Toddlers learn by exploring and experimenting. They love to do things over and over again (like empty out all of the toys you’ve just cleaned up or sing the chorus to Old MacDonald a thousand times) just to see what will happen each time. Preschoolers learn by doing. They love to independently figure things out through play and test the boundaries of their independence both verbally and physically (Look mom! I can pour my own milk).
Finding a fun, winter activity that is age appropriate for both children and doesn’t leave mom running in two completely different directions can be a challenge, but I’ve compiled a list of my top five winter activities that are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers.
Making music together is an activity where age doesn’t matter. Toddlers will enjoy shaking eggs, banging drums and testing out how different instruments sound. Preschoolers may try to build more elaborate drum sets, balancing different instruments on top of each other until they are just right, leading the band or marching in a circle as the sing their favorite tune. Your toddler will enjoy mimicking your preschooler and the end result will be quite a bit of fun. If you don’t have an assortment of children’s instruments, get out the pots, pans, spoons and spatulas for creative play.
Playing With Boxes
Chances are, if you are a mom of young children you’ve discovered that children love boxes, often more than what is in them. Gather various size boxes, place them in an open area and watch what unfolds. Your toddler may try to climb in and out of the same box over and over again or open and shut the flaps. Your preschooler may turn the box into a café or school. An obstacle course made from boxes will keep them both busy as they discover differently all the things they can do.
I have recently discovered that when you mix a toddler, preschool and video camera from the iPhone, you end up with some pretty fun stuff. Both toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy dancing to music than watching themselves afterwards. Your preschooler may show signs of a budding director as she encourages her younger sibling to sing along with her or follow her around.
Play to a Theme
Choose a theme like blocks or the farm and gather all the toys and books you have related to the theme. Your toddler may enjoy filling and dumping a bucket with animals or blocks while your preschooler enjoys sorting, stacking and counting. You may also notice the beginning signs of pretend play where she gives the animals their own voices or the blocks different roles to play.
Whether you make it yourself or purchase it, play dough can be an enriching activity that both toddlers and preschoolers enjoy. Toddlers may enjoy simply tearing up pieces of dough into smaller pieces while preschoolers may create more elaborate structures for pretend play.
On winter days, it can be challenging to find something that keeps both toddlers and preschoolers engaged. Finding something that appears to both developmental levels and interests can be tough, but it can be done.
What winter activities do your toddler and preschooler enjoy together? How do you keep both children actively engaged? Share your own ideas with us in the comments section below.