When the weather cooperates, fall is a great time for imaginative play outside! With falling leaves, there are many opportunities for language expansion and other developmental goals, such as gross motor movement! Have the kids make a pile with the leaves (or play with the ones you rake) and model for them to practice imitating a variety of actions, sounds, words, and phrases! Target relevant verbs (e.g. jump, fall, rake, throw, etc.) as they jump and play in the leaves. Throw them up in the air, pile them high, watch them fall from the trees, jump and stomp to listen to them crunch, and so much more! They’ll have a blast playing outside with no equipment necessary!
Playdough is an endless opportunity for targeting a variety of developmental goals, such as receptive and expressive language or fine motor skills. Your child can use their imagination to mold it into different objects/shapes, or generally play for sensory input and language expansion.
Practice colors by naming them and then having your child identify each one, or have your child label them themselves for further expressive practice. Encourage your child to request, such as signing/saying “more” or “please,” requesting their desired color, etc. Practice acting out/modeling relevant verbs (e.g. roll, cut, squeeze, rip, smash, push, etc.) with the playdough. Encourage imitation of sounds, words/phrases, and actions.
You can make animals/objects with the playdough or find small toys to put in playdough for extended sensory play and to target other vocabulary. Modify targets as your child progresses, this is a toy that can absolutely grow with your child’s skills!
Help! My toddler often becomes very upset when transitioning between daily routines, such as getting in the car to run errands, or putting the iPad away to take a nap. What should take only a few minutes turns into a 20-minute ordeal! What can I do to make these transitions go smoother for both my child and me?
Turn this every day routine into a fun way to promote language development and play skills! You can practice taking turns blowing bubbles in the water and have fun splashing mounds of bubbles around. There is so much wonderful vocabulary you can incorporate such a routine activity. Adding bath toys (animals, shapes, colors) can make learning fun! A few examples: practicing animal sounds, pretending to give your animals a bath, finding different shapes/letters in bubbles. Whether you decide to add bath toys or not, the options are endless during bath time.
The super sorting pie is a great toy that targets a variety of language concepts. You can practice requesting different pieces of fruit, taking turns taking pieces of fruit out of the pie and putting them back in, and sharing. Additional concepts that can be targeted with this toy can include: same vs. different, color matching, and quantitative concepts (i.e. one vs. some vs. all).(Photo Credit: Amazon)
Paint, draw, sculpt with play-do, scoop bears from the manipulatives bucket, draw big on the wall chalkboard, make a creative art/craft project to take home, and more. Mondays & Tuesdays 9:15 AM – 11:15 AM. All ages. Free.
Connect to nature while exercising the body and imagination with your little one. Toddlers will practice fun animal yoga poses and also engage in activities like guided nature exploration, reading a storybook and more.
September 3rd & 10th from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Ages 2-4 years. $20/Child.
Secrets of Bees is a highly interactive exhibit using live bees, costumes and props to allow families to role-play and peel back the mystery of bees.
Through October 1st. $9 – adults; $6 – ages 3 – 12 years; Free – ages 2 & under.
This interactive spy story provides the purr-fect opportunity to show your little ones the mystery and excitement of live theatre.
September 12th – January 3rd. Ages 0 – 5 years. $15/child; $8/children 1 & under.
Join Smart Love at a Free Learn & Play Date about Baby Milestones! The play date is casual and will take place in their baby room, a space specifically designed with your baby in mind. Ages 6 – 11 months. Free.
How can I encourage my toddler to interact more with his peers?
A “calm down” bottle can be used to help your child self-regulate when becoming emotionally overwhelmed or over-stimulated by his or her environment. Your child will enjoy shaking the bottle and watching the glitter settle to the bottom. Keep them on hand for long car rides, grocery store meltdowns, or as a tool to help your child calm during a “time-out”!
-Empty water bottle (smooth bottles work best!)
-Clear gel glue
Clean water bottle and remove labels.
Fill water bottle ¾ of the way with warm water.
Add glitter glue and fine glitter. Shake bottle to mix and melt glitter glue.
Add clear gel glue and fill to the top with cool water.
(You can play with the consistency at this point…more gel glue will make the glitter settle slowly and more water will make it settle more quickly.)
Secure the top back on with super glue.
Photo credit: By Inkwina (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons