Toddler Treasures

Top 10 Movement Songs

April Showers bring May Flowers, right?!  I cannot wait for the nice spring weather to grace Ohio, but until then we’ll have a lot of recesses indoors.  Since noone likes to be stuck inside–especiallyyy crazy toddlers–I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite movement songs that are perfect for putting some of that pent up energy to use.  Next time you can’t get outside and everyone is about to melt down, refer to this list.

1. The Goldfish by The Laurie Berkner Band

2. Lets Get Fit — Counting to 100 by 1’s by Jack Heartmann

3. We are the Dinosaurs by The Laurie Berkner Band

4. Animal Action from Kids in Motion

5. Freeze Dance by the Kiboomers

6. Shake Your Sillies Out by The Learning Station

7. Monster Boogie by The Laurie Berkner Band

8. Stand Up Sit Down by Patty Shukla

9. Bear Hunt from Kids in Action

10. If You’re a Kid (Dance Around!) By Harry Kindergarten Music

If you have a favorite that didn’t make it on the list please feel free to share in the comments!


Letters to the Military

Several months ago my mom brought over a bin of Beanie Babies and told me she thought they could be donated to the troops.  I, of course, had no idea how to go about this.  So I did nothing.

This week I decided to go through them and keep the ones that meant the most to me and donate some to my toddler classroom.  After that I still had dozens left!  So I begrudgingly started a Google search to find out the best way to donate them, and I’m glad I did!  I found an organization called Operation Gratitude!  As I was printing out the donation form I saw that donations of letters to our military personnel are always needed. And then I had a great idea!  I’d have my students “write” letters!

I wrote a quick one or two lines of thanks on cardstock ahead of time and then let the kids get creative with stickers and crayons.

Explaining the activity to toddlers was a bit challenging, but they generally understood when I said we were, “thanking soldiers for keeping us safe.” (Yes, I know soldier is specific to the army, but they’re 2 year olds, okay? 😉)  Several of the kids got really into it and asked to write multiple letters!  It was awesome to see their excitement!

This would be a great activity to go along with National Holidays such as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, but I also think it is important to thank our service members on other days of the year as well!

In the end we had a big pile of wonderful letters to donate to Operation Gratitude!

Green Eggs and Ham

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ birthday, so this week is national Dr. Seuss week!  So far I have blogged about crafts and activities to do with toddlers. Today’s activity is a themed story time and requires a lot more adult work but will be so much fun!  I believe that instilling a love of reading in children early on will benefit them so much through out life and one way to do this is with fun story times.
Today’s theme is…

Green Eggs and Ham

It’s a Dr. Seuss classic.  I’m sure you’ve read it.  Gather the kids around and snack on these little treats as you enthrall them with the tales of Sam and his dislike of green eggs and ham.

You’ll need-

  • Square pretzels
  • White candy melts (These can be found at craft stores.  I’ve found that they can sometimes be hard to find at grocery stores)
  • Green M&M’s


Set the oven to 250°

Place the pretzels in a single layer on a cookie sheet and top each one with a candy melt.  

Set them in the oven for about 4 minutes–just long enough to soften.
Take then out of the oven and put one green M&M atop each one.  

Let them cool while you read another Seuss classic like Hop on Pop, and then enjoy eating green eggs treats while reading Green Eggs and Ham!

Winter/Valentine’s Day Sensory Bottles

Lately I have been obsessed with sensory bottles.  I think they are so fun to make and I love to get creative with them.  Oh, and kids love them too 😉

There are no limits to what you can use in a sensory bottle.  Well that’s not true.  The items have to fit into a water bottle–but there are so many possibilities!  I saw ideas for fall bottles on Pinterest and they were so cute and fun that I decided to come up with my own Winter/Valentines bottles.

I like to make the sensory objects in each bottle a little different.  It keeps things interesting and each one provides a different sensory experience when shaken.  The first one I made was a “snow ball” one and for this I just put several cotton balls in the bottle. The next one was filled with water beads (I used Valentines colors), and the kids have been fighting over this one like crazy! I’m glad to see it’s a hit but I’ll probably need to make more.  The third one is another fun one that the kids enjoy.  It is bean bag filler beads with puffy snowflakes.  The kids love shaking it around trying to find the hidden snowflakes.  And finally the fourth one I did for this season is a water based one.  Directions I’ve found on the Internet say to fill the bottle half with water and half corn syrup.  I find it to be a little too much corn syrup so I do less of that and more water.  Then add whatever glitter you’d like.  For this one I did white glitter to mimic snowfall and added heart sequins.

Have fun making your own themed sensory bottles!  Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear the creative ideas you come up with as well!

