! She was doing this activity with her twin boys who were older at the time with a deck of cards. This was too hard for my son to do on his own, so we made our own cardboard coins! They were sturdier and he was able to more independently put them into a slot opening. They also held up better when he would put them in his mouth.

How do you set it up?

Materials

(This list contains affiliate links which means if you click a link and make a purchase we will receive a commission and this greatly helps out our family. Please read my disclosure statement for further details.)

  • Empty cardboard box
  • X-Acto Knife for cutting out the circles
  • a container with a slot opening to put the coins in (we got our Valentine’s mailbox from the Target dollar spot, but this is a similar Valentine’s mailbox from Amazon)
  • You could use a recycled container with a lid on it that you could cut a slot opening such as a Quaker Oats container.

Cutting out the cardboard coins does take a little extra time, but they last for quite a while for extra play time so it is worth it!Cardboard Coin Drop Activity for One Year Olds

Look at those little hands holding onto the coin 🙂

What is the Goal with this Activity?

The goal with this cardboard coin posting activity is to work on putting the coins inside the container through the slot opening.

Cardboard Coin Drop Activity for One Year OldsCardboard Coin Drop Activity for One Year Olds

In the first picture, my son is taking the coins out from the larger opening on the back of the mailbox. The first step when working with maniuplatives is taking things out.

The next pictures shows the mialbox

What are they learning?

It looks like such a simple activity, but it is so much more! With this simple activity they are learning so many skills:

  • Hand-eye coordination to place the coins into the slot opening
  • Visual motor skills with tracking how the coins go into the opening
  • Attention span-concentrating on getting the coins into the opening
  • Problem solving-figuring out how the coins go into the container
  • Language Development-talk with your child while doing the activity, place words with the actions that they are doing such as, “put in”.
  • Following directions-they are following a simple direction to put the coins in.

Just because an activity doesn’t look like much, doesn’t mean it isn’t full of great learning opportunities!

How can I make this easier or harder for my child?

Easier

  • If you have a child that is having a hard time putting the coins into a slot opening, make the opening bigger. This will give them a better chance of getting to the coins into the opening by themselves.
  • Model the behavior you want your child to complete. Show them how to put the coins into the opening.
  • Use hand over hand-place your hand over the child’s hand to help guide the coin into the opening.
  • Place the coin into the opening the correct way and have the child drop it into the opening.
  • Help hold the container for the child.

Harder

  • If you have a child that needs more of a challenge with this activity try these suggestions out!
  • Use a deck of cards instead of cardboard to put into the slot opening.
  • Place the coins around the room for the child to go get one at a time to work on following directions and gross motor skills as well.
  • Place the container in a position where they have to stand to put the coins/cards inside.
  • Make it a crawling game, where they have to crawl over pillows to get the cards to put in.
  • Make it a race to put the coins/cards in as fast as they can and time them.
  • Write letters or numbers on the coins and they can put them into the opening in order

The possibilities are endless!!

Have I convinced you to make some cardboard coins to play with your toddler?? When will you make some cardboard coins?

Cardboard coin drop activity for toddlers

Cardboard coin drop activity for one year olds

 

 

X-ACTO #2 Knife With Safety CapX-ACTO #2 Knife With Safety CapX-ACTO #2 Knife With Safety CapLotFancy Playing Cards, Decks of Cards, Poker Size Standard Index, for Blackjack, Euchre, Pinochle Card Game, Blue and Red ColorLotFancy Playing Cards, Decks of Cards, Poker Size Standard Index, for Blackjack, Euchre, Pinochle Card Game, Blue and Red ColorLotFancy Playing Cards, Decks of Cards, Poker Size Standard Index, for Blackjack, Euchre, Pinochle Card Game, Blue and Red ColorHorizon Group LLC Hugs Hearts and Kisses Valentine's Day MailboxHorizon Group LLC Hugs Hearts and Kisses Valentine’s Day MailboxHorizon Group LLC Hugs Hearts and Kisses Valentine's Day MailboxQuaker Oats, Old Fashioned, 18 OzQuaker Oats, Old Fashioned, 18 OzQuaker Oats, Old Fashioned, 18 Oz

