We know that with the beginning of the school year the focus is on our preschoolers, but we haven’t forgot our littles! We are starting a feature called the Infant/Toddler Corner where we will share activity ideas, important news, or new opportunities. In this edition, we’re going to share a simple, supervised activity with things you can find around the house. We will scale this activity from infants up to toddlers.
For this activity, you will need:
- Ice cube tray (I used a silicone tray that made star shapes, but any ice tray is fine.)
- Zip top bag
- Tape (Packing tape is best, but whatever you can make work for you.)
- Glitter/Sprinkles/etc. (for older infants)
- Food Coloring (for toddlers)
To begin with make ice:
- For infants who can’t hold themselves up plain ice is fine.
- For older infants who have got this sitting thing down we add some visual stimulation in the form of glitter, sprinkles, or something else you have on hand that can be frozen in ice.
- For toddlers add different colors of food coloring to different ice cubes. (I used blue and yellow.)
Next you are going to prep your bag. Take tape and reinforce the edges of the bag leaving the top open. The last thing we want is a leak, right?
Once you’ve got ice and your bag prepped fill your bag a quarter of the way with cold water it can be helpful to set the bag in a bowl. Add your ice cubes, zip the top, and seal with tape.
Now the fun begins!
This is great for tummy time with your young infant. They can experience the different temperatures in the bag and the fluid movements of the bag. Talk to them about what they are doing and experiencing, keeping your voice excited and engaging. New experiences and building relationships are important to help grow your baby’s brain. Did you know that brain doubles in size during baby’s first year and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume? *Keep an eye out that your child’s hand’s don’t get too cool, offer the bag for short amounts of time.
For those sitting on their own, give them the bag and let them have fun squeezing the ice around and watching the glitter/sprinkles/etc. float around as the ice melts. Talk to them about how cold the ice is, name the actions they are taking (“You’re squishing the ice around the bag.”), and make observations that can offer them new words (“The sprinkles are floating at the top of the bag.”). Did you know that the number one way children learn to speak and boost their vocabulary is by listening to their parents at home? *Don’t let your child put the bag in their mouth.
For the toddlers I like to tape the bag to a window they can stand at. They can manipulate ice cubes around and watch the ice cubes melt and the colors mix. Talk to them about the colors, making it a conversation where they can talk back and forth with you, even if they are talking mostly gibberish. Did you know that the more children participate in back-and-forth interactions with their caregivers, the more activity they have in the part of the brain responsible for language production and processing?