We do A LOT of Invitations to Play around here. Some are great and some are not. Through trial and error, here are five simple invitations we love in our house. We hope you like them too.
1. Color Dropping – This first one is the most involved in terms of materials, but a quick trip to the dollar store will likely get you everything you need. You need liquid water colors or food coloring and water, small containers, one or more soap suction holders and a liquid dropper. We purchased our droppers on amazon. Using is a liquid dropper is a great skill for kids that takes practice and patience. I tried this months ago with Gigi and she was way too young. Now, at two and a half, she is able to squeeze the liquid in the dropper and drop it out on the soap holder. It’s so much fun to watch the colors bleed and blend together and it’s so much fun mixing the colors in the cups. You can stick with just primary colors if you want or use a bunch like we did here. Great fine motor practice, focus building and introduction to science tools. This is super fun for kids! I got the idea from a veteran teacher at my school and it totally rocks.
2. Tape Resist and Paint Dots – This invitation to play is one of my favorites because it’s super easy to clean up and involves things we have out on our art table most of the time, like paper, paint dots (if you don’t have paint dots I highly recommend them) and tape. I helped Gigi put out different bits of washi tape (you can use masking tape as well) all over a piece of paper. I usually tear a few pieces and attach them to the edge of a table so she can just peel them off herself. After taping, Gigi went wild with the paint dots, which look so pretty on the paper. They come in the best colors! When she was done painting she peeled the tape off and had a beautiful piece of art to hang on the wall. Little d (13 months) was able to participate with this one also. She played with the tape and then used the paint dots on paper. Both of their art pieces are proudly hanging in our playroom.
3. Cutting Station – This is probably Gigi’s favorite invitation to play of all. The girl just loves to cut. I put out straws, duct tape (I taped two pieces together. It is very satisfying and easy to cut!) straw, cupcake holders and some other odds and ends on a tray with a scissor. 30 minutes later she was still asking for more. This station never gets old and there are so many new things you can add to it from things laying around the house. Dry spaghetti might be fun?
4. Glue and Play Dough – I love when my girls can do something together. Granted I have to really keep an eye out becuase d still loves to put things in her mouth, but I can usually catch her before she does any harm. I put out homemade play dough and glue bottles on a cake plate from the 99 cents store. I love these plates. They come in all different shapes and sizes. I use them all the time for working with clay and other things. The girls used different tools on the play dough while squeezing and bending and mushing it and then squeezed some glue right on top of it and mushed it around some more. It kept them engaged for quite a while. Squeezing bottles, similar to cutting, is very entertaining for kids and also great for muscle strengthening. Plus, who doesn’t like homemade play dough?
5. Tin Foil Coloring – I loved playing with tinfoil as a kid. We would take the back of a marker and rub it on the tinfoil for hours, getting every crack smooth and shiny. Anyone remember doing that? Anyway, Gigi isn’t old enough for that yet, but coloring on it with paint Sharpies is a close second. The colors looks great and she feels really grown up using mama’s special markers. I save them in a bag and make a big deal out of using them. I wrapped the tinfoil around a small piece of cardboard, which worked great as a canvas. We’ll definitely do this one again. You can also bring it out another time and add glue and gems or other embellishments. I love layering projects and keeping the interest going over time.
So, there you have it. 5 Invitations to Play that will have your toddler interested, engaged and busy! What are some of your favorite invitations to play? Please leave some favorites in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!