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August 1, 2016

Your toddlers will have to put their thinking caps on for these fun activities that can be as simple or as challenging as you like.

We’ve created four activities to do at home that are easy to pull together, fun to play and, as a bonus, don’t make that much mess. Each of the ideas provides a different challenge for children depending on their age and stage. The gel pouches are a pleasurable sensory experience for small hands to squish and spread the glitter and gel in different directions; paper plates with handprints can be turned upside down for a neat memory game or placed face up for smaller people to do some colour matching; the matching pairs game is fun even if they just enjoy the feeling of putting their hands in the rice; and the phonics game is great for kids learning to recognise letters, but you could also group the items into sounds or colours, depending on what tickles their fancy. 


Matching pairs

Fill a baking dish with rice (we added a bit of blue food colouring to ours, then left it to dry overnight) and then add a variety of matching items. Try spoons, hair clips, toy cars, pine cones… anything you can find two of and that isn’t sharp when little hands are digging for them. Bury the items in the rice and let your toddler fish around until they find matching pairs.


Gel pouches

Spoon coloured hair gel into a ziplock bag and add glitter and sparkles (try the  $2 shop). Double bag it to ensure it can’t burst open when squeezed. It makes a fun bag for little people to squish and watch the glittery gel move around. You could also tape the bag to a flat surface so a child can press and push it easily. 

Phonics baskets

Take three baskets (we bought ours from the $2 shop) and pin a different letter to each one. Then collect a range of objects that start with those letters. For example, in our ‘D’ basket we had ducks, a dinosaur and a dummy.  This is a great way for your child to think about the sound each letter makes and then figure out which basket to place each item in.

Paper plates

Draw around your little one’s hand in different colours on a paper plate, making sure there are two in each colour. Then turn the plates over and lay them out on the floor to create a game of memory with two or more players.

You will need:

  • Ziplock bags
  • Glitter/sparkles
  • Hair gel (or make your
  • own using corn starch,
  • sugar, water, food colouring)
  • Paper plates
  • Crayons
  • Rice
  • Food colouring
  • Baskets
  • Mix of household/
  • Garden items

 Photography by Shona Dey


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