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L e ar n
& Grow
Together
Fun activities
to support
your child’s
development.
O A K L A N D
This book is
designed to help
you understand and
support your child’s
development. It
provides information
about stages of child
development and fun
activities you can do
together to help your
child learn and grow.
Children learn and
grow at their own pace and in unique and wonderful ways. The
activities shared each indicate a suggested age range for the activity
to try with your growing child. Remember, each child develops
at their own pace and will have varying abilities as they learn and
grow. The experiences and activities you share with your child can
maximize their potential. What you do to encourage and support
their development really makes a positive difference for them. For
further guidance, page 92 provides a chart on developmental stages
and page 95 provides information and a link to our online screening
tool. These activities have been designed to coordinate with the Ages
and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3/ASQ:SE).
This guide is organized into age categories and five sections on
development, including:
• Fine Motor
• Gross Motor
• Language and Communication
• Problem-solving, and
• Personal Social
Each activity includes information on:
• What you need
• What you do
• How it helps
Section six (6) focuses on your role as a parent and provides
resources to support your child’s development.
.Page
1. Fine Motor................................................................. 1
Infant (0-12 months)...................................................................3
Infant (12-24 months).................................................................6
Toddler (24-36 months)..............................................................9
Preschool (36-48 months).........................................................12
Preschool (48-60 months).........................................................15
2. Gross Motor............................................................ 19
Infant (0-12 months).................................................................21
Infant (12-24 months)...............................................................24
Toddler (24-36 months)............................................................27
Preschool (36-48 months).........................................................30
Preschool (48-60 months).........................................................33
3. Language and Communication.............................. 37
Infant (0-12 months).................................................................39
Infant (12-24 months)...............................................................42
Toddler (24-36 months)............................................................45
Preschool (36-48 months).........................................................48
Preschool (48-60 months).........................................................51
4.Problem-solving...................................................... 55
Infant (0-12 months).................................................................57
Infant (12-24 months)...............................................................60
Toddler (24-36 months)............................................................63
Preschool (36-48 months).........................................................66
Preschool (48-60 months).........................................................69
5. Personal - Social...................................................... 73
Infant (0-12 months).................................................................75
Infant (12-24 months)...............................................................78
Toddler (24-36 months)............................................................81
Preschool (36-48 months).........................................................84
Preschool (48-60 months).........................................................87
6. Parent Time............................................................. 90
Take care of yourself................................................................91
Developmental stages..............................................................92
Help Me Grow: online developmental screening...................95
Helpful web resources..............................................................96
These activities were adapted from Ages and Stages Learning Activities 2004,
Beautiful Beginnings: A Developmental Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers, 2006,
Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development 2008, Language and
Play Everyday, Responsive Strategies, 2011.
-6-
Fine Motor
These activities include children using the small muscles of
the fingers and hands for reaching, grasping, releasing, and
manipulating toys and household objects.
-1-
-2-
Fine motor
0-12 months
Ribbon play
This activity is designed for babies one to four months of age
What you need:
• A bright colored ribbon or scarf
What you do:
• Dangle a brightly colored ribbon
or scarf near your baby’s face.
• Let your baby reach out and touch
the ribbon or scarf.
• As they grasp the ribbon or scarf, tug at it a little to help them hang
on to it a little longer.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn how to use their eyes and hands at the same
time.
• Helps your baby learn to reach to make contact with an object.
• Helps your baby learn how to grasp objects and how to hang onto
them.
• Introduces color, texture and movement.
-3-
Fine motor
0-12 months
Rub-a-dub-dub
This activity is designed for babies 4-8 months of age
What you need:
• Plastic baby bath tub
• Plastic cups
• Plastic baby toys (rings, teethers,
etc.)
• Baby bubble bath soap (optional)
What you do:
• Turn bath time into a fun time with your baby. Place baby in
supported baby bathtub.
• Show your baby how to splash the water with your hands.
• Place the baby’s plastic rings or toys in the bathtub.
• Pick them up one by one and drop them in the water to show baby
how it splashes.
• If you choose to put bubble bath in the tub, only use a tiny amount.
You can show your baby how to poke the bubbles with your finger
and how to scoop them up in your hands.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby practice learning how to splash with their hands
and with objects.
• Helps your baby to learn how to poke and scoop with their fingers
and hands.
-4-
Fine motor
0-12 months
Crumbling paper
This activity is designed for babies 8-12 months of age
What you need:
• Old magazines or wrapping paper
• Waxed paper, bubble wrap or heavy
paper bags (optional)
What you do:
• Place your baby on a rug or in their
high chair.
• Give some old magazines or
wrapping paper to your baby. (You
can also try a variety of textures for
different noises and feel. Try waxed paper, thick plastic wrapping,
bubble wrap or heavy paper bags.)
• Let them try to rip the paper or crumble it.
• If they start to lose interest or try to eat the paper, put the
magazines and wrapping paper away. You can try this activity again
in a few weeks and see if your baby likes the activity then.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby use their fingers and hands to crumble the paper.
• Helps your baby learn how to grasp and hold onto an object.
• Helps your baby learn how to use their wrists to turn it in different
ways while exploring the paper.
-5-
Fine motor
12-24 months
Making soup
This activity is designed for children 12-16 months of age
What you need:
• A plastic or wooden spoon
• Plastic bowl or cup
• A pot
• Small wooden or larger plastic
blocks to make the “soup”
What you do:
• Show your child how to put the
blocks in the pot.
• Use the spoon to mix up the soup.
• Stir the soup with the spoon while holding the pot still.
• The soup can be “fed” to a caregiver or a doll or stuffed animal.
How it helps:
• Provides an opportunity for your child to use both hands together,
one to mix and one to hold.
• Improves their skills with using a spoon.
• Encourages your child to grasp and release, improving
coordination
• Develops pretend play skills in your child.
-6-
Fine motor
12-24 months
Straw play
This activity is designed for children 16-20 months of age
What you need:
• Plastic straws cut into thirds
• Clean, empty cup, bottle, container
What you do:
• Place your child in their high chair or
facing you on the floor.
• Show your child how to put the straws
in the hole of the cup or juice bottle.
• You may need to take your child’s hand
to help guide them putting the straws
into the holes until they understand
how to do it on their own.
• As they get better, use a soda bottle or a parmesan cheese container
with small holes.
• Please be sure to keep a close eye on your child that they do not put
the straws in their mouth.
How it helps:
• Helps your child learn eye-hand coordination and hand control.
• Encourages dumping and pouring to get the straws out of the
container.
• Develops grasp to pick up straws.
-7-
Fine motor
12-24 months
Stringing fun
This activity is designed for children 20-24 months of age
What you need:
• Large uncooked tube pasta
noodles
• Shoelace, straw, pipe cleaner or
yarn
• Give them a shoelace, straw,
pipecleaner or yarn
What you do:
• Sit with your child at a table.
• Show your child how to hold the shoelace with one hand and put
the noodles on the shoelace with the other hand, and then pull the
noodles down to the knotted end of the shoelace.
• As your child gets older, you can try using smaller noodles too. You
can make necklaces or bracelets with the noodles.
Note: If using a shoelace or yarn be sure to tie a large knot on one end
and tape the other end so that the pasta fits easier.
How it helps:
• Helps your child work on learning how to use their hand and eyes
at the same time to string the noodles.
• Helps your child learn how to put a small object in a large hole.
-8-
Fine motor
24-36 months
What’s inside
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Assorted plastic containers with a large
screw-on lid (peanut butter jars, plastic
containers with pop off lids, such as
Cool Whip containers)
• Small items such as: plastic balls, cereal,
cotton balls
What you do:
• Show your child how to put the small
items in the container.
• Show your child how you screw the lid on.
• Show your child how to tip the container upside down and how the
objects don’t come out.
• Show your child how to open the container and to dump the stuff
out and put it back in.
• Listen to the noises that different objects make when you shake
them.
