Learning Activities
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Ages & Stages
Learning Activities
by
Elizabeth Twombly, M.S.
and
Ginger Fink, M.A.
Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
All rights reserved.
“Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.” is a registered trademark of
Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.
Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Post Office Box 10624
Baltimore, Maryland 21285-0624
www.brookespublishing.com
Ages & Stages Questionnaires® is a registered trademark of
Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.
is a trademark of Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.
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About the Authors
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Elizabeth Twombly, M.S., lives in Eugene, Oregon, and is Senior Research Assistant
of the Early Intervention Program at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Prior to
working in the field of early intervention, Elizabeth spent many years working with
young children in environmental education, child care, and preschool programs on
the east and west coasts. Elizabeth has been involved in the Ages & Stages
Questionnaires® (ASQ) project since the early 1990s and was involved in the initial
development and research for the Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional
(ASQ:SE). She trains across the nation on the implementation of these screening
tools in a variety of health and educational programs that work with families with
very young children. Elizabeth is coordinating projects in the Early Intervention
Program that relate to screening systems and infant mental health.
Ginger Fink, M.A., has worked in the field of early childhood education for more
than 30 years. She has worked in many capacities as a teacher, director, curriculum
developer, and teacher educator. She is a private consultant in the area of
parent–child programs and teacher education strategies.
She worked as curriculum developer from 1987 to 1996 for the Kamehameha
Schools, Honolulu, Hawai’i, toward development of a statewide series of community-based parent–child programs. She also worked extensively with Head Start programs as teacher and program director intermittently between 1966 and 1975, and
as disabilities specialist between 1997 and 2000 for the Region X training and technical assistance network. She also served as the training coordinator for the Ages &
Stages developmental screening system for the University of Oregon, Eugene. In
addition to private consultation, she teaches early childhood courses at Clackamas
Community College, Oregon City, Oregon.
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Introduction
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Welcome to the Ages & Stages Learning Activities. These activities have been
designed to coordinate with Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ): A ParentCompleted, Child-Monitoring System, Second Edition (Bricker & Squires, 1999).
These simple activities were designed to provide parents, home visitors, teachers,
and others with quick, inexpensive ideas for learning games and interactions that
enhance the growth and development of infants and young children. These activities are written in simple language and use materials that most families have on
hand at home.
In addition to supporting areas of development, it is the authors’ hope that these
activities strengthen the parent–child relationship. To this end, the activities are
designed to be playful, fun, and affectionate. The authors hope that these activities
will bring laughter and joy to the family. Although the Ages & Stages Learning
Activities are designed for use with the ASQ system, they are appropriate to use
independent of a screening or monitoring program.
THE ASQ AND AGES & STAGES LEARNING ACTIVITIES
The ASQ is a series of parent-completed questionnaires that screen and monitor a
child’s development between 4 months and 5 years of age. The results of a questionnaire determine if a child is currently developing at an age-appropriate level or
if he or she should receive a more in-depth assessment from a local early intervention/ early childhood special education agency to determine the need for specialized
services. The ASQ screens development in the areas of communication, gross motor,
fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social skills.
Because a parent or caregiver, not a professional, completes the ASQ, the ASQ
provides an inexpensive method for screening and monitoring a child’s development. Screening with the ASQ elicits three potential results:
• Well above the ASQ cutoffs: The child appears to be developing typically at this
point in time.
• Below the ASQ cutoffs: The child falls on or below a statistically derived cutoff and
should be referred to a professional to determine if he or she is eligible for specialized services.
• Close to the ASQ cutoffs: The child falls close to a cutoff; the score is questionable
and the child appears to need some additional support in one or more developmental areas. At this time, however, the child is not showing a delay that is significant
enough to warrant a referral.
The Ages & Stages Learning Activities are designed to be used to follow up with
children who receive a result of well above the ASQ cutoffs or close to the ASQ cutoffs when screened using the ASQ. If a child scores below the cutoffs and is referred
and determined not eligible for specialized services, the learning activities also can
be used. However, these activities are not intended to be a comprehensive intervention that meets the needs of a child with an identified developmental delay. As mentioned previously, these children should be receiving in-depth individualized
instruction from an early intervention or early childhood special education provider.
If appropriate, the activities could be used to support an intervention program.
The Ages & Stages Learning Activities are organized to coordinate with the ASQ
and are grouped according to 1) age of the child and 2) area of development. While
the ASQ system includes 19 questionnaires, Ages & Stages Learning Activities contains 12 sets. Table 1 provides guidelines as to which age range of the Learning
Activities should be provided following screening with the ASQ.
AGES & STAGES LEARNING ACTIVITIES SHEETS
There are five activity sheets in each set of the Learning Activities: communication,
gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social. Although it is recognized that every activity a child engages in can provide opportunities to practice and
enhance multiple skills, these activities focus on one specific area at a time so that
caregivers concentrate their attention on each specific area. In addition, the pronouns he and she alternate throughout the series of activities, but the activities are
intended to be appropriate for either boys or girls.
Following a screening, program staff members have the option of providing a full
set of Ages & Stages Learning Activities to a caregiver or selecting specific areas
depending on screening results. For example, a child at 12 months may receive a
result of well above the ASQ cutoffs in the areas of communication, gross motor,
problem solving, and personal-social but a result of close to the ASQ cutoff in the fine
Table 1. ASQ and Ages & Stages Learning Activities
age-range guidelines
After screening
with the ASQ
questionnaire for
Provide the following
set of Ages & Stages
Learning Activities for
1–4 months
4 months
4–8 months
6 months
4–8 months
8 months
8–12 months
10 months
8–12 months
12 months
12–16 months
14 months
12–16 months
16 months
16–20 months
18 months
16–20 months
20 months
20–24 months
22 months
20–24 months
24 months
24–30 months
27 months
24–30 months
30 months
30–36 months
33 months
30–36 months
36 months
36–42 months
42 months
42–48 months
48 months
48–54 months
54 months
54–60 months
60 months
motor area. In this case, staff can choose to provide caregivers with a full set of 12to 16-month activities or with only the 12- to 16-month fine motor activities.
Each activity sheet includes a brief description of what might be typical in terms
of development at that specific age span. Because development is different for each
child, a child’s skills may or may not be reflected in this description. It is important
for caregivers to be responsive to the unique developmental needs and strengths of
each child.
After the brief developmental description, a series of between five and eight ageappropriate activities are provided. The activities provide opportunities to develop a
variety of skills in each developmental area and to practice skills that are targeted
on the ASQ screening; however, these activities should not be considered all inclusive. Children learn from adults in hundreds of ways, and these are just a few. Some
may be new; many others are time tested and familiar. We hope that parents will add
to these activities from their own experiences. Home visitors and other helping professionals are invited to add to these suggestions or to modify activities to meet a
specific child’s or family’s needs.
In each set of activities, the authors have included games or activities that support language and literacy development. We hope that some of the foundations of literacy will be encouraged in every child’s home, such as experimenting with rhythm
and rhymes; gesturing; speaking; listening; reading books, magazines, newspapers,
and signs on the street and in stores; experimenting with writing tools by scribbling,
drawing, creating grocery lists, and writing letters and cards to loved ones; and so
forth. The love and enjoyment of reading as well as success in later formal school situations can be rooted in these early childhood years.
Adaptations may be necessary to respectfully support families whose first language is not English or who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Although
these activities are written in English, the authors hope that home visitors or parents
will feel free to adapt them to their home language and to add games from their tradition or experience. All cultures have special favorite baby games, rhymes, and
songs. When a baby hears these loving sounds, his or her knowledge of who he or
she is will be strengthened. In some cases, a learning activity may not be something
a family might choose to teach. For example, some families may not wish to engage
their children with mirrors. Respect for the family’s values must guide the interactions and choices.
Activities are written at a fourth- through fifth-grade reading level. Although this
reading level may meet the needs of many families, other families may need additional support. Activities may need to be demonstrated, illustrated, or shared verbally with families. For example, a home visitor can introduce a new activity to a
family each week, bringing specific toys or helping family members gather materials in their home environment. Of course, it is important to consider safety guidelines
for children at each developmental level. Although some of the activities include
safety precautions, an adult should supervise all activities that involve young children. Use the activities with flexibility.
REFERENCE
Bricker, D., & Squires, J. (with Potter, L., Nickel, R., & Farrell, J.). (1999). Ages &
Stages Questionnaires®: A Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System (2nd ed.).
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your wonderful new person communicates with her whole body. Her gaze
at you tells you that you are the most important person in the world. She
communicates with body movements, noises, and her own special cry when she needs something. Your
baby’s favorite music is your gentle voice. Even though she enjoys the sounds of a busy household,
some quiet time is important so baby can hear family voices.
Song and Rhyme Introduce your baby to the chant, rhyme, and rhythm of your favorite songs
and nursery rhymes. Change the words of a familiar tune. Add baby’s name
now and then (“Twinkle, twinkle, little Andy. How I love my little Andy”).
Sing and Talk as As you bathe, feed, exercise, or change your baby, sing any song. Make up your
You Take Care own songs. Let your baby watch your face while you talk and sing. Encourage
other family members to do this. Baby knows how important she is.
Funny Baby During quiet, happy times encourage your baby to smile. Make funny (not
scary) faces that baby likes. When baby smiles, be sure to make that face
again. Tell baby how funny he is!
Picture Books With baby cuddled on your lap, hold a book with simple, clear, colorful pictures so that both of you can see. Talk softly about what you see as you point
to the pictures. Baby will learn that reading time is very special.
Special When your baby is awake, cuddle her and hold her so she can see your face.
Talking Time Talk for a little while. Look at her face as she looks at yours. Encourage her
to make different sounds, coos, and squeals. Have a conversation.
Words for As you comfort baby when he cries, talk about why he is crying. Try to figBaby’s Cry ure out what’s wrong, and tell him about it as you take care of his needs.
Noticing Sounds When sounds happen around the house, help baby notice by talking about
them (“I hear the telephone ringing,” “I hear your brother calling”).
Telephone Time When you are on the phone, hold your baby close and look at her. Baby will
enjoy watching and listening to you. She’ll think your conversation is just for
her!
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Ages&Stages
1–4 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Baby is gaining strength right from the beginning. He practices lifting and
controlling his head. He moves his arms and legs. Soon he will be able to roll to his side from his back.
He likes being held so that his feet gently touch a surface. He likes to be held in a sitting position so that
he can strengthen his back and tummy muscles and see what’s going on.
Position Changes When baby is awake, place baby in a different position, on her stomach or
side. This will allow baby to move her arms and legs in different ways or
directions. Always watch baby when she’s on her stomach.
Kicking Practice Place baby on his back on a firm surface. As you talk quietly to baby, encourage him to move his legs. Hold a foot in each hand and gently move them
back and forth.
Heads Up Put baby on her stomach. Dangle a bright toy in front of her, or make faces
and sounds to encourage your baby to lift her head.
Bath Time One special way to bathe baby is in the tub with you. Enjoy gently massaging his legs, arms, tummy, and back. Allow baby to kick and splash as you
hold him safely and talk and sing a little bathtub song.
Balancing Act Stand baby on your knees and gently hold her in a standing position. Let her
(about 3–4 months) support as much of her own weight as she can to help her strengthen her legs
and gain balance.
Roll Over Encourage baby to roll from his stomach to his back by holding a bright toy
in front of him and slowly moving it over to the side. You may help him roll
over until he can do it himself.
Pretty Pull-Ups With baby on your lap, pull baby up slowly by her arms. Then, gently lower
(about 3–4 months) her in an up-and-down game. Talk to her as she moves up and down. This
will help to strengthen stomach muscles and let baby see the world and your
smiling face from a different point of view.
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Ages&Stages
1–4 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby is gaining control of her gaze and can focus on a nearby object for a
few seconds. Soon she’ll be able to follow you with her eyes while you move
around. Her fist will grasp your finger and hold on tightly. She will show excitement by waving her arms. It is a wonderful time of beginning to notice what’s going on in the world!
Finger Kiss When feeding baby, encourage him to touch your lips (if he doesn’t do this
spontaneously). Kiss his fingertips. Baby will learn the soft, wet sensation of
your lips and soon will learn to aim his fingers toward your lips.
Gotcha While your baby is lying on a rug or sitting in her infant seat, offer a toy or
(about 3–4 months) something to grasp just beyond her reach. When she reaches for it, make
sure she gets it. She’ll probably taste it, too.
Finger Grip Let your baby grab your finger and grip it tightly. Gently tug a little just to let
your baby know you’re there. “My, you are so strong!”
Finger and Toe Rub Rub your baby’s fingers and toes one at a time. A little baby lotion makes this
especially nice. Your baby will enjoy the sensation. It will increase his body
awareness.
Ribbon Flutter Hang a long, brightly colored ribbon or scarf loosely around your neck.
When you lean over to change baby or pick her up, let her reach out and
touch the ribbon. Sit and talk about what she is doing.
Tug-O-War Let baby grasp a dishcloth or the corner of a washcloth. Gently tug the other
end. Tell him how strong he is. Let go, and let him win!
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Ages&Stages
1–4 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby already responds to sounds and voices. He’s beginning to look for the
source of the noise. He also looks at his surroundings and will show an active
interest in a person or toy. He likes to study things like his own hands and his favorite face—yours!
Tracking Fun Let baby follow a rattle, a shiny spoon, or your face with his eyes. Hold your
face or an object 10–12 inches from baby’s face and slowly move from left to
right. Talk softly as you play. Baby will enjoy being part of the action.
Light Touch Stroke your baby gently with a feather, a cotton ball, or the edge of a cloth.
Your baby will enjoy the sensation as she learns to isolate different body
parts. Talk to baby softly. Describe what she is feeling.
Cotton Ball Sniff To help your baby develop his sense of smell, dip cotton balls in different fragrances such as mint or vanilla extract. Gently waft these near baby so he can
experience the scent. “Mmm, it smells so good.”
Making Faces With baby on her back, lean over her and make surprised or happy faces.
Encourage her to reach for your nose or lips or mouth. Have a little laugh
together.
Colorful Socks Put a brightly colored sock on your baby’s foot. This will encourage her to
look at her feet, then pull at them and catch a foot. This game will help baby
discover parts of her own body.
Silver Spoons Lie your baby on his back, and dangle a shiny spoon above him so he can
reach and bat it. A shiny spoon also makes a nice hanging crib toy to entertain baby as long as it is safely tied out of reach.
Reaching Practice With your baby in your lap or the lap of another special person, hold up a
(about 3–4 months) safe, interesting toy on a string for him to reach for. Let baby be successful
by slowly moving the toy to his fingers.
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Ages&Stages
1–4 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Baby will look into your eyes to tell you “I’m yours.” She loves
and needs a lot of holding and physical contact. When she needs
you, she will fuss or cry. Your response and gentle voice will comfort her. When she is taking in information, she will be calmer. This is often after eating, resting, or having a diaper changed. At about 7
weeks old, she will respond with a beautiful smile!
Love and Respond right away when baby cries. It’s her way of telling you something
Trust Building important. Carry, hug, smile, sing, and talk to baby often. It’s your way of saying, “I love you and I’ll take care of you.”
Communicating After his bath, baby may be ready for a massage. Use baby oil and gently
Through Touch massage his arms, hands, legs, feet, back, tummy, and bottom. Continue only
as long as your baby is quiet and content. Talk or sing a little song. You can
make it up—baby won’t mind.
Funny Face Play Make an “oh” face; stick out your tongue or pucker your lips when baby
seems to be studying your face. Hold that expression and see if your baby will
imitate it. Smile if baby copies you!
