I volunteered last Wednesday and it went well. I was supposed to help out in the infant room, but since there were only two babies there, they sent me over to the toddler room. Those kids ranged from sixteen months old to two and a half. They didn’t have any structured play time, but they did a creative activity with shaving cream that the kids loved. They squirted a few blobs of shaving cream on the table and added different colors of paint. The kids loved mixing the colors and making a mess.
We looked at a lot of books. One they enjoyed showed the different parts of a truck. I wish I remembered the title, but it had mostly pictures. It was filled with different textures for the kids to explore. On one page there was a mirror, bumpy textures for the windows, round sand paper shapes for the wheels etc. As we went through the book, I labeled the parts of the truck and the textures. The kids would usually repeat me and took time to feel each texture. They especially enjoyed looking at themselves in the mirror. They didn’t notice it at first until I pointed it out, but after that, they’d stop longer on that page.
One of their favorite things to play with were the foam blocks. One boy figured out
He could sit on one and jump up and down. I grabbed his hands and he liked jumping
while holding my hands. A few other toddlers grabbed a block from the pile, came
over and said, “My turn.” A little girl found another use for the blocks. She liked to sit on them and rock back and forth. She said she was rocking the boat. She grabbed my hands and she realized she could rock faster and go farther back. When she’d almost hit the floor, she’d pull herself up. Sometimes she couldn’t pull herself up fast enough so I’d help her out. The boys joined in, but they quickly got back to jumping.
Then they found smaller plastic blocks that you can put
together. A little girl started building a tower and a boy came over and knocked
it down. They both laughed and other toddlers came over to see what they were doing.
The boy and girl built the tower again and started to fight over who should knock
it down. Eventually, one of them knocked it over and they all started laughing again.
Now the problem was who was going to rebuild it. I gave the two toddlers the same
number of blocks and told them to put one block on at a time. They liked doing that
and now they could both build the tower and knock it down. They did this several
times while their friends watched. It was nice to see them actually sharing the blocks
because usually toddlers don’t cooperate like that. Most of the time, they want the
toys all to themselves which I saw a lot throughout the day. It’s normal though.
They are starting to learn to share and take turns. Later on, one of the little girls found a smaller set of plastic blocks. She sat on the floor independently and worked on her building. It was only three or four blocks high, but she brought it over and said, “I made a tower!” I told her it was a great tower and she brought it back to add to it. They seemed to have trouble fitting these blocks together. They have shapes on the top and you have to turn them just right to make them fall into place. It was challenging enough for them, but not too challenging to the point where they’d give up.
They also had fun pushing big trucks around and riding bikes. They kept crashing
their bikes into me. I had to remind them to be gentle with the bikes because that
could hurt. I showed them how to slow down and bump into me gently, but then they
decided to play bumper bikes with each other. I had to stop that because I thought
they’d fall over or hurt each other when they crashed. Finally, they decided that the bikes would be perfect to knock the tower over. The toddlers who were building the towers didn’t like this. They wanted to knock their tower down by themselves. I tried to stop the bike each time before it destroyed the tower. Sometimes it was successful and other times not. I told the boys that their friends didn’t want them to knock their building over, but they thought it was so fun. Eventually it was okay because the other toddlers started laughing at the boy on the bike hitting the tower. These toddlers have discovered that blocks aren’t only for building.
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