s

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Baby Safe Sensory Bags https://inspirationtoplay.com/baby-safe-sensory-bags/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baby-safe-sensory-bags&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baby-safe-sensory-bags https://inspirationtoplay.com/baby-safe-sensory-bags/#respond Mon, 04 Mar 2019 23:48:21 +0000 https://inspirationtoplay.com/?p=217 Baby Safe Sensory Bags *This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement further details, but if you click on a link there is no extra cost to you. You will help support our family by making a purchase. What are Sensory Bags? Sensory Bags can be a tool that you use to provide […]

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Baby Safe Sensory Bags

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement further details, but if you click on a link there is no extra cost to you. You will help support our family by making a purchase.

What are Sensory Bags?

Sensory Bags can be a tool that you use to provide babies and toddlers a way to explore a new feeling or texture without them putting those items in their mouth. Typically you will use a clear plastic bag, like a Ziploc bag, to place something squishy or slimy in the bag for the baby to want to squish or move around with their fingers. You can use tape to close off the opening and to tape the bag to the floor or to a wall depending on what position you would like baby to work on while playing and exploring.

What are the benefits of Sensory Play?

Sensory exploration is so vital for babies. They learn about the world around them through their senses (feeling, hearing, seeing,…) Sensory Bags offer them the ability to feel different textures with their hands, feet, or body (depending on where you place the sensory bags) through tactile exploration. When a baby is born, their senses are not fully developed. They develop overt time as they learn to engage with the world around them. They learn by feeling, tasting, touching, smelling, seeing and moving their body.

What are they Learning through Sensory Play?

When a baby or toddler experiences something new, this builds a new pathway in their brain which allows them to learn and grow. They are learning about their own body with their own senses and they are starting to learn more about the world around them as well. Over time and lots of repetition, they can start to learn where their body is in space, how different textures feel, and what different smells mean. The more sensory experiences they can be exposed to, the more they can learn from those experiences.

Ultimate Guide to Baby Safe Sensory Bags

How can you use Sensory Bags to help with different skills?

Sensory Exploration

Sensory exploration is so vital for babies. They learn about the world around them through their senses (feeling, hearing, seeing,…) Sensory Bags offer them the ability to feel different textures with their hands, feet, or body (depending on where you place the sensory bags) through tactile exploration.

Fine Motor Skills

When you make a sensory bag for a baby to explore, most likely they will use their hands to manipulate and touch that bag. Depending on their age they may use a whole hand grasp or if they are older more like 10 months or older they may use an isolated index finger to point or poke at the bag. If you place small items in the bag such as water beads or pom poms, along with something squishy they may try to grasp those small items. This, in turn, will allow the baby/toddler to practice their fine motor skills with using small items, but in a way that they cannot eat the items. (Still Please directly supervise your baby/toddler when playing with sensory bags and small items so that the bag does not tear or open and they may choke on the items).

Gross Motor Skills

Sensory Bags can be a great tool to also work on gross motor skills! They can be super motivating for some babies to want to touch and explore! Use that motivation to help your little one work on some gross motor skills too! If they are younger, you can tape a sensory bag to the floor for them to want to touch during tummy time! You can place them out of reach for the baby to roll to or to work on crawling. You can place the bag up on furniture if they are working on pulling up to stand or cruising along the furniture. This is all about placement, and where you place the bag to help your little one get in some strength training to increase their gross motor skills.

Language

Even as babies, it is so important to talk to your child and help expand their social skills. They will soon be babbling and saying their first words soon! Why not expand on those social skills with sensory play! You can talk to your baby about what actions you see them doing, such as touching, squishing, patting, banging, etc.. Or you can talk to them about the colors or shapes you see within the bag. If you make a themed bag for the holiday, you could talk about that holiday or season with them. Talking to your baby is a great way to connect and engage with your little one!