Looking in Hold your baby up in front of a mirror. She may enjoy smiling and making
the Mirror noises at herself. As baby looks in the mirror she is learning about your gentle touch and about the “other” baby she sees.
Peekaboo Play Peekaboo with your baby. Place your hands over your eyes then over
baby’s eyes. Release your hands and say, “Boo.” Place a blanket over your
head and come out saying, “Boo.” Your baby will enjoy many variations of
this game for a long time to come.
Happy Hands As baby’s fist begins to relax, place a small toy in his hand. He won’t be very
good at letting go just yet. Let him grasp your finger while you nurse. Later,
guide his hands to hold his bottle. Smile and tell him how strong he is!
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Ages&Stages
1–4 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby has learned to use his voice: He squeals and is beginning to babble to you and to others. He knows his name and may use his voice to let
you know he is happy. He can shout for your attention and is about to make sounds such as “mama”
or “dada.” He is also learning to respond to “bye-bye.”
Baby Rubdown After bath time, enjoy some quiet time talking with your baby as you gently
rub him down with lotion or oil. Tell him about your day—ask about his.
What’s That? When your baby notices a sound, help her locate the source. Ask your baby,
“What’s that? Daddy’s car?” “Did you hear a dog?”
Touch that Sound As your baby begins to experiment with his voice, you will probably hear
(about 5 months) /b/, /m/, and /d/ and “ah,” “ee,” and “oo” sounds. Imitate the sounds baby
makes. While you make the sound, let your baby put his fingers on your lips
to feel the vibrations.
Trust Building When you move away from your baby to do other things, keep in touch with
with Words your baby through your words. Tell her what you are doing as she follows
with her eyes. “I’m over here. I’m picking up the clothes. I’ll be right back.”
Now and then step out of sight, but continue to talk until you return. “Did you
miss me?”
Reading Time Your baby will enjoy looking at pictures in magazines or books. Choose
things such as a telephone, dog, car, or spoon. Sit with your baby on your lap
and read about the pictures. Tell a little story. “See the phone? It’s for you.”
Sing a Song When you are bathing, diapering, or changing your baby’s clothes, sing a
song such as “This is the way we wash our toes, wash our toes, wash our toes.
This is the way we wash our toes, so early in the morning.”
Hide-and-Seek Move just out of sight and call baby’s name. Wait a few seconds, and then
reappear. “Here I am!” Now find another place and hide again.
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Ages&Stages
4–8 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby gets stronger every minute. She now holds her head up and
looks all around at everything that’s going on. She is learning to sit by herself, even though at first she
uses her hands for support. She loves bearing her weight on her legs and will soon pull to stand.
Floor Time Spread out a quilt on the floor or outside under a tree. Put your baby on the
blanket on her tummy with a few of her favorite toys and encourage her to
stretch, scoot, roll, squirm, or wiggle her way to the toys. Be sure to give some
time for baby to be on her back, too.
Sitting Pretty Help your baby sit alone. Sit behind him and give him some gentle support.
He can hold a toy or a book. Whisper in his ear that he is a wonderful baby!
As he learns to sit by himself, you can give him less help.
Bouncy Baby Hold on to your baby’s hands and help her stand up. Have fun bouncing up
and down while she’s standing on the floor, the sofa, or your lap. Sing a little bouncing chant: “Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, stop. Isn’t that fun?”
Stand-Up Play At about 7 months your baby may enjoy standing up while holding on to
tables and chairs and reaching for different objects. Remove breakable items
from low tables or shelves, and line up some of his favorite toys to reach for.
Little Explorer Now that baby can crawl, she’ll want to explore the whole house! Make sure
the areas where she can explore are safe and clean. “What’s under the table?
What’s behind the chair?” What good exercise!
Obstacle Course Once your baby has started to crawl, you can make a simple obstacle course
(about 6–7 months) of pillows and blankets for your baby to crawl across and around.
A Shiny Pot Lid As your baby gets better at sitting alone, give your baby a pan or pot lid to
(7–8 months) play with. He can see himself in the pan as he bangs it, pats it, and rolls it.
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Ages&Stages
4–8 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby’s grasp has relaxed now, and he likes to reach and grab nearby objects.
He can hold and bang objects and even hold something in each hand! He may
watch you scribble with interest. He’s learning how to use his fingers and is getting
better at it every day.
Rattles and Toys Give your baby plenty of opportunities to try out different rattles and toys.
Things that feel different or toys that make sounds will be very interesting to
your baby. Some of the best toys aren’t toys at all, such as spoons.
Picky, Picky When your baby starts eating solid food, he will enjoy trying to pick up small
(6 months or older) bits with his thumb and forefinger. Don’t worry about the mess. This fun
activity strengthens eyes and fingers.
Mello Jell-O Make small Jell-O cubes. Your baby will love to catch the Jell-O as it squirms
around on her plate.
Drop and Dump As soon as your baby can sit alone, he can sit on the floor and play some
dropping games. Use a plastic container and a small ball, block, or toy. Let
your baby drop the ball into the container. You may need to help him at first.
Now dump it out. He will want to try it again and again!
Finger-Paint Put a dab of soft, smooth food (e.g., yogurt; soft, mashed carrots) on a plate
or cookie sheet and let your baby “paint” with her fingers. It’s all right if she
eats the “paint.”
Noodle Pull Give baby a little serving of cool, cooked noodles. Let baby pull apart a few
strands. This is a fun way to practice using fingers and to snack at the same
time. (Always stay attentive while baby eats.)
Cheerios Spill Put some Cheerios in a plastic bottle. See if your baby can figure out how to
tip over the bottle to feed himself the Cheerios.
Tub Time Make bath time fun. This is a good time to practice holding, pouring, and
squeezing. Add plastic cups, pitchers, sponges, and scoops to baby’s bath.
What wet, bubbly fun!
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Ages&Stages
4–8 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your busy learner is interested in making things work! She will find a toy that’s
partly hidden and will reach with all her might for something that’s just out of
reach. She knows when a voice is friendly or angry and much prefers friendly sounds. She also loves
Peekaboo!
Where Did it Go? Move your face or a favorite toy behind a cover while your baby is watching.
Ask, “Where is Mommy?” Drop the cover and say, “Here I am!” Cover baby’s
doll or bear. Ask, “Where is the bear?” Move the cloth and say, “There he is!”
Bath-Time Boats Put a fleet of plastic butter containers in your baby’s bath. She will delight in
learning about sinking, floating, dumping, and pouring.
Reactions Provide baby with toys that react such as squeak toys, pull toys, and pop-up
toys. Let baby discover ways to make things happen! Share baby’s surprise.
“Look what happened!”
Hide a Squeak Toy Hide a toy or some item that makes noise, such as a bell or set of measuring
spoons, under a blanket while your baby watches. Reach under the blanket
and make the sound. Let him try to find it. Now hide the toy to the side, then
behind your baby. Let him look around.
Music Maker Give baby a spoon or a block for each hand. Show her how to bang them on
a tabletop or highchair tray while you sing a song. Sing and tap loudly, then
sing and tap very softly. Hooray for the band!
Hide a Baby This is a fun version of Peekaboo. While folding laundry or doing the dishes, cover baby with a sheet, towel, or dishcloth. Say, “‘Where’s the baby?”
Wait a second and pull down the cloth. “Surprise! There’s the baby!”
Safe Sandbox In a small container or tray, let baby touch some cornmeal or flour. As you
do this, talk about how it feels and show him how to sift it through his fingers. “Ooh, that’s so soft.”
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Ages&Stages
4–8 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby knows you very well now and will lift his arms to
come to you. He may begin to fret when strangers approach. He
likes to play with his image in the mirror and is really quite sociable as long as he feels safe and secure.
A Cup for Baby Allow your baby to hold a plastic cup. Put a little water in it, and see what
baby will do. She will probably enjoy trying to drink out of a cup. Let her
experiment.
Body Awareness Your baby is discovering different body parts and probably has become very
interested in his feet and hands. Encourage him by playing games such as
This Little Piggy and other games with fingers and toes. Talk about his body
when he touches his feet. Say, “You found your feet!”
Self-Feeding Encourage your baby to pick up and eat safe foods such as crackers or
Cheerios. You may also give baby her own spoon to hold while you feed her
with another spoon. Try taking turns—you pretend to eat a little and then
offer a bite to your baby. Baby will understand that feeding herself is the way
to go.
Whisper Power Rock, walk, or dance and whisper sweet words in your baby’s ear.
Whispering to your baby helps him to calm down and provides another way
to talk in a quiet and loving voice.
A Social Hour Invite another parent and his or her baby over to play with your baby. As the
babies look at, reach for, and explore each other, they will make important
discoveries about real people. Stay close by to keep each baby safe as they
do their exploring.
Wave Bye-Bye Wave bye-bye when you leave the room for a moment or two. As you wave,
tell your baby where you are going. “I am going into your bedroom to get
your blanket. I’ll be right back. Bye-bye.”
Faces in the Mirror While looking in the mirror with your baby, talk about body parts such as
the eyes, nose, and ears. Touch your nose and say, “Daddy’s nose!” Touch
baby’s nose and say, “Baby’s nose.” “Daddy’s eyes, baby’s eyes.” Play this game
as long as baby seems interested.
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Ages&Stages
4–8 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby now has many different sounds and a lot to say. She likes to
play with sounds such as “ba ba ba” and is learning that some sounds mean
special people, such as “dada.” She understands some words and directions now and will soon say the
names of familiar people or things.
Following Help your baby to learn to listen and follow simple directions. Try simple direcDirections tions such as “Show me Grandma,” “Wash your tummy,” or “Hold the diaper?”
When baby responds or follows the direction, be sure to let him know you
notice. “Oh, there’s Grandma” or “Thank you for holding the diaper.”
Grocery Time Is When you go to the grocery store and baby is with you, talk to her about
Learning Time what she is seeing. Let her hold a box or put items into the grocery cart.
Point out signs in the store and read them to your baby. “That sign says
apples. Let’s get some nice red apples.”
The Telephone Game Talk to your baby on his play phone or an old cellular phone. When there
are two phones, you can both talk and your baby will have fun carrying on
a conversation just like the big people.
Sleep Waltz At naptime or bedtime in the evening, hold your baby close and dance
together to some quiet music. Your baby has probably spent a lot of time
exploring during the day. Now she needs some cuddling. This communicates
to baby a feeling of closeness and intimacy.
Quiet Times When baby is awake and alert, turn off the radio and TV so that he only
hears your voice. This helps baby hear the sounds of words more clearly.
Hum and sing just for baby’s pleasure. Ask baby, “Can you hear a bird?” “Can
you hear the clock?”
Baby Babble Game When your baby makes a sound such as “ba,” repeat the sound back: “ba ba
ba.” Your baby will enjoy playing with sounds and making conversation.
Applause, Applause When baby does something new or fun, give baby a hand. Clap and say,
“Yea!” Baby will love the attention and will probably clap, too!
Reading Adventures Read to your baby every day. Cuddle up, get close, and make this a special
time together. Point to pictures in books or ask her to find something.
“Where’s the kitty?”
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Ages&Stages
8–12 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
This is a very active period for your baby. He’s now pulling up on furniture, crawling and creeping into places he couldn’t reach before, and getting ready to walk. In fact, he will
probably walk holding on to your hand and attempt a few steps without your help. Baby is on the move.
Money in the Bank Save round metal ends from frozen juice containers or lids from jelly jars to
use as “money.” Now that your baby can sit alone, let her put these round
things into a clear container. Then shake the container and make a great
noise. Dump them out and put the “money” in the bank again.
Kick, Kick When you are changing your baby’s diaper or getting him ready for bed, play
this game. As your baby kicks his legs, sing in rhythm to the kicking. When
your baby stops kicking, stop singing. When he starts again, start singing.
This will develop into a fun game of stop and go. Your baby not only exercises his muscles, but he gets to be the boss.
Reaching for Fun If your baby is pulling himself to a standing position, put some of her favorite
toys on a low table and let her stretch way out to reach them. This will give
her practice with reaching and balancing. She will also be learning about
ideas such as near and far.
Rain, Rain Get a small empty plastic container, put some holes in it, and let your baby
in the Tub fill it with water during bath time. Help him hold it up and discover “rain” for
himself while you supervise.
Walking Practice Once your baby has started to walk, she will want to practice a lot. Show her
how to hold on to a lightweight chair or stool and push it around the room.
Sturdy cardboard boxes also make great push toys, as does a stroller. Let
your baby push a stroller when you go for walks.
Tunneling While folding laundry, throw a sheet over a table or the backs of two chairs.
Let your little explorer crawl into the “tunnel.” When he’s out of sight, call
him. Then, greet him with surprise when he finds you.
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Ages&Stages
8–12 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your busy baby is beginning to pick up tiny bits of food with her thumb and forefinger. She can take things out of a container, such as spoons out of a plastic bowl,
and can bang two toys together. If you give her a crayon and paper, she may even
attempt to imitate your writing with a scribble.
Feely Game Make a feely game out of a cardboard box by including things to feel, hold,
and bang. Good items might include an empty plastic baby bottle, a square
of velvet fabric, and a sponge. Let baby reach into the box and grab something. Talk about what he is holding. This exercise for little muscles also helps
baby explore different textures.
Hand Clapping Help your baby bring her hands together and clap. Clap her hands and then
hide them under a blanket. She will like to watch her hands go away and
come back.
Catcher’s Up Use a small, soft ball—or make a ball out of socks rolled together—and play
catch with your baby. He won’t be able to really catch the ball yet, but he will
enjoy trying to throw it and chase after it.
Tearing If baby loves to tear paper, get a big basket or box and put some old magazines and wrapping paper inside. Let your baby tear what she wants. If she
is more interested in putting wads of paper in her mouth, put the box away
and try again in a few weeks.
Sticks and Stones Take a walk outside. Encourage your baby to gather stones in a pail or small
paper bag. Pick up twigs and leaves. Talk about the color or the size.
“Look—this big leaf is nice!” (Remember to watch out for things that might
go into your baby’s mouth.)
Goodies in a Jar Put Cheerios or small pieces of cereal in a screw-top or snap-top plastic jar
or snap-top butter container. Put the lid on loosely. Let baby take the lid off.
You may have to show your baby how to take the lid off and get the cereal.
Soon he will do it by himself.
Bedtime Book Time A great way to get ready for bed is to snuggle up and read books with your
baby. Let her pick a few books and help turn the pages. Talk about the pictures, and enjoy your special time.
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Ages&Stages
8–12 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
As baby learns how things work, he is busy taking them apart. He can take
pieces out of a puzzle or rings off of a stack. He is learning how to find hidden
objects under a blanket. He enjoys looking at pictures in a book and enjoys your naming the pictures.
He’s been so busy exploring that he probably now knows the word “no.”
Rhythm Play Using small blocks or spoons, try drumming on the table or clapping toys
together to make sounds. Sing along and dance a little. Enjoy the music.
Scarf Pull Tie several colorful scarves together. Insert one end into a cardboard tube.
Let your baby pull the scarves through the tube. Now, can your baby stuff
the scarves back into the tube?
Hide-and-Seek Hide a ticking clock or a small radio under a pillow or blanket. Let your
baby listen to find the sound. “Do you hear it?” “Where is it?”
A Third Toy Give your baby a third toy when she has a toy in each hand. See if she can
figure out a way to take the third toy and hold on to all three. If this is too
difficult for your baby right now, try it again in a few weeks.
