As I wrote in my first blog grandparents spend on average $975 per year on each grandchild. If you have been to Toys”R”Us lately you can see why. Creative minds have imagined all kinds of wonderful toys and game for our little ones. However, there are so many free learning activities for toddlers using regular household items. The advantages of using things from around the house are numerous; you save money, you save space, you are modeling creativity and imagination, and you are teaching them about the world they live in.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Use muffin tins and small toys or kitchen items to sort by color, by item, ex. all of the small stuffed animals in one tin and all cars or balls in another.
2. Sort the laundry – by color, clothing item, or by person.
3. Gamma Beth Payne from Colorado Springs tapes brightly colored pieces of paper and foam at the end of her hallway and little Quinn runs down the hall to touch the colors she has named. By adding more than one color per trip, you work on memory and ordering. Ex touch the red one and then the blue one
4. Pick a toy from the toy box and look all over the house for items that rhyme with its name. Saying the name of each object that you see along the way increases vocabulary as well.
5. Use dry beans or small elbow macaroni noodles with different sizes of spoons, scoops and measuring cups.
6. Play basket ball using large plastic bowls and small balls. Count the balls as they land in the bowls. Using bowls of different sizes works on hand-eye coordination. (But most importantly, it’s fun!)
7. Dump a sock drawer on the floor and count socks. Count out loud; hold up the number of fingers that corresponds to the number of socks in the pile. For toddlers use numbers up to 5.
8. Line up a series of trucks, dolls, or plastic glasses etc. Talk the position of each; 1st, 2nd third, etc.
9. Stack 3 rolls of toilet paper on top of each other. Talk about the location of each. Ex, Point to the one on top, on the bottom and in the middle.
You can mix and match the items used in these activities or use other items that you have around the house. These free learning activities for toddlers using household items will save you money, shake up your routine and create fun memories for you and your grandchild.