Cognitive

Lastly, another skill that you can work on with sensory bags is expanding their knowledge and cognitive skills. When you use a sensory bag you will help your little one make new neural pathways in their brain with each new sensory experience. You will help them learn about the world around them as well as their own body. You will help teach them how much force they can use when touching and squishing the bag. What grasping patterns they can use to explore the bags. As your baby gets older you can teach them things like on/off with putting their hand on the bag or off the bag. You can teach them yes or no with how they are exploring the bag (such as if they start to put the bag in their mouth or bite the bag you can use the word no).

Sensory Bags

Our family has had lots of fun playing with and making different kinds of sensory bags! We have used hair gel as the squishy consistency and then I have put in foam stickers, sequins, or beads for my son to use to explore with his hands! We have also made colorful sensory bags with food coloring and oil!

 

We made a Valentine’s inspired Sensory Bag with foam hearts, red heart sequins, glitter and hair gel!

Below you will find 14 different ideas for making your own Sensory Bag!!

Amazing Baby Safe Sensory Bag Ideas

My First Sensory Bags: Clean and Safe Sensory Play for Baby from Life with Moore Babies

Kids Mess-Free Painting Activity by Fun with Mama

How to Make No-Sew I Spy Bags for Kids by Parenting Chaos

Fall Squishy Bag by Parenting Chaos

Christmas Squishy Bags by Parenting Chaos

How to Make Sensory Bags for Babies and Toddlers by Messy Little Monster

Ocean Life Sensory Bag for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Natural Beach Living

Halloween Sensory Bag-Sensory Activities for Kids by Natural Beach Living

Polka Dot Sensory Bag for Babies by Mama.Papa.Bubba

Tummy Time Painting by Mama.Papa.Bubba

Water Bead Play for Babies by Mama.Papa.Bubba

Baby Sitting Practice Using Sensory Bags by Mama.Papa.Bubba

No-Mess Painting on the Light Table by Firefly Magic

Squishy, Colorful Sensory Board! By Firefly Magic

 

Let us know in the comments below what sensory bag your baby/toddler likes to play with! We love seeing your sensory bag ideas!!

Check out these great Sensory Bag Resources to make your own at home!

Slime Supplies Glitter Powder Sequins for Slime,Arts Crafts Extra Solvent Resistant Glitter Powder Shakers,Bulk Acrylic Polyester Craft Supplies Glitter Loose Eyeshadow,Assorted Colors,12 Pack GlitterSlime Supplies Glitter Powder Sequins for Slime,Arts Crafts Extra Solvent Resistant Glitter Powder Shakers,Bulk Acrylic Polyester Craft Supplies Glitter Loose Eyeshadow,Assorted Colors,12 Pack GlitterSlime Supplies Glitter Powder Sequins for Slime,Arts Crafts Extra Solvent Resistant Glitter Powder Shakers,Bulk Acrylic Polyester Craft Supplies Glitter Loose Eyeshadow,Assorted Colors,12 Pack GlitterGarnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel 6.8 ozGarnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel 6.8 ozGarnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel 6.8 ozLi’l Gen Water Beads with Fine Motor Skills Toy Set, Non-Toxic Water Sensory Toy for Kids - 20,000 Beads with 2 Scoops and Tweezers for Early Skill DevelopmentLi’l Gen Water Beads with Fine Motor Skills Toy Set, Non-Toxic Water Sensory Toy for Kids – 20,000 Beads with 2 Scoops and Tweezers for Early Skill DevelopmentLi’l Gen Water Beads with Fine Motor Skills Toy Set, Non-Toxic Water Sensory Toy for Kids - 20,000 Beads with 2 Scoops and Tweezers for Early Skill DevelopmentZiploc Gallon Slider Storage Bags, 96 CountZiploc Gallon Slider Storage Bags, 96 CountZiploc Gallon Slider Storage Bags, 96 CountCrayola Washable Kids' Paint, Includes Glitter Paint, 12Count, Amazon Exclusive, GiftCrayola Washable Kids’ Paint, Includes Glitter Paint, 12Count, Amazon Exclusive, GiftCrayola Washable Kids' Paint, Includes Glitter Paint, 12Count, Amazon Exclusive, GiftAcerich 250 Pcs 1 Inch Assorted Pompoms Multicolor Arts and Crafts Fuzzy Pom Poms Balls for DIY Creative Crafts DecorationsAcerich 250 Pcs 1 Inch Assorted Pompoms Multicolor Arts and Crafts Fuzzy Pom Poms Balls for DIY Creative Crafts DecorationsAcerich 250 Pcs 1 Inch Assorted Pompoms Multicolor Arts and Crafts Fuzzy Pom Poms Balls for DIY Creative Crafts Decorations

