This post originally ran in August, 2019.
Once upon a time, I thought I would be so structured with my toddler that we would have tot school in our basement every morning. Haha, yeah, that didn’t happen. What did happen, was something that worked even better for my girl and me (the mom who loves the school supply aisles). We would have structured activities 3 times a week and other days we would get out of the house for an adventure. When I say adventure, I mean story time at the St. Louis County Library’s Daniel Boone Branch or a park trip.
To prepare for our structured activities, I stock up on school supplies and craft goodies. Since we are in the middle of back-to-school shopping and all the sales, I thought I would share some of my favorite items that you’ll likely find on sale or easy to find in stores right now.
No brainer, right? For little ones who are still working on fine motor skills and even that pincher grasp, crayons are perfect. We have two types of crayons in our house: jumbo crayons and finger crayons. If you haven’t seen finger crayons, then go search for them online. They are perfect for tiny hands who still use their entire fist to hold something.
These colorful circles are perfect for so many activities. Really, I promise. First of all, the practice of pulling the stickers is great for their fine motor skills (yes, these skills are that important). They are also perfect for a variety of activities. From learning and separating colors to counting, these are perfect.
My favorite activity for my 2-year-old is simply tracing lines with the dots. I draw different lines on kraft paper with different colors (ones that match the dots) and then have my daughter follow the lines with the same color dots. Oh, and I place the kraft paper on the wall at her eye level.
I am crazy about post-it notes. I never use them for my own productivity, but my toddler loves them. It first started off as her simply pulling them apart and sticking them everywhere. And, I mean everywhere. Now, we have added a bit more organization to the chaos.
Again, pull out the kraft paper and draw different shapes on it. You then draw the same shapes on the notes (one shape per note) and have your toddler try to match it. You can do this with numbers and letters, too.
I’ve mentioned it enough, so it obviously needs to be on this list. Kraft paper is perfect for everything. Need to protect your floor from a paint project? Kraft paper. Need to draw a life-size outline of your toddler to help teach them body parts? Kraft paper. Right now we are actually on a white roll of paper because it looks prettier, but the brown kraft paper is definitely sturdier.
I am a hoarder when it comes to many things in my life. My newest stock pile is artwork from my toddler. Once our refrigerator was filled up with these masterpieces I knew I needed a better way to organize it until I was ready to part with it. Hence, folders. I now have two folders with different projects we have created. I recently found a way to upload the pieces into a book and I will one day be able to go through these folders and pick the perfect pieces for the ultimate memento.
And, finally, don’t forget the imagination. We can give our children all of the supplies in the world, but if we don’t spend one-on-one time with them expanding their little minds, then the rest will be useless. With just a few minutes every day we can play and teach their young minds priceless lessons.