How it helps:
• Encourages your child to learn how to use their hand to put objects
into one container.
• Helps your child use the muscles in their hand to open and close
the containers.
Extension to activity:
• Experiment with different sounds an object makes in different types
of containers.
-9-
Fine motor
24-36 months
Photo album
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Scissors
• Different colors of construction
paper
• A glue stick
• Crayons or markers
• Stickers (optional)
• Stapler
• Magazines or newspaper store ads
What you do:
• Staple a few pieces of construction paper together so that it looks
like a book. Your child can choose the colors of paper that they
want their photo album book to have.
• Cut pictures out of magazines that your child likes.
• Help your child use the glue stick to put the pictures on the pages of
the book.
• Your child can decorate the pages with stickers, crayons or markers.
How it helps:
• Helps strengthen the muscles in your child’s hand when gluing.
• Develops grasping skills by picking up stickers and using crayons.
Extension to activity:
• Ask your child about the pictures on each page. (Such as, “Which
food do you like the best on this page?”). Write down what your
child says about the pictures.
- 10 -
Fine motor
24-36 months
Tong fun
This activity is designed for children 30-36 months of age
What you need:
• Small kitchen tongs (children’s
chop sticks also work)
• Cotton balls
• Plastic bowl
• Muffin tins, ice cube trays or egg
cartons (optional)
What you do:
• Show your child how to use the tongs to pick up a cotton ball and
put it in the bowl.
• Help your child try to pick up the cotton balls with the tongs and
put them in the bowl.
How it helps:
• Your child will strengthen their hand muscles when squeezing and
releasing the tongs together, developing skills that are later used for
cutting with scissors.
• Your child will learn how to control their hand while moving the
cotton balls to the bowl.
Extension to activity:
• Try other heavier items such as plastic golf balls or ping pong balls
once your child is able to do the cotton balls.
• Try placing cotton balls into muffin tins, ice cube trays or egg
cartons to work on better hand control.
- 11 -
Fine motor
36-48 months
Little artist
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• Colored outdoor chalk
• Small paintbrush
• Cup of water
• Squirt bottle filled with water
What you do:
• Show your child how to draw on
the sidewalk or driveway with the
chalk. Make shapes, swirls, pictures, or your child’s name.
• Talk about the different colors of chalk that they are using.
• Use a squirt bottle or paintbrush with water to “erase” their chalk
art work on the sidewalk or driveway when finished.
• If your child doesn’t want to use the chalk, they can take a small
paintbrush and dip it in the water to paint on the sidewalk or
driveway.
How it helps:
• Your child will learn to explore materials and tools with their
hands.
• Your child will strengthen their skills when using hand control to
use the paint brush or spray the water out of the water bottle.
Extension to activity:
• You can start by using a paintbrush that preschoolers use with
washable tempera paint. Then to make this activity a little more
difficult, use a watercolor paint brush that is smaller.
- 12 -
Fine motor
36-48 months
List helper
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• Small pad of paper
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Grocery store ads
What you do:
• Before going grocery
shopping, ask your child to
help you make a list of items that you need from the grocery store.
Help them find some coupons or pictures of ads in the paper for
these items.
• Cut out the pictures to bring them with you to the store for your
child to hold.
• Let them use the pencil to write their own version of words for the
items that you tell them that you need.
• Have your child bring the list to the store and ask your child to tell
you the items that they wrote down that you need.
How it helps:
• Your child will strengthen their hand and finger muscles as they use
a pencil.
Extension to activity:
• Let your child tear the pictures out of the magazine themself. This
will help them develop more fine-tuned muscle development.
- 13 -
Fine motor
36-48 months
Picture collage
This activity is designed for children 42-48 months of age
What you need:
• Glue stick
• Child safety scissors
• Paper
• Newspaper grocery ads or
a magazine
What you do:
• Give your child the
newspaper grocery ads or a magazine.
• Have your child cut out (doesn’t have to be perfectly cut!) pictures
of food that they like or ask them to cut out some coupons. You
may want to outline where to cut with broad, dark, lines to help
your child know where to cut.
• Show your child how to glue the pictures on a piece of paper that
will become their collage.
How it helps:
• Your child will strengthen their hand muscles when opening and
closing the scissors for cutting.
• Your child will increase their hand control when using the glue
stick to glue the pictures on the paper.
• Your child will develop more control as they try to cut on a line.
Extension to activity:
• You can have your child cut out pictures of food and help your
child group the pictures by color or by type of food (Example:
vegetables together, all brown foods together, etc.). This helps your
child learn how to group similar objects together.
- 14 -
Fine motor
48-60 months
Pudding writing
This activity is designed for children 48-54 months of age
What you need:
• Pudding
• Cookie sheet or their high chair tray
What you do:
• Put a few drops of pudding on the
cookie sheet.
• Your child can use their finger to draw
letters or shapes in the pudding. They
will enjoy licking their fingers when
done!
• You can also do this activity in the bathtub using shaving cream on
the wall of the tub.
• As they get better, encourage them to use their other fingers and
thumb to strengthen them.
How it helps:
• This will help your child practice drawing shapes and letters.
• This will encourage your child to use control with one finger when
doing an activity.
Extension to activity:
• Show your child how to write their name in the pudding while
saying each letter. Encourage your child to write their name in the
pudding.
- 15 -
Fine motor
48-60 months
You’ve got mail
This activity is designed for children 48-54 months of age
What you need:
• Junk mail
• Paper
• Pencil
What you do:
• Let your child open the junk
mail. They can use their fingers
to open the mail (They may
even try to tell you what the mail says).
• Help your child write letters to family members or a friend and
show them how to put them in the mail.
How it helps:
• Helps your child practice drawing letters and using a pencil.
• Helps your child control their fine motor skills when putting the
letters in mail slot.
Extension to activity:
• See if your child has a letter that they would like to mail to a friend
or family member. Take them to the post office and show them how
you put the stamp on and mail the letter.
- 16 -
Fine motor
48-60 months
That’s a wrap
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• A small sturdy box
• Wrapping paper (either store bought
or some that your child has made with
paper, markers and stickers)
• Scissors
• Tape
What you do:
• Give your child a small sturdy box.
• Cut a piece of wrapping paper for your child.
• Let them decorate the paper using stickers, markers or stamps.
• Let your child wrap the box with the wrapping paper. Your child
can practice wrapping presents and can later wrap a real gift for a
friend.
How it helps:
• Helps develop control of small muscles as they decorate the
wrapping paper.
• Helps strengthen your child’s muscles in their hands and fingers
when they hold the paper down, and put the tape on it.
• Helps your child’s creativity when decorating the wrapping paper.
Extension to activity:
• Encourage your child to cut the wrapping paper themselves. You
can also give them a long piece of ribbon for them to practice tying.
- 17 -
- 18 -
Gross Motor
These activities include children using their bodies and large
muscles to move, change position, and develop coordination
and balance.
- 19 -
- 20 -
Gross motor
0-12 months
Heads up
This activity is designed for children 1-4 months of age
What you need:
• A sofa or bed
• A bright colored toy
What you do:
• Place your baby on their
stomach on the sofa or bed and
help your child rest on his/her
elbows.
• Get on your stomach or sit on
the sofa or bed and face your
baby so that your eyes are at the same level as your baby’s.
• Dangle a bright colored toy in front of your baby’s face.
• Make sounds, talk and sing to get your baby to lift their head and
look at you.
Please be sure that you do not leave your baby alone on the couch or
bed. If you need to walk away, please be sure to take your baby with
you.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby strengthen the muscles in their stomach and neck
so that they can learn how to hold their head up.
Extension to activity:
• Once your baby shows head/neck control, encourage your baby
to lift their chest using their arms as support by dangling a toy at
a higher level. Slowly move the toy from side to side to encourage
your baby to follow the object with their eyes.
