Just because there’s a new baby in town doesn’t mean there’s not a 2 year old who needs to be engaged around here!
I made sure to set up some new baby themed tot trays in the schoolroom to keep Rocket’s routine as consistent as possible during this adjustment period. These are fun toddler activities with the primary purpose of helping my tot get used to having a baby around. As we worked on the activities together, we talked about how every one of them relates to new babies and mommy/baby relationships.
Here’s what we did:
1. Mama & Baby Ducks, 2. Color Sorting Diaper Pins, 3. New Baby Printables, 4. Matching Mama & Baby Animals, & 5. Bottles & Lids
On top of just to spark conversations about babies, we used these trays to work on these skills:
- Mama & Baby Ducks (counting/sorting in chronological order/sorting by size/singing)
- Color Sorting Diaper Pins (sorting/counting)
- New Baby Printables (coloring)
- Matching Mama & Baby Animals (matching/baby animal vocabulary)
- Bottles & Lids (fine motor skills/matching)
We also has 2 extra trays on the shelves which were general and did not have anything to do with the theme:
1. Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Boards and 2. Popsicle Sticks Color Sorting
- Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Boards (shape vocabulary/matching/fine motor sills)
- Popsicle Sticks Color Sorting (fine motor skills/matching)
The first of these new baby toddler activities that caught his eye was the Color Sorting Diaper Pins tray. We cloth diaper, so we buy diaper pins in bulk and they come in quite a variety of colors. Because of the potential dangers of sharp objects, we had to teach Rocket from a very young age never to open the diaper pins by himself. He knows this and is very responsible when it comes to handling them. I would not recommend using real pins if your toddler tries to open them. However, they do make baby shower diaper pins that are plastic and hardly sharp at all if you’d like to replicate this idea!
I arranged 6 dishes and taped to the bottoms of each one construction paper cut-outs that correspond with the colors of the diaper pins. It was his job to match all the diaper pins into the correct dishes.
Matching the diaper pins to the appropriate dishes.
This is what he had done one day before we stopped for a break.
The Bottles & Lids tray gave us plenty of opportunity to talk about how babies eat- some drink formula from a bottle, others drink breast milk straight from Mom, and sometimes they drink breast milk from a bottle too. It was fitting, as I was often breastfeeding the new baby as he worked on these trays.
This one was set up with different bottles and their lids undone on the other side. He was to match the correct lids to their bottles and twist them on. I kind of thought this would be challenging for him, but it was an absolute breeze. He knew exactly which bottle went with each lid on the first try and had no trouble putting them on. How far his fine motor skills have come since he was as little as the newborn!
Matching bottle lids.
Holding the bottle in place so that he could twist the lid on securely.
Admiring his work.
I pulled out some of our bath toys for this Mama & Baby Ducks tray. I took all the rubber duckies we have (6 of them) and put a number sticker on their backs- 1 being the biggest duck (mama duck) and the later numbers being the smallest ducks.
I asked him to put the ducks in chronological order to work on his number recognition. We also put them in order by size, ignoring the numbers on their backs. We talked about which ducks were the oldest siblings, which were the youngest, etc.
We also sang “6 Little Ducks” to enhance this activity.
Counting the ducks.
Putting the ducks in order by size.
Showing me the twins- the 2 smallest ducklings, which look identical.
For the Matching Mama & Baby Animals tray, I made use of the piles of plastic animals that we have. I took out every animal that has at least a big one and a little one. I then put all the big animals together and all the little animals together.
His job was to match all the big animals (the mamas) with the little ones (the babies).
As he did this, we worked on vocabulary words of baby animal names.
Reuniting the puppy with the dog mom.
Trying to find the lamb.
Mama elephant rejoins her calf.
Using cute imaginative voices to make the giraffe calf say hello to his mom!
I also found multiple free coloring sheets from different sources online (thank you, Pinterest!) to include in Rocket’s toddler activities. This New Baby Printables tray included pictures of babies on their own, babies with their parents, and babies with their big brothers (of course).
He has been all about coloring lately!
We colored this sheet together.
Coloring the Big Brother Ribbon.
Working on the big brother and new baby coloring sheet.
The Popsicle Sticks Color Sorting tray is an old favorite. If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you may recognize it from previous posts!
It is a container with red, green, and blue slots on the lid, and a pile of Popsicle sticks with coordinating colors.
Grabbing all the red Popsicle sticks and putting them in at the same time! He’s learning a few tricks.
Shoving in all the green Popsicle sticks.
Working on the butterfly.
He named the shapes as he placed them on the board.
I’m so glad we’ve kept working on focused toddler activities even with a new baby. Toddlers absolutely thrive on routines. It has truly eased him into the adjustment of being an older brother, for us to continue sharing this special 1 on 1 school time despite all the changes in our lives!