 

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The Best Toys to Entertain a One Year Old https://inspirationtoplay.com/the-best-toys-to-entertain-a-one-year-old/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-best-toys-to-entertain-a-one-year-old&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-best-toys-to-entertain-a-one-year-old https://inspirationtoplay.com/the-best-toys-to-entertain-a-one-year-old/#respond Fri, 01 Mar 2019 05:25:06 +0000 https://inspirationtoplay.com/?p=223 “This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.” The Best Toys for a One-Year-Old to Keep Them Entertained As a mom, you want to do what you feel is best for your child. You understand that play […]

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“This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.”

The best toys to entertain a one year old

The Best Toys for a One-Year-Old to Keep Them Entertained

  • As a mom, you want to do what you feel is best for your child. You understand that play is important for kids, but you may not understand how to help them play best? You may feel tired and overwhelmed and now you have a one-year-old who is learning how to walk, making tons of messes, getting into everything, starting to cry when they don’t get their way, and they are becoming a toddler! This is an amazing stage in development, but how do we help our one year old learn new skills and keep them entertained so we can get stuff done?
  • I am a first-time mom with a one-year-old little boy, so I know these feelings exactly! I know where you are coming from, feeling overwhelmed that your baby is now a toddler and wondering where did this last year go and how do I have a one-year-old?? They are such a busy body and want to explore their environment constantly. You are exhausted trying to figure out how to play with your baby and make sure they are safe (not falling and hitting their head) and trying to manage a house (all while the one-year-old is taking everything they can out of the drawers). I am learning right alongside you about what toys and activities are helping my son to learn about the environment around him and how to help him meet his developmental milestones all through engaging play!

Why are one-year-olds so busy?

  • One-year-olds are so busy because they are constantly learning about the world around them. They are trying to figure out how objects move, where they are in space, how to move their bodies, what different sounds mean, or what different textures feel like.
  • They are also at a big gross motor stage of development. They are typically trying to get their legs stronger so they can stand on their own and start to walk on their own if they haven’t already mastered this skill.
  • They will need your help to keep them safe as they navigate this world and they will fall and get bumps and bruises. It can be overwhelming to figure out what types of toys will help them learn, but also keep them entertained so that you can also try to figure out how to get things done around the house as well. I mean simple things like make a quick meal or do a load of laundry or load the dishwasher.

What skills should a One-Year-Old be Learning?

  • These are skills and milestones for a typical one-year-old. Everyone develops differently and there is a wide range of what is considered normal. Some children gain skills earlier or later than others. Always talk to your doctor if you feel that your child is not progressing as they should be or if you have questions or concerns.
  • From an occupational therapy standpoint, we like to specifically look at the physical movement for fine motor (little movements)  and gross motor skills (big movements).
    • Fine Motor Skills:
      • Using both hands together and banging objects together
      • Is starting to stack two blocks on top of each other
      • Can use a pincer grasp to pick up small objects (uses their thumb and index finger)
      • Uses their hands to bring food items to their mouths during meal time
      • Points at objects that they want
      • Placing objects inside a container (such as shapes into a large opening)
    • Gross Motor Skills:
      • Stands alone
      • Walks with one handheld and possibly even walks alone
      • pulls up to stand by themselves
      • Stick out their arms, legs, and feet to help get dressed and undressed
      • May begin walking up stairs
  • If you would like more resources to learn more about typical developmental milestones for one-year-olds, check out the resources below.

