Things That Go Baby Learning Activities
If it were up to my son all we would do is play with bulldozers and diggers so I wanted to organize his books, toys, puzzles, etc… to make sure every one was getting some love, not just his trucks and thats how my learning bins were created. However, it wouldn’t be fair unless we dedicated a bin to all his Things That Go. You can pick and choose activities for your little one that feel right for them right now. