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For 2-3 year olds

ABC Sponge Stamps

Practicing the ABC's can be repetitive and dull when the same teaching techniques are used over and over. Add some variety to your child's letter learning by making these darling sponge stamps together! Make one for all 26 letters and stamp out the sameness of teaching the alphabet. Your little one can use these sponge stamps to create a multitude of projects such as greeting cards, book covers, posters, and wrapping paper.

What You Need:

  • Sponges (13 if you plan on fitting two letters per sponge)
  • Fine tip marker
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paper bowls (one for each color of paint)
  • Paper

What You Do:

1. Help your child trace the alphabet letters onto the sponges using a fine tip marker.

2. Cut the letters out of the sponges.

3. Pour the paints into paper bowls.

4. Now your child is ready to create an alphabet masterpiece! Dampen the stamps with water and squeeze out any excess water.

5. Have your child gently press the sponge stamp into the paint, and stamp away onto the paper. While he is making his chosen project, make sure to discuss the letters of the alphabet. Ask him to name the letters he is using, and encourage him to spell out any words or names he knows.

As an extension to this project, sing the "ABC song" together with your child and ask him to name objects that begin with each letter or sound.

Be sure and check out our Fun Activities to do With Toddlers.

Make a Counting Book

If a picture's worth a thousand words, how many numbers is it worth? Break out some old newspapers and magazines and let your kid find out! She'll create her very own counting book, in order from 1-30, figuring out a variety of ways to recognize and represent numbers in the process.

What You Need:

  • Old newspapers or magazines
  • Plain paper or construction paper (30 pages)
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers or crayons
  • A stapler or brass clips, for binding the book when complete

What You Do:

1. Gather a stack of old magazines and newspapers that are ready for the recycling bin.

2. Tell your child that he's going to use the supplies to make a book that shows each number in a fun way. Talk about the fact that every number has a symbol (for example, the number one can be written as 1), but that's not the only way to represent it. For example, for the number 23, your child can find its picture in a magazine, but can he also draw 23 things that show the number? Can he find two numbers (one 2 and one 3) that could be cut out, put together, and glued in their appropriate place value spot? Can he collect 23 pictures of similar objects (balls, for example) and add them together to reach 23, or cut out as many as he can find, and draw the rest? (Wow! Now you're also practicing addition in an informal, hands-on way).

3. Working on just one number at a sitting, give your child a chance to experiment with all the different ways he can create a number. This is a perfect brainstorming activity, so try not to grimace as your child cuts his way through those magazines and wields those markers! Let him make a mess.

4. As you're creating the book, be sure to keep each number page separate. And don't overwhelm your child by asking her to work on more than one at the same time. Instead, let her stay focused on the specific number at hand. And as you complete each page, bind the book (with a stapler or brass fasteners) in number order, with your child's help.

Read and enjoy! As your child's counting abilities grow, so can your book--you can add more images as you go along!

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