The format of our program is set up as follows:
45 minutes of exploring at their own pace the 8-10 activities which are spread out in a park or large activity room. Being outside works best. These activities are followed by 15 minutes of group time which includes a theme snack, and story, fingerplays, or songs. Our class size is limited to 10 child-adult teams when inside and 15 teams when outside.
Place stuffed animals inside a pillowcase. Take turns removing an animal from the pillowcase and acting like that animal.
Paper Bag Blocks
Fill paper bags half-full with recycled paper and newspapers. Hot glue the top closed. Use as blocks or on an obstacle course. If you crumple the paper, the blocks are light enough for the tot to build with.
Beanbag Throw, Crawl, and Race
Throw – Throw the beanbag into a basket. Have tot get it and bring it to you. Take turns throwing it or just walk to basket and drop in. Repeat as long as it holds her attention.
Crawl – Place a beanbag on your tot’s back and one on your back. Crawl around until the beanbag falls off. If your beanbag falls off, someone else needs to pick it up and put it on your back. This is a great game to build cooperation instead of competition. That can come later!
Race – Place a beanbag between your knees and your tot’s knees and hop like a kangaroo to the finish line (you decide where that is). Try to balance it on your head while standing on one leg like a flamingo. Count. How long can you keep it on your head? Try placing it on an open palm or on your shoulder and walk, hop, or run to finish line. Stop if you drop it.
Toddler Obstacle Course
Jump over the rope.
Walk on the tape (or your can use a board).
Build a tower with all the blocks then knock it down.
Throw a beanbag into a target (basket, box, or hula hoop). Roll a ball down a slide.
String 3 items onto a string or pipe cleaner (use large items that are not choking hazards).
Find a match in the memory game.
Jump like a kangaroo in and out of a hula hoop.
Throw a bean bag through a hanging hula hoop.
Do the bunny hop!
Walking Through the Forest
Pretend to walk very carefully through the forest and mime the actions of a forest animal. Make up more verses for this rhyme. Change “forest” to “prairie, pond, or sea” and pick animals appropriate for that habitat.
Walking through the forest, What do I see? I see a bear growling at me! Grrrrrrr!
Walking through the forest, What do I see?
I see a squirrel chattering at me! Chee, chee, chee.
Walking through the forest, What do I see? I see a snake hissing at me! SSS SSS.
Help your tot sort the animals by color or by size (using words like small, smaller, smallest, big, bigger, and biggest). Older children may want to sort them by the type of sound they make (loud or soft) or by their habitat (jungle, forest, pond, farm).
Tell your tot to move like an animal to a particular shape or color. “Move like a kangaroo to the red square.”
Animal Baby Puzzles
Look for pictures of animals and baby animals. Paste the pictures on cardboard–adult animal on one side, baby animal on the other. Cut a simple puzzle between the animals. Make several. Have child put puzzles together.
Five Little Mice
Use the fingers of one hand for the mice and the other hand for the cat. Continue each verse with one less mouse until there are no little mice scampering back. Substitute other animals too. This can be used as an early food-chain game.
Five little mice came out to play, gathering up crumbs on their way, out came a kitty cat, sleek and black, four little mice went scampering back.
Four little mice came out to play . . .
Cut sandwiches or slices of cheese with cookie cutters in the shape of animals. Enjoy!
Activities provided by:
Toddling on the Wild Side
E Resources Group
2550 Stagecoach Rd
Webster City, IA 50595
Toddling on the Wild Side was supported by a REAP-CEP grant.
Iowa Early Learning Standards: