March 2022 Fun Book Activities and Curriculum
WHEN CAN YOUR BABY PLAY PAT-A-CAKE?
By month 3, many babies are able to bring their hands together in a clapping motion. With your help, your infant can build on this exciting small motor skill, combining clapping with other hand movements like rolling and patting. However, many babies won't be able to play patty-cake on their own until 12 months.
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR BABY
Who knew a little rhyme could do so much? Patty-cake and other sweet finger games are great tools to build small motor skills and boost language.
As your baby grows, give her lots of opportunities to practice patty-cake. Almost any time baby is awake and alert is a good moment to play this type of finger game. The more practice she gets with games that combine visual development, fine motor skills and social interaction, the better.
HOW TO PLAY PAT-A-CAKE
Need a refresher course on the lyrics? Here you go:
"Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man!
Bake me a cake as fast as you can."
Help your child "pat" and "roll" as you continue:
"Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with a B."
Touch baby's face and then your own as you finish:
"And bake it in the oven for baby and me!"
You can warm up to finger games by offering toys with varying textures, shapes and sizes: blocks, balls, activity boards, soft dolls and even objects from around the house like measuring cups and wooden spoons.
OTHER BOOKS TO ENJOY
For other ideas and tips on playing Pat-A-Cake with your infant, visit:
When Can Babies Play Patty-Cake? - How to Play Patty-Cake With Your Infant (whattoexpect.com)
Pat-A-Cake Printable Poem and Sequencing Cards - Fun-A-Day!
OTHER SONGS AND GAMES FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY
Other Farm Animal Books Your Might Enjoy
Sing-A-Long Songs About Shapes
Playdough Mat Shapes
What you will need:
Step 2. Have your child use the playdough to outline each shape. Read the name of the shape.
Step 3. Using cookie cutters in your child's favorite shapes, have your child roll out the play dough and cut the shapes out. Or if you're looking for a fund snack, do the same activity with cookie dough.
Did you know that helping children learn shapes promotes a strong foundation for both math and literacy?
Identifying, categorizing, and creating shapes help young children gain mathematical reasoning skills in their early childhood years that will set them up for success later in school. It also builds background knowledge needed for learning the alphabet. (Who knew a triangle or a circle had so much power?!)
Teaching basic shapes is one of the most fun learning objectives for teachers and parents alike, in part because there are endless ways to do it! You can use anything and everything from wooden blocks to puzzles to magnetic tiles. Simple cutouts from construction paper or felt fabric also work great. If you can imagine it, you can do it. (And your child can, too!)
What You Will Need:
Step 1. Take colored tape and make simple shapes on your floor. Shape ideas include a square, a circle, a rectangle, and a triangle. You may wish to make one shape or several depending on how well your child knows their shapes.
Step 2. Help your child search for items and toys around your house that match the shape(s).
Step 3. Take time to name each shape. Count the number of sides of the shape. Have your child trace the shape with their finger tip.
Matching Shapes Game
What you will need:
Step 1. Draw and color shapes on 3"x5" pieces of paper. Ideas for shapes include a circle, a rectangle, a square, a triangle, a heart, a hexagon, a diamond, and others.
Step 2. Cut the shapes in half. You can cut them diagonally, horizontally, and vertically.
Step 3. Have your child match the shapes to make them whole. Have your child name each shape as they match them. Count the sides of each shape out loud.
Hand Print Animal Art
Children love to finger paint and this fun activity allows them to use their whole hands.
What you will need:
Step 2. Paint your child's hand in the way you want to use it for the handprint. Think about what parts of your hand you want to print and make sure there is lots of paint on it.
Step 3. Press your child's painted hand on the paper. Push down quite firmly and then carefully remove your child's hand from the paper. Wipe your child's hand with a wet wipe.
Step 4. Add extra details by painting fingers, thumbs or fingertips, and press down over the painting. Think about how to add tails, eyes, noses/beaks and ears. Wash your child's hands and think of another animal to create!
What you will need:
Take out pictures of your child at different ages. Start with the youngest picture and work your way to the oldest picture. Talk about ways that he has changed or stayed the same. Talk about what things he can do now that he could not do then. Getting bigger is fun and exciting as your child changes and develops. Help them celebrate how they are getting bigger. If your child has siblings, talk about things they can do verses their siblings and how each child is unique and loved.
Watch Me Grow: Big, Bigger, Biggest
Items you will need:
Teddy Bear Hide and Seek
What you need:
1 Teddy Bear
Step 1. Have your child pick out his or her favorite teddy bear.
Step 2. While one person closes their eyes and counts to 10, the other person hides the teddy bear.
Step 3. The person who was counting searches for the teddy bear. To make the game more interactive, the person who hid the teddy bear can give those who are seeking hints. You're cold, or warm, or hot...
Step 4. Once the teddy bear is found, switch places and play teddy bear hide and seek again.
An entertaining and moving tribute to big brothers by the author/illustrator of Meet Me at the Moon and Following Papa's Song. Continuing her picture book stories about family relationships, Gianna Marino introduces Little Giraffe, who adores her big brother. Set in a stunning African landscape, the story begins with a game of hide-and-seek as Little Giraffe looks for her big brother, who's just out of her sight, but always safely nearby. As she asks the many animals she encounters on her search if they've seen him, it's evident how much she admires him. He's taller and faster and braver than her, she tells them. But as the search continues, the other animals insist that Little Giraffe is tall, and fast, and brave, too. . . and best of all, she has a wonderful older brother who looks out for her!
Other Books to Read about Siblings
Songs About Growing Up
Giraffe Art Potted Plants
Spring is the perfect time to help your toddler learn about plants and discover how they grow. Like animals, plants have a lifecycle that a child can experience from the start.
What you will need:
1 terra cotta pot
Non-Toxic Yellow paint
Non-Toxic Brown paint
1 seed or small plant
Step 1. Paint the terra cotta pot yellow and let it dry.
Step 2. Have your child dip their finger into the brown paint and add finger prints to the yellow terra cotta pot creating a special pattern or art design. A giraffe's spots are like our fingerprints - no two giraffes share the same combination of spots. Let it dry.
Step 3. Fill the giraffe planter with potting soil and dig a small hole in the middle for the seed or small plant. Water the plant regularly.
Step 4. Monitor your child's plant's growth. Talk about how the plant needs sunlight and water to survive. Ask you child what they need to grow and stay healthy.
What You Need for Marshmallow Play Dough:
Making Clay with Blippi
Help your little paleontologist discover how time changes our earth leaving behind fossils.
What you will need:
Step 1. Before your child joins you to play, place the plastic insects, dinosaurs or other pre-historic animals into the play dough. Be sure that the hidden toys are not small enough to be a choking hazard.
Step 2. Explain that as the earth changes, often it leaves clues hidden about what came before. These are called fossils. Have your child use the magnifying glass and tweezers or tongs to search for the fossils in their play dough.
Play with Clay follows a colorful blob of modeling dough as it forms a ball, rolls into a snake, coils into a pot, and more in this adorable book! In this charming story, children can learn the simple lesson that change is a constant--and they can learn it through art and play!
How Can Play Dough Help Your Child's Development?
Fine Motor Skills: This helps in your children’s hands develop the strength, dexterity, and control needed to manipulate everyday items such as scissors, pencils, zippers, and buttons strengthening their pincher grip.
Socioemotional Skills: Playdough provides a lot of open-ended opportunities for children to experience independent and cooperative play. In both styles of play, children are exploring abilities, life experiences, and emotions. During play with others (either an adult or child) children are learning about cooperation, collaboration, self-control, and friendships.
Creativity: From dramatic play to initiating and creating whatever your child’s imagination can come up with, playdough is a fantastic outlet. Playdough can be anything!
Language and Literacy: As children discuss what they are creating or their sensory experiences they are expanding their vocabulary. As you ask your child questions they are learning to listen. There are so many different ways children learn comprehension, listening, and communication skills through playing with playdough.
Science and Math: Trial and error, creating shapes, comparing sizes – just simply playing with playdough exposes kids to a vast array of math and science concepts.