- 21 -
Gross motor
0-12 months
Roly poly baby
This activity is designed for children 4-8 months of age
What you need:
• A blanket
• Your child’s favorite toy
What you do:
• Place your baby on their back
on the blanket on a carpeted
floor
• Lie next to your child, make eye contact, talk and laugh to help
your child roll toward you.
• Use your child’s favorite toy to encourage your child to roll.
How it helps:
• Helps your child strengthen muscles in the arms, legs and tummy.
• Helps your baby learn how to roll.
Extension to activity:
• Once your baby has mastered rolling over, encourage your baby to
scoot on their tummy by moving a toy just out of their reach.
- 22 -
Gross motor
0-12 months
Over you go!
This activity is designed for children 8-12 months of age
What you need:
• A firm pillow
• Interesting toys
What you do:
• Place a pillow on the floor
• Encourage your child to crawl
up and over the pillow to get to
the toys
How it helps:
• Helps strengthen the muscles of the hips and legs when crawling
uphill and strengthen the muscles of the arms and shoulders when
crawling downhill.
• Helps to develop balance.
Extension to activity:
• As your child gets stronger, use larger pillows, such as couch
cushions.
- 23 -
Gross motor
12-24 months
Rolling a ball
This activity is designed for children 12-16 months of age
What you need:
• A soft or plastic ball
What you do:
• Place your baby on the floor.
• Sit in front of your baby and roll a
ball to her.
• Encourage your baby to roll the ball
back to you.
• Clap your hands when she rolls the ball to you.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn how to roll a ball back and forth to you.
• Also encourages a social interaction game.
- 24 -
Gross motor
12-24 months
Chase game
This activity is designed for children 16-20 months of age
What you need:
• Your toddler
• Backyard or a park
What you do:
• Because your toddler is starting
to run now, take them in the
backyard or to a park.
• Most toddlers love to be chased
so chase your toddler outside.
They will love it when you catch
them and hug them.
• Most toddlers love to do this over and over so have fun.
How it helps:
• This activity gives you and your toddler exercise.
• This activity is good for your toddler to practice using their muscles
in their legs and feet while playing a fun, social game with you.
- 25 -
Gross motor
12-24 months
Lily pad leap
This activity is designed for children 20-24 months of age
What you need:
• Carpet squares or the squares on a tile
floor
What you do:
• Place the carpet squares together in a
row on the floor.
• Encourage your child to jump from
square to square.
• Place the carpet squares farther apart
as your child learns to jump. If you
are using the squares on your tile floor, put a piece of tape on the
squares you want your child to jump to next. You can make them
farther apart as your child’s balance gets better.
How it helps:
• Helps your child learn how to balance while jumping.
• Helps your child learn how to make bigger jumps with more
practice and will strengthen their leg muscles.
- 26 -
Gross motor
24-36 months
Bottle bowling
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Medium-size ball
• Several plastic empty bottles
What you do:
• Set up the plastic bottles close
together in a row.
• Show your child how to roll the
ball to knock down the bottles.
• Have your child stand close to
the row of bottles at first and
move farther away as they get
better at hitting the bottles.
• You can also practice tossing the ball toward the bottles.
How it helps:
• Your child will practice coordination with learning how to roll and
throw the ball.
• Your child will be using different large muscles in their body to
throw and roll the ball.
Extension to activity:
• Add more bottles to knock down, or have child stand farther away
from the bottles, when rolling the ball.
- 27 -
Gross motor
24-36 months
Pop those bubbles
This activity is designed for children 30-36 months of age
What you need:
• Bubbles
What you do:
• Take your child outside on a
nice day.
• Blow bubbles and show your
child how to pop them by
clapping your hands on the bubbles.
• Let your child chase the bubbles, jump on them, clap and pop
them.
• Play this game for as long as your child is having fun.
How it helps:
• Your child will practice their coordination skills with this activity
when trying to clap the bubbles while they are moving.
• Your child will strengthen muscles in their hands and arms when
popping the bubbles.
Extension to activity:
• Encourage your child to pop the bubbles using just a finger or
suggest another body part, like elbow, foot, or head to pop the
bubbles.
- 28 -
Gross motor
24-36 months
Balloon soccer
This activity is designed for children 30-36 months of age
What you need:
• A balloon or ball
• A medium-sized box
What you do:
• Lay the box on its side to be the
goal.
• Show your child how to kick
the balloon or ball around the
room and into the box.
• Have your child kick the
balloon or ball to the box to score a goal.
Note: Be careful if using a balloon. It can be a choking hazard or can
frighten a child if it pops.
How it helps:
• Your child will practice their balance and coordination skills as they
follow the ball or balloon.
• Your child will strengthen their muscles in their feet and legs as
they kick the balloon or ball.
Extension to activity:
• Use a small box as the goal or use a ball instead of a balloon.
- 29 -
Gross motor
36-48 months
March, march, march
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• A drum or a flag (optional)
What you do:
• Tell your child that you are
going to have a parade.
• Show your child how to march
while you pick up your legs
and feet.
• March around the house with your child; use a drum or flag for
your parade.
How it helps:
• Your child will strengthen their legs muscles when they march
around.
Extension to activity:
• When indoors, make a mountain of pillows to march up and over,
or create an obstacle course to go through as you march.
- 30 -
Gross motor
36-48 months
Freeze and melt
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• Music
• Music player
What you do:
• Move around the room doing
different moves.
• Tell your child that when the
music plays, you can move
around but when the music
stops, they have to freeze in the
move that they were doing.
• Say “freeze” when the music
stops.
• Say “melt” when it’s time to start moving around again.
How it helps:
• Develops large muscles as your child moves around the room.
• Helps your child hold different movements in a pose, which
teaches your child how to balance their body.
Extension to activity:
• Do different movements that include flying like an airplane,
standing on one foot, jumping and marching.
- 31 -
Gross motor
36-48 months
Follow the leader
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• A playground or an area that
allows you to move around
objects
What you do:
• When playing at the park or
playground, tell your child to
follow you.
• Have your child follow you
around with running, hopping, jumping, and sliding down slides
like they are on an obstacle course.
• Take turns being the leader with your child.
How it helps:
• Your child will strengthen different muscles in their body when
they run, hop, and jump around.
• Helps to teach your child coordination of their body movements.
Extension to activity:
• Try having your children repeat multiple tasks in order, for
example, hop over a log, crawl around the tree, then skip to the
table.
- 32 -
Gross motor
48-60 months
Tap the balloon
This activity is designed for children 48-54 months of age
What you need:
• A balloon
What you do:
• Show your child how to tap
the balloon to keep it in the air
without touching the ground.
• Have your child try to tap
the balloon to keep it from
touching the ground.
• When it touches the ground,
tap the balloon back up in the air to start the game again.
How it helps:
• Helps your child learn how to tap the balloon gently.
• Helps your child’s coordination as they keep it in the air.
Extension to activity:
• Encourage children to use different body parts to tap the balloon –
fingers, elbows, knees, backs, etc.
- 33 -
Gross motor
48-60 months
Leaf fun
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• Fall leaves
• Rakes
What you do:
• Rake the leaves into different
piles.
• Have your child jump in the
piles and over the piles of leaves.
How it helps:
• Helps build the strength in your child’s leg muscles with jumping
in and over the piles of leaves.
Extension to activity:
• Rake the leaves into piles at the bottom of a slide or step and then
your child can now jump over the pile.
- 34 -
Gross motor
48-60 months
Animals all over
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• Pictures of animals
What you do:
• Turn the pictures of animals
face down
• Take turns with your child
choosing a picture
• Act out the animal you picked together (for example: you will jump,
jump, jump for a kangaroo or run fast for a cheetah).
How it helps:
• Helps your child use their large muscles in their body when they
are acting like different animals.
Extension to activity:
• Try to guess what animal your child is pretending to be.
