I have so many things to blog about and ideas to share that I am just now getting around to our toddler class’ shape for December, which was predictably the star. (My new full-time job is a little bit of a distraction too… in a good way!) Anyway, as with our other shapes of the month, it is all about fun and learning through play. Here are 4 things we did with stars in addition to all our other Christmas activities.
1. Painting with Star Cookie Cutters: Anything with paint is bound to be a lot of fun for toddlers, as this was. This can, of course, be adapted for any shape, season, or subject, as long as you have the cookie cutter.
We had 2 different sized and colored star cookie cutters, so we definitely incorporated some vocabulary (big vs. small) and color learning too. The colors of the cookie cutters matched the colors of the paint, which made it even more fun to mix them together on our papers.
No, not every star was recognizable on our papers, but it was definitely a fun activity that the kids really got into!
Some of them wanted their hands cleaned after they had done a few stars, and other children could have sat there for hours and kept playing in the paint.
These beautiful collages ended up going in our portfolios as our “shape of the month” page.
2. Star Stickers: This took practically no time at all, which was perfect for toddler attention spans. This was an activity for our alphabet book (coming soon!), which I try to make pretty simple. I had die cut several stars on construction paper, so the children got to glue those down on their papers. Then they got to play with star stickers. It’s always interesting to see the reactions of children just being introduced to stickers. There are those who tear them, stick them to everything, and pick them off the paper as soon as they’re stuck down. Most of them I had to help, but they were all very interested, and some of them even worked at getting the stickers off the sticker sheet. (Yay for fine motor skills!)
3. Water Play with a Star: I can’t really take credit for this activity – we randomly found this star on our playground one day, and we just ran with it! December was actually a pretty warm month for us (as evidenced by the short sleeves), so we played with water outside. (This would be so fun for snow too though!)
It seems like it’s a sandbox mold? Anyway, we had been practicing pouring water for several months, so the learning continued as we talked about this smiling star and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
The kids loved when I poured water onto the star from high above.
This also came in handy when we played with dirt and mulch!
4. Magic Scratch Stars: Just like our magic scratch hearts we did at Valentines Day, I had these stars that the toddlers were delighted to color.
I got these from Oriental Trading Co, but I think this kind of paper is available at craft stores for you to cut into whatever shape you want.
This is not just fine motor practice; it is definitely writing skills being developed! Just look at the finger grip here!
In addition to reading books about shapes (including stars) and dropping star shapes into shape-sorter holes, which I’ve not pictured in this blog post, there are a few other ideas I would love to incorporate into future star studies for toddlers, as time allows:
- make stars with play dough (using cookie cutters again)
- look at and touch starfish
- put students’ pictures inside star shapes for display
- have a “star parade” with students carrying stars and/or their star-shaped pictures on popsicle sticks