School is out and your little one will need enriching learning opportunities outside the classroom. We know that keeping your child stimulated and having fun is very important during these first years, so in this article we’ll talk about some tips and activities for the school break. That way the next few weeks will be as rewarding as possible for everyone in the family.
- Keep a schedule: While it’s hard to duplicate the schedule school provides, try keeping meal times, naps, and bedtime around their regular hours. Movie and game nights are fun and provide bonding opportunities for the whole family but try doing them early or over the weekends to ensure you and your little one are getting the rest you need.
- Make plans: Plan at least one activity every day. “We are visiting grandma at 4pm”, “Movie night starts at 5pm”, “Picnic at the park at noon”. Having one activity every day can give you and your child a center of gravity around which the rest of the day can be structured.
- Find friends: A playdate is a great way to spend your day. Your little one will get to have fun with their friends, plus you’ll see other parents as well.
We came up with a list of 10 simple activities using material you probably have laying around the house: plastic cups! You can try these one-on-one with your child, team up with the whole family, or even organize a playdate!
1. Stack and roll
Even at two months, your baby is already curious about what’s around them. Bright colors like the red cups will get their attention and help you practice head control exercises. Rolling a cup might sound simple, but while your little one is learning to crawl, they’ll want to be rolling it around the house! As you practice sitting up, you can encourage them to reach for the cups with both hands and bang them together. Strengthen their hand-eye coordination by stacking and rolling the cups, they’ll have lots of fun watching how towers come down. As they get better at building pyramids with you, you can play around with speed and have fun with some music.
2. Counting and colors
If your little one is practicing numbers, they’ll love counting their stacks. Practice taking turns to build a pyramid together, and if you have different colors play around with different patterns.
3. Cereal fingers
Is your little one practicing the pincer grasp? Then this is just right for them! Fill a cup halfway with cereal and encourage them to give the other cups some cereal as well! Try this with different sizes, smaller pieces of cereal will demand more finger dexterity abilities.
4. Bowling time
Fire up your imagination and set up a bowling alley, use the cups as pins and grab a ball to roll. You can make the traditional triangle or get creative with stacks, rows, etc. Make it more challenging by using less cups. Invite other family members to play as well!
5. Plant a seed
Does your little one like playing outside? Are they fascinated by nature? Practice some gardening and science concepts with soil and water. Find a spot for your flower pots and let your child have some fun filling up the cups with soil. Place some beans in the soil and show them how to moisten it with water. You’ll have an awesome day discussing how plants are living things and need water and sunlight to grow. Plus, they’ll be wanting to check on their plants every day, so you’ll be spending more time outside! Taking care of a plant can teach them a lot about responsibility and you can even keep a diary of it together and keep track of its growth.
If you want to get really artsy you can make your own puppet show using markers or water paint. Scribble and have fun drawing funny faces on the cups and even paste stuff on them like buttons, gooey eyes, stickers, or pompons. When you finish, create a marionette show with your child. Imitating funny voices or animal sounds will turn up the fun. As you have an awesome bonding time, you’ll be strengthening their hand coordination abilities, creativity, and imagination.
7. Water games
Water games can go from very simple to very challenging. Sit with your little one and experiment with the different reactions to warm and cold water, get some ice involved as well. To practice hand coordination and self-care skills, get a pitcher full of water and see who can fill more cups without spilling! With some ice and a spoon practice getting ice cubes from one cup to the other. Make it more challenging and grab some ping pong balls and a bucket full of water, practice getting the balls out using the cups. If your little one is practicing their balance, make a finish line and see who can carry the cup full of water and get there without spilling!
8. Trace and color
Practice those hand coordination abilities by tracing circles on a card stock paper. You can even do a circle collage using different colors and materials.
9. Pop art masterpiece
Take out some washable paint and show your little one how to dip the bottom of the cup and stamp it on the paper. You can make it more challenging by tracing circles beforehand and inviting them to stamp the paint exactly over the traced circle.
10. Word search
Is your little one learning new words? Are you working on a specific phoneme? Grab as many cups as you want and write down words you would like to work on with a marker. Place the cups around the room. If you want your little one to also practice their motor skills, you can place them in places where they have to stand on their tip toes to get them, run around, or even bend over and work on their balance. After you collect all of the cups, have fun pronouncing every word!
Do you have more ideas? Comment and share them with us below! 🙂