In and Out Put a piece of cereal inside a clear plastic container or baby bottle without a
lid. As your baby works to get the cereal out, he will learn more about inside
and outside. Another way to show baby the ideas of inside and outside is to
get a big box that your baby can crawl in and out of.
Little Laughs By about 11 months, your baby will begin to develop a sense of humor. Do
something funny such as trying to drink out of her baby bottle or pretending to
put on her shoe when getting ready to go out. She will probably burst out laughing.
Magic Cups Place a cup and a small toy on a tray for baby. Hide the toy under the cup
and ask, “Where is the toy?” If he doesn’t find it, lift the cup and show your
baby where it is. Say, “You found it!” Do this several times. Soon he will lift
the cup and find the toy all by himself. Later, add another cup. See if baby
can remember which cup hides the toy.
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Ages&Stages
8–12 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby may fear strangers and prefer only you. She loves to
explore her environment and needs your watchful eye to keep
her safe. She shows her likes and dislikes and shows affection to you and even a favorite toy. She can
help you dress her but likes to do things by herself when she can.
Bath Time When your baby is taking a bath, give her the washcloth. Encourage her to
wash by herself. After the bath, let your baby help get dressed by pushing her
arm through her nightshirt. Be patient; these self-help skills take a lot of time
and practice.
Follow Me Your baby probably is learning to enjoy imitation. Encourage this by showing your baby how to play Follow the Leader with you. Use simple movements, such as tapping on the table or putting a hat on your head. Talk about
what you are doing. Say, “Your turn,” and see if your baby will follow along.
Let your baby have a turn at being the leader.
Party Time Your baby may enjoy watching older children play. This is especially fun
when there are older brothers or sisters. If there are other babies his own
age in the neighborhood, he will enjoy playing alongside them. At first they
will enjoy watching each other. Eventually, they will learn to play together.
Little Helper Give your baby a damp sponge, and let her wipe the table, chairs, floor, walls,
and doors. This is an activity she may enjoy doing while you are getting dinner ready or washing dishes. Tell baby, “Thank you for helping Mommy.”
Snack Time Your baby will enjoy feeding himself during snack time. Give him a few
choices of simple foods such as crackers, pieces of fruit, or cheese. He’ll even
enjoy trying to drink out of a big boy cup with a little help.
Mirror, Mirror When you have a moment at home or while running errands, stop and
encourage your baby to look at her face in a mirror. Make silly faces. Tell her
what a big girl she is getting to be.
Roly-Poly Game While sitting on the floor, roll a small ball to baby, and then ask him to roll
it back. Now, do it again. Then, do it just a little faster! This could be a fun
game to play with an older sister or brother.
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Ages&Stages
8–12 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby’s babbling is beginning to sound more like talking. He says
“mama” and really means it and is beginning to learn the names of things.
He may say “no” if he is not happy. Because he’s so busy learning to walk, his language use may slow
down a bit. He combines a word with a point or gesture and you know very well what he means.
Hide the Noises Show your baby three things that make noise, such as a squeak toy, a set of
measuring spoons, and a rattle. Let baby play with them for a while. Then
hide the items under a box or cloth and make a noise with one. Take the
cloth off and ask baby, “Which one made the noise?” See if she can guess.
Quiet Time On weekends or at some time that’s not busy, spend time with baby in a quiet
place with no radio and no TV, perhaps outside. Talk to your baby about
what you’re doing or about what baby is doing. Let your baby hear your
voice and see your face making words. Talk calmly and tell baby how special
he is. When your baby talks, encourage him. Have a conversation.
Rhythm Clapping While listening to music, show baby how to move and clap in rhythm. Your
baby will enjoy moving to the beat. Play different types of music, such as rock
and roll, country, and classical music.
Listening When Daddy or Grandma calls, ask them to spend a few minutes talking to
on the Telephone baby. Baby probably won’t talk back to them yet but will be delighted to hear
someone’s voice coming through the telephone.
Big Talk While you do housework or get a meal together, talk to your baby about
what you are doing. Encourage your little one to use two words together to
make baby sentences, such as “Help me,” or “More juice.” This big language
step will grow into a lot of talk.
Little Reader Read to your baby every day. Cuddle up and make this a special time. Point
to pictures and name things for her. Sometimes ask her to find something:
“Where’s the cat?” She may need a little help from you at first.
Big Helper Your baby can be a big helper. Give him simple directions: “Can you get me
a napkin?” “Give me your shirt.” He may need you to point or help a little.
Say, “What a big help. Thanks!”
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Ages&Stages
12–16 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
By now your busy baby can move around the house quickly. She may
be standing by herself, walking while holding on to furniture, or walking well. She will try to climb up
steps, and your watchful eye is very important. Baby loves to push and pull things and is getting
stronger every day.
Let’s Go for a Walk Your baby will love going for walks and seeing new things. Talk to her about
what you are seeing. In an open area, let baby push her own stroller. She will
enjoy the feeling of power as she moves something big all by herself. Be sure
to watch that she keeps the stroller where it’s safe.
Row the Boat Let your child experience rocking on a rocking horse or in a chair. Sit him
on your lap and use your body to rock back and forth. Play with him sitting
opposite of you on the floor. Hold hands and gently pull and push him to and
from you. Sing a little song, such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, while you
rock back and forth.
Tunnel Time Drape a sheet or bedspread over a table or two chairs so that it becomes a
tunnel. Encourage baby to crawl through. “Come on through.” “There you
go.” “You made it!” Siblings will have fun playing this game, too.
Roll a Ball Your baby will enjoy playing with balls. You can sit across from her and roll
a ball to her. Encourage her to roll it back. Clap your hands when she does.
If the ball is big and soft (like a beach ball), she may be able to try to catch it.
Finger Walk Take a little walk with baby holding on to your finger. Baby can choose to
hold on or to let go. Talk to baby about what you see and where you’re going.
“Let’s walk over to those flowers,” “Let’s walk down the hall,” or “You’re a
good walker!”
Dance Fever Play some fun dancing music, and show baby how to dance! Wiggle and turn,
clap, and stomp your feet. Try lots of different kinds of music. Wave around
some scarves and ribbons. Have a dance party.
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Ages&Stages
12–16 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Baby is using fingers with more skill now. He will point with his index finger and
can pick up tiny bits of cereal with his thumb and finger. He can hold and mark
with a crayon or felt-tip pen and grasp small objects such as pegs and insert them
in a pegboard.
Budding Artist Let baby draw a picture for you with a crayon and a large piece of paper.
Give baby plenty of room. Baby may only make a few marks, but give a lot
of praise: “Look at the picture you made!” Be sure to put the crayon away
when you both are finished. Your baby doesn’t yet know that you only want
marks on the paper.
Ball Toss Encourage your child to practice throwing a small, soft ball. Have him stand
in one spot and throw the ball. Try again—see how far it goes. At first he may
need you to show him how to throw the ball. “Wow, look how far it went!”
Carton Rinse and save pint and quart milk cartons to use for blocks. Show baby how
Construction to stack them, then knock them down. Line them up to make a wall, and then
knock them down again.
Tacky Tape Make a small wad of masking tape with the sticky side out. Give this to baby
to play with. It is very entertaining and will give baby some good finger exercise.
Squeezing Give baby a sponge, washcloth, or sponge ball to play with in the bath. Show
baby how to squeeze the water out. You might also let baby play with plastic squirt toys. That’s really fun!
Fill and Dump Give baby a plastic container or box and a few items such as a clothespin, a
spoon, a toy car, and a spool. Make sure the items are big enough that they do
not pose a choking hazard. Show baby how to put them all in the container,
then dump them all out again. Tomorrow, change the container or the objects.
Library Time Find a time every 2 weeks or so to go to the library. Pick out new books with
your child. Cuddle up every day and read together. Read the story, talk about
pictures, and let her take turns turning pages and pointing to pictures. What
a special time together!
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Ages&Stages
12–16 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your baby is a busy explorer. She enjoys holding, stacking, and playing with
toys. She is learning her body parts and can probably point to at least one if
you ask her. She enjoys books and will “pat” her favorite picture. She may try to help turn pages in a
book. She enjoys learning about how things work.
Money in the Bank Make a money bank out of a large can or a plastic container. Cut a long slit
in the plastic cover about 1/2 -inch wide. Use the circular ends from frozen
juice cans as “money,” or cut circles from a box. Show your baby how to put
these “coins” into the bank.
Water Painting Give your baby a clean paintbrush and a small bucket of plain water. On a
sunny day, go outside and let your child paint the walls, sidewalk, or fence
with water. Your child will enjoy this “painting.” Then you can watch it dry,
and paint again. Try this inside with a small paintbrush and a piece of paper.
Watch the painting disappear!
Problem Solving Let your baby figure out how things work and what they do. Show baby how
the switch turns the light on and off. Show him how the flashlight works.
Talk to him about what you are doing and why: “I’m putting on a coat
because I am cold.”
Little Hunter During quiet times, ask your baby to find the blanket or get a book from
another room. Ask her to get things she cannot see at the time. She might
need a little help. When baby is successful, be sure to say, “Thank you.”
Matching Game Children this age are just beginning to notice when two things are alike, especially shoes, socks, or other objects they know about. Play this game: Hold
up one of baby’s shoes or a sock. Ask baby, “Where’s the other one just like
this?” Help baby make the match. “Yes, these two are the same.”
Copy Me Play a game with your baby. You do something and then try to get baby to
imitate you. Clap your hands. If he tries, say, “Look, you can clap, too!” Touch
your nose, stick out your tongue, and say, “You try.” When he does something
new, imitate him. Be silly and have fun. You can also try this with a mirror.
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Ages&Stages
12–16 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Baby Grow and Learn
Your sociable baby likes to roll the ball and play Peekaboo or
other interactive games with you. He needs to know you are
nearby. He actually likes to be the center of attention now! He will show you great affection but may
collapse into a tantrum when things don’t go his way. He is proud of his new skills, and he wants to
learn how to do things by himself.
Dress-Up Your baby may enjoy dressing up in different hats and shoes and looking at
herself in the mirror. Make a dress-up box with scarves, ties, and silly masks.
Add new things every now and then. You can find great things at thrift shops.
Help Around Your baby can help do small jobs such as wiping the table with a sponge, stirthe House ring pancake mix (with your help), or sweeping up a little dirt with a small
broom. He will enjoy doing something special for you. Be sure to praise him
for helping.
Brushing Teeth Give baby her own toothbrush. Let her see you or her siblings brushing their
teeth. Put a tiny dab of toothpaste (without fluoride) on the brush (if any) so
baby can taste it. Don’t expect much brushing; she will probably chew the
bristles as she learns about this new thing; and you may need to finish for her.
Be sure to put baby’s toothbrush in a clean safe place until next time.
To Market, Take baby to the supermarket with you so baby can “help.” Talk about all of
to Market the colors and smells. Let baby hold something, such as a small can or a
lemon. At the checkout, let baby “pay” the cashier. What a good helper!
Hide-and-Seek At home, play Hide-and-Seek by hiding just behind a door, calling to baby,
then peeking out so you can be “found.” A sibling may have fun playing this
game. It helps baby understand that when you disappear, you will come
back.
Bathing Baby When bathing baby, let him bathe a small plastic doll. Show baby how to be
gentle with the doll. Later, let baby dry and hug the doll. It will teach him to
be loving.
Cleanup Time Ask baby to help you put the toys away. You will need a box or a shelf where
toys should be placed. Show baby how to pick up the toys and where to put
them. What a good helper!
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Ages&Stages
12–16 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is beginning to enjoy language and words. She has many new
words now and is beginning to put two words together for simple sentences.
She looks at you when you are talking to her, says “hi” and “bye,” and points to things she wants. She
also enjoys singing and will try to imitate singing favorite songs.
Chatter Stretchers Your toddler may use single words for requests, such as “juice” when he
wants a drink. Help him stretch his sentence by saying it for him: “Would you
like some juice?” “Say, I want juice, please.” Praise him when he attempts to
make the sentence longer.
What Happened When you get home from an outing, ask your toddler to tell someone else
Today? about what happened or what the two of you saw. “Tell Grandpa about the
horse we saw.” Help her if you need to, but let her tell as much as she can.
“Help Me” Game Ask your toddler to help you by giving simple directions such as “Help
Daddy. Can you get my shoe?” or “It’s time to change your diaper. Can you
get me a diaper?” You may need to point with your finger to help him in the
beginning. Be sure to say, “Thank you. You’re such a big help” when he helps.
Animal Sounds Teach your toddler the sounds that animals such as cats, dogs, and cows
make. Read books about baby animals, and play with your toddler by making the baby animal sounds. Later, pretend you are the animal’s parent and
your toddler is the baby animal. Call each other with animal sounds. This
game can be a lot of silly fun.
Read, Read, Read Find times to “read” throughout the day. At this age, you can point to pictures
and words and your child will begin to learn what words are about. At the
grocery store, point to and read signs to your child. At a restaurant, let your
child “read” a menu. At home, help her “read” magazines by looking at pictures.
Junk Box Put together a junk box of safe, everyday items that are interesting to explore
and feel. Examples of things to put in the box are plastic cups, a soft sock, a
scoop from a detergent box, a sponge, and a small shoe. When your child
pulls something out of the box, say, “Look, you found a soft blue sock,” or
“That sponge is squishy.” Use new language for your child, and change items
in the box every few days.
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Ages&Stages
16–20 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
By now your active toddler is attempting to run. He can carry large items and toys
and loves to push and pull big things such as boxes around on the floor. He’s learning how to walk upstairs with one hand held by you and is getting better at walking down stairs. He may climb up into a chair to see and reach new things. Your
watchful eye is important.
Swinging Take your child to a park to swing. Be sure the swing is safe and has a seat
belt. Show your child how to push her feet out when swinging forward. Push
gently so you know baby will hold on. Chant in rhythm while you push: “Up
you go, and up you go!”
Climbing the Stairs Hold baby’s hand while you climb up steps or a few stairs. Be patient; stairs
are very high for little legs. Don’t expect much luck with climbing down just
yet. If you don’t have any stairs in your house or yard, a playground will have
places to practice, such as a small slide or a jungle gym platform.
Balance Beam
Put a 2-inch wide strip of masking tape on the floor or sidewalk. Let your
child walk along the tape, placing one foot in front of the other. Praise your
child. Tell him, “You really know how to balance!”
Your toddler is beginning to run now. In a grassy part of your yard or a safe
Chasing park, play chase with your little one. Most toddlers love to be chased, and
they love to be caught and hugged. Your toddler will love doing this over and
over! It’s good exercise.
Moving Day Give your child a small wagon or a box with a pull string for hauling toys
around. Your child can load the wagon and unload at a different place.
Maybe the teddy bear wants to ride!
Playing Music Your toddler will love making and moving to music. A small keyboard or a
little tambourine is fun to play with. You can make a drum with an oatmeal
container, large plastic containers, and wooden spoons or chopsticks. Join
her for a little music making. Take turns making music and dancing and moving to different rhythms.
Kickball Give your child a medium-size ball (6 inches), and show him how to kick it.
You can also make a ball from a wad of newspaper taped all around. See
how far he can make it go. Kick it and chase it!
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Ages&Stages
16–20 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is becoming more skillful with hands and fingers. She can
play with and use toys in many ways, including stacking, poking, pushing, and pulling. She is also gaining skill at holding and using crayons or felt-tip pens. She knows how to take pieces out of a simple
puzzle and will try to put the pieces back together.