- 35 -
- 36 -
Language and
communication
These activities involve children using sounds, words, and
gestures to communicate. The activities also engage children in
learning to listen, follow and give directions, imitate, pretend,
make choices, ask questions and participate in conversation.
- 37 -
- 38 -
Language and
communication
0-12 months
Cuddle and sing
This activity is designed for babies 1-4 months of age
What you need:
• Your baby awake
What you do:
• Hold your baby in your arms
and cuddle with them.
• Hold your baby so that they
can see your face.
• When your baby looks at you, make different sounds that include
cooing, squealing, and singing with lots of facial expressions.
• Encourage your baby to make sounds. When you make a sound,
wait for about 8-10 seconds for your baby to make a sound back to
you.
• Keep practicing every day, even if your baby isn’t able to respond to
you yet.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby get familiar with your voice.
• Helps your baby learn how to make noises back to you to practice
early conversations.
- 39 -
Language and
communication
0-12 months
Read, read, read
This activity is designed for babies 4-8 months of age
What you need:
• A book
What you do:
• Place your baby on your lap.
• Read a story to your baby and
hold the book so that they can
see the pictures.
• Talk to your baby about the
pictures in the book.
How it helps:
• This activity encourages your baby to learn words from stories.
• This activity promotes early literacy skills and will help your baby
develop language skills.
- 40 -
Language and
communication
0-12 months
Repeating sounds
This activity is designed for babies 8-12 months of age
What you need:
• A quiet place
• A blanket or baby’s exersaucer
seat
What you do:
• Create a quiet space so that
your baby can only hear your
voice.
• Place toys out in front of your baby on a blanket, (such as a soft
ball, or a rattle). You can also do this in your child’s exersaucer that
has toys on it.
• When your baby makes a sound, repeat the sound back but
exaggerate it. For example, if your baby says, “ba”, say “ba ba ba ba
ba” back to your baby.
• Repeat this with all sounds your baby makes.
• You can also add a song to sing to your child that has the same
sound he makes, for example, “Baa Baa Black Sheep” for the “ba”
sound.
How it helps:
• This activity will encourage your baby to make conversations with
you.
• This activity helps your baby learn how to repeat sounds.
• This will also help with your baby learning how sounds can be put
together with other sounds, such as in a song, that will help him
form words.
- 41 -
Language and
communication
12-24 months
Choices, choices
This activity is designed for children 12-16 months of age
What you need:
• Two balls that are different
colors or two different kinds of
fruit
• Any other objects that will
allow your child to make a
choice for themselves
What you do:
• Give lots of choices to your
child throughout the day.
• Ask your child, “Do you want bananas or strawberries?” while
holding up each one to show them.
• You can also ask your child, “Do you want water or milk?” while
showing both.
• You can do this with lots of things throughout the day with toys,
food or pajamas for bed.
How it helps:
• Helps support your child’s emerging language skills.
• Helps your child make connections between objects and words.
• Helps your child move from using mostly pointing and non-verbal
gestures to using more verbal words.
- 42 -
Language and
communication
12-24 months
Big helper
This activity is designed for children 16-20 months of age
What you need:
• Any objects around the house
that you can ask your child to
help you with (Example: Shoes,
coat, towel, diaper, etc.)
What you do:
• Ask your child to help you
throughout the day.
• When it is time to go to the store, ask your child to bring you their
coat while you are pointing to their coat.
• You can do this with their shoes or your shoes.
• When going to change their diaper, ask them to bring you a diaper,
as you point to it.
• You may need to point in the beginning to the objects that you
are requesting. Once your child is doing well with following the
directions, you may not have to point anymore and can just give the
direction to your child.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn how to follow directions.
• Helps your baby learn the purpose of different objects.
- 43 -
Language and
communication
12-24 months
Turn taking
This activity is designed for children 20-24 months of age
What you need:
• A cardboard box
• Scissors
• A set of wooden or plastic
blocks
What you do:
• Cut a large slit (large enough
for a block to fit through) in the box.
• Take turns putting blocks in the box and use the words “my turn,”
“your turn” when taking turns.
• If your child doesn’t take a turn, ask them “Whose turn is it”? If
they don’t respond, take your child’s hand and help them put the
blocks in the box for their turn and say “Joey’s turn or Daddy’s
turn.”
• When all of the blocks are in the box, pour them out and repeat the
activity as long as your child is interested.
•You can also modify this activity by taking turns making a stack of
blocks or lining them up to make a train.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn how to take turns, a basic step with learning
how to communicate.
• Helps to motivate your child to learn how to talk.
- 44 -
Language and
communication
24-36 months
Picture book game
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Your child’s favorite picture
books
What you do:
• Show your child the pictures in
a book.
• To see if your child
understands and can identify
the pictures. Ask questions such as, “Where is the dog?” or “Can
you find the horse?”
• Continue this with your child with other items in the pictures for as
long as your child remains interested.
• Model how to label items you see by pointing and saying the names
(“ball”, “car”, etc.) or using a phrase such as “I see the dog!”
• Point to an item, but don’t say the name and look expectantly at
your child to encourage them to take a turn labeling.
• If your child points to an item, say “What do you see?” or “Oh!
What’s this?”
How it helps:
• This activity will help expand the amount of words your child says
and their overall language skills.
• Your child will enjoy telling you where items are in the pictures and
will make them feel good about themselves when they are able to
name and identify the pictures on their own.
Extension to activity:
• As your child develops more language, ask them questions that
don’t have one right answer, “Where have you seen a dog?”
- 45 -
Language and
communication
24-36 months
Silly game
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Different items around the
house (Example: toothpaste, a
chair, hairbrush, soap, etc.)
What you do:
• Point to an object, such as a
chair, and ask your child, “Is
that the door?”
• Let your child tell you what it
really is.
• Act surprised when they tell you and say “Oh silly me!”
How it helps:
• This activity will help your child identify and say the correct names
of objects.
• This activity will also make your child feel important when they
“teach” you the right name of the objects.
Extension to activity:
• Have fun playing this game with your child. Give your child an
object that doesn’t make sense and act like you don’t think there is
anything wrong. For example, give your child a pot to wear on their
head and say, “Ok here is your hat.” When your child looks at you
funny or says that they don’t wear a pot for a hat, reply to them by
saying, “Oh, you don’t need that pot for a hat?” Do this with other
objects.
- 46 -
Language and
communication
24-36 months
Important conversations
This activity is designed for children 30-36 months of age
What you need:
• You and your child
What you do:
• Take the time to talk with your
child during mealtimes, bath
time and when riding in the
car.
• If your child says a short
sentence, listen carefully to
what they are telling you.
• Try to go back and forth in a short conversation with your child.
• Be sure to let your child talk, even if it’s taking a while to get the
sentence out. Try not to interrupt them.
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child learn to have back and forth
conversations.
• This activity helps your child learn how to take turns with others
when talking.
• This activity will also teach your child how to listen carefully to
others when you model this for them.
Extension to activity:
• Make up a prediction with your child that is in their near future.
Say something like, “I wonder what you’ll do at grandma’s today?”
This will start your child to think and tell you what they will do that
day.
- 47 -
Language and
communication
36-48 months
I spy
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• You and your child.
What you do:
• Pick out an object and
remember it in your mind.
• Give your child clues to guess
what it is. Say phrases like, “I
spy something blue. It’s square
and birds like to go in it.”
• Encourage your child to ask you questions to guess the object
• You can also ask your child “Wh” questions when doing this
activity (Example: “Where do you think birds like to sit and eat
their birdseed?” or “What are those animals called that like to fly
around and say tweet?”)
How it helps:
• Helps your child learn how to ask questions correctly.
• Helps to stimulate your child’s thinking and learning skills when
guessing the object.
• Helps encourage your child to use their language skills to ask
questions and name objects they see in their environment.
Extension to activity:
• Help your child make a telescope out of a paper towel roll to play “I
spy” with. Then put out three different objects. Your child can play
“I spy” as they look through their new telescope.
