Having a growing infant or toddler means you need to be prepared to entertain and help your child learn different skills. How you approach this totally depends on what you think is important and what activities you think your child may enjoy and benefit from. In my opinion, there is no wrong way as long as you’re trying your best.
The three activities I’m going to talk about below are NOT my ideas. I simply did my research and chose activities based on what I thought Mariam would like to do and the skills I think she would benefit from.
For each activity below, I briefly discuss what materials are needed to do each activity, what the actual activity was, and how each one went with my 12 month old (whether or not it was a success). Remember that you always want to supervise your child no matter what the activity is.
1. Peeling a Banana
A whole banana
A knife (to cut the banana-not for the child).
This activity is simple but very beneficial. You cut a whole banana into smaller chunks and have your child peel those parts to get to the edible portion. It’s best if you don’t cut each section too small. I made this mistake the first time we did this and the pieces were too small to see how the peel was in the way of the yummyness. You also want to make a cut on each piece so the peeling is easy on your child. Of course you want to keep in mind your child’s age and whether or not they are used to holding a chunk of banana and taking smaller bites into it.
The first few times Mariam really didn’t understand what to do, so this required patience on my part. But, after a few tries over the course of 4 days, she started to get it!
I am definitely going to continue doing this activity with Mariam as it teachers her fine motor skills AND the life skill of peeling a fruit.
2. Coloring/Free Draw
Large or Jumbo Crayons (we used Crayola Large)
A table or tray to draw on
Tape (to secure the paper and keep it from sliding)
Since Mariam was born, I couldn’t wait for the day when she could have a whole stack of crayons in front of her and just draw and write her heart out. Now, with this activity, I may have gone a little ahead of myself. Why? Because she just turned one, doesn’t quite understand what the relationship between crayons and paper is, and she still likes to taste everything.
I was pleasantly surprised. Who knows. I think watching me write throughout her first year helped a lot with modeling how to make marks on paper.
She quickly caught on but, of course, she had no reason for what she would color. Just banging and dragging the crayon around, which is expected of a toddler.
3. Open-Ended Playdough Game
Play-Doh (I made TASTE SAFE homemade playdough – I’ll share more about that later)
Popsicle sticks (I used colored ones from the Dollar Tree)
I LOVE this activity, and so did Mariam. What’s more fun than a game where you can do whatever you want with the materials? For this activity, I let Mariam explore the texture of the playdough and showed her how to put the popsicle sticks in it. She enjoyed removing the sticks and making marks with the sticks on the playdough.
We will definitely be doing this activity more often and as she gets older.