Tear it Up After you each wash your hands, show your child how to tear lettuce or
spinach leaves into a bowl. Be sure to tell the family who made the salad.
(Your child may also like tearing strips of newspaper. Stuff them in a paper
bag, tape it up, and make a kick ball.)
Aim and Drop Show your little one how to drop a clothespin or spoon into an open milk
carton or other plastic container with a large opening. Play the game as long
as your toddler enjoys it. Let him shake the container and enjoy the sound.
Stacking Blocks Let your little one play with wooden cubes or blocks. Show her how to stack
them one on top of another. Build a tower. Count aloud as you stack the
blocks so that she begins to hear the sound of numbers. She’ll love knocking
down the tower. Little plastic containers can be washed out and stacked, too.
String-a-Snack Give your toddler a small container of Cheerios or other round cereal and a
clean shoelace or a piece of string with tape around the end to make it stiff.
Show him how to string the Cheerios. Then eat the Cheerios!
Place Mats Make sure your toddler gets plenty of chances to practice writing and drawing. You might keep paper and washable crayons in the kitchen so you can
supervise while getting dinner ready. Use her drawings for place mats for the
family. Make sure your little writer knows that writing only happens on the
paper.
Snack Helper Let your toddler help make a snack. With your help and supervision, he can
unscrew lids from containers such as applesauce or peanut butter. He can
help scoop and spread with a plastic knife. He can also help eat. Yummy!
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Ages&Stages
16–20 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your busy learner now recognizes animal pictures and other types of
pictures, such as photographs of family members. He enjoys a lot of new activities with your help, such
as painting and playing with playdough. He is beginning to understand about things that are similar or
that go together in some way. He is very curious about how things work.
Copy Cat On a large piece of paper, draw and scribble together with your toddler. Take
turns. You scribble, and then let her scribble. You draw a line, and then let
her draw a line. Let her take a turn, and then you copy her scribbles.
Making Things Fit Allow your child a chance to play with puzzles or toys that fit together or
inside each other. Plastic containers that “nest” are also fun. Use the word “fit”
when you can: “That piece fits in the puzzle.”
Tool Time Let your child play games or do tasks in which tools are used. For example,
use a sponge to wipe off a chair. Use a strainer to play in the sand. Use measuring cups to fill up containers in the bathtub.
Match the Socks When you fold laundry, set aside some of the socks, both large and small.
Show your toddler one sock of a pair, and let him find the other. Show him
how to match the socks if he needs help. Ask him, “Whose big blue socks are
these?” “Whose little green socks are these?”
Nature Walk Go on a walk in your neighborhood, and collect little things such as rocks
and leaves in a small pail or plastic tub. When you get home, try to put things
together into different groups. For example, help your child sort big and little rocks, rocks from leaves, or black rocks from white rocks, making sure
your toddler doesn’t put anything in her mouth. Your child will learn about
grouping things.
Matching Pictures Cut out pictures of toys, food, and other familiar objects, and glue them on
cards. Have your child try to match cards to actual objects or vice versa.
Show your child a picture of a toothbrush. Ask him, “Where is a toothbrush
like this?” Then show him a picture of a chair. “Can you find something like
this?”
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Ages&Stages
16–20 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is gaining more independence every day. She may show jealousy of others who get attention, especially siblings. She is very interested
in other children. She likes to do things by herself and may become a little bossy and resist your suggestions. Your good humor will go far in seeing you both through the coming months.
Big Time Mealtime Let your toddler join the family at the table for meals and eat with his own
spoon and fork. He may need a booster seat to be right at the table. He can
begin to drink from a small plastic cup (just don’t fill it to the top). He can
even help you set a place at the table. Talk about what a big boy and good
helper he is.
Family Dancing Show your toddler how to dance. Play music, and show her how to imitate
you or dance with you. Invite other family members to dance along. Pick up
your toddler and dance with her. Praise your little one. Give her a hug.
Storytime This is a good time to establish the habit of reading stories every night before
bed. After brushing teeth and getting ready for bed, cuddle up and enjoy a
favorite book. It is especially good to read with the TV turned off. This might
also be a special time for another member of the family to share with your
toddler.
Comfort Me Because your toddler is so busy and is often frustrated, he will need a lot of
comfort and reassurance. He responds to what he’s feeling right now and
cannot really understand that he will feel better in just a little while. He will
need your warm voice, a hug, and comfort.
Tickles and Kisses While getting your toddler ready for bed, say goodnight with a little tickle or
kiss to different parts of baby: “Goodnight little nose (tickle), goodnight little
foot (tickle), goodnight little ear (tickle).” Ask your baby what part needs a
goodnight tickle or a goodnight kiss.
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Ages&Stages
16–20 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is learning language very quickly and will imitate what he hears,
good or bad. He is using different types of words and putting them together
in short phrases. Most of his words are understandable. He is starting to sing simple songs.
Sock Puppet Put your hand in a clean sock and make it talk. “Hi, my name is Joe. I am visiting you. What is your name?” Your child might say something or want to
touch the puppet. Keep the conversation going.
Construction Time Collect materials to make a pretend airport, street, or neighborhood.
Masking tape can be the runway or the road. Oatmeal containers can be tunnels. Cereal boxes can be buildings. Cardboard can make a ramp for cars to
go up and down. Toy cars can go through the tunnel, under the bridge, or
down a ramp. Use new words while your child plays.
Following Directions As you talk to your child, begin to give simple directions such as “Bring me
the blue sock,” or “Put your doll on the chair.” At first, you might have to
show your child what is blue or what “on the chair” means. Offer a lot of
praise. Another game you can play is Show Me. You say, “Show me the door,”
and your child touches the door. Good job!
Fun with Books Find large picture books and/or magazines to look at with your child. Point
to pictures and talk about what you see. Ask him, “Where’s the doggie?” and
have him point to a picture. Let your child “read” to someone else, like
Grandpa. If your child is beginning to learn about using the toilet, this is a
good time to put a small basket of potty-related books in the bathroom for
him to “read.”
Field Trips Your toddler will enjoy going to new places, even to a new store. This is a
great time to learn new words. Talk to her about what you are seeing. “Look,
that fruit is called a kiwi.” “Look at that big fountain.”
Sing a Song Your child will love learning simple songs such as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little
Star. Teach your child this song or a simple song you remember from childhood. Enjoy singing together. Later, ask your child to sing for someone else
in the family.
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Ages&Stages
20–24 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is busy and fast! She is running and learning to kick and jump. Her
leg muscles are getting stronger, and she can walk up and down stairs holding on
to your hand or a railing. She really enjoys moving her body and learning new
skills.
Froggie Jump Hold your child’s hands and help him jump off a low step. Then let him try
it by himself. Once he can do this, show your child how to jump over something such as a small milk carton. Encourage your child: “Wow! You can
jump just like a froggie.”
Bowling Adventure Show your child how to roll a large ball toward “pins” to knock them down.
Balls can be made from large wads of newspaper taped all around. Empty
milk cartons or plastic soda bottles can be used for “pins.” When your child
gets tired of bowling, you can play kickball.
Balancing Act Assist your child by holding her hand, and ask her to stand on one foot. Then
ask her to stand on the other foot. Now see if she can stand without holding
your hand. Count how many seconds she can balance. Keep practicing.
Let’s Go for a Ride Give your child a riding toy with pedals. It will help him control the movement of the toy and strengthen his legs. Later he will enjoy riding a tricycle
with pedals.
Dance Party Play different kinds of music: rock and roll, country, classical, and ethnic
music—any that you and your child enjoy. Dance and move to the music with
your child. Allow her to move freely as she listens. Sometimes pick her up so
she can feel you move. Mostly, let her dance and move by herself. She may
enjoy dancing with scarves or ribbons.
Trip to the Find a playground in your neighborhood, and have some fun! Run, swing,
Playground and climb. As you walk to the playground, practice stepping up or down
street curbs holding your child’s hand. Encourage him to walk up stairs by
holding on to the railing.
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Ages&Stages
20–24 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your busy toddler enjoys quiet activities that build small muscles. He can
stack and build with small toys. He is learning how to hold a crayon with his thumb and fingers and
how to make circular and horizontal scribbles. He is becoming more skillful at stringing beads and
doing other activities that require working with two hands.
Stack it Up Your child will have fun stacking small things and knocking them down. Use
blocks, film containers, spools of thread, or anything stackable. Count how
many things your child can stack. See how high she can go!
String Fling String beads, macaroni, or large cereal, and help your child practice using
two hands at one time. A shoelace or string with some tape on the end will
work well for stringing. Make necklaces and bracelets.
Family Book Make a small picture album for your toddler. Include pictures of family members, friends, and pets. Look through the album and talk about each person.
Have him turn pages and tell you about the pictures. Have him share his special book with visitors.
Beginning Puzzles Show baby how to put beginning puzzles together. You can make a puzzle by
cutting the front of a cereal box into two or three wide strips. Help her turn
the piece if she needs help. Praise her for trying. Tell her, “Good for you! You
can do it!”
Letters and When you make out your shopping list or write letters, have paper and a pen
Shopping Lists or crayon for your child to write along with you. “I’m writing a letter to
Grandma. You can write one, too.” Send the letters in the mail. Grandma may
write back!
Make Fruit Salad Let your child use a Popsicle stick or a plastic picnic knife to help you cut
bits of fruit such as banana or peaches. He can help scoop yogurt, sprinkle
in nuts or raisins, and stir everything together. Don’t forget to tell the family
who made the salad.
PB and J Your child will enjoy making her own snack. She can help twist open lids on
jars, open containers, spread peanut butter or jelly, scoop out applesauce,
and more. The more she can do herself (with your supervision), the faster she
will learn and the more skilled she will become.
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Ages&Stages
20–24 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is curious about body parts and what they do. She
understands more about how things go together, such as where items belong. She knows that a picture of a cat represents a real cat, and she is learning what objects are used for. Her busy mind is trying to make sense of what she sees and experiences.
Scoop and Pour Let your child experience pouring and filling. Provide a lot of recycled materials such as clean milk cartons, yogurt cups, detergent scoops, film containers, and plastic soda bottles for playing in the sand. At home, use uncooked
rice or popcorn in a large tray or box and provide scoops and containers.
Talk about what your child is doing and use new words such as “empty,” “full,”
“pouring,” and “scooping.”
Pretending with For pretend play, make a box with household tools—such as a flashlight,
Household Objects paintbrushes, a small shovel, or a broom—for your child. Your child can pretend to paint the walls, dig in the garden, or clean up the house. Talk about
the purpose of the items: “Flashlights help us see things in the dark.”
I Can Do, Can You? During bath time or lap time with your child, play I Can Do, Can You? “My
eyes blink; can your eyes blink?” “My nose can sniff; can your nose sniff?” “I
can clap my hands. Show me you can clap, too.” Do something silly. This
game is a lot of fun.
Make-Believe Play Make a cooking box with an apron, pots, spoons, and bowls, or make a doctor bag using a makeup bag with a play stethoscope (old earphones are good),
bandages, Popsicle sticks for tongue depressers, a clipboard and/or file folders, and a white dress shirt. Take these out for some special make-believe play.
Have a mirror nearby.
Topsy Turvy Turn things (books, cups, a box of cereal) upside down and see if your child
notices and turns them back the right way. Have fun with this silly game.
Railroad Tracks While your child is watching, draw two long horizontal lines about 4 inches
apart on a large sheet of paper. Then, show your child how to draw vertical
lines from one to the other. Encourage him to make a lot of these vertical
lines. The design will look like a railroad track. Bring out the trains or cars
to play on the railroad track.
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Ages&Stages
20–24 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is beginning to exercise his newly found independence. He
will want to do everything by himself, even if he cannot. He wants things
now and quickly becomes frustrated if that doesn’t happen. He will enjoy playing alongside other children even though he is not really able to share just yet. He likes to imitate simple household tasks and
can put some of his toys away with some help from you.
Baby Bear Beds Make a little bed for your child’s doll or a stuffed animal from a shoebox. A
small piece of cloth or a dishtowel makes a blanket or a pillow. Your child
can help her baby go to bed at night. She can read a story and tuck him into
his new bed. Don’t forget a kiss.
Play Dates Your child will need your help in playing with others but enjoys being with
other children. Stay close by when he is with other children. Having a lot of
the same kinds of toys helps the children cooperate. Several trucks, cars, and
dolls are easier to share than one of each kind. Praise children for playing
well together.
Dress-Up Make a box with dress-up clothing. Your child will have a lot of fun pretending. Have a bag or box with dress-up items: hats, scarves, shoes, old jewelry,
and a wallet. Add clothing with large buttons and zippers to practice buttoning and zipping. Your child will need some help, but soon she will be able
to get dressed all by herself. Give her a lot of praise for her efforts. Don’t forget to let her look in the mirror.
Playing House Place a plastic dishpan on a low table for doing dishes. Add a doll, plastic
plates, cups, and some cooking utensils. Make playhouse furniture for your
child. Turn a box over, and draw the burners to make a stove. Follow your
child’s lead; talk and have fun.
Picnic Outing Find a place to have a picnic with your child. A park or the playground is a
fun place, but your child will have fun even if the picnic is just in the living
room. Let your child help prepare some simple food and drinks for the picnic. Maybe the stuffed animals would like to join you. Let your child practice
eating all by himself.
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Ages&Stages
20–24 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler enjoys being with you and is learning new words very quickly.
She is using her language more often to let you know her wants, needs, and
ideas. She can carry on a simple conversation and may talk to herself or pretend to have a conversation with a stuffed animal. She can follow simple directions and loves to read books. She likes to hear
the same book read over and over!
I Spy In the car or on the bus, you can play “I Spy.” You say, “I spy with my eye a
green truck.” Then your child tries to find what you spied. Now it is his turn
to spy something. Remember to “spy” things your child can see from his car
seat. You might also try “I hear with my ear.” Listen for sounds such as a
motorcycle, a car horn, a bird singing, a dog barking, or a radio.
Picture Album Make a little picture album with pictures of your child and people and pets
he knows. Have your child talk about the pictures and name the people and
pets. Ask your child, “Who’s that?” “What are they doing?” Look at this book
over and over. Help your child learn to say her first and last name.
When You Tell your child stories about when he was little: “When you were first born…”
Were Little or “When you were a little baby…” Your child will love to hear these stories
again and again.
Dinner Report At the end of a busy day, let everyone talk about his or her day. Ask your
child to tell others in the family what she did during the day. Let her take her
time. You might remind her if she forgets some events. Soon she will learn to
tell what happened in the right order. Praise her for remembering so much.
Washing a Baby Let your child wash a baby doll in a plastic tub, or bring a baby doll into his
bath with him. Name the doll’s body parts as he washes the baby: “You’re
washing the baby’s feet.” Praise your child for taking such good care of his
baby.
What’s that Sound? Turn off the TV and radio, and listen with your child to sounds around the
house. Listen to the refrigerator motor, wind chimes, a clock ticking, or people talking. Ask your child to tell you what she hears. Try this at night. Listen
for the night sounds of crickets and frogs.
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Ages&Stages
24–30 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
The word “active” still best describes your toddler. His muscles are getter stronger.
He is gaining more confidence with his abilities. Allow your toddler to continue
physical activities he enjoys, such as kicking balls, riding toys, climbing jungle
gyms, swinging, running, jumping, and balancing.
Copy Cat Stand on one foot. Ask your child “Can you do this?” If your child stands only
for one second, praise her. Pretend to be an airplane flying with your arms
out across the room. Try other movements; jump, crawl, gallop, and tiptoe
around the house. Let your child be the leader and copy her. Play with the
whole family.