Shape Firetruck

The kids in my class LOVE firetrucks!  Making a shape firetruck was a great way to incorporate something they love into the mundane task of learning our shapes.  Kids will be in awe when they see that just a few simple shapes can turn into an awesome firetruck.
What you’ll need:

  1. Red, blue, yellow, white and black construction paper
  2. Glue Stick

Crafts with no fuss items are the best. These are typical arts and crafts items and the left over stuff will easily be used for other activities!  So, the first thing to do is cut the shapes.  For my class of 2 to 3 year olds I cut the shapes for them.  If you want to do this with an older kid, by all means, have them practice cutting their own shapes!  I don’t let the kids cut the shapes because-if and when they don’t turn out right-it takes away from the firetruck image to the end, which is what this craft is all about!  You’ll need 3 black circles, 1 large red rectangle, 1 large red square, 1 smaller blue square, and a long, skinny yellow rectangle.

Now it’s time to glue the shapes onto the paper and form the truck!  Toddlers can apply their own glue easiest in the form of a gluestick.  I absolutely LOVE purple Elmer’s Glue Sticks.  The colored glue gives children a visual to see where they are applying the glue.  It’s awesome!  To assemble the truck, glue the large rectangle and square next to each other side by side on a sheet of paper.  These will serve as the engine and the cab.  Then glue the blue square onto the cab and that will be the window.

The black circles get glued to the bottom as the wheels and then the skinny yellow rectangle is the ladder and can be glued at a slight angle at the top.

Add a few lines on the yellow rectangle for the rungs of the ladder, and it’s done!

Turkey Color Matching

Another fun activity to do around Thanksgiving is Turkey Color Matching.  This activity is simple and a great way to work on colors! 

You’ll need:

  • Fruit Loops
  • A turkey blackline
  • Crayons
  • Glue

The first step is to obtain a turkey blackline.  I drew mine and it wasn’t too hard, but the Internet has an abundance to choose from as well.

Next, color the turkey.  For my class I colored the feathers and let the kids color the bodies.  I really wanted to focus on color matching and wanted to make sure each feather was clearly only one color.

Now the Fruit Loops get glued to the feather with the matching color.  An easy way for toddlers to use glue and not use too much is to place a bowl of Fruit Loops on the table and a bowl with a thin layer of glue.  The kids will pick a Fruit Loop, dip it in the glue, and then glue it to the feather with the matching color!

 Being able to match two colors is an awesome feat, but it isn’t the same as knowing the name of the color.  A quick way to add this into the activity it to have the child name the color as they are gluing it onto the feather.  Once they are done matching Fruit Loops to the turkey feathers set it aside and while it’s drying snack on some left over Fruit Loops!  What’s the point in learning with food if you don’t get to enjoy some at the end, right?

Toilet Paper Roll Turkeys

Gobble Gobble Gobble.  Thanksgiving is almost here!  One of my all time favorite crafts for this time of year is the Toilet Paper Roll Turkey.  I look forward to making it every year!  

You’ll need

  • Several different colors of paint
  • Paper plates
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Orange construction paper 

I put together several parts of this craft for the kids but, as always, it’s up to you how much of the craft they do themselves.  I painted the toilet paper rolls and cut out the beaks ahead of time and then the kids got to paint the half paper plates however they wanted.  They needed a little guidance on painting the white areas and not mixing all the colors in one spot, but all in all they turned out really well!

After the plates dry, glue the toilet paper roll in the center leaving some plate showing at the top.  This is the turkey body.  Then add the eyes and beak and you’ve got yourself a Thanksgiving Toilet Paper Roll Turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Leaf Rubbings

With the leaves falling and autumn in full swing, it’s a great time to do leaf rubbings.  You could really do rubbings of any flat object, but leaf rubbings are traditional and it’s the perfect time to do it.

All you need is:

  • A couple leaves
  • A sheet of paper
  • Some crayons
  • Tape

    It took me a few tries to figure out the best way to do this with a toddler age group.  The first few times the paper moved all around which caused the image of the leaf to not turn out recognizable.  I finally realized that tape was the secret weapon!

    I put the leaves on the table, placed the paper over top and taped the paper to the table.  This way there would be no movement from the paper and the leaf image would turn out great!  

    Now it’s time to start rubbing!  I have found that little fingers have more control with rubbings when they hold a jumbo crayon.  I would think that the triangle jumbo crayons would work even better as they have flat sides that would lay flat on the paper!   Which brings me to my next point.  To make the rubbing you need to remove the paper from the crayon and rub the side of the crayon all over the paper.  Coloring with the tip of the crayon will not leave a recognizable final image.

    Once they’re done coloring, untape the paper, and take a look at the images!

    How To Make Hot Potato More Fun

    1. Use a real potato.

    Kids love silly things, and what’s sillier than using a real potato for hot potato?  Just make sure to do a practice round around the circle so they can get all of their curiosity about the potato out of their systems.

    2.  When the music stops, let the child left holding the potato name something from a predetermined category.

    An example of this would be favorite food.  Each time the potato stops, that child gets to name their favorite food.

    3. No one gets “out”.

    No 2 year old in their right mind wants to be left out of a game.  Make it fun for the kids who end up with the hot potato, not a negative.  This way the game can continue on until the children start to get bored of it. 

    An old school game like Hot Potato is still a brand new concept to toddlers, and these additions to the game will help to encourage participation!

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