The Best Toys to Entertain a One-Year-Old and Help them Learn New Skills!

Ball Drop Toy

The Ball Drop Toy has been one of our favorites becuase my son could do this activity all by himself after I modeled it for him. He was able to figure out how to drop the balls to go down the ramps and the balls shake and rattle and make fun noises! He loves banging them together to hear the sounds they make! He also finds it funny to try to drop other items down the ramp to see if they fit such as large coins, pom pom balls, or other sized balls. This is great becuase it allows him to problem solve and figure out if it works or not. This toy works on his visual motor, fine motor, and eye hand coordination to bring the ball to the correct opening to allow it to drop onto the ramp. He is also working on his focus, attention, and problem solving (if it doesn’t go down). You can place this toy on the ground or up on a surface to work on this while they are sitting or standing. We hope you love this toy as much as our son has loved it!!

Here is a picture of him in action with the ball drop toy!

ball drop toy one year old play

 

Play Scarves

Play Scarves may not be a typical toy you would see for a one-year-old, but we have found so many fun ways to play and engage together with them! One of our favorite ways to play with them is to put them inside an empty diaper wipes container with a lid that he can then pull them out of the top! This keeps him entertained for at least 10-15 minutes! In the one-year-old phase that seems like an hour!! Other skills that we work on while using these play scarves are silly games like peek a boo! We throw them up in the air over his head and watch the scarf fall over the top of his head and he bursts out laughing! They also add some fun colors to the toys and they can easily be packed on the go! We also use them to add some fun colors to our discovery bins! I love to make little baskets of toys, books, and items found around the house for him to explore.

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles

These cars are small but mighty! We love how easy they are for my one-year-old son to grasp onto and he can push them across the floor by himself! He loves to watch mommy pull back the cars on the floor and see them fly across the floor! These have been great to get in some extra crawling and arm strengthening activities! We have even made a little ramp for these cars to go down and he laughs and giggles while playing with them! We love to set up a little obstacle course for him to push the cars around and we usually do it together! Mama can always use some arm strengthening as well, he is growing so fast I need to keep up with my arm strength too 🙂

Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon

This push wagon has been so much fun for both of us! He loves to open the side of the back of the wagon and crawl right in so that mom can push him around! We go on little adventures around the house! We love to put our stuffed animals, books and toys inside the back of the wagon and then he gives them a ride! This toy keeps him entertained because he can work on putting toys in and out, climbing in and out, and he can work on walking as well! This toy is so versatile and it also is great toy storage when it is not in use! You can really add some weight to the back of the wagon so that when he does work on walking the toy isn’t slipping out from under him. I am excited for him to grow with this toy as I can really seem him using his imagination with the wagon with his toys and animals!

Touchy Feely Board Books

Touchy Feely Board Books have been some of our favorite toys and books since he was little enough to grasp at the books! He loves to explore the new and exciting textures and look at the colorful pictures! We have loved the books we listed above from Make Believe Ideas because they use textures that are not typically found in little kid books. They use a rubber type material so this is great if you are looking for books that you can easily clean and sanitize! They make the books silly, fun, and engaging and it allows you to connect socially with your little one talking about the pictures that you see in the books! Take a look at our book circle that I made for my son to help him explore the books on his own!

board book circle board books board books

Original Toys Pop Up Toys

 

These pop-up toys look so simple, but they pack a lot of fun and learning into them!! They allow your child to work on fine motor skills with working on taking out the people or candles and then working on their eye-hand coordination to put them back into the opening. They have to figure out how to turn the pieces so that they fit along with figuring out how much force to use to push them down into the opening and then the fun they have once they figure out they can fly through the air! These pop-up toys have entertained my son on numerous occasions! We loved that they had a birthday cake version that we got him for his first birthday!!

