Rainy day activities for toddlers

It’s spring. It’s raining. You have at least one small child with “spring fever.” What do you do?

Make a book

Please note: This activity requires preparation. I keep these supplies on hand and wait for the right opportunity to present them.

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Supplies:

¯A blank cardboard book. I found them online via a basic search. Stores in the area that offer craft supplies may also have them.

¯Crayons, markers and colored pencils. Choose whatever medium both you and your child are most comfortable using.

¯A permanent marker for adult use only.

¯Magazines, newspapers and old pictures – prepare to cut!

¯Glue.

¯Lamination sheets.

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William loves trains and trucks.

At just over two-and-a-half years old, I wanted to make an effort to introduce William to word association and prepositions.

I based our book idea on his interests and my goals.

To begin, since I have access to a computer and color printing, I found clip art available in my word document program.

I made the size of each page the same dimensions as the cardboard book so the images would not become too large.

The images I selected were trains, tracks, tunnels and bridges. Using pictures saved on my computer, I cut out the heads of family members William is very familiar with.

If you do not have access to a computer or pictures, use magazines or old newspapers. There is no limit to what you can add to your book.

To keep William thoroughly involved in making this book, I decided that all other scenery would be created with crayons. In the future, I’d love to incorporate other mediums like felt, ribbon and glitter glue.

For each page, I confirmed with William who should be in the train and where the train should be going — I’ve learned that if I do not ask, whatever it is I do will be wrong and the toddler’s entire day is ruined.

For example, my questions to William went like this: “Should the train go on the grass? Should we add tracks? Would you like Aunt Laura to be in this train?”

Then, I encouraged him to color parts of the scenery. Whatever color he chooses is fine, even if it is yellow for grass and purple for part of the sky.

After the page was finished, I wrote a simple sentence.

On one page, the train was going up the hill and a photo of William’s cousin Josie was in the train: “Josie went up the hill.”

After reading the book with him a few times, William should be able to associate “train,” “up,” and “Josie” with each page. If he doesn’t, we will still have a book to enjoy together.

When the book is complete, cover each page with a sheet of laminating paper to ensure durability.

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Make a snack

Seasoned pretzels involve transferring pretzels from one bag to another, dumping a packet and shaking a bag — all toddlers will approve.

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Ingredients and supplies:

¯¢ cup canola oil

¯Packet of ranch dressing mix

¯Garlic powder to taste (plus any other spices you like)

¯1-pound bag of pretzels – sticks or twists

¯Empty bag or bowl

¯Baking sheet

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Have your toddler place all ingredients into a large bag or bowl. Seal the bag and shake it until pretzels are evenly coated with oil and seasoning. If you chose to use a bowl, let your toddler stir for a little bit, then help stir.

Spread the pretzels onto a baking sheet and place in a 270-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Once the pretzels are cool, your toddler can help scoop them into an airtight container or bag for storage.

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Katy DiVirgilius is a correspondent for Juniata Valley Family.