Don’t let the April showers dampen your little one’s spirit!
When the weather is miserable, why not try our crafty spring activities with your baby and toddler to spark their creativity? Put away those wellies and umbrellas, as all our activities include recyclable materials that you’ll probably already have around the house.
Spring Toilet Roll Creatures
The best kind of craft activity for children are the ones that provide the opportunity for open ended play. By creating their own creatures, they are able to follow and discuss themes and interests they currently enjoy, from space to fairy tale creatures and everything in between.
It really is as simple as providing a range of cardboard tubes (ideally a few different sizes – from toilet rolls to kitchen rolls) and loose parts for your child to attach to their tube. Why not incorporate sensory play by providing items such as feathers, shredded paper, sand, dried leaves and flowers for your little one to explore whilst forming their creation?
All you need to do is sit back and watch how leaves can be transformed into ears or paper into hair or a tail as your little one’s imagination roams. Once their creatures are complete, all they need to do is draw eyes and other features (if you child believes they have them) to bring them to life.
The fun doesn’t stop there either, the toilet rolls provide the perfect shape for children to put together puppet shows. Why not go on a hunt around your house for more recyclable materials to construct a stage or house with your little one for their creatures?
Bottle Flower Stamps
One of the most exciting changes children notice with the arrival of spring is all the beautiful flowers that grow in their gardens and surrounding areas. So, even when the rain is pouring, you can still extend this interest by providing your little one with a range of coloured non-toxic paints and different sized empty bottles to use as stamps to create flower artwork on paper.
As always with the combination of children and paint – be prepared to get messy! Once, you’ve prepped your area for paint, you can encourage your toddler to use different areas of the bottle to create their flowers.
Dipping the sides of the bottles into paint and rolling them across paper can create a lovely texture for grass, while the bottoms make interesting flower patterns and the caps are great for flower centres or making stems or leaves.
If possible, try to provide a vase of real flowers to explain the different parts of the flower and introduce new vocabulary such as ‘leaf’, ‘petal’, ‘stem’ and many more. By stamping, rolling and gripping the bottle throughout the activity, your child will be developing their fine motor skills and hand muscles in preparation for future writing.
DIY Sensory Bottles
Babies and toddlers love sensory experiences as they encourage them to explore textures, smells, sounds and tastes. Whilst there are plenty of sensory items on the market, these inexpensive bottles will allow your child to be involved with the whole process.
All you need are a selection of empty bottle with their caps and a whole range of sensory items to fill them with. Here are a couple of examples you can start with:
Rain Shaker Bottles
Dye rice or pasta with food colouring and ask your child to help fill the bottles, encouraging their hand to eye co-ordination whilst scooping and pouring the contents into the bottle. You can add shredded paper and balled tissue paper to add into the bottle as well to make the rice fall slower when shaken. Once your bottle is full, glue the cap back in place and allow to dry fully before re-introducing the bottle to your little one.
Spring in a Bottle
Explore a selection of dry or fresh herbs and plants, such as rosemary, lavender, chives, mint and many more. Ensure they are clean and then let your child touch, smell and even taste them to enjoy a full sensory experience. Once they understand the plants, ask them to thread them into the bottle to help develop their fine motor skills. Once the bottle is half full of herbs, top it up with water and add a few drops of food colouring. Glue the cap back in place and once dry return it to your child for them to shake and observe how the different contents mixes and moves in the water.
The possibilities for sensory bottle are endless, so why not take a walk around your house with your child to see what else will create a perfect sensory bottle? The bottles can be stored easily and make a great item for your child to explore in the car, during shopping trip and especially for babies enjoying tummy time as they can distract them from this unusual position.
These activities are sure to keep your little ones entertained during those rainy spring days stuck inside.
Written by Kiddi Caru day nurseries, provider of outstanding childcare in the UK.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com