Jumping Pretend you and your child are frogs or kangaroos and jump with both feet
Frog Contest together. Show your child how to jump with both feet together, and then
jump over a chalk line or a small object such as a washcloth. Make marks
with the chalk to measure how far he can jump with both feet together.
Comment to your child, “Wow, look how far the frog jumped that time!”
Soccer Star Play “soccer” with your child. Use a medium-size ball (8–10 inches) and set up
a goal with two empty milk cartons or a large cardboard box turned on its
side. Encourage your child to kick the ball through the cartons or into the
box. Great goal!
Playground Fun Just about every day is a good day to spend some time outside in the yard or
on a playground. Encourage your child to run, swing, and climb up play
structures and slide down slides. Join your child in these activities. If you
walk to the playground, jump over cracks or sticks on the way. Help your
child to practice stepping up and down stairs or jumping down from short
steps. Meet other children and parents. Have a great time!
Basketball Hoops Practice bouncing, catching, and throwing a medium-size ball. You can use a
garbage can or laundry basket for a target and can celebrate when your child
“makes a basket.” Help your child learn how to catch by showing her how to
hold out her hands to catch the ball. Start by standing really close together
so that she can have more success.
Horsing Around Play Ride the Horse and bounce you toddler on your knees or hold his hands
as he straddles your foot and let him ride your foot. (Crossing your legs
makes it less tiring to bounce him.) Stop bouncing every now and then, and
wait for him to bounce or ask for more. Ask your child, “More? You want to
ride some more?”
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Ages&Stages
24–30 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler’s eyes and hands are working together well. He enjoys taking apart and putting small things together. He loves using any kind of “writing” or drawing tool. Enjoy
the time together by providing plenty of scratch paper, washable crayons and marking pens, and so
forth. Allow writing and drawing to take place at a table while you supervise so that your artist will
not draw on walls or furniture. Provide puzzles, blocks, and other safe small toys and plenty of conversation.
Flipping Pancakes Trim the corners from an ordinary household sponge to form a “pancake.” Give
your child a small skillet and a spatula. Show him how to flip the pancake.
Macaroni String String a necklace out of macaroni (tube-shape pasta, such as rigatoni, works
really well). Your child can paint the pasta before or after stringing it. Make
sure she has a string with a stiff tip, such as a shoelace. You can use yarn, but
tape the ends so that it is easy to string.
Homemade Make orange juice or lemonade with your toddler. Have him help squeeze
Orange Juice the fruit using a handheld juicer. To make lemonade, you will need to add
some sugar and water. Show your toddler how to twist the fruit back and
forth on the squeezer to get the juice out. Cheers!
Copy Me Have your child copy a line that you draw, up and down and side to side. You
take a turn and then your child takes a turn. Try zigzag patterns, then spirals.
Use a crayon and paper, a stick in the sand, markers on newspaper, or your
fingers on a steamy bathroom mirror.
Bath-Time Fun While bathing your toddler, let her play with things to squeeze, such as a
sponge, a washcloth, or a squeeze toy. Squeezing really helps strengthen the
muscles in her hands and fingers. Besides, it makes bath time more fun!
My Favorite Things Your child can make a book about all of his favorite things. Clip or staple a
few pieces of paper together for him. (Let him choose his favorite color.) Help
him use safety scissors to cut pictures out of magazines and glue them on the
pages. He can use markers or crayons to decorate pages and to try to write
his name. Write down what he says about each page. Stickers can be fun to
put in this book, too.
Sorting Objects Find a divided plate (e.g., a TV dinner tray). Into a plastic bowl, put some
common objects such as nuts, shells, and coins. Let your toddler use a spoon
or tongs to pick up the objects and put them in different sections of the plate.
Make sure you watch your child with small objects to make sure she doesn’t
put them in her mouth.
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Ages&Stages
24–30 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Doing things all by herself is very important for your toddler. Be
patient and enjoy this time of growing independence, even though it may sometimes be frustrating.
Give your child plenty of time and chances to figure out and do things by herself. Make-believe is also
an important part of your toddler’s growth; real and make-believe can be confusing. Help your child
learn about the difference, especially when watching TV.
Paper Bag Gather at least two of several household objects. Use two paper bags with
Matching Game the same things in each bag. Pull one item out and ask your child to reach in
and find one in his bag. Remind your child, “No peeking, just feeling!”
Helping Ask your toddler to help with the laundry. Sort things by color, or gather
Around the House only white things. Maybe all of the baby clothes go in one place. Let your
child help you put all of the socks in one pile and all of the shirts in another.
She can line up the shoes and boots in the right place, and you can help her
make sure they are in pairs.
Snack-Time When giving a snack to your child, teach him how to line up pieces of fruit,
Roundup small crackers, or cereal loops. You can make a line of four things, and have
him copy you. You can help your toddler count the food pieces and then eat
them up.
Building with Boxes Gather up several small and medium-size boxes to use as building blocks.
You can use shoe boxes, cereal boxes, clean milk cartons, and so forth.
Encourage your child to build with the boxes. Ask her, “What are you making?” “Is that a house?” “Is it a wall?” Add toy cars or animals for more fun.
Where Is it? Using any object in your house, play Where Is It? with your toddler. For
example, hide a stuffed bear under the pillow. Give your toddler clues to find
the bear: “Where’s bear? Can you find her? She’s under something green,” or
“She is behind something soft.” Give your toddler help as needed, and then
let him hide things and give you some clues.
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Ages&Stages
24–30 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your toddler is still working on doing things for himself and wants very
much to please adults. He enjoys feeding himself and dressing himself
without your help. Since toddlers love to imitate, you can let him help around the house with simple
tasks, such as wiping up spills. Your extra support and patience will make life easier for both of you,
especially if there’s a new baby at home.
Dapper Dresser Taking off clothing is probably easy for your child. Now begin having her put
on her own clothes. Start with loose-fitting shorts. Have her sit on the floor,
put both legs in the shorts, stand up, and then pull up shorts. Tell your child,
“Wow! You put those on all by yourself!” Let her look at herself in a mirror.
Now practice putting on a T-shirt: head first (“Boo!”), then one arm, and then
the other arm. “What an excellent dresser you are!”
Playmates Invite a one of your child’s friends over to play for a short period of time, or
take your child to a relative’s house where there is someone his age. Make
sure there are enough toys to play with to share easily. Later, let him tell you
all about his experience.
First Feelings Help your child name feelings when they happen. When your child is worried, you can help her understand the feeling by telling her, “You look worried. Can you tell me about it?” If you know your child is frustrated, use the
words: “I know you are really frustrated, but you can have a turn in a
minute.” When your child learns that feelings have names, she will be able to
handle them more easily.
Holding a Baby Let your child hold a baby, either a sibling or a relative or neighbor’s baby
(with their permission). Supervise your child as he holds the baby, and help
him sit steadily and hold his arms appropriately for support. Talk about how
babies must be handled gently. Tell him what a good friend he is to baby and
how baby likes him.
All by Myself Enjoy a meal during which your little one feeds herself using a fork. Mashed
potatoes will be a little easier than peas, but soon your little one will have
mastered peas, too! Show her how to twist noodles. Better have an extra
napkin on hand!
Big Little Parent When your toddler plays with a doll or teddy bear, give him a small plastic
dish, a spoon, and a cup. He may also need a baby blanket and maybe a hairbrush and toothbrush. Now he can really take care of that baby bear!
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Ages&Stages
24–30 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your child can talk about many things and can follow simple directions. She
will make mistakes with her grammar, saying “foots” instead of “feet,” for
example. Your child can tell you what’s happening. She’s using longer sentences now. Talk about what
happened during the day. Read to your child every day. She might even pretend to read favorite books
by herself, using the words you have read to her.
Reading Magazines Talk about the pictures in ordinary household magazines. Find pictures of
household items that your child will recognize, such as toothpaste, soap, diapers, pets, or cars. Point to the picture and ask, “What is this?” “Do we have
this at home?”
Silly Me Your child will have fun if you pretend you don’t know what things really are.
Point to the toothpaste and ask your child, “Is that the soap?” Let him tell you
what it really is. Act surprised. Your child will enjoy “teaching” you the right
name of things.
Bandage Game Make pretend bandages using tape or stickers. Ask your child, “Where is
your cut? Where shall I put this?” Get your child to name as many body parts
as possible, and put a bandage on each part. You can wash the bandage off
during bath time. This game can also be played with a doll or stuffed animal.
Let’s Put When putting away food after going to the market or putting away gardenThings Away ing tools after planting seeds, ask your child to help. Tell her, “Put the butter
in the refrigerator” or “Put the shovel in the pail.” You’ll have fun giving some
silly directions, too, such as “Put the lemons under the chair.” Use words such
as “up” and “down.”
What’s Going On? When reading books or magazines, ask your child to tell you what’s happening in a picture: “What’s the baby doing?” “What is the dog doing?” Then,
listen carefully to your child’s interesting story.
What’s Your Name? Play this silly name game. When you greet your child, act as if you don’t
know who he is. Say, “Hello, little boy. What’s your name?” When he tells
you, greet him with happy surprise. “Oh, you’re my little boy! I’m so happy to
see you!”
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Ages&Stages
30–36 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your child is improving skills using his leg and arm muscles. He is working on
making these muscles stronger, more flexible, more coordinated, and quicker. He
can catch an 8-inch ball, jump about 2 feet, make sharp turns around a corner
while running, and avoid obstacles in his path.
Over the River When playing outside, place a small towel or piece of cloth about 24 inches
wide on the grass. This is the “river.” Have your child run and jump over the
river without getting wet. At first, you can bunch the towel up in the middle
or fold it so that the river is only about 12 inches wide. As your child is able,
you can open the towel so that the river is wider.
Balloon Kick Let your child kick a balloon from one end of the room to another. Lay a
box on its side for a goal. See if she can kick the balloon into the box.
Animal Walk Show your child how to walk like different animals (e.g., squat like a duck,
walk on all fours like a dog). Encourage him to pretend to be these animals
and make noises like them. Play along. Call the cat: “Here, kitty, kitty.”
Balance on one foot like a flamingo.
Heel-to-Toe Walk Show your child how to walk heel to toe using a line on the sidewalk or a
short length of clothesline on the ground. Show your child how to outstretch
her arms to keep her balance.
Basketball Place an empty laundry basket on the floor against an empty wall. Give your
child a soft ball about 4 inches in size. Place a string or piece of tape on the
floor for a throw-line, and show your child how to throw overhand to get the
ball in the basket. Start about 4 feet back from the basket. Move back as
your child gets better.
Chasing Bubbles On a nice day, while playing outside, blow bubbles and ask your child to clap
his hands together and pop them. Blow some high so that your child can
jump up. Blow some far away from you so that your child will need to dash
out a little. Clap all of the big ones. Now, clap and pop all of the little ones.
Play this game as long as you both enjoy it. When you’re done, go wash those
soapy hands together!
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Ages&Stages
30–36 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your child is learning to hold pens, crayons, and markers with her thumb
and two fingers just like big people do. She has learned to make scissors open and close and can make
snips in paper when you hold it. She can string beads easily and can work puzzles with four or five
pieces.
Yummy Puzzles Cut off the front part of your child’s favorite cereal box. Now cut this into
four or five puzzle pieces. Your child will have fun putting this simple puzzle
together. He may need a little help at first.
Copy Me Show your child how to make lines and circles. You might also try simple
shapes. Circles and straight lines will be easiest for your child to copy. Your
child may want to learn to write the first letter of her name when you are
playing this game. Keep it fun. Celebrate any attempt at writing a letter, even
if it doesn’t look much like the real thing.
Tong Time Give your child a pair of small kitchen tongs or ice tongs. See if he can move
cotton balls from one container into another. Then try something heavier
such as walnuts, spools, or small stones.
Junior Mechanic Collect large bolts, matching nuts, and even washers. Your child will enjoy
matching the bolt to the nut and twisting them together. Watch your child to
be sure she doesn’t put anything in her mouth.
Little Beader Have fun stringing large buttons, beads, large pasta tubes (e.g., macaroni,
rigatoni), or large loop-shaped cereal. Make sure the string, shoelace, or yarn
your child is using has a stiff end; wrap tape around the ends of string to
make it easy for beading. Let your child make a necklace for you and one for
him. What concentration!
Bubbles on Paper Let your child use a washable crayon or felt-tip pen to draw bubbles on
paper. Show her how to draw big bubbles and little bubbles, purple bubbles
and green bubbles. Let her draw as many as she wants. Now that she has
drawn so many bubbles, maybe it’s time to blow some real bubbles!
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Ages&Stages
30–36 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your child can notice similarities and differences among many things.
He knows about long and short, a little and a lot, and which one of your kitchen spoons is the biggest.
With your help he can put three things of different sizes in order from small to large. Pretend play is
still very important and fun for both of you!
What Is This? After giving your child a bath, stand or seat your child in front of a mirror.
With a towel, dry different parts of her body. While drying her hair, ask (with
a smile and pretend puzzlement), “What is this stuff?” While drying her
shoulder ask, “What is this thing?” While drying ribs ask, “What are these
bony things?” Have fun being together while tickling, cuddling, and teaching
the names of body parts.
Copycat Cars Line up four to five small cars or other objects in a row. Make sure your child
sees what you did. Give your child some objects to line up in a row just like
you did. You can line up different things, such as blocks, spoons, or shells.
Even if your child doesn’t do it exactly like you, help out. Say, “See, the red
one is by the yellow one.” Then, praise your child for playing the game: “Wow,
you’re a good liner-upper!”
Big and Little Show your child two items of different sizes, such as shoes, cups, or spoons.
Ask him to point to the big one, then the little one. You can play Big and Little
with many things such as dogs, leaves, and cars, especially at the park. Play
this game anywhere in the house or at the supermarket with vegetables,
boxes, or cans. Add a medium-size item and change the game to Big, Little,
and One in the Middle.
Tell Me Your Story Give your child some plain paper and a few washable crayons or felt-tip pens
for drawing. When your child finishes, ask her to tell you about what she
drew. Write the story on your child’s paper. Print her name. Tell her, “This is
your story, and this is your name.” Read the story to Grandma or someone
else important.
Reading the As you walk or drive around your neighborhood, show your child signs such
Neighborhood as the large yellow “M” for McDonald’s. Show him a stop sign and tell him
what it says. Next time you go out, ask him to read signs with you.
Silly Sounds Play a silly copy game with your child while you are in the car or on the bus.
For example, tell her, “Bee, zim, zop” or some other silly phrase. See if your
child can copy you. Let your child make up a silly phrase and copy her.
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Ages&Stages
30–36 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Toddler Grow and Learn
Your child is becoming more independent in taking care of her personal
needs, but she still needs your hugs and reassurance. Usually she can separate from you in familiar settings. She can obey simple rules. She enjoys simple games with other
children and takes pride in her accomplishments. She will respond with pride when you notice positive behavior, such as being helpful, following a rule, or doing something for herself.
Kitchen Helper Let your child help with cooking by measuring, pouring, stirring, cutting
(with cookie cutters or plastic knives), and tearing salad greens. These are
real activities that help the family. Tell him, “Thank you for helping.”
Super Picker-Upper Show your child how to put trash in the trash can. If your child drops paper,
ask her to pick it up and put it into the trash can. She may enjoy helping you
put the can outside for the garbage truck to pick up. Show your child how
important it is to keep the world clean. Talk about what would happen if
people didn’t pick up trash.
