Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Outdoor Spring (or Easter) Activity for Toddlers

Hippity hop!  This dramatic play activity won't be a flop!  Are you having a spring themed event for your students this upcoming April?  Perhaps you're planning to have an egg hunt outside along with some other outdoor activities.  

If you're working with toddlers or special needs preschoolers, I have a pretend play idea that you might be able to use.  You'll need an outdoor grassy space for the activity.  You'll need garden fencing that is of low height.  Additionally, you'll need several small, lightweight objects to toss or throw over the fence.  I found the cutest little "hopping-good" plush animals at the Dollar TreeThe plush animals are my  "toss/throw" objects for the activity.  I was thrilled to find two animals that seem to hop as they move which are a frog and a rabbit. 

They were just one dollar a plush so I don't mind if they become a little "grassy" at the end of the event!  (This is the last week that you can order Easter items online at the Dollar Tree!  Here's a link you might like: PLUSH TOYS.)

I also found some decorative garden fencing.  I bought the garden fencing at the Dollar Tree as well.  Any store that sells gardening supplies will have something similar during the spring season.  I purchased two pieces of fencing but could have used a few more.

There are connector tabs on the ends of the fence so that several pieces can be attached.  The bottom of the fence has stakes which allow them to be driven into the ground.  We had a very mild winter in Virginia and the ground is already soft.  This made it easy to push the stakes into the ground.

Now the fun begins.  The children toss or throw the objects over the fence!  Then, the walk over to the other side of the fence and toss/throw again.

This activity has no winners or losersThe low height fence makes it easy for many children of varying abilities to have success!  This activity develops eye hand coordination, motor skills, and social skills.  It also exposes the children to a few prepositional words when the supervising adult is interacting with the children as they play.

There needs to be at least two objects per child to toss or throw over the fence.  If three children are using the activity, you need to have at least six toss/throw objects.  The small plush animals are lightweight so I know that no one will be injured if a child is accidentally hit by the stuffed toy.

The cost of this station for three children to use at one time:

Grassy Area - FREE!
3 Pieces of Garden Fencing - $3.00
6 Plush Toys - $6.00 (Free if I use something I already have!)

Total Cost:  $3.00 to $9.00
Total Cost for Future Years$0.00  

I recommend that you have several other activities for the children to choose from along with this "Toss or Throw" activity.  A good child/activity slot ratio is 1 to 3.  That is, there are 3 activity slots for every child.  If I have 6 students, I need 18 slotsAn example of this is to have 5 activities that allow a maximum of 4 children to participate at once.  (This is a total of 20 slots with 6 children)  When the activity slot ratio is 1 to 1, there is no room for flexibility and the children are required to rotate the activities at a set time frame.  There is no allowance given for revisiting an activity, leaving an activity early, or to continue to stay in the same spot.

Two and three year olds have sporatic attention spans!  They might attend to an activity for less than a minute and then become involved in something that occupies them for several minutes.  Creating "Flexible Stations" makes events run smoothly with children in this age range.  "Flexible Stations" do not use the "Rotation Station" method.  "Flexible Stations" allow children to come and go to the various areas as they please.  This means they may never visit some stationsThey may revisit the same area repeatedlyThey may stay in one area for under a minute and then leave.  Unless there is a specific reason as to why I would want two and three year olds to attend to every station, I'm satisfied if they are highly engaged in the activities of their own choosing.

Be sure to enter my giveaway HERE.  It ends on March 31, 2017.

That's all for now!

Molly, Lessons by Molly   

No comments:

Post a Comment