Exclusive! 100 Activities for Tots

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Little kids will play all day if you let them — and you should! With a little help from you, the fun can be structured, sensorial and brilliant.

Learning is everywhere when your child is little, so take full advantage of her willingness to play. Here are 100 activities to do together — that’s 100 days of learning!

1. Make  play dough and use it to make cupcakes, bread, cookies, sweets, chocolates or any fun little things.

Play Dough Recipe:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
food coloring

Directions: Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”.  Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes – add food coloring during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag.

2. Create a treasure basket … A small basket lined with fabric and labeled “Treasures” to keep items in it that your child is fascinated by or that you want him or her to learn about. For instance, you can do a kitchen theme of different cooking utensils, or things that we use of hygiene … the sky’s the limit.

3. Make art on the window pane using sheets of foam for crafting …. cut into all kinds of shapes or create a fun story scene.

4. Create a story box to retell a favorite story — use a shoebox to gather all of the items you need.

5. Use a salad spinner to create spin art.

6. Make paints prints with broccoli, peppers, spaghetti, toy cars, cardboard tubes, egg cartons or cookie cutters

7. Make salt dough and use it to create hand and foot prints, ornaments,  leaf prints or letters

8. Use stickers to tell stories or make quick art work

9. Make some cloud dough (moldable sand!) and play with it making fun shapes

Cloud dough recipe:
5 cups plain flour
1 cup baby oil
Mix well and play!

10. Use material to wrap around cardboard shapes, introduce weaving or make a birds nest

11. Get out the shaving cream and finger paint shapes on a tray, try adding food coloring

12. Mold some small toys in jello and dig them out, playing and exploring

13. Play “can you guess what this smell is?” using items in your kitchen

14. Freeze some toys in ice and try and have a race to see who can excavate them the quickest

15. Stack some cups and explore shadows

16. Make paper tube chutes for dropping beans and pom poms

17. Paint each other’s faces with face crayons

18. Turn a box into a town and draw roads and buildings inside, or turn it into a train track with a station

19. Set up a role play coffee shop

19. Make some clothing pin fairies using small pieces of fabric and a fine-tip Sharpie. Use the fairies to tell a story

20. Practice writing letters and numbers in salt

21. Have fun finger painting

22. Act out Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

23. Go on a nature walk in your backyard or street or nearby park

24. Make a favorite book character from play dough

25. Use handprints to measure things

26. Make ball catchers from milk jugs and play with a ball

27. Set up a reading tent and read a pile of books together with milk and cookies

28. Freeze some rice for cool sensory play

29. Make a rock pool using a large roasting pan, and tell seaside stories

30. Have a colored bath in the middle of the day using small drops of food coloring

31. Paint a table top with chalkboard paint then draw on it, make train tracks and create a city

32. Put together a sensory tub themed around anything you like to interest your child in a story

33. Get up to your elbows in cooked and cooled spaghetti

34. Make macaroni necklaces

35. Mix colors with water in small bowls to learn what makes what colors

36. Make sandwiches together, going your child’s pace

37. Step in paint and make footprints on paper

38. Decorate coloring sheets by gluing on buttons

39. Make your own edible fingerpaints.

Edible Fingerpaints Recipe
2 cups corn starch
1 cup cold water
4-and-a-half cups of boiling water
Liquid food coloring

Directions: Mix the corn starch with the cold water and stir together. Pour in the boiling wate, one cup at a time and stir between each cup. Keep stirring as it melts into a pudding-like consistency. Separate into different jars or plastic bowls and add food coloring to make different colors.

40. Make a rainstick

41. Use shells to create your own fossils in salt dough

42. Set up an outdoor messy area for making mud pies and grass soup (spring fun!)

43. Make a pirate map, a treasure chest from a cardboard box, a sandy pirate island and go on adventures, indoors or out

44. Experiment with magnetism

45. Turn an enormous cardboard box into a play car

46. Collect petals to make perfume (spring time)

47. Create a dinosaur land in a tray, using your small collection of dinosaurs

48. Scoop and pour all kinds items from your pantry – kids love this!

49. Poke pipe cleaners through all kinds of small spaces

50. Make pictures with felt shapes

51. Use plastic bottles to make discovery bottles

52. Paint rainbows together

53. Begin a collection of play boxes — plastic bins you can fill with items and pull out from time to time

54. Create a giant collage version of a favorite book of your child’s

55. Scrape forks  or combs through paint to explore texture

56. Grind coffee beans

57. Make a frozen alphabet using these fun trays

58. Sort colors and practice number skills in an egg carton

59. Make a picture with cotton balls

60. Blow bubbles together, talk about floating

61. Make giant chalk letters

62. Make a rain gauge to measure rainfall together. Use a plastic water bottle. Cut the top of the water bottle off and turn it upside down IN the water bottle to catch rain

63. Grow beans on cotton balls — fun gluing exercise

64. Paint with all kinds of different tools

65. Use masking tape to create artwork

66. Fold paper over paint to make blotto prints

67. Bake alphabet cookies

68. Use sticky paper to make stained glass window art

69. Make a craft with your child (see Kiera’s Crafts)

70. Germinate seeds in a windowsill pot

71. Paint with water on colored chalk

72. Blow paint through a straw

73. Make wrapping paper and gift tags out of plain paper

74. Hold a pretend play birthday party

75. Put paper all over the floor and have a huge doodling session

76. Build with blocks and challenge each other with height

77. Make a leaf or flower crown

78. Press flowers or leaves in wax paper for a bookmark

79. Use toothpicks and glue to make a mini tee-pee

80. Print with bubble wrap to make the ocean

81. Crush chalk to make paint

82. Use household objects to make music

83. Have a tea party

84. Plant a fairy garden (spring)

85. Paint with cotton balls

86. Decorate a flower pot or a bird house

87. Explore shells using sand play dough

88. Create land art with natural materials found on a walk

89. Paint in the bath or on the windows with shaving cream

90. Make a favorite book character from play dough and retell the story together

91. Play with real cooking equipment and dried beans

92. Add patterns and textures to play dough

93. Decorate play dough gingerbread men with buttons

94. Make glittery paintings by adding glitter to the painted pictures before they’ve dried

95. Cut potatoes to make shapes and then print them in paint

96. Bake homemade cookies together

97. Play dress up together

98. Play beauty shop together

99. Make a balance beam from boards or other objects you can find and practice balancing

100. Lace shoes together

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