Bathing Beauty Your child will enjoy trying to wash himself in the bathtub. Show him how
to use a washcloth and soap. Be sure to let your child know that he is doing
a good job. Then, give your child a towel so that he can dry himself. Have fun
with your child; say, “Whose clean little boy is this?”
Naming Feelings Help your child understand feelings by noticing them and giving them names.
Children need to learn that feelings change and that others may have feelings,
too. Say, “I can tell you’re excited because it’s almost your birthday!” Don’t be
afraid to use big words.
Super Driver Make an obstacle course in the driveway or yard. Let your little driver push
a cart or pull a wagon, steering around a box or a flower pot or over a hose.
There’s a big hug at the finish line!
Look at You Start a dress-up bin for your child. Go through your closet and instead of getting rid of your old clothes, put some of them in a box for your child to play
with. Old purses, wallets, hats, ties, shoes, belts, and necklaces are fun. Let
your child dress up and then let her look in the mirror. Have your camera
ready.
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Ages&Stages
30–36 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is learning to use complete sentences to tell you all about what’s
happening. He also can follow more than one direction at a time. He has
probably learned both his first and last name and can tell you if you ask. He loves to have conversations with a friend or maybe a toy doll or bear. He has learned that a voice on the telephone really
comes from a person, even though he can’t see the speaker at the time, and your child is more likely
to talk than just listen.
Good Night When it’s time to go to bed, give good-night kisses all over. Tell your child,
Everywhere “I’m going to kiss you under your arm. I’m going to kiss you on top of your
head. Now I’m going to kiss you behind your ear. Good night back there!
Good night everywhere!”
Who’s This Person? Pretend you suddenly forgot who your child is. Say, “What’s your name little girl? Is it Samantha? Is it Rosita? Do you have another name?” (When she
tells you her name, you can be very happily surprised!)
Love Notes Write little notes to your child and place them here and there during the day.
A note might say, “You are a very helpful brother to your baby sister. She
thinks you are really special.” A note on your child’s toy shelf can say you
noticed that the toys were put away. A note by the plate at dinnertime can
say that Dad will read his favorite story at bedtime. As you read these notes
to your little one, he learns that reading is fun and important.
Where the Help your child learn directions by asking, “Where do birds fly? Up in the
Creatures Live sky. Where do the bugs live? Under a rock. Where do fish swim? Deep down
in the water.” Your child may need a little help at first, but soon she will know
the answers.
Weather Person At the start of the day, ask your child to look out the window and tell you
about the weather. Is it sunny? Is it raining? Is it cloudy? What will the weather be today? Have your child draw a picture of the sun if the day is sunny,
raindrops if the day is rainy, and clouds if the sky is cloudy.
A Card of Love Collect pictures of favorite things and animals, plus some stickers, bits of
lace, buttons, and other small craft items. You will also need some pieces of
paper and glue. Make a Happy Birthday card for someone special, or a Get
Well card. While making the card, talk about how special your friend or relative is. Help your child write a message. Address the card, stamp it, and mail
it. This little kindness will bring much appreciation.
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Ages&Stages
36–42 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child can usually kick a ball forward, jump, and perhaps hop on one foot.
She likes to do things for longer periods of time now and may spend quite a long
time riding a tricycle or pulling things in a wagon. Climbing is getting to be one of
her favorite activities. She also enjoys vigorous play with friends. Having used up
all that energy, she will usually sleep well through the night.
Marching Show your child how to march like a member of the band. Be sure to get
in the Band those knees up high! Invite a friend to join you. Add a drum and a flag and
make a parade!
Kangaroo Kid Show your child how the kangaroo jumps around. Pretend to be a mother
kangaroo. With your feet together, jump, jump, jump. This is also a lot of fun
outdoors or with a friend.
Freeze Game Play the freeze game. Let your child dance or move around in any way he
wants, but when you say “freeze,” he has to stop right away in the middle of
a motion. You can start the movement up again by saying “melt.” Take turns
playing this silly game.
Football Fun Give your child a medium-size ball. Show her how to kick it by swinging a
foot back, then forward. Turn a cardboard box on its side and encourage
your child to kick the ball into the box for a goal. Shout “goal!” when your
child gets the ball into the box.
Airplanes Let your child pretend to be an airplane and run with his arms outstretched.
Everywhere Show him how to lean to the left, then to the right. Make some airplane noises. Swoop down low and then fly around in a circle. Time to slow down;
bend down and land.
Big Box Basketball Place an open box or laundry basket on a tabletop or surface higher than
chair level. Give your child a medium-size ball to throw overhand into the
box or basket. You can also tie a ribbon across the tops of two chair backs
with the box on the other side. Show your child how to throw the ball over
the ribbon and into the box.
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Ages&Stages
36–42 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is becoming more skilled at buttoning and zipping clothing.
He can use a fork and spoon to feed himself. He can spread soft butter on bread. He can hold a pencil or crayon with his thumb and two fingers and likes to draw. When asked, he may be able to draw
circles or other simple marks.
Button-Up Bear Let your child dress a large stuffed teddy bear or large doll with real baby
clothing. Make sure the baby clothes have a couple of large buttons or snaps
to let your child practice small finger work. You might even find some baby
shoes with Velcro closures. Tying or buckling shoes is probably too difficult
right now.
Beautiful Necklace Cut some circles or flowers out of colored paper, and punch a hole in the
center. Then, cut a large plastic soda straw into pieces. Let your child string
a shoelace with alternating flowers and straw pieces. She probably will not
always alternate pieces, but that doesn’t matter. Tie the ends, and she will
have her own beautiful necklace!
Picking Peas Buy a few fresh peapods at the market. Show your child how to find the peas
inside the shell. Give him a few in a plastic container to shell for himself.
When he is finished, rinse off the peas and eat them. Yum!
Sidewalk Artist Let your child draw pictures on the sidewalk or driveway with colored outdoor chalk. If you don’t have chalk, give your child a small paintbrush and
let her paint a picture with water. The painting will be fun, and so will the
magic of evaporation. “Where did your picture go?”
List Maker Keep a small pad of paper and a few pencils close at hand. Before going
shopping, ask your child to help you make a shopping list. Let him write his
own version of words and see if he can remember what they mean. He can
also write a note to his Mom or a pet.
Little Snipper Let your child practice cutting with safety scissors. Show her how to open
and close the scissors while you hold the paper. Later, show her how to hold
the scissors with one hand and the paper in the other. At first, just snipping
the edge is great progress. If she snips off a few pieces, save them in an envelope. Later you can paste the pieces on a sheet of paper for a special art creation!
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Ages&Stages
36–42 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your busy learner is gaining many skills. She can put puzzles together (six pieces or maybe more), draw some shapes, such as circles and squares, and identify a few colors. She can match an object to a picture of that object and notices many similarities and differences.
She is very curious about how things work, and your answers really help her understand and learn.
Box o’ Blocks Collect blocks and small boxes for your child to use for building. Make something and let him copy what you build. Add pieces of cardboard for a roof
and some paint stirring sticks for bridges. Make a town. Add some toy cars
and toy people; the town will come to life!
Memory Magic Play this game to help your child develop her memory. In a car or on a bus,
tell your child, “We’re going on a picnic, and we’re bringing a...” Name an
object that you would bring on a picnic, such as an apple. Encourage your
child to think of another object to bring on a picnic and repeat “We’re going
on a picnic, and we’re bringing...,” then name your object (apple) followed by
hers (balloon). Take turns thinking of what to bring on a picnic, each time
repeating what has already been named. Try to name things alphabetically.
Mr. Sticks Ask your child to draw a stick figure about 5 inches tall on a paper plate or
piece of cardboard. Say, “This is Mr. Sticks.” Now, hide Mr. Sticks. Give your
child clues to lead him to Mr. Sticks: “He’s in a room with water, but not the
bathroom.” “He’s in a drawer near a door.” Finding Mr. Sticks earns a big
hug. Now it’s your child’s turn to give you clues.
Money Make some play dollar bills from green paper. Put them in an old purse or walManagement let for your child. Pretend to be the storekeeper. Say, “Those socks cost $2.00.”
“This lunch costs $3.00.” Help your child count the right amount of money.
Now change places. Let your child be the storekeeper. Add to the fun by collecting cereal boxes, empty milk cartons, and plastic juice cans to make a store.
Picture From newspaper ads, cut pictures of three or four foods you’ll be shopping
Shopping List for. Place them in an empty envelope and take them to the supermarket. Let
your child pull out the pictures and remind you of what you need. If your
child is holding a picture of apples, buy a few apples. If he is holding a picture of eggs, say, “Yes, we need eggs today.”
Quick Remove the front of your breakfast cereal box. Trim the edges and cut the picPicture Puzzle ture into six or seven pieces. Your child will enjoy putting the pieces together.
You can help her by pointing out ways to match part of a picture on one piece
to another part of the picture on another piece. Good thinking!
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Ages&Stages
36–42 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is becoming more and more sociable. He can be very helpful
with household tasks and can take care of many of his personal needs. He
plays with other children but still may not be able to cooperate or share very well. Your approval and
attention are very important to him. He likes being silly and making others laugh, especially you.
Dress-Up Fun Let your child play dress-up in some old or interesting clothes. Boots are fun,
as well as large hats. A scarf or necklace adds a nice touch. A purse, wallet,
or vest also makes the play interesting. Make sure there are some buttons to
button, some zippers to zip, or some gloves to stick fingers into for even more
skill building! Put a mirror at your child’s level. Ask her, “Are you ready to go
to town?” “Are you going to work?”
Counting Turns Help your child learn to manage taking turns by counting how long a turn
will take. For example, tell your child he can swing until the count of 10, and
then it will be his brother’s turn. Count 10 swings out loud. “Okay, now it’s
your brother’s turn for 10 swings. Help me count.” Your child will learn that
the wait for a turn will soon be over.
Wonderful In addition to stories, read poems and rhymes to your child at special cozy
Rhythm and Rock quiet times. If you have a rocking chair, cuddle up and rock a little to the
rhythm of the words, or just cuddle and rock. Let your child fill in some of
the missing words to a rhyme:
You: Hickory, dickory…
Your child: dock
You: The mouse ran up the…
Your child: clock
Cupcakes for All Let your child help you bake some cupcakes for the family. Let her sift, pour,
and stir as much as she is able. Let your child spread icing with a plastic knife
while you do the cooking and handle anything hot. Talk about who the cupcake is for. Place it on a napkin and write that person’s name on the napkin.
At mealtime, let your child share the special cupcakes.
Counting When you put your child to bed, count kisses out loud. Ask your child how
Good-Night Kisses many kisses for the chin: “Three? Okay, one (kiss), two (kiss), three (kiss). How
about your nose?” What a happy way to learn to count.
Set the Table Let your child help you set the table. Place one plate on the table for each
person, and then show your child how to put one fork by each plate, then
one napkin by each fork. What a good helper!
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Ages&Stages
36–42 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child now enjoys longer books and stories. She can help tell a story or
make up silly stories of her own. She probably asks “why” often, not only
about books but also about daily events. She can describe recent events with some detail and with a
little help can place the events in order. She may be reading familiar signs in the neighborhood and
may know what words and letters are. She knows her first and last name and probably recognizes her
name in print.
Talking Book Paste pictures that your child chooses, one per page, in an inexpensive notebook or on blank pages tied or stapled together. As you look through this
picture book with your child, ask him to talk about the pictures. Say, “What’s
going on here?” “What colors do you see?” “Is that doggie happy or sad?” See
if your child can tell you two or three things about each picture.
Say What When you’re on the bus or in the car, look for things in a certain category,
You Can See alive or in pictures. Choose the category ahead of time. You might say, “Let’s
see how many animals we see while we’re riding.” Both you and your child
can point out dogs and cats, as well as animals on posters, statues, and so
forth. Try to find things with wheels or things that are tall. Let your child pick
her own categories.
My Own Stories Your child can begin to make up stories of her own. You can encourage her
to tell the stories by writing them down on a piece of paper as she tells them
to you. She might like to draw or paint a picture to go along with the story.
You can put these stories in a folder to make a book titled “My Own Stories.”
Fill in the Blank When reading familiar stories, leave a word out here or there, and pause to
let your child fill in the word or even the sound: “Mama Duck said, _____,
_____, _____.”
Do What I Do Do a simple action, such as clapping your hands, and tell your child, “Do
what I do.” Then, add a second motion such as patting your stomach. Have
your child do it with you first, then by himself. Now add a third motion and
see if your child can remember all three: clap, clap, pat, pat, wink, wink. Add
more as long as your child can remember them and as long as you both are
having fun.
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Ages&Stages
42–48 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is now more coordinated and will run, climb, swing, and balance with
more confidence. He can jump, dance, and balance on one foot for longer than 1
second. He can walk heel to toe and begin to do forward somersaults. He may
have the skills to pump on a swing.
Follow the Leader When playing in the house, outside, or at the park, have your child follow
you through an obstacle course. Activities might include over the cooler,
around the blanket, hopping across the grass, walking backward, or sliding
down a slide. When you finish, let her take a turn leading you through an
obstacle course.
Catch This is a good age to start to play catch with your child. Use a fairly big ball,
preferably one that is soft so it won’t hurt if he fails to catch it. Start by tossing the ball to him from a close distance, then move back so that he is practicing catching from 5 or 6 feet away.
Freeze Game Play a little music, and move around with your child or several children.
When you turn off the music, everyone is supposed to stop moving and
“freeze” in a stiff position. Encourage your child to freeze in many different
positions (e.g., on one foot, bent over, on tip toe). Say, “melt” and everyone can
move again.
Ring Toss Cut out the centers of plastic lids from coffee cans or other large cans to
make large rings. Have your child toss the rings either onto a small post
(made from a paper towel roll taped to a piece of cardboard) or a stick in the
ground if you are playing outside. Your child might also aim for a box placed
a few feet from her.
Jumping When your child can jump and land with two feet at the same time, show
him how to jump over something with height. Start with a book or blocks.
See if your child can still keep two feet together.
Toddler T-Ball Use an empty round ice cream carton, an oatmeal box, or any other round
container as the stand for a medium-size ball or balloon. Let your child swing
a small plastic bat or a cardboard roll from paper towels, aluminum foil, or
gift wrap. This t-ball game is a lot of outdoor fun. Make up the rules. Have
as many turns as your child wants. When your batter hits the ball, have her
run into Daddy’s arms!
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Ages&Stages
42–48 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child has stronger finger muscles and is more skilled in drawing
and writing. She can put puzzle pieces together and can string beads with ease. She’s getting better at
using scissors and may be able to cut on a line without help. She may even be able to trace over simple designs.
Magazine Give your child an old magazine and a pair of small safety scissors. Let him
Cutting and Pasting cut pictures out of the magazine (he doesn’t have to cut them out perfectly)
and, using a glue stick, glue them to a piece of paper. You can ask your child
to choose a certain kind of picture. Tell him, “Find food that you like, and cut
it out.” “Cut out some coupons for Mommy.”
More Puzzle Take a colorful page from a magazine, cut it in five or six pieces, and encourPictures age your child to put the pieces together. For sturdier puzzles, glue the pictures onto cardboard before you cut them. Save the puzzles in an envelope
to use again and again.
Where’s the Button? Provide clothes for your child that have one or two large buttons. You might
also let her help you fasten a button on something of yours. As she is trying
to fasten the button, pretend it is a Hide-and-Seek game, with the button hidden at first, then “peeking out” from the hole, and then all the way through.