Melissa & Doug Pop Blocs Farm Animals

These farm animals are super cute plus they offer a lot of skill practice as well! My son is really into taking things apart and this gives him just that opportunity! He loves it when we make grunting noises and then pull the animals apart! I am excited for him to grow with these animals becuase the learning opportunities are endless! He can work on matching, putting them together, language development with animal sounds and pretend play!

Pop-Up Play Tunnel for Kids

This tunnel has been great at our house during this winter time!! It has been so incredibly cold and we have been stuck inside a lot! This tunnel offers great exercise and gross motor skill practice to help him get stronger and burn off some energy! He loves crawling on his hands and knees going through the tunnel and we have used books, balls, and bubbles to make going through the tunnel even more fun!!

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank

This piggy bank is so fun and cute! It 

 

Common Questions/FAQ About The Best Toys for a One-Year-Old to Keep Them Entertained

  • Why are fine motor skills important for toddlers?

    • Fine motor skills such as using a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger to pick up objects) are important to help toddlers learn more advanced skills as they get older.
    • Such as zipping up their coat, buttons, snaps, handwriting, brushing their teeth, opening containers, and more! There are so many important every day skills that involve the use of our hands.
    • Other important fine motor skills for toddlers include:
      • using and isoloated index finger to point to objects
      • ability to use both hands and transferrin objects
      • the ability to put objects into containers
      • increasing hand and upper body strength through crawling
  • How can I keep my One-Year-Old Busy Indoors?

    • Toddlers are so fascinated about the world around them and they enjoy exploring toys and objects around the house!
    • Find activities you can do one on one with each other with toys and simple play items from around the house.
    • If you are needig them to do some independent play while you make a meal or load the dishwasher, always make sure they have a safe space. Try setting up some small planned out play activities and toys that we have listed above to have out for them to see and want to engage with.
  • What if they are not entertained or interested in the toys?

    • Toddlers and One-Year-Olds start to have an opinion and they will let you know if they like or don’t like something! These are toys that my son has personally like to play with as a one year old. Not all children are the same and may not like the same toys.
    • I always like to have playtime be child led, where I will take his lead and interact with toys/activities that he is interested in.
    • If he is not interested in the toy, I sometimes try to figure out another way to play with it, such as can I change something about it. Can I put it some place else, can I make silly noises with the toy, can I add a favorite toy to this toy such as a favorite animal or figurine to get him interested. Can I show him that I am super excited to play with the toy and this sparks his interest? There are a lot of different ways you can change a toy to make it be more engaging and entertaining for your child.
    • If they are not interested at all, I step away and move on. I get it out the next day and see if they might be interested in it now.

 

The Last Thing You Need to Know about The Best Toys for a One Year Old to Keep Them Entertained

  • Have fun engaging with your one year old!! They look to you for guidance and support and I know they may require a lot of your attention now, but the time will go by so quickly!
  • Let me know in the comments below if your one-year-old likes any of the toys we listed and if there are any more we should add to the list!! We love getting to know our readers!

The best toys to entertain a one year old

The Best Toys to Entertain your One Year Old

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The Beginners Guide to Playing with your Baby https://inspirationtoplay.com/beginners-guide-to-playing-with-your-baby/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=beginners-guide-to-playing-with-your-baby&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=beginners-guide-to-playing-with-your-baby https://inspirationtoplay.com/beginners-guide-to-playing-with-your-baby/#respond Wed, 27 Feb 2019 04:38:01 +0000 https://inspirationtoplay.com/?p=204 *Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. The Beginners Guide to Playing with your Baby Why play is so important for your babies development “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, […]

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*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

The Beginners Guide to Playing with your Baby

The Beginners Guide to Playing with your Baby

  • Why play is so important for your babies development

    • “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.” quoted by Kenneth R. Ginsburg
    • As a pediatric occupational therapist, I understand how play impacts development. I want to help teach you how you can feel confident in playing with your baby. Engaging with your baby and children through play can be lots of fun!!
    • I am also a first-time mom who is learning how to manage to be a mom, a wife, and taking care of the house while feeling like I can be successful with playing with my son and helping him to be the best he can be! I understand living a busy life and I will show you how play can be simple and fun! You won’t have to search Pinterest for ideas that you don’t have supplies for and feel like you have to be the “perfect” mom. I will offer a variety of play ideas with simple household items, engaging toy suggestions, and also fun creative ways to play!

