Animal Sort

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Veronika loves playing with her stuffed animals (a favorite lately has been simply to climb in the crib with every single “stuffie” and have a blast in there). Today when we pulled out the stuffies, I decided to make it a little educational, too.

I encouraged Veronika to make two piles. Could she divide the animals into big and small? The idea of sorting is still tough for a 20-month-old, but she can identify whether a single stuffed animal is big or small.

So I started the two piles for her as an example, and then held the others up one at a time. “Where should this one go?” I asked her. “Is he big, or small?”

Animal Sort (1)

She made a little effort at this, but she was honestly more interested in making the sounds of each animal – hoots for owls, growls for bears, etc. So we decided to sort them differently: loud animals versus soft ones! Again I had to help with much of the sorting, but it was fun to make the noises for each animal as our piles grew larger.

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Older toddlers and preschoolers will love this to, and maybe think of other ways to sort the animals. And of course, you’ll have a giant pile of stuffed animals to play in at the end.

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Pool-Noodle Hockey

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We needed to get outside at “Camp Mom” this morning, and I knew just the silly summer sport for the kids. Pool noodles for hockey sticks and a giant blown-up beach ball for the puck made the perfect summer props to play an outdoor version of hockey.

Simply set up orange cones as the goal markers and then divide into teams. (In our case, it was Travis versus mommy and little sister).

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Then take turns whacking the beach ball down the field toward your opponent’s goal. First team to 10 points wins!

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Or you don’t even have to keep score. Kids will no doubt just have fun with the mechanics of chasing the beach ball around with the pool noodle, which is sure to elicit delight.

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Here’s a Ball for Baby

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Here’s another ditty for toddlers that’s just right for both gestures and props. It might just lead to lots of solo play!

The lyrics are cute because they include many of a toddler’s favorite things:

Here’s a ball for baby, (cup hands like you’re holding a ball)

Big and soft and round. 

Here is baby’s hammer (pretend to hammer)

See how she can pound.

Here is baby’s music, (clap hands!)

Clapping, clapping, so.

Here are baby’s soldiers, (wiggle all ten fingers)

Standing in a row.

Here is her umbrella, (shape arms into an umbrella)

To keep our baby dry.

Here is baby’s cradle, (pretend to rock a baby)

To rock-a-baby bye.

First, I encouraged Veronika to do all the movements and copy my motions. I was so proud of her clapping along.

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This was her “umbrella”

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And she loved forming a cradle.

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Then it was time for the props! We trotted out balls to bounce, hammers to pound, and baby dolls to rock of course.

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I caught her singing this to herself all afternoon, especially the clapping line and “rock-a-baby bye”.

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This one is sure to stay a favorite.

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