- 48 -
Language and
communication
36-48 months
Playing kitchen or house
This activity is designed for children 42-48 months of age
What you need:
• Dolls or teddy bears
• Plastic dishes or cooking
spoons
• Empty food containers
• Old pots and pans
What you do:
• Participate with your child in
this pretend play activity.
• Ask your child questions that
will help your child think of what they want to cook for you and the
teddy bears. You can ask questions like, “What should we make for
lunch today?” or “What do you think we should have to drink?”
• Name items in your area that you are playing with. (Example: “I
think this wooden spoon will help us stir the sauce in the pot.”)
• Help your child talk out what she is doing. (Example: “Wow, I think
the bears will like the grilled cheese sandwiches you are making.
They look really good!”)
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child to talk about what they are doing.
• This activity helps your child name new objects in their
environment that can be added to their growing vocabulary.
Extension to activity:
• Have your child sort objects by how you use them. For example,
have them put all of the objects together that you stir with or all of
the things that you drink with.
- 49 -
Language and
communication
36-48 months
Reciting rhymes
This activity is designed for children 42-48 months of age
What you need:
• A nursery rhyme book
What you do:
• Read nursery rhymes to your
child from a book.
• Repeat the nursery rhyme and
encourage your child to repeat
it with you.
• Pretty soon your child will be
able to repeat them on their own.
How it helps:
• Helps your child learn patterns in their language development.
• Helps your child learn the rhythm to different rhymes.
• Encourages your child to find other words that rhyme and may
want to make up their own silly, rhyming stories.
Extension to activity:
• Practice tapping out the rhymes in the books with your child. Clap
your hands or stomp your feet to the words that have more than
one syllable in them. For example, the word “Spi-der” would have
two claps or two stomps.
- 50 -
Language and
communication
48-60 months
My own story book
This activity is designed for children 48-54 months of age
What you need:
• A notebook
• Crayons
What you do:
• Encourage your child to tell
you a story.
• Help your child by writing
down what they tell you.
• Encourage your child to draw
pictures after telling you their
story. The pictures can be on the same piece of paper as the story.
• Your child can add more stories and pictures to their notebook.
• When your child is done, show your child their story and read it
back to them.
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child use their language skills to describe
their pictures to you.
• This activity helps your child see their story in print and will
encourage them to start to identify letters and words.
Extension to activity:
• Give your child stickers to peel off of the page to add to their
notebook.
• Talk about the pictures that they are drawing and ask them
questions about their pictures. (Example: “What is happening in
your picture?” or “Do you think the mommy is happy or sad?” or “I
like the colors you are using. What colors are they?”)
- 51 -
Language and
communication
48-60 months
Bedtime stories
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• Picture books your child enjoys
What you do:
• Read a few books to your child
each night before bedtime.
• When reading the book to your
child, read slowly and move
your finger along the words in
the book.
• Use different variations (such as high and low or loud and soft) in
your voice to make it interesting to your child.
• Talk about the pictures in the book and ask your child questions
about them.
• When you are done reading each story, ask your child what their
favorite part of the book was and why.
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child identify different words when you use
your finger to show them each word while you are reading.
• This activity helps your child use more language when talking
about the pictures and their favorite part of the story.
Extension to activity:
• Ask your child, “What do you think will happen next?” before
turning a page.
- 52 -
Language and
communication
48-60 months
Grocery shopping
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• Use this activity when grocery
shopping in the store.
What you do:
• While shopping for groceries,
talk about what you need to
buy.
• Discuss how many of each item
you will buy.
• Talk about the shape, color, and size of each item (Example: “This
tomato is red and round. It’s not as big as this watermelon, it’s
smaller.”)
How it helps:
• This activity helps children understand the differences between
various objects.
• This activity helps your child learn the meaning of adjectives.
• This activity helps your child learn how to use describing words
properly when talking about items in their environment.
Extension to activity:
• Have your child bring a little notebook with a pencil so that they
can “write” what you need from the store.
- 53 -
- 54 -
Problem-solving
These activities involve children using curiosity, exploration,
observation and persistence to develop reasoning and
understanding about objects and actions around them.
- 55 -
- 56 -
Problem-solving
0-12 months
Bright socks
This activity is designed for babies 1-4 months of age
What you need:
• A blanket
• A colorful sock for your baby
What you do:
• Place your baby on their back
on a blanket on the floor.
• Put a brightly colored sock
onto your baby’s foot.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn to look
at their feet.
• Helps encourage your baby to
pull at their feet and grasp their
foot.
- 57 -
Problem-solving
0-12 months
Peek-a-boo
This activity is designed for babies 4-8 months of age
What you need:
• A blanket
What you do:
• Hide your face behind a
blanket.
• Say “Where is mommy?”
• Drop the blanket and say
“Peek-a-boo” or “Here I am!”
• You can also hide a favorite toy
under the blanket.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn that you are still there behind the blanket.
- 58 -
Problem-solving
0-12 months
Hide the toy
This activity is designed for babies 8-12 months of age
What you need:
• Highchair or another seat with
a tray
• A cup
• A small toy
What you do:
• Place the cup on the tray and
put a small toy under it so that
it’s hidden.
• Ask your baby where the toy went.
• If they don’t lift the cup up, lift it up for them and show them the
toy.
• Do this several times while using phrases such as “You found it”
and “Where did your toy go?”
• Soon, your baby will be able to lift the cup up on their own.
• Later you can add a second cup and hide the toy under one of the
cups and ask them which cup their toy is under.
How it helps:
• Your baby will learn to remember where an object is hidden.
• Your baby will begin to hide the toy on their own.
- 59 -
Problem-solving
12-24 months
Copy cat
This activity is designed for children 12-16 months of age
What you need:
• You and your child.
What you do:
• Do something then try to get
your baby to imitate you.
• For example, clap your hands.
When your baby claps, say
“Look, you can clap too!”
• Try other actions such as
touching your nose or sticking
out your tongue. After each one, say, “You try!”
• Be silly and have fun.
How it helps:
• Helps your child imitate actions.
• Your child will enjoy this repetitive activity for hours of fun.
- 60 -
Problem-solving
12-24 months
Matching socks
This activity is designed for children 16-20 months of age
What you need:
• Clean laundry with different
socks
What you do:
• Show your child one sock of a
pair.
• Have your child find the other
matching sock.
• Show your child how to match
the socks if they need help.
• You can ask your child questions such as, “Whose big blue socks are
these?”
How it helps:
• Your child will learn to put similar items together.
• Helps your child begin to learn how to sort different objects by
what is similar.
- 61 -
Problem-solving
12-24 months
Pouring and scooping fun
This activity is designed for children 20-24 months of age
What you need:
• A sandbox, medium sized
plastic bin or a tray
• Uncooked rice, noodles,
popcorn or sand
• Different sized container.
What you do:
• Show your child how to scoop
and pour the material in the
bins or box.
• Talk to your child about what
the sand feels like in their
hands.
• Talk to your child about the cups being empty and full when they
scoop and pour.
• Encourage your child to pour sand from one container to another.
• Poke holes in the containers so that sand can fall slowly.
How it helps:
• Helps your child learn the meaning of “empty” and “full.”
• Helps your child learn how to scoop and pour.
- 62 -
Problem-solving
24-36 months
Dish helper
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• A step stool or chair
• Apron
• Plastic dishes
• Sponge or washcloth
• Towels or a dishrack
What you do:
• Bring a step stool or chair over
to the kitchen sink.
• Fill the sink up with mild-temperature water with soap to wash
dishes. Be sure that the water isn’t too hot so that your child doesn’t
get burned.
• Put plastic dishes in the sink for your child to wash with the sponge
or washcloth.
• Show your child how to wash and rinse the dishes and then place
them in a dish rack or on a towel to dry.
How it helps:
• Your child will learn how adults wash dishes.
• Your child will feel important with helping you in the kitchen.