What does Playing with Your Baby Look Like?

  • Babies change SO MUCH during their first year of life

  •  I fully understand how fast little ones change now with having my own 11-month-old son. Play will look a little different for each stage of development for your baby. I will do my best to provide you with play activities for each of month of your babies life so you can feel confident at each stage. Each month will bring about new and fun play experiences for you to be able to bond with your baby!
  • If you are looking for amazing baby play resources right now, check out these awesome play ideas from CanDoKiddo!! 
  • Play does not have to complicated and take hours to set up activities. Simple play can be fun and engaging for both you and your baby!
  • I will help create fun engaging play experiences using items you will most likely have around your house as well as recommend high-quality toys that we have personally used that our family and son loves!!

How to get started with Playing with your Baby

    • Depending on the age of your baby there can be a variety of items to get started playing with your baby, but really you don’t need much!
      • For newborns and young babies, a blanket or playmat is a great starting place!! Tummy time is so important at this age!! This is a similar playmat that we used with our son!
      • If you are struggling with Tummy Time check out the book Begin with a Blanket from CanDoKiddo or even check out her Tummy Time Course!! She gives you fun ways to work on Tummy Time to help decrease crying.
      • For babies who are learning how to sit, a pillow to help with sitting balance and vertical upright toys to promote reaching are great! Check out this awesome Playnest that provides baby with a cushion around them to work on sitting balance safely!
      • For babies who are standing and cruising finding toys to help them pull up to stand such as an activity table is a fun one!
      • Board Books that are touchy-feely are a great toy option for babies of all ages!! Check out this one about dinosaurs!! 
    • Below are some awesome books from CanDoKiddo that can help you find simple play activities for babies of all ages and stages!! She gives you simple play set up with items you will most likely have around your house!! These resources are a lifesaver!! Check them out below by clicking on the picture!!

Tips for Success for Playing with Your Baby

  • Have FUN!! Take moments when you are playing with your baby to be intentional with them. Talk to them, make funny noises, be silly, dance around, and smile!
  • Follow your babies/child’s lead. Give them a toy to play with and see how they respond. If they are happy and smiling keep engaging, if they start to cry or become upset find something else they may enjoy.
  • Learn to read your baby’s signals. If they start to get fussy, look away, yawn, or become upset. This is probably not the best time to play. Figure out what they are needing and meet their needs first.
  • Look at your play space. Is it safely set up for baby to play? If you are on the ground is it safe with a blanket and some toys? If they are starting to stand or open up things, is your area safe for baby to explore?

 

Common Questions/FAQ About Playing with your Baby

  • How do I play with a newborn?

    • If you just had a newborn baby or you are expecting, congrats!! This is such a new and exciting time to bond with your baby!! The newborn phase is all about learning your new role as a mom/parent and worrying about sleep and eating. At this stage you can start to work on tummy time! Check out this post for awesome tummy time ideas! 
  • How do I play with a 3-month-old?

    • At this age, your baby will better be able to start to grasp toys and do more belly up play activities and reaching/swiping for toys. This is a great time to use a playmat with hanging toys/rattles. Other fun toys to use at this age are rattles that go on their hands and feet to help baby look to midline. Check out this awesome guide for 3 to 4 month olds!!
  • How do I play with a 6-month-old?

    • Around the 6 month age mark your baby may start to work on sitting up on their own, but it is still important to work on tummy time to help their upper body get strong to work on crawling. It is great to work on sitting balance with cushions around them with rattles and toys for them to explore. As they get stronger with sitting,  placing toys up for them to have to raise their arms and reach for toys hanging up high will help them work on their upper arm strength. Don’t forget about tummy time, continue to incorporate lots of tummy time with books, sensory bags, and water fun to help get them strong and ready for crawling.
  • How do I play with a 9-month-old?