Pick-Up Games Give your child a pair of tweezers or small tongs and two cups. Put some cotton balls, large pieces of macaroni, or large beans into one of the cups, and
have your child pick them up with the tweezers and put them into the other
cup. Once your child can do this, make it more exciting by having a race. Do
it fast. Ready, set, go!
Winding the Clock If you have a wind-up clock, show your child how to wind the alarm or turn
the hands. Not only will your child get some good fine motor practice, but he
also will learn something about how clocks work.
Tool Time Let your child play with some large nuts and bolts. See if she can screw the
nut onto the bolt. You might also let her try hammering a short nail into a
piece of soft wood. If you have a fat screw with a large slit, let your child try
her hand at using a simple screwdriver. You may need to hold on to the screw
or make sure that the hole is large enough so that the task isn’t too hard.
Always supervise when kids are using tools.
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Ages&Stages
42–48 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is learning to count with some accuracy, up to three or
four items. He can probably count up to 10 from memory. His knowledge about the world is growing.
He now understands simple opposites and whether things are the same or different. He understands
patterns, or degrees of change, such as “cool, warm, hot water” or “loud, louder, loudest.”
Remember What Encourage your child to tell you about things that happened in the past. You
Happened When... can start with this phrase: “Remember what happened when [you went to
Grandma’s and we went swimming]?” Follow up with questions such as
“When did we do that?” “What did you like the best?” or “How did that make
you feel?”
Color Hunt Have a scavenger hunt for colors. Say to your child, “Find something [color]
and put it on the table.” When she returns, give her another color. This is a
fun game for everyone to play, including older children or adults. Try to use
four or five different colors. Even if she brings back the wrong color, praise
her for trying.
Where Does Put a sock (of any type) on your head or somewhere else it doesn’t belong.
the Sock Go? Ask, “Where is my sock?” When your child points or says it’s on your head,
ask him where it really belongs: “On my foot? Really?” Have fun with this silly
game. Try another object, such as a bar of soap in a cereal bowl.
What Do Ask your child simple questions such as “What do you do when you’re realYou Do When... ly tired?” “What do you do when you get hungry?” “What do you do when
you’re all wet?” See if your child can give you answers that make sense. Talk
about it.
What Doesn’t Play this fun thinking game. Gather four things. Make sure three are very
Belong? similar or are in the same category, such as three lemons. Add a fourth item
that does not belong, such as a bar of soap. Ask your child to tell you which
one doesn’t belong. Try something different: Gather three things from the
bathroom—such as soap, shampoo, or toilet paper—and add something
such as a screwdriver. Ask your child to tell you what doesn’t belong and
why.
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Ages&Stages
42–48 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is better at taking turns and waiting. Although she plays with
other children cooperatively, she still needs adult help from time to time
with problem solving. Her feelings can be strong, but they may become easier to understand when you
name them. She likes to select her own clothes and is more skilled at dressing herself.
Pouring Give your child a small pitcher or measuring cup and let him pour his milk
from the pitcher into his cup or bowl of cereal. Have a paper towel ready just
in case. Let him pour juice or milk at mealtime. Praise his success.
Dress-Up Provide clothes for your child to play dress-up. Children love to imitate
adults in their family and in their community. The clothes don’t have to be
fancy, just oversized shirts, scarves, hats, skirts, shoes, or even loose fabric.
Encourage children to dress themselves, fastening buttons, snaps, zippers,
and so forth. Play along: “Are you going to work today?” “Are you going to a
party?”
Puppets Puppets are another way to pretend and to have some fun. You can use
store-bought puppets, or make them yourself. Find a magazine picture (or
draw a picture) of a person or animal, cut it out, and paste it on cardboard.
Attach a Popsicle stick, paint stirring stick, or chopstick for a handle. Let
your child be one character, and you be another. Have conversations in pretend voices.
Special Helper Proclaim your child the special helper for the day. Let her help you wash the
clothes, cook, feed pets, sweep, and wash dishes. She can help in some small
way with almost everything. Be sure to allow extra time since young helpers
may need it. This helping will eventually become part of your child’s family
chores, so be sure to give praise and keep it fun. At dinnertime, tell the others in the family what a great helper she was.
Self-Help Choices Offer choices to your child about his activities, including taking care of himself. Sometimes it is easier to get him to cooperate when he has a choice. For
example, you might offer him the choice to brush his teeth either before or
after he puts on his pajamas. These self-help skills are things children can
start doing for themselves, but it’s more fun and more appealing if there’s a
choice.
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Ages&Stages
42–48 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is learning new words every day, and he enjoys playing with language by rhyming words. He may use very silly language and laugh at his own
jokes. He uses a lot of inflection (changes in his voice) when he describes events. He knows the difference between day and night, today and tomorrow. He can carry out three or more simple commands.
He also knows that printed letters and words mean something to others.
Puppets Puppets can be made in many different ways. You can use a small lunch bag,
an old sock, or a paper circle glued on a Popsicle stick. Your child can make
faces with crayons, markers, or paint. She can glue yarn or strips of paper
for hair. Put on a puppet show of a familiar story or folktale. Have a conversation with the puppets, taking turns asking and answering questions.
Adventure Pals Take your child on a special trip to someplace new. You could visit a museum, a park or outdoor area, a new store, or a library. Plan it with your child.
Talk about what you will be seeing and doing. After you come home, ask him
questions about what he saw and did. Encourage him to tell other family
members about the outing.
Feely Bag Gather some small objects from outside or around your house and put them
in a paper bag. Let your child pick an item without looking, then have her
try to guess what it is. If she has a hard time naming the item, help her along.
For example, you could ask her, “Does it feel rough or smooth?”
All About Me Have your child make a book about himself. Start by stapling or putting
together several pieces of paper with tape or yarn or ribbon. Your child can
glue pictures of family members or pictures of things he likes from magazines. He can trace his hand on a page or draw pictures. Have your child
“read” you his story or tell you about each of the pictures.
Big Helper Your child will enjoy helping you around the house. When it is mealtime, she
could help set the table. Give her a few simple directions and see if she can
remember the directions. For example, you could ask her, “Open the drawer,
get four napkins, and put one on each plate.” She may need some help
remembering at first. Let her know what a big helper she is.
Cloudy Friends This activity is fun on a day the sky is filled with puffy clouds. Lay on your
back and take turns pointing out different cloud shapes and patterns. Ask
your child what the clouds look like. “Does it look like an ice cream cone?”
“That one looks like a dinosaur!”
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Ages&Stages
48–54 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is continuing to develop and refine her gross motor skills. She can ride
a tricycle, weaving in and out of obstacles and stopping and turning with skill. She
can kick a ball if you roll it into her path. She is learning to run and change direction without stopping and is learning how to somersault and gallop. She can keep
herself going on a swing by pumping her legs back and forth and can throw a ball
overhand about 10 feet.
Air Balloon Play this game with your child and maybe one or two other friends. Keep a
balloon in the air by tapping it once to send it up into the air. As it comes
down, it’s someone else’s turn to tap it up once. See how long you can keep
the balloon from falling to the ground.
Target Practice Cut a few 8- to 9-inch holes out of a big piece of cardboard to make a target.
Your child can decorate the target with paints. Prop the cardboard up, and
let your child try to throw a tennis ball through the holes. Start by letting
your child stand very close to the target, and then let him move back a few
feet. Let him try throwing underhand and overhand. You can also pin a target on a tree or tape an X on a wall or fence.
Ball Games Your child is ready to practice ball skills. Some games can be changed a little to make them easier. For example, a small trash can on a chair could be
a hoop for a basketball. Use a big ball and show your child how to dribble
and shoot to make a basket. Play soccer by using any two objects for goals
and kicking the ball to get a goal.
Scarf Dancing This is a great activity for a rainy day. Just turn on the radio, and your child
can dance to the music. If you have scarves (or dishtowels), she can hold these
in her hands while she dances. Try different kinds of music, such as rock and
roll or whatever music your family enjoys. Encourage your child to listen and
move to the rhythm.
Circle Catch It’s fun to play catch with your child and a few friends. Use a ball about the
size of a beach ball or slightly smaller. Show the children how to hold out
their arms to get ready for the ball. Stand in a circle and throw the ball to
each other. Get ready. Now catch!
Playground Time Bring your child to a neighborhood playground as often as possible. He will
enjoy climbing, running, swinging, sliding, and learning new skills. Keep a
close watch. He can be very daring!
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Ages&Stages
48–54 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child’s finger movements are more controlled now. For example, he
can place small pegs in holes on a board and build a tower of small blocks (usually 9 or so). He is learning how to draw shapes following a model and may be learning how to write some letters. He can cut
out circles and shapes with curved lines using safety scissors. With his controlled hand movements, he
is able to do more tasks independently.
Pudding Fun Make a batch of pudding in a bowl. Place a few spoonfuls on a cookie sheet
or on a plate. (You may want to cover the table with newspaper first.) Have
your child first wash her hands and then finger-paint in the pudding. Your
child can draw pictures and practice drawing shapes or letters in the pudding. The best part is cleaning up! Yum!
Book Making Books can be made from any type of paper. Just staple, tape, glue, or sew
together a few pieces of paper. Then your child can make up his own book.
On the pages, your child can draw pictures or paste in cut-out pictures from
magazines to illustrate a story. Encourage him to tell you his story. Help him
by writing down his words on each page.
Signed by Have your child paint with watercolors at home or draw a picture with
the Artist crayons. When your child finishes a picture, help her write her name. She
may need your help at first. Then she can try to do it by herself. Encourage
her in making the marks on the paper, even if they don’t look just right. Doing
activities by herself is how your child will learn.
Paper Chains Paper chains can be made by cutting any type of paper into strips about 1
inch by 5 inches. Show your child how to make a loop by gluing or taping
the ends together. Create a chain by inserting the next strip through the first
loop and so forth. See how long you can make the chain.
You’ve Got Mail When the mail comes to your home, let your child open the junk mail. He
can exercise his fingers opening the mail, and he may find some little surprises inside. Help your child write and mail letters to family members or to
a favorite performer or athlete.
Water Painting On a dry, warm day give your child a plastic bucket of water, one or two
paintbrushes, and an old sponge. Find a safe paved driveway, fence, or sidewalk and let him paint large pictures or patterns with the water on the
cement or wood. Watch the pictures disappear.
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Ages&Stages
48–54 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child’s attention span is growing, and she can attend to an activity she enjoys without supervision. She is starting to sort according to shape, size, and length and can
match items that look alike. She is also learning how things go together on the basis of function; for
example, she can point to “all things that are tools” in a picture of multiple objects. Your child loves to
read stories and is learning how to make up stories or story endings by herself. Wild stories and exaggerations are common.
Rhyme Time When you are in the car or on a bus, play a rhyming game with your child.
Think of a word, and have your child come up with a rhyme. Then, have your
child think of a word and you find a rhyming word. For example, you say,
“star,” and your child says “car.” Your child says, “train,” and you say, “rain.” If
your child is having a hard time thinking of a rhyming word, help him out a
little.
Grouping Gather together a lot of little things in a small container. You might already
and Sorting have a box in your home with buttons, coins, or odds and ends. Sit with your
child and try to come up with ways to group the things together. For example, the two of you might sort buttons by color, size, or numbers of threading holes. Find the biggest button and the smallest button. Line up five items,
and point to each one as you count. Now let your child try.
Waiting Game When you and your child are waiting for something, try counting together to
see how long it will take for the event to happen. For example, when you are
in the car and waiting for the light to change to green, count how long it takes
to change. She will learn how to count, and it may help her become more
patient.
Broadway Baby Read a story to your child, and then encourage him to act out the story. He
can pretend to be different characters. For example, you might read a story
about farm animals and he could pretend to be a cow, chicken, piggy, or
horse. Encourage him to act out the beginning, the middle, and the end of the
story.
Number and Letter When you are at stores with your child, play number and letter searches.
Search Encourage her to find numbers or letters on the walls, pictures, and signs.
When she spots one, say, “You found the number 5. Good for you!” Point out
numbers between o1ne and 9 or single letters of the alphabet. Ask your child
to find something specific: “Now we’re looking for the letter C.”
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Ages&Stages
48–54 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is becoming more independent in dressing and has refined his
skills. He can put his shoes on the correct feet. He uses the toilet without
needing help and can brush his teeth. He is eating different types of foods and can serve himself at the
table, pouring and scooping with no spilling. He plays cooperatively with other children and will comfort a playmate in distress. He plays games with rules and can follow directions.
Game Time Your child may enjoy learning games that have rules. You can play card
games with your child, such as Go Fish, Old Maid, or Animal Rummy or
other games such as Candy Land or Don’t Spill the Beans. If other children
come over, you may need to play at first to help them learn about rules and
taking turns.
Super Chef Your child will love to help you cook or make her own snack. She can learn
how to pour, stir, spread, and cut soft foods with your help (and careful
supervision). You might try muffin pizzas. Your child can scoop spaghetti
sauce on an English muffin, sprinkle on some cheese, and add toppings that
she likes. Cook the muffin pizzas in the oven for a few minutes. Yum.
Tent Safari On a rainy day, ask your child if he would like to invite a friend over to play.
Give the children some old blankets or sheets and let them build a tent by
draping the sheets over chairs or furniture. Once they make their tent, they
can play in it or read books with a flashlight.
Teddy Bear Picnic Your child can bring her stuffed animals or dolls on a picnic. Make a basket
with a blanket, napkins, pretend food, and plastic plates and tea cups. Your
child can practice dressing skills by getting “dressed up” for the bears. Later,
your child can help clean up after a wonderful picnic.
Novice Help your child write a letter to someone he knows. Your child can draw a
Note Writer picture and you can write down the words he wants to say, or your child can
try his own skills at writing. Show him how to address the envelope, and
have him practice saying his full name and address. You can help your child
write his name at the end of the letter.
Rub-a-Dub Keep a sturdy footstool in the bathroom so that your child can step up and
see herself in the mirror. Give your child her own special washcloth and
towel, and teach her how to wash her face with soap. Give her a big kiss on
her clean and shiny face! When she takes a bath, she can wash herself and
dry herself off, too. Don’t forget to have her brush her teeth.
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Ages&Stages
48–54 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Communication
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child’s communication skills are growing and blossoming. She is learning how to have conversations with people she knows and is starting conversations as well as responding to people’s questions. She is learning different parts of speech and using
more complicated sentences; for example, when describing something she might say, “It was a very big
brown dog.” She may use very silly language and laugh at her own jokes.
Animal Guessing This is a game the whole family can play. Cut out some pictures of animals
from a magazine. Turn the pictures upside down and have one person at a
time choose a picture. The other people playing ask yes/no questions to
guess what the animal is (e.g., “Does the animal swim?” “Is it bigger than a
cat?”). When someone guesses the animal correctly, it’s another person’s turn
to choose an animal card and let the others guess.
Bedtime Memories When it’s time to go to sleep each night, have a soft talk with your child.
Whisper to him, “What was your favorite thing that happened today?” Ask
what else happened. Share your favorite event, too.
Reading Adventures Read to your child every day. Read slowly and with interest. Use a finger to
follow the words. Stop reading at times, and encourage your child to talk
about the pictures and the story. Make this a special and fun time for you and
your child.
Moonbeams On a night when the moon is visible, find a place to lie down or sit outside
with your child and look at the moon and stars. What do you see? Can you
connect the stars to make a picture? Can you make out a face on the moon?