Sensory Benefits of Play Dough
Hand Strengthening: Squishing, smashing, pushing, pulling, twisting, cutting…all the fun of playdough. Just the basic act of playing with playdough builds those hands muscles. Playdough also comes in a variety of different consistencies some of which require more strength than others to manipulate making it fairly easy to meet individual needs.
Proprioceptive: Pushing in cookie cutters or toys, pulling back a rolling pin, or even just squeezing a very stiff dough all provide deep pressure input for your child’s joints.
Sensorimotor: Ever just sit there and squeeze/roll around a ball of play dough in your hands while your child sat there and played? A lot like a stress ball, play dough is a stress reliever. And this works for your kids too!
Tactile: Everything about playdough at the most basic level is about exploring using the tactile sensory system. From textures to consistencies, to toys and items used, playdough is all about hands-on exploration.
Olfactory: Adding scents to playdough is ridiculously easy and one of our favorite things to do!
Other Fun Reads about Clay and Art
What toddler doesn't love playing with trucks and cars. Roll out as many pieces of Play-Doh as you want to make a road or track. Kids love to press their trucks as they roll them along to create tracks for each other to follow. This will keep them busy for a long time!
Other Good Reads for Your Little Meteorologist
Rain Day Sensory Bin
Explore weather with a rain sensory bin. Toddlers and preschoolers will squeeze and pour water, pretending to create a rainfall!
Things You Will Need
A storm and its sunny aftermath come to life through gorgeous art and lyrical text.
What do you do when the clouds roll in,
When the wind chimes clang and the weather vanes spin?
When stormy skies threaten, people stock up on supplies, bring in their outside toys, and check the news for updates. And during the storm, if the power goes out, they can play games and tell stories by candlelight. But what do animals do? They watch and listen, look for a cozy den or some other sheltered spot, and hunker down to wait. After the storm, while the people are cleaning up their yards, making repairs, and checking on the neighbors, the animals emerge from their hiding places and shake off the rain. And everyone is happy to be out in the sunshine again, grateful for better weather and the company of friends.
Raindrop Gravity Art
What you will need
Step 1. Help you child glue cotton balls to the top of their paper.
Step 2. Place the paper on an easel, clip board, or binder and tilt it so the paint will run down towards the bottom of the page.
Step 3. Have your child use the eye dropper to drip paint below their cotton ball clouds. Have them squirt onto the paper instead of into the cotton ball because the cotton ball absorbs the paint and then it takes longer to rain.
Making it Rain through Body Percussion
This is a great group activity for preschool classrooms or youth groups. It’s simple, peaceful, and allows everyone to focus on one common goal. The goal is to create the sound of a rainstorm using only our bodies. This requires no speaking
Step 1. Ask everyone to sit with you in a circle on the floor.
Step 2. You will begin an activity, then the child to your right will join in, then the child to his/her right will join in, etc. until it creates a wave all around the circle. Once it reaches back to you (the leader) you begin a different activity, and this creates a second wave.
Step 3. Tell the students that they are to carefully copy the movements of the person to their left, and not switch activities until that person switches. Try to encourage them to not focus on “the leader”, but instead on the person to their left. Begin making rain by:
11. Then quietly stop, and there should be absolutely silence.
One of the most beautiful parts of a rainstorm is its rainbow. Rainbows are a great way to teach children their colors.
What you will need:
Construction paper: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, indigo
Large piece of white paper
Other Books About Rocks
Teaching Colors Using Gemstones
Create Your Own "Not a Boring Rock" Story
Children love to use their imagination and create stories. Help your child find a pet rock and write its story.
Building with Rocks
Preschoolers love to build. Rocks make great "blocks" for your child to play and build with. You can help your child find rocks outside and clean them for inside play.
Ask your child to build special landmarks using their rocks by introducing how rock was used for construction. Share pictures of any of the following historical landmarks:
Making Letters with Rocks
Use the letter mats and some small rocks as an engaging way for preschoolers to practice letter formation. Place rocks on the letter mat to form letters in the alphabet. You can ask your preschooler to turn the rock like a puzzle piece.