We absolutely love our younger siblings. Even when they annoy us by interrupting our schoolwork, we still love them. One way we like to show them love is activities of their own. They feel seen and cared for when they have their own activities. Our youngest especially loves being able to decide who gets to do the activities with him – it makes him feel big and in control for just a few minutes. Here are some of our favorite February activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
1. Conversation Heart Sensory Bin – Fill a container you can use for a sensory bin with a few bags of conversation hearts. They usually cost about $1 a bag. These sturdy colorful candies are fun to scoop, dump, drive cars through and sift through your fingers. Spoons, cups, cars and tweezers add an extra layer of fun to this sensory bin.
2. Volleyloon – Inflate a balloon with air and tie the end to keep the air from escaping. Toss the balloon in the air and see how many times your toddler or preschooler can keep it in the air without it falling. If a sibling or parent has an extra hand, you can even bump it back and forth. This activity can provide a lot of exercise and great hand eye coordination practice. Since it does involve a balloon, it is important to keep an eye on your child as popped balloons are a choking hazard. Also, if you are looking for the sturdiest balloon brand, you want Qualatex – trust me on that one.
3. Conversation Heart Color Sort – Sort colored conversation hearts in a muffin tin to practice seeing differences. You can also talk about colors. The muffin tin helps keep the piles from mixing while also promoting hand eye coordination.
4. Indoor “Basket”ball – Toss a ball into a laundry basket. We usually make several throwing spots by marking spaces on the floor using pillows. Toss from behind the pillow. Run and retrieve the ball and choose a new pillow to toss from behind. Throwing is a great gross motor activity! Just remember to use a soft ball, wad of paper or a bundle of socks so nothing gets broken.
5. Love Monsters – Cut out several hearts in different sizes and colors or purchase a package of heart cut outs. Hand them to your child and allow him or her to glue them together to make a love monster. It is amazing that even from a young age many children will link together several hearts to make arms and legs. They also will create fancy shaped bodies and creative faces. If your hearts are mostly the same color, you may want to give your child wiggly eyes or round stickers to be used for their monster’s face.
6. Pink or Purple Paint Bag – Inside of a zipper top bag, place a blob of red paint and a blob of white paint (or blue if you are going for purple). Zip AND tape the bag closed. Tape the four sides of the bag to a table and encourage your child to mush the colors together to make pink (or purple). After they have made the new color, show them to use it to draw and erase.
7. Pipe Cleaner Bracelets – Give your child pipe cleaners and beads so they can make tokens of their affection for those they love. The beauty of using pipe cleaners instead of string is the stability and ease of “stringing” for little ones. They also “tie” off much easier.
There you go. Seven quick younger sibling activities to help get you through those February days with your little one feeling the love. No matter how you choose to occupy your littlest ones, remember keep smart. Keep it simple.