Even though toddlers are too little to go to “real” school, I thought it would be fun to do some back to school activities with my littlest learner this week to go along with his brother’s back to school themed learning! He’s really been into identifying colors and counting lately (I sang him “1, 2, buckle my shoe” about 47 times yesterday at his request…lol) so I thought this was the perfect time to jump into some “traditional” school themed activities!
–Shape pencil: I cut out shapes for my littles to glue together to make a pencil. We reviewed each shape and its attributes as we used them, then my littles wrote their names on them (I helped my toddler by holding his hand with the pen in it of course! He thought it was cool to “write” like his big brother!) This was the first time my youngest used the glue stick too! He was totally into it! LoL I got the idea from A Dab of Glue Will Do!
–Footprint school bus: I used my little’s feet to make some school busses for this cute “Back to School” themed picture! I got the idea from I Heart Arts and Crafts!
–Pasta threading: This activity was a hit with my toddler and SO easy to set up! You just poke some spaghetti noodles in a piece of playdough and have them thread ziti noodles on the spaghetti! I had to hold the spaghetti steady for him, but he thought it was so cool threading them and did several before yanking the spaghetti out of the playdough and just playing with the whole set! I got the idea from my friend Renee who did it with her toddler ages ago and posted a picture on Facebook! Laughing Kids Learn also has a similar activity, only using straws and larger noodles! (we had small ones on hand so hence the spaghetti!)
–Post it pull and count: This is another easy one that both my boys were in to! You count out 10 post it notes while sticking them to the wall, then count them again as your little pulls them down! BAM! Counting practice! I thought about writing the actual numbers on them to build number recognition, but lets be honest- most toddlers are going to pull them down in a random order, so I skipped it! I got the idea from Teach, Investigate, Play!
–Dot sticker sorting: This idea is so simple, but so fun! I mean what toddler doesn’t love stickers? I just taped two colors of construction paper on the wall (one yellow, one blue) and showed my little how “yellow goes on yellow, and blue goes on blue”. Then I gave him a few stickers to sort! This is an activity you can do a few days in a row, especially because toddler attention span is about 5 minutes! LoL My little sorted 3 of each color then ran off!
–Clothespin color sort: I’ll start off by saying this one is probably better for kiddos who are 2 years old or close to it! Their fine motor strength is barely there to get a clothespin to work! My little struggled a bit, but I showed him how to do it and he thought it was fun so we continued the activity. If you find it’s too hard for them to work the clothes pin, you can sort with blocks instead! I just threw some red and green washi tape on 8 clothespins and had my little clip the green ones on a green paper and the red ones on a red paper!
–Leapfrog ABC bus: Our neighbor gave us this bus as a hand-me-down and both of my boys love playing with it! It sings letters and sounds, the ABCs, and builds fine motor skills when they change out the letters! It’s a little bit pricey at $20, but it’s a fun learning toy to have around! Here’s the link on Amazon if you want to check it out!
–Painting: Sometimes it’s fun to just let your little explore with paint rather than having a set painting “project” that’s supposed to look like something! I taped a large piece of paper on his high chair tray, squirted blobs of each color on the paper, gave him a brush (I asked if he wanted to use his hands or a brush and he said “brush!”) and let him swirl and mix to his content! He was naming the colors as he went, so I pointed them out to him too (since he still mixes them up! Everything is “boooo”!)
–Block building: Whether it’s chunky legos or traditional blocks, building is great fine motor practice for toddlers, and also builds engineering/problem solving skills and creativity.
- blocks or large legos
- clothes pins (8)
- dot stickers
- post-it notes