Ponder what it would be like to be an astronaut flying into space in a rocket. What do you think it is like on the moon? What would you do there? How
would you feel about being so far away from earth?
Rhymes While chanting or singing a nursery rhyme, have your child tap it out on a
and Rhythm drum, the bottom of a pot, or an oatmeal box. This musical activity can be
made more challenging and interesting by adding new instruments such as
bells, spoons, or shakers (small plastic containers filled with beans). Have
some noisy fun with friends!
At the Office Set up a little office for your child with notebooks, a toy phone, a computer
keyboard, pencils and pens, a ruler, a calculator, and a calendar. Add some
envelopes, paper, and stickers. Encourage her to pretend to go to work, write
letters, type messages, and make notes for friends. Pretend with her; call her
on the phone and ask her questions.
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Ages&Stages
54–60 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Gross Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is continuing to develop and refine his gross motor skills. He has
become much more stable and is learning how to balance on one foot or walk
along a narrow beam. He is learning skills such as jumping, hopping on one foot,
and skipping. He will enjoy activities such as throwing, catching, and kicking balls.
You will need to watch him closely as he may try some dangerous tricks. He can ride a small bike with
training wheels.
Fall Fun In the fall, take your child outside to play in the leaves. Rake the leaves into
small piles. Chase each other around the piles, jump in them, or try to leap
over them. Try burying each other in leaves or catching the leaves as they fall.
Freeze Tag Get a group of children together with your child to play a game of Freeze
Tag. Designate one person to be “it.” The person who is “it” runs around trying to tag other children. If a child is tagged, she must “freeze” (not move).
Another child who is not “it” may “melt” a frozen player by touching her. A
“melted” player can run around again to avoid being tagged. Whoever is
tagged and made “frozen” three times is the next “it.”
Splash Game This activity is good on a hot day. You, your child, and your child’s friends
can stand around a small plastic pool or bucket of water. Using a big ball
(e.g., beach ball), take turns and try to make each other wet by throwing the
ball hard at the water. Do not throw the ball at each other, just at the water.
You can also just play catch. Of course, later you’ll all want to get into the
pool!
Ribbon Dance Cut a piece of ribbon or a party streamer into 6-foot lengths. Your child can
explore ways to make designs in the air. Try circles and loops, up and down
movements, and figure eights. Now try all of these movements with two ribbons, one in each hand. Finally, move from place to place taking the ribbons
with you. Put on some music to help make a “ribbon dance.” Try skipping,
running, and walking.
Animal Games Cut pictures of animals out of a magazine. Turn them face down, and take
turns choosing an animal with your child. You must act out the animal you
drew, and your child has to guess what animal you are. Take turns so your
child has to act out an animal for you to guess. If you draw a kangaroo, you
must jump, jump, jump. If you draw a cheetah, you will probably need to run.
If you draw a cat, you may relax and lick your paws or leap to catch a mouse.
You may act out a giraffe by walking on tiptoes and stretching really tall.
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Ages&Stages
54–60 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Fine Motor
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is now able to use her fingers in a more controlled way. Her
finger movements are coordinated and faster, and she may be very interested in trying to write the letters of her name. Many children begin to prefer using one hand over the other during this time. Your
child may be cutting out shapes with scissors and getting better at buttoning and tying her shoes.
Lacing Cards Using safety scissors, your child can cut out simple pictures of familiar things
from magazines and glue the pictures onto cardboard. With a paper punch,
punch several holes around the outside of the picture. Tie a shoestring or
heavy piece of yarn through one of the holes. Make sure the other end of the
string has tape wrapped around it to make a firm tip. Your child can sew in
and out around the edge of the card. For variation, have your child sew two
cards together.
Sidewalk Fun Decorate your sidewalks with beautiful chalk drawings. Colorful chalk can
be found at any toy store and some supermarkets. Chalk is easy to wash off
the sidewalk, or rain will wash it away. Don’t forget to remind your child to
sign his name!
It’s a Wrap Give your child a small sturdy box, some newspaper or wrapping paper,
tape, and ribbon. Let her practice wrapping the box. Later she can wrap a
real present for a friend in her very own way.
Family Portrait Encourage your child to draw a picture of the family. When he is done, ask
him to tell you about his picture. Your can write down what he says about
his siblings, parents, pets, or grandparents and save his responses with the
picture.
Map It You and your child can make a map of your neighborhood. Go for a walk to
start this activity, and point out streets, buildings, and nearby parks or other
landmarks. Then, after the walk, use paper and pens or markers to encourage your child to make a map of what she remembers. You may need to help
her get started with her map. If the neighborhood is too large, start by mapping your own house or her own room. Ask your child, “Where’s your bed?”
“How about your toy box?”
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Ages&Stages
54–60 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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* Problem Solving
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child may be counting to 15 from memory and accurately
counting 10 objects. He is able to follow directions when he is in a group activity and knows the rules
at home and at school. He enjoys pretend play and may act out different roles with friends. Wild stories and exaggerations are common. He enjoys “reading” books and may have simple books memorized. He is really starting to understand how things work in the world and is endlessly curious about
why things are the way they are.
Pretzel Fun Make pretzel letters (or numbers). Pretzels can be made with pizza dough or
pie crust dough. Cut the dough into strips and form numbers or letters out
of the dough. Brush with a beaten egg, sprinkle with a little salt and bake
until golden brown. Eat up an A, B, or C!
Fun Food Coloring Most children love to experiment with food coloring. Let your child color her
food. Here are some ideas: color scrambled eggs blue, color a glass of milk,
add a drop of color to a piece of apple or to a slice of bread before toasting
it, and color mashed potatoes. Ask your child to think of other ideas.
How Long? Count how long your child can do a new skill, such as standing on one foot,
How Many? or how many times he can bounce a ball. Celebrate each time he can do a
new skill for a little more time. Let him count while you try something, such
as balancing a book on your head. This will help your child practice new
skills and counting.
Storytime Tell a story to your child. Use different voices, body postures, and facial
expressions to be different characters. Now it’s your child’s turn to tell a
story. Encourage your little one to ham it up—and don’t forget to be an
appreciative audience.
What’s Missing? Lay out five or more different toys and give your child time to look at all of
them. Now, hide a single toy at a time. See how long it takes your child to figure out which toy is missing. You may need to give her some clues at first.
Once she guesses which toy is missing, hide a different toy. Now it’s her turn
to try to trick you!
Find the Treasure This activity has to be planned well ahead of time. Hide “treasure” (e.g., a
favorite snack, a small bag of old jewelry, a new toy) in a place your child is
able to reach. Make drawings of all of the places you want your child to
search (e.g., a TV, a mailbox) for the “treasure.” Be sure to make the drawings
simple and clear. Each clue should direct your child to a place where he will
find the next clue until he eventually finds the “treasure.”
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Ages&Stages
54–60 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Personal-Social
Activities to Help Your Child Grow and Learn
Your child is able to meet most of her personal needs but may need practice or help on some of the more difficult parts of a task, such as tying her
shoes. She eats a variety of foods, has social dining skills, and is dressing herself. She enjoys playing
with other children and working together on projects. She is beginning to use her words to help solve
conflicts with friends.
Going on a Date Go on a “date” with your child. Go out to lunch, or go to see a movie. Before
you go out, you and your child can get ready. He can put on a special shirt
and pants, wash his hands and his face, use the potty, and brush his teeth.
Show him a mirror so he can see how great he looks. Now go have fun! Be
extra polite. Use “please” and “thank you” throughout your date.
Fruit Salad Make a fruit salad for lunch. You can use any favorite fruits such as grapes,
bananas, apples, and oranges. Your child will enjoy washing, peeling, and
scooping the fruit into a bowl. She could even help slice a soft fruit such as a
banana with a butter or plastic knife. Add things to the salad that sound
yummy such as yogurt or nuts. Your child can practice using a spoon and
fork as she helps make and serve the fruit salad.
Pressed Collect flowers from your yard or neighborhood, a park, or a roadside. Flowers
Flower Cards that are small and delicate work best because they press flat. Once you collect
your flowers, place them between sheets of paper towels or newspaper and lay
them between heavy books (such as old phone books). Then, give the flowers a
few days to dry and flatten out. Glue these flowers on a piece of paper to make
notecards for family and friends. Help your child write someone a special note.
911 Talk to your child about what he should do if he gets lost or if there is an
emergency in the house. Your child can learn how to dial 911 and give information to the operator. You can role-play this with your child using a pretend phone, but teach your child to use a real phone for a real emergency.
Teach your child his name, address, and telephone number. Sometimes it
helps if he learns this information as a song. Pretend you are a police officer,
and your child can pretend, too.
All by Myself Make sure your child has a little extra time in the morning to get dressed.
Then encourage her to try to button her shirt, snap her pants, or tie her
shoes. She will need some help and some time, but be patient. The more she
practices, the sooner she will be able to get dressed all by herself.
You as Me, You and your child can switch roles for part of the day. She can pretend to be
Me as You you and help you get dressed or brush your hair. You can pretend you need help
getting ready. The make-believe could include a change of duties, clothes, behaviors, vocabulary, and other habits. Keep the activity positive and fun.
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Ages&Stages
54–60 months
Ages & Stages Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink. Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
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Brookes On Location
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Brookes On Location is a program that connects you with the experts behind Brookes
books for seminars tailored to your agency’s specific needs. We offer you an outline
of the seminar, and you determine the venue for the seminar and the professional
development priorities for the participants.
After you contact Brookes about arranging a seminar, we share your request with the
speakers and make recommendations that will help you meet the needs of your staff.
Brookes then coordinates the speakers’ schedules to find a date that works for both
of you. (Please note that we cannot guarantee a speaker’s availability on a specific
date.) Seminars can range from a half-day to a whole week, depending on the subject and the needs of your staff. The speaker’s fee varies depending on the seminar
subject and length and the number of participants. The total cost will include the
speaker’s fee and travel expenses as well as handouts for participants. Contact
Brookes Publishing at 410-337-9580 or visit www.brookespublishing.com/onlocation
for more information.
Using ASQ to Screen Young Children for Developmental Delays is a seminar developed around the content of the ASQ and the speakers’ experiences in the field.
Focusing on the themes or topics most beneficial to you, the speakers listed below
will show your staff how to maximize their use of the ASQ. The seminar addresses
the ins and outs of using ASQ, from setting up a tickler system, administering the
questionnaires, tracking results, and scoring the questionnaires, to communicating
screening results to families and considering the options for following up after questionnaires have been scored.
Speakers
Elizabeth Twombly, M.S., lives in Eugene, Oregon, and is Senior Research Assistant
of the Early Intervention Program at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Prior to
working in the field of early intervention, Elizabeth spent many years working with
young children in environmental education, child care, and preschool programs on
the east and west coasts. Elizabeth has been involved in the Ages & Stages
Questionnaires® (ASQ) project since the early 1990s and was involved in the initial
development and research for the Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional
(ASQ:SE). She trains across the nation on the implementation of these screening
tools in a variety of health and educational programs that work with families with
very young children. Elizabeth is coordinating projects in the Early Intervention
Program that relate to screening systems and infant mental health.
Ginger Fink, M.A., has worked in the field of early childhood education for more
than 30 years. She has worked in many capacities as a teacher, director, curriculum
developer, and teacher educator. She is a private consultant in the area of
parent–child programs and teacher education strategies. She worked as curriculum
developer from 1987 to 1996 for the Kamehameha Schools, Honolulu, Hawai’i,
toward development of a statewide series of community-based parent–child pro-
grams. She also worked extensively with Head Start programs as teacher and program director intermittently between 1966 and 1975 and as disabilities specialist
between 1997 and 2000 for the Region X training and technical assistance network.
She also served as the training coordinator for the Ages & Stages developmental
screening system for the University of Oregon, Eugene. In addition to private consultation, she teaches early childhood courses at Clackamas Community College,
Oregon City, Oregon.
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Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ)
A Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System, Second Edition
By Diane Bricker, Ph.D., & Jane Squires, Ph.D., with assistance from Linda Mounts, M.A.,
LaWanda Potter, M.S., Robert Nickel, M.D., Elizabeth Twombly, M.S., & Jane Farrell, M.S.
The ASQ contains the following:
• 19 color-coded questionnaires for use at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20,
22, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 42, 48, 54, and 60 months of age—CD-ROM also available
• 19 age-appropriate scoring sheets—1 for each questionnaire
• 1 mail-back sheet for questionnaires
• 200 intervention activities for use from 4 to 66 months of age
In addition to an English version of the Ages & Stages Questionnaires,
Second Edition, other products in ASQ include the following:
The Ages & Stages Questionnaires—Spanish, French, and Korean versions:*
• 19 color-coded questionnaires and 200 intervention activities in Spanish for use at
4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 42, 48, 54, and 60 months of
age—CD-ROM of Spanish materials also available
• 19 color-coded questionnaires in French for use at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22,
24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 42, 48, 54, and 60 months of age
• 11 color-coded questionnaires in Korean for use at 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36,
and 48 months of age
• Age-appropriate scoring sheets—1 for each questionnaire
• 1 convenient storage box
• 1 reproducible mail-back sheet for questionnaires
The ASQ User’s Guide, Second Edition (in English), which has been revised and expanded to
help professionals accurately administer the questionnaires and confidently interpret their
results. Includes sample parent–child activities for each age range.
The Ages & Stages Questionnaires® on a Home Visit!
This instructive video shows professionals how to conduct the ASQ on home visits, with firsthand footage of a home visitor guiding a family with three children through the items on a questionnaire.
The Ages & Stages Questionnaires® Scoring and Referral
This video includes instructions on how to score ASQ, interpret results, and make decisions
regarding referrals.
The Ages & Stages Questionnaires® Manager: with Easy-Score™ component
An easy-to-use database that stores ASQ records, scores questionnaires, creates reports, and generates parent letters. Also included is a User’s Guide and Six Steps to Screening Success, a brief
guide on developmental screening.
PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW—
Call 1 800-638-3775!
*ASQ Questionnaires are available in other languages. For more information call 1 800-638-3775.
Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE)
A Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System
for Social-Emotional Behaviors
By Jane Squires, Ph.D., Diane Bricker, Ph.D., & Elizabeth Twombly, M.S.
with assistance from Suzanne Yockelson, Ph.D., Maura Schoen Davis, Ph.D., & Younghee Kim, Ph.D.
With the ASQ:SE, professionals will be able to assess social-emotional skills in seven developmental areas:
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self-regulation
compliance
communication
adaptive functioning
autonomy
affect
interaction with people
Just like the ASQ, parents complete the short, simple questionnaires at designated intervals: 6,
12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, and 60 months of age. In just a minute’s time professionals transfer parents’ responses of most of the time, sometimes, and rarely or never to color-coded scoring
sheets, enabling them to quickly determine a child’s progress in each developmental area. It’s a
flexible, reliable, and economical way to track the developmental progress of young children.
The complete ASQ:SE includes:
• Eight color-coded, reproducible questionnaires for use at 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48,
and 60 months of age—CD-ROM also available
• Eight reproducible, age-appropriate scoring sheets—one for each questionnaire
• One convenient storage box
• One reproducible mail-back sheet for questionnaires
• The ASQ:SE User’s Guide, which helps professionals accurately administer the
questionnaires and confidently interpret their results (includes sample
parent–child activities for each age range)
Also available—The ASQ:SE in Practice
This helpful, informative video serves as a companion to the ASQ:SE screening system and provides an overview of emotional and social development as well as an inside look at the screening
system in practice.
PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW—
Call 1 800-638-3775!
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