Oooook, so I’ve got my hands full these days with two kiddos under two–lots of diapers and lots of figuring out how to keep Aria entertained/or occupied while I care for Ezra, so that she’s not running amuck, get into some kind of mischief, or running around and dancing dangerously close to her brother’s head (face palm). And let’s be real, here–Daniel Tiger has come to the rescue so many times now (For those of you who don’t know what that is–it’s the educational cartoon based off of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. What’s not to love? You can watch this on PBS’s website or through Amazon Prime Video, which is what we do.).
Whenever possible, I like giving Aria activities that she can do that’ll help her learn in a fun, engaging way. Some of these things I used with little kiddos when I was teaching preschool years ago, and it’s super fun getting to use them now with my not-so-baby baby girl. Below are some of her current favorites. I’ll give you a brief description of each along with what skills it helps develop. Also in case you missed it, here is a post I did a not so long ago on some of Aria’s favorite books.
Aria’s Current Favorite Activities
Melissa & Doug Water Wow Coloring Books
These are THE best. All you need is to fill the brush pen with water, and it’s ready to go! Not only is there no mess, the pages go back to black and white once the water dries, so the coloring pages are reusable. There are so many different versions of this book. Aria has a number of them, but the two listed below are her two current faves. She’s super into animals and letters right now.
These coloring books are great for developing fine motor skills through coloring and learning whatever the featured topic is (letters, numbers, animals, etc…).
Magnetic Drawing Board
Here’s another mess-free drawing option! I had one as a kid and loved it. Aria really likes to use the magnet stamps that come along with the board too. A lot of times, I’ll write her name on the board, so that she can get used to what her name looks like. Right now, she’s spelling her “A-R-A.” We’re working on squeezing that “I” in there ;).
These boards are great for developing fine motor skills through drawing, and they’re a great tool to use to help kids learn letters, shapes, and whatever else you want to draw on those boards!
These stringing bead sets are really good for fine motor skill development as well as hand-eye coordination. The set comes with beads as well as strings. Aria tried putting the beads on the strings, but she’s not quite at the place yet where she can handle both string and bead simultaneously because of the floppiness of the lace. In place of the lace, I let her “string” the beads onto a straw. Sometimes she’ll just put beads on randomly, and other times, i’ll sort out different colors and let her do only a certain color bead, so that she can practice learning her colors. If you have an older kiddo, you could also use this set to help them learn patterns whether it be through the shape or color of the beads.
What kid doesn’t like to play with Play-Doh? My biggest concern with giving Aria Play-Doh was that she would eat it. Girlfriend was going through that phase where she was putting everything in her mouth. But she’s at a point now where she knows that it’s just to play with. She calls play-doh “mash” because she gets to smash it. She likes stacking the balls that I roll to make “no-man” (snow men). You can incorporate things like cookie cutters, rubber stamps, and really any other objects that will make shapes out of or put imprints onto the Play-Doh.
Play-Doh is great for fine motor skill development, color/shape recognition, and sensory play.
Melissa and Doug Puzzles
Oh, Melissa and Doug, you’ve done it again. I love (most) of the stuff that this company produces–great quality and there’s basically always a learning component. Right now, Aria’s two favorite puzzle boards are the number and color ones.
These puzzles are great for fine motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, and learning whatever the puzzle’s featured topic is.
Teach My Toddler Learning Kit
This Teach My Toddler Learning Kit is pretty great. It includes various foam pieces, flash cards, books, and posters that let little ones (LO) work on shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and letters. I started using this with Aria when she was about a year-and-a-half old (learning animal names and letters, mainly), but it’s still working great now since the activities are adaptable. Depending on where your LO is at developmentally, you can modify the materials accordingly. Instructions and activity ideas are included in the activity box.
If you have any questions on how to adapt these to suit your kiddo’s age, ask me in a comment down below. I’d love to help you out if I can!