    • Around this age your little one with start to work on pulling up to stand and cruising along furniture. This brings them upright even more and it is great to place toys up higher for them to go and reach for. Place rattles, music toys, or books on a couch that baby can pull up to and reach for or use an activity table that is stable for them to work on pulling up to stand.
  • How do I play with a 12-month-old?

    • 12 months old is a big milestone!! You no longer have a baby, but officially a toddler! You and your little one have now been playing and learning from each other for one whole year! I never really believed it before becoming a mom myself, but the time sure does fly by quickly!! At this age your little one will be into a lot! They will want to pull out all the toys/items from drawers and make tons of messes. This is typical and messy play is good! They will be stronger and have the ability to stand on their own and even may take some first steps. They will want to put things into containers, so posting activities with shape sorters and coins are great to work on this! They could use a push toy to work on walking independently.
  • Tummy Time: How do I get my little one to enjoy tummy time?

    • Some ideas that helped my little one enjoy tummy time was doing it while laying on mom or dad! He loved having more connection with us! We also used high contrast visual cards, music toys, board books, and even water play!
    • If you are struggling with Tummy Time check out the book Begin with a Blanket from CanDoKiddo or even check out her Tummy Time Course!! She gives you fun ways to work on Tummy Time to help decrease crying.
  • Sensory Play: What is Sensory Play & How do I do Sensory Play with my Baby?

    • Sensory Play: This is play that involves using the babies senses to explore and learn about their environment. For example for newborns and 3-month-old, the feeling of soft textures such as a blanket, the sound of a rattle shaking, or the crinkle of a toy, is allowing your little one to use various senses to learn about their environment. As your baby gets older you can incorporate more sensory play such as with eating solid foods with messy play, using sensory bags to engage with new textures for tactile senses or doing some fun water play! I will be adding some of our favorite sensory play ideas to this post, so keep your eye out for specific ideas!
  • Baby Gear: Should I use Baby Gear with my baby for playing?

    • This question comes up a lot as there are a ton of baby gear products on the market today. Overall, I am not going to tell you yes or no to using baby gear because I don’t know what is best for your family or lifestyle. I will do my best to provide you with facts and safety information to help you provide a safe environment for your baby to play. As I work to add more content to specific pieces of baby gear, check out this amazing FREE resource from CanDoKiddo about her Baby Gear Information! 
  • Toys: What are good toys for my baby to play with?

    • It can be overwhelming when looking at all of the toys available for babies and kids at the store. How do I know my baby will like this toy and be able to grow with it? I will be adding blog posts about specific toy recommendations for each stage of baby development to help you, but for now please check out these toys for each stage!
      • Newborn to 3 months old: We really loved our playmat, high contrast visuals with books, textures, and tags with crinkly paper.
      • 3 to 6 months old: We loved our music piano and inflatable water mat to help with tummy time, rattle maracas to work on grasping, the banana teether to help with teething, and this rattle and teether in one.
      • 6 to 9 months old: At this age your little one will start to be on the move a lot more! They will be rolling, working on sitting up, crawling, and working on pulling up to stand. This is an age with a lot of gross motor changes! We used this activity table and activity cube to help our son with pulling up to stand and he still enjoys both of these at 12 months old!
      • 9 to 12 months old: Now your little one will be moving all over to explore and learn about their environment. We loved using his wagon walker to help with standing and providing vestibular input!
    • Check out these other great resources from Toy Ideas!!

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Playing with your Baby

  • Have fun! Playing with your baby shouldn’t be stressful or become this comparison game on social media. Being a mom or a parent is hard work, you have so many new responsibilities. Allow play time in your home to be engaging with your little one! Before you know it they will grow up in the blink of an eye!
  • Please let me know in the comments below if you find this information helpful or if there are any other questions you have about playing with your baby!

 

The Beginners guide to playing with your baby

The beginners guide to playing with your baby

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