Create your very own beach in a bottle and explore fun textures and sensory elements along the way! You’ll need: a plastic water bottle, water, blue food coloring, glitter, shells, sea glass, rocks, and sand. For an opportunity to practice fine motor skills, use a pair of tweezers and a funnel to add each of the elements to the bottle. Once all the elements are inside the bottle, secure the cap tightly. Shake it up and enjoy watching the water move around, simulating ocean waves! Enjoy pouring, tweezing, twisting, and shaking!
For more fun ocean inspired activities, follow this link.
2 year olds can watch and support a guardian
3 year olds and older can practice their fine motor skills on their own!
Walk the Plank
Did you know balance is an important milestone in child development? Balance is the ability to hold your body upright and steady without falling down. Balance is a significant component of child development and relies heavily on the vestibular system. Children must learn to balance before they can progress to higher level gross motor skills like stair negotiation, hopping, galloping or skipping.
For a fun pirate themed balance activity, try walking the plank! Create a line with painters tape on the floor. Model walking on the tape, one foot in front of the other. Hold your arms out wide! Once your child has explored this first level, make it a little more challenging by placing toys along the line to walk or jump over!
1+ (or once they start walking!)
Search for treasures throughout your home and encourage object exploration at the same time! Object permanence is the ability to remember an object exists when you no longer can see it and is an important part of childhood development.
Stages of Object Permanence
0-1 month: no reaction when an object is removed from sight.
2-4 months: manifestation of emotions (cries, screams, holds out arms, etc.)
4-8 months: beginning of active experimentation, actions performed with objects and people.
8-12 months: object permanence is acquired more and more, children can find an object that is completely hidden, but are unable to understand that an object moves, even when its concealment is observed.
12-18 months: object permanence when an object is moved while children are watching.
18-24 months: definitive acquisition of object permanence, children can understand visible and invisible displacement.
For this activity, show your child a treasure. Depending on their age, you can hide it under a blanket or inside a box in front of them. Help them look for the treasure and enjoy the success of discovering it! For older children, extend the distance of the treasure and add more objects to the hunt. Once your child has successfully explored these levels, hide the treasure without them watching and invite them to search on their own. Treasure hunts are great for a rainy day inside or out in the yard!
0-5 years old
Sand Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are a great way to explore textures and fine motor skills with your toddler! You can create a bin inspired by any environment or theme. To create a beach inspired sensory bin, all you need is a plastic bin, water, sand, beach toys, shells, and if you have them, plastic animals like crabs!
Start with just the sand and objects. Scooping, forming, swirling the sand is engaging and invites learning along the way. Sprinkle in water to try forming sandcastles or experimenting with how water changes the texture! What can you create together?
Looking for an engaging and fun way to foster communication skills and social emotional development in your child? Puppets are a powerful tool to do just that. A puppet can be as simple as a talking hand, a sock, or an activated stuffed animal. Anything can become a puppet, but how you use it can support your child’s development.
Puppet Play Ideas:
Explore emotions – use a favorite stuffed animal or puppet to explore emotions. Invite your child to mirror the emotions back or to comfort a puppet if they feel sad or scared.
Retell Stories – Invite your child to tell your puppet a story they know or retell a story you read together. If your child is younger, invite the puppet to recall or retell a story for them. Play with gesture and emotion.
Practice Skills at home – Are you having trouble with your bedtime routine? Use puppets to practice all the routines and skills you are working on with your child. Maybe the puppet does not want to go to bed at all, but after reading special books about pirates or the ocean, singing a song, and tucking our puppet in, they feel ready.