• Helps support your child’s wish to copy household tasks that adults
do.
Extension to activity:
• Say to your child, “The dishes are wet. What do we need to do now
to get them dry?”
- 63 -
Problem-solving
24-36 months
Following directions
This activity is designed for children 30-36 months of age
What you need:
• A ball, shoes or anything your
child can use when following a
direction you give them.
What you do:
• Give your child fun two step
directions that give them
something to do. (Example:
“Please take off your shoes and
put them on the mat by the
door” or “Please take the wrapper and put it in the garbage can.”)
• Other two step directions include: “Please pick up the ball and put
it in the hoop” or “Please open the cupboard and take out a plate
for me.”
• This is a good time to be a role-model for your child and use
“please” when giving directions and saying “thank you” when they
complete the direction.
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child learn how to remember steps to the
actions.
• Your child will also learn the correct order for steps when following
directions.
Extension to activity:
• Ask your child, “What can we do with the plate now?” Your child
can show you or tell you what to do next.
- 64 -
Problem-solving
24-36 months
Counting and grouping
This activity is designed for children 24-36 months of age
What you need:
• Two pieces of cereal
• Two small blocks
• Two small balls
What you do:
• Give your child a piece of
cereal.
• Tell your child, “Here is one
piece of cereal.”
• Give your child another piece of cereal and tell them, “Here is
another piece of cereal. Now there are two pieces of cereal”
• Do the same thing with the balls and blocks.
• Then group the cereal, balls and blocks in twos. (So the cereal
pieces are together, the balls are together and the blocks are
together)
• Tell your child, “See, there are two cereal pieces, two balls and two
blocks. Let’s count them.”
• You can do this activity as often as your child shows interest.
How it helps:
• Your child will begin to learn the concepts of how many items there
are together (quantity).
• Your child will begin to learn what one-to-one correspondence is
and how things can be grouped together.
Extension to activity:
• Ask your child to bring you two objects that are the same.
- 65 -
Problem-solving
36-48 months
Puzzle picture
This activity is designed for children 36-48 months of age
What you need:
• Scissors
• Empty cereal box
What you do:
• Cut the front of a cereal box
into six to seven pieces to
make puzzle pieces.
• Using the pieces, show your
child how to put the pieces
together to make a puzzle.
The puzzle when finished
should look like the front of a cereal box.
How it helps:
• This activity will help your child complete a puzzle by moving
pieces around to make the puzzle pieces fit.
• Your child will use their memory skills to remember what the
cereal box looks like when all of the puzzle pieces are together.
Extension to activity:
• If your child has mastered this activity, cut smaller picture pieces
out of another cereal box or a magazine to make another puzzle in
order to make the activity more challenging.
- 66 -
Problem-solving
36-48 months
Shopping with pictures
This activity is designed for children 36-48 months of age
What you need:
• Scissors
• Envelope
• Grocery advertisements from a
newspaper
What you do:
• Cut pictures of different foods
you will need from the grocery
store.
• Place the pictures in an envelope and take them to the store with
you.
• Have your child hold the envelope for you and they can take the
pictures out one at a time.
• When they pull out a picture, ask your child what the picture is and
tell them that you need to buy that item.
• Continue doing this with the other pictures in the envelope.
How it helps:
• Your child will practice their skills with picture to object
correspondence.
Extension to activity:
• While in the grocery store and holding the picture cards, ask your
child, “What do we have to do to find this?”
- 67 -
Problem-solving
36-48 months
Hunting for colors
This activity is designed for children 36-48 months of age
What you need:
• Different colored objects at
child-level in your house
What you do:
• This will be a scavenger hunt
for colors in your home.
• Ask your child to find
something that is the color
yellow around your house.
• Have them bring you the object when they find something yellow.
• Repeat with different colors.
• Be sure to praise your child for bringing you back the right colored
objects (and praise them even if they don’t for trying!)
How it helps:
• Your child will practice remembering the colors and color
recognition.
• Helps your child remember directions when they leave the room.
Extension to activity:
• Ask your child to bring you two objects that are the same color or
bring two different colored objects to you.
- 68 -
Problem-solving
48-60 months
Count and wait
This activity is designed for children 48-60 months of age
What you need:
• When you are waiting for
something to happen, count
out with your child how long
it takes for it to happen.
What you do:
• You can try this when riding
in the car and waiting for
the light to change or when
waiting for a train to pass on
the railroad tracks.
• You can also try this activity
when it’s a sibling’s turn to play with a toy or when it’s time to
switch toys or activities.
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child learn to be more patient and will
help her with waiting in the future in situations when you are not
around.
• This activity helps your child with their counting.
Extension to activity:
• Provide a kitchen timer or an hourglass sand timer. Ask your child
how many turns they think they should have and their sibling
should have while the timer is running. You can flip the timer two
times during one child’s turn.
- 69 -
Problem-solving
48-60 months
Missing object
This activity is designed for children 48-60 months of age
What you need:
• Two to three toys
What you do:
• Lay out two to three toys on a
table.
• Have your child look at the
toys for a while.
• When they are ready, have your
child wait in the other room
while you hide one of the toys.
• See how long it takes for your child to find out which toy is missing.
If needed, you can give clues to your child to help.
• Hide a different toy next; you can also switch roles for who has to
find the missing toy.
How it helps:
• This activity helps your child with memorization.
• This activity helps your child focus on the task and what items to
remember.
Extension to activity:
• You can add more toys to the table for a higher level of difficulty.
- 70 -
Problem-solving
48-60 months
Telling stories
This activity is designed for children 48-60 months of age
What you need:
• A comfortable place for you
and your child to sit
What you do:
• Make up a story that includes
a problem and tell it to your
child.
• Be sure to use exaggerated
words, different voices,
facial expressions and lots of body movements, especially when
pretending to be different characters.
• Encourage your child to tell you a story with a problem in it and
help get them to use lots of facial expressions and different voices
too.
How it helps:
• This activity encourages your child to use their imagination when
telling their story.
Extension to activity:
• Ask your child questions about what happens next in the story or
how to help solve the problem in the story.
- 71 -
- 72 -
Personal - Social
These activities allow children to practice daily living skills
such as feeding, dressing, and grooming. Activities encourage
children to learn about their environment as well as develop a
sense of body awareness.
- 73 -
- 74 -
Personal - Social
0-12 months
Silly face play
This activity is designed for babies 1-4 months of age
What you need:
• A blanket or changing table
What you do:
• Place your baby on his back on
the blanket or changing table
• Make different faces with your
baby such as sticking out your
tongue, puckering your lips, or
making a kiss noise. You can
also make an “oh” face or make fish lips.
• Hold each expression on your face and see if your baby will make
noises or imitate the face back to you.
• Let your baby know that you like it when they imitate you by
smiling at them when they do.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn to imitate facial expressions.
• Helps your baby and you to create a social connection.
- 75 -
Personal - Social
0-12 months
Feeding fun
This activity is designed for babies 4-8 months of age
What you need:
• A highchair
• Two baby spoons
• Baby food
What you do:
• Place your baby in their
highchair.
• Give them a plastic baby spoon
to hold.
• As you feed your baby their food, pretend to take a bite off of their
spoon and then feed them a bite.
- 76 -
Personal - Social
0-12 months
Tickle tickle, kiss kiss
This activity is designed for children 8-12 months of age
What you need:
• Your baby during your bedtime
routine
What you do:
• Say “goodnight” to different
body parts (Example:
“goodnight little nose”) with a
kiss.
• After you say goodnight to
each body part, give a “goodnight tickle.”
• Ask your baby what part of their body needs a goodnight kiss or
tickle.
How it helps:
• Helps your baby learn the names of different body parts.
• Helps create a social routine with you and your baby.
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Personal - Social
12-24 months
Clean up, clean up
This activity is designed for babies 12-16 months of age
What you need:
• A bin or box
• Baby’s toys
What you do:
• Ask baby to help you clean-up
their toys.
