Hello everybody and Happy New Year, I hope you ended the year on a positive note 🙌😉😊
Yes, Christmas is over, but gift-giving is not over as one year passed and you know what that means? Birthdays!
So, today Christina prepared something great for all The Maltese Daddy readers and today’s blog post is about Gift Ideas for your toddler and pre-schooler 😉
Christina the page is all yours 🙌
Hello again! I hope that you enjoyed my last article regarding gift ideas for children under one. Kindly note that a lot of the ideas mentioned here can also be used and/ or adapted to an older child (The memory books, for example, can be gifted every year and has no age limit to it)
Today, I prepared five gift ideas you can easily prepare yourself and are ideal for toddlers and preschoolers.
- A story box
Books books books… I can never preach enough on how important and amazing books are! This Christmas is a perfect opportunity to introduce a well-known children’s novel such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar or We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. You can do so by creating a story box which is basically the book together with props and other activities to make the story come alive. Let’s use The Very Hungry Caterpillar as an example:
- Find soft toys or toys depicting the main characters of the story, namely a caterpillar and a butterfly. Even better, prepare supplies for a fun craft session with your child and make them yourselves.
- A bag of toy fruit and food items
- Numbers; you can either print and laminate or perhaps find a simple number wooden inset puzzle
- A simple calendar to practice the days of the week. There are a number of beautiful magnetic and felt calendars on the market nowadays.
- Simple sequencing pictures showing an egg on a leaf, a caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly. This will help start creating an awareness that stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and the pictures will serve as prompts to help the child narrate the story.
- Supplies for a craft activity
- Two sets of matching pictures i.e. prepare pictures of a caterpillar, butterfly, apple, etc and print them twice. These can be used either as a simple matching game or a memory game for the older child. Prepare large clear pictures for the younger child and photos will be easier to recognise than coloured cartoon pictures. Also, when laminating, cut the corners in a curved manner so that there will be no sharp edges.
- For the older child, you can also include simple phonological awareness activities such as matching an object to the initial sound example butterfly starts with the sound /b/
These are just a few suggestions that came to mind now. You will be surprised with the ideas you will get once you get down to working on this project.
- Scavenger Hunt
Last year I prepared a number of different scavenger hunt sheets and placed them in their stockings. For who doesn’t know what a scavenger hunt is, it is a sort of treasure hunt where the child needs to tick off the item listed on his sheet once it is found. Scavenger hunts make walks and picnics fun! Needless to say, it is a great way to enhance vocabulary. Here are some ideas
- Prepare a picnic scavenger hunt where the children need to find items listed on the sheet and place them in a bucket. Such ideas include a pinecone, a blade of grass, a stone, a twig, etc. Keep what you find and start a nature box. Items in a nature box will come in handy when you are doing crafts or setting up a sensory play station.
- For the older child, you can prepare a scavenger hunt that includes adjectives rather than objects for example ‘find something round’, ‘find something heavy’ etc.
- A colour scavenger hunt is great and easy to prepare. Prepare a sheet with a list of colours and take it with you when you go out for a walk.
- A sound scavenger hunt helps encourage listening skills. Include items such as ‘a car horn’, ‘a bird’, ‘a plane’ etc
- DIY pretend play areas
Recycle and reuse old any unwanted furniture to create beautiful pretend play areas. A few years ago my husband and I turned an old bookshelf and into a play shop. We added toy food items, a cash register and some weighing scales and the children just loved it!
- A craft box
Do you have a child that loves crafts? Buy a book containing easy craft ideas and prepare a box that includes all the items needed to complete the projects in the book. I find that the most daunting part of doing crafts is gathering the supplies. Having all the supplies at hand will ensure that the craft can get done even if you have little time. It’s also useful to add an apron or old t-shirt to the box as well as old newspapers to help minimise cleaning afterward
- Conversation starter cards
For the child who has started formulating sentences, prepare a set of very easy questions to help your child engage in a simple conversation when you are on the sofa or during dinner, etc. You will find a lot of ideas online and it’s a great way to get to know your child better apart from it being great language practice. Include fun questions such as ‘what superpower you would like to have’, ‘how would a super fun day be like for you’ etc.
So that’s five gifts to help stimulate language and speech development in toddlers and preschoolers this year! As always, let me know what you think Anything you want me to write about? Let me know! Also, feel free to follow me on my Instagram account my_monkeys_and_i where I share my days as a mother to my little monkeys! Catch you all later!
Thank you, Christina, stay tuned for her next blog post and feel free to recommend any topics you might want her to write about 😎