Things to Do with Toddlers and Twos by Karen Miller
Homemade Pull Toys - Sometimes people buy toys to encourage toddlers to
walk. Toddlers don't need any "encouragement" to walk! However, a toddler will enjoy a good
pull toy for the cause and effect response the toy gives. That's why commercial pull toys almost
always make noise when the child pulls it. You can make your own versions. A short string tied
to any variety of "junk objects" will give children something fun to drag that makes noise
when it moves. Keep safety in mind - no sharp edges, nothing small enough to swallow
(never use as a crib toy). Some possible things to use: jingle bells inside a metal can
with the top glued on, a number of jar lids with a hole punched in the middle (file hole smooth),
an aluminum pie tin, or serveral tied together...
Dribbles - Poke holes in the bottom of a margarine tub and children
will enjoy filling it with water, lifting it, and watching the water dribble out.
Basting - A large meat baster will attract the concentration of toddlers.
When you first introduce this to the child it is a good idea to have two - one for yourself and
one for the child. Show the child how to empty one container of water and
fill another using the baster.
Plastic Eye Droppers - These, of course, operate from the same principle as
meat basters, but on a smaller scale. Instead of using the whole hand to squeeze, the child uses
just the forefinger and thumb. After the child has had a chance to play with it freely for a while,
you could have him transfer colored water from one margarine tub to anotherusing an eye dropper. Small
molded plastic pet food dishes with two compartments work well for this. A
baking pan underneath could catch drips.
Multi-Cans Drum - Tape together a number of empty cans of various sizes
so they form a circle. Electrical tape or cloth tape works well. Remove the bottoms of the
cans and file the sharp edges smooth or cover them with tape or contact paper. Let the child
bang on the various cans with a short stick and see what different sounds they make. An
unsharpened pencil with a large rubber eraser glued on makes a good drum stick.
Heated Shaving Cream! - It's a wonderful treat, and very soothing, to
fingerpaint with heated shaving cream. To heat the shaving cream you can use one of
the small electric appliances designed for that purpose. If you cannot locate one of
these, simply place the can in hot water for a few minutes. It works!
Tearing Paper - Get several old magazines or newspapers and tell a
small group of children, "These are old and we don't need them any more. Let's
tear them up." The sound of several people tearing paper at once is fun to hear
in itself and toddlers like the sensation of using both their hands in opposition to each
other. Later they can paste their torn pieces to another sheet of paper.
Texture Snake - Sew variously textured material scraps into a long
tube. Use the toe of a sock for the head and sew on features. Stuff it with polyester
stuffing material, old nylons, or other stuffing material. A very long
snake can be a lot of fun to play with. You could use free out-of-date upholstery or
drapery samples from a decorating store.
Sticky Tape - Is lunch late? Do you need to occupy children for a
few minutes while you talk to someone? Just tear off small pieces of masking tape
and give them to the children. Children enjoy the stickiness and the magic of the
way it stays in place.
Zip Lock Bag Books - These are fun to make, and very versatile.
Simply take several small zip lock bags and sew them together along the bottom edge
opposite the zip lock closing. A regular overcast stitch works fine. Now cut
some cardboard to just fit inside the bags. (This makes the pages stiff and easier to
turn.) Then find magazine pictures or photos to slip on either side of the cardboard.
Pop Up Stick Puppet - Poke a hole in the bottom of a paper or plastic
cup. Fit a plastic drinking straw or wooden dowel through the hole. Attach a small toy or
a face on a small ball to the end of the dowel so that it can pop in and out of the cup when
you move the dowel. There are many ways you could elaborate this simple puppet.
Thank you Donya for collecting these links!
updated by Karen