• Show them how to pick up
each toy and put it in the bin.
• You can encourage your
baby to help you by singing a song such as “clean-up, clean-up,
everybody everywhere, clean-up, clean-up everybody do your
share.” A song should grab their attention.
• Be sure to praise your child when they put a toy away.
How it helps:
• Encourages your baby to help others.
• Helps your baby learn that cleaning up after playing is important.
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Personal - Social
12-24 months
Little helper
This activity is designed for babies 16-20 months of age
What you need:
• Sponge or washcloth.
What you do:
• Give your baby a damp sponge.
• Let your baby wipe the table,
chairs, floor, walls and doors
- whatever they can reach.
• Your baby will enjoy doing
this while you are getting his
dinner.
• Tell your baby, “Thank you for
helping.”
How it helps:
• Encourages your baby to be proud of doing things “just like
mommy.”
• Encourages independence.
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Personal - Social
12-24 months
Baby beds
This activity is designed for children 20-24 months of age
What you need:
• A doll or stuffed animal
• A box
• Dish cloth or towel
What you do:
• Help you child make
a bed for their favorite
stuffed animal.
• Use a shoebox for the
bed with a dish cloth or
towel for a pillow and
blanket.
• Your child can help their “baby” go to bed at night. They can read a
story or tuck them in.
• Don’t forget a kiss!
How it helps:
• Helps your child imitate their routine.
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Personal - Social
24-36 months
Dressing self
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Loose fitting clothing including
clothing with an elastic waist.
What you do:
• Have your child sit on the floor.
• Help them put both legs in the
holes of the pants or shorts.
• Stand them up and let them pull
up their pants themselves.
• For shirts, help them see the holes
where their head and arms go.
• Lay the shirt on the floor with the front of the shirt face down.
• Show your child how the tag in the shirt goes on their back.
• Help them get their head and arms through each hole.
• Once dressed, have them look in the mirror at themselves and
cheer them on for being so big and dressing themselves.
• With practice, dressing on their own will get easier for children.
How it helps:
• This will help your child feel important and will boost their selfesteem.
• Your child will begin to become more independent with dressing
and other self-care activities.
Extension to activity:
• Lay out two outfits for your child and have them pick one that
they would like to wear that day. Then help them, as needed, with
putting their clothing on.
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Personal - Social
24-36 months
Being a little parent
This activity is designed for children 24-30 months of age
What you need:
• Plastic dishes, such as a cup,
spoon, plate and fork
• Baby blanket
• Hairbrush
• Plastic baby doll or stuffed
animal
What you do:
• Show your child how they can
use the spoon or fork to feed the baby doll.
• Show your child how to use the brush to “brush” the doll’s hair.
• Your child can use a baby blanket to cover the baby doll during
“nap time.”
How it helps:
•Your child will practice pretend play skills using real life objects
with the dishes and doll.
• Your child’s imagination will grow with more pretend play
opportunities during regular playtime.
Extension to activity:
• As your child gets more practice from pretend play, ask your child
questions to further their thinking. Example: “What should your
baby have to eat today?” or “What do you think your baby wants to
do today?”
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Personal - Social
24-36 months
Cooking together
This activity is designed for children 30-36 months of age
What you need:
• Mixing bowls, spoons, dishes,
silverware, food
What you do:
• When you are preparing a
meal, have your child set the
table for you. They can put out
the silverware, cups, plates and
napkins.
• Have your child help you stir
things in a bowl, tear lettuce,
pour things or throw things
away.
• Tell your child they are a great
helper.
How it helps:
• Your child will feel important when they help you.
• Your child will start to learn how to help others prepare for meals.
Extension to activity:
• Have your child help you choose meals to have on your weekly
menu. Have your child help you prepare the meals on the menu
and give them special tasks they can help you with.
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Personal -Social
36-48 months
Counting with taking turns
This activity is designed for children 36-42 months of age
What you need:
• A basketball or other plastic
ball
• Basketball hoop or another
container to throw a ball into
What you do:
• Tell your child that you are
going to count with them
while they shoot hoops.
• When you count to 10, tell
your child that it’s their sibling’s turn or your turn to shoot hoops.
• Repeat counting and taking turns as long as your child is interested.
How it helps:
• Your child will practice their counting skills.
• Helps your child understand how long to wait their turn.
• Your child will learn how to take turns with others when you are
not around.
Extension to activity:
• Have your child count to 20 while their sibling takes two turns in a
row. Switch taking turns with each child. You can keep building this
up by tens as your child masters each set of counting.
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Personal - Social
36-48 months
Playing dress-up
This activity is designed for children 42-48 months of age
What you need:
• Hats
• Scarves
• Oversized shirts
• Shoes
• Skirts
What you do:
• Children love to copy what
others do. By providing dressup clothes, children are able to
pretend and to role-play with
others.
• Help your child get into the
dress-up clothes.
• Put on hats and items of
clothing yourself and play
along with your child.
How it helps:
• This activity will help your child practice their pretend play skills.
• Your child will enjoy doing this activity with you and learn different
roles to play.
Extension to activity:
• Encourage your child’s imagination by asking them questions
such as, “Are you going to a fancy party?” or “Where are you going
now?”
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Personal - Social
36-48 months
Pouring practice
This activity is designed for children 42-48 months of age
What you need:
• Small plastic pitcher
• Cups
• Water or another beverage
• Measuring Cup (optional)
• Napkins
What you do:
• Give your child a small
plastic pitcher (you can also use a measuring cup to start with) with
a small amount of water in it.
• Show your child how to slowly pour the water into a cup.
• Let your child practice doing this at mealtimes.
How it helps:
• Your child will learn how to control their hand while pouring the
water into the cup.
• When you cheer your child on, they will feel very important and
will become a great helper to the family.
• If there is a mess, this is a good time to teach your child how to
clean it up.
Extension to activity:
• Once your child is able to pour into a cup well, try making it more
difficult by pouring into a water bottle or other object that has a
skinnier opening than a regular cup.
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Personal - Social
48-60 months
Clean faces
This activity is designed for children 48-54 months of age
What you need:
• A washcloth
• Step stool
• Hand towel
• Toothbrush
What you do:
• Keep a special washcloth, towel
and step stool for your child in
the bathroom.
• Show your child in the mirror how to wash and dry their face.
• You can show your child how to brush their teeth too, if they don’t
already know how.
• Praise your child when they wash their face or brushes their teeth
on their own.
How it helps:
• Your child will feel proud when you notice them washing their face.
• This activity can lead your child to washing and drying themselves
when they take a bath.
Extension to activity:
• Practice having your child wash their different body parts with a
washcloth. You can turn it into a game and act silly by naming the
wrong name on each of your child’s body parts. See if they can tell
you the correct name of each body part instead.
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Personal - Social
48-60 months
Flower walk
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• Small flowers, real or fake
• Elmer’s glue
• Paper towel sheets
• A heavy book (such as a phone
book)
• Plain paper
What you do:
• Take your child on a walk in your neighborhood, park or yard.
• Help your child pick small flowers and bring them home.
• Place your flowers on paper towels in between pages of a heavy
book. This will ensure that the flowers get flattened. Leave them in
there for a few days to dry out and flatten.
• Then take the flowers and have your child glue them on paper.
• You can use it to make a notecard or a letter.
How it helps:
• This activity encourages children’s creativity when making a
notecard for someone while using real-life items.
• This activity also promotes early literacy skills when practicing
writing in the notecard.
Extension to activity:
• Your child can mail the notecard or letter to a family member or
friend. Your child can help you address the letter and add a stamp
to it too.
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Personal - Social
48-60 months
Role plays
This activity is designed for children 54-60 months of age
What you need:
• Pad of paper
• Pencils
• Play food
• Play money
What you do:
• Collect some items
that your child can
use to create a pretend
restaurant or doctor’s
office or another setting.
• Have your child take
turns playing different
roles with another person.
How it helps:
• This activity encourages your child to make decisions and solve
problems with others.
• This activity promotes creativity in your child when using pretend
play items.
Extension to activity:
• When role playing with your child, ask them more questions
to help them think further about their role. For example, when
playing restaurant, say to your child things like, “I really like
French fries. Can I get some French fries with ketchup?” or “Does
this restaurant have milkshakes? What kind of milkshakes do you
have?”
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Parent time
Parents
learn and
grow, too!
As your child learns and
grows, so does your parenting
knowledge and skills. Parents
play the primary role of
supporting their child’s
development and helping them understand the world around
them. Parents provide guidance and support as children become
more independent. As your child grows, you need opportunities
to set realistic expectations for yourself and your child. The role
of parenting can make you feel great joy and great concern. Give
yourself permission to focus on your own needs to bring your best
energy and thinking to the exciting, rewarding and challenging role
of parenting.
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Take
care of
yourself
Parents need to take
care of themselves in
order to take care of
their children. Here are some activities to help take care of you:
• Spend time doing activities that you enjoy and that make you feel
good.
• Talk with other parents about parenting for problem-solving,
laughter and insight.
• Make time to get outdoors; taking a twenty minute walk can
change your outlook on the day.
• If parenting feels overwhelming, contact a friend, family member
or professional for support.
• Take advantage of free playgroups, parenting workshops, parent
café and family events in your community.
• Allow yourself to pursue your hopes and dreams.
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Developmental Stages
At this age, almost all children will be able to...
One month
Six months
• Raise head slightly off floor or bed,
when lying on stomach
• Hold head up momentarily when
supported
• Briefly watch and follow objects
with eyes
• Avoid mildly annoying sensations
• Make some “noise in throat”
sounds
• Sit with a little help
• Roll from back to stomach
• Support weight
• Babble - more than two sounds
• Hold one toy and reach for
another
Two months
• Hold head erect, bobbing when
supported in sitting position
• Imitate or respond with occasional
smile
• Follow moving person with eyes
• Vocalize
• Move both legs and arms equally
well
Three months
• Lift head and chest when lying on
stomach
• Show vigorous body movement
• Show improved head control
• Recognize breast or bottle
• Coo - chuckle
Four months
• Have good head control
• Roll from side to side
• Begin reaching
• Laugh aloud
• Take object (rattle) when held near
hand
• Follow objects when in sitting
position
• Enjoy play
• Use comforting when distressed
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Nine months
• Sit alone - change position
without falling
• Creep or crawl on all fours
• Express affection
• Hold two objects at the same time
• Say Mama - Dada
• Show fear of strangers
Twelve months
• Pull self to standing-may step with
support
• Pick things up with thumb and
one finger
• Put one toy in another
• Give toy on request
• Give affection
• Follow simple directions
Fifteen months
• Walk without support
• Stack three blocks
• Use five or six words
• Vocalize-voice up and down like
conversation (jargon)
• Partially feed self with a spoon or
fingers
• Find a hidden toy under a cover
Eighteen months
• Walk well
• Climb up or down one stair
• Walk backwards pulling a toy
• Make marks with crayon on paper
• Use five to ten words
Two years
• Kick large ball
• Turn pages of a book
• Imitate housework
• Ask for items by name
• Recognize familiar pictures
• Use two or three words together
Three years
• Walk up stairs
• Stand momentarily on one foot
• Jump up with both feet
• Feed self
• Put on a coat with help
• Verbalize toilet needs
Four years
• Hop in place
• Throw ball overhand
• Catch ball when bounced to him/
her
• Copy circles
• Know own sex, age, last name
• Point to five basic colors
• Play with other children
• Use sentences with correct
grammar
Five years
• Walk backward toe to heel
• Walk on tiptoe
• Print a few capital letters
• Recognize own printed name
• Play with others
• Identify a penny, nickel, and/or
dime
• Answer verbally to “Hi. How are
you?”
• Lace shoes
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Early On® Oakland is a network of services
for families of children birth to age three who
are developmentally delayed, or are at risk of
developing delays because of an established
medical condition, or who have a disability.
O A K L A N D
Early On® Oakland is based on a partnership between families and
service providers, and helps the families find the support they need for
their child. There are no income restrictions for eligibility.
For free information and resources about your child’s development, call
248.209.2084 or toll-free at 866.456.2084.
Project Find Michigan is a statewide system of service to
promote the awareness of special education supports
and/or services provided by the public school system. Project Find looks for children and youth from birth
to 26 years of age who have physical, social emotional, speech and
language or cognitive impairments that may affect their educational
performance.
For more information about evaluation and services for children and
students ages three through twenty-six, or to make a referral, you may
either contact your local school district or Lydia Moore at 248.209.2308
or [email protected]
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Help Me Grow!
ASQ Online Developmental Screening
Parents:
Support your
growing child!
Stay updated on your child’s development.
FREE Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3)
For children 2 months to 5 years of age
Only takes about 10 minutes to complete
Available in English and Spanish
Visit:
www.greatstartoakland.org/developmentalscreenings
to complete the ASQ on-line
Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!
1. On the first page, enter your child’s date of birth and the number
of weeks if your child was premature (enter 0 if your child wasn’t
premature)
2. On the next page, choose option #3 to enter your results online or
choose option #1 if you want to print off the questions and enter
them in online at a different time.
3. Enter in demographic information for you and your child (be sure to
include an e-mail address where your results may be sent). Answer
all of the questions on each page and click on the arrow at the
bottom of each page to go to the next section.
4. On the last page, click on the SAVE button. Once it’s saved, click on
the FINALIZE button. Click on the OK button to send your results.
Your ASQ will be sent to the Developmental Screening Specialist
who will confidentially review and send you an email with the results,
resources, and fun activities to do at home!
For questions or information, contact Kristine at: 855.876.4646
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Helpful web
resources
Bright Futures.................................... www.brightfutures.org/tools/
Center for Disease Control.......................... www.cdc.gov/parents/
Early On®......................................................... www.1800earlyon.org
Great Start Collaborative
Oakland..................................................www.greatstartoakland.org
Healthy Children......................... www.healthychildren.org/parent
Kids Health......................................................... www.kidshealth.org
Let’s Move..............................................................www.letsmove.gov
Metro Parent.................................................www.metroparent.com
National Association for the Education of Young Children
(NAEYC).... http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development
Oakland County Moms................www.oaklandcountymoms.com
Zero to Three.....................................................www.zerotothree.org
- 96 -
- 97 -
Acknowledgments
Advisor: Dr. Joan Firestone, Director
Early Childhood, Oakland Schools
Donna Lackie, Early Childhood Consultant;
Great Start Collaborative – Oakland, Co-Coordinator
Content: Karen Anthony, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant
Dr. Christine Boisvert Maier, Preschool Consultant
Jennifer Champagne, Social-Emotional Consultant
Dr. Dawn Koger, Early On® Coordinator
Lynn Legg, Physical Therapist
Dana Shea, Speech and Language Pathologist
Dr. Lisa Sturges, Project Specialist
Kristine White, Developmental Specialist
Susan Wit, Occupational Therapist
Darlene Zimny, Great Start Collaborative – Oakland, Co-Coordinator
Layout: Jean Jocque, Project Assistant, Early Childhood
O A K L A N D
Learning today. Transforming tomorrow.
These materials were developed under grant awarded by United Way of Southeastern Michigan
and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.
Oakland Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion,
height, weight, marital status, sexual orientation (subject to the limits of applicable law), age,
genetic information, or disability in its programs, services, activities or employment opportunities.
Inquiries related to employment discrimination should be directed to the Director of Human
Resources at 248.209.2059, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI 48328-2736. For all other
inquiries related to discrimination, contact the Director of Legal Affairs at 248.209.2062, 2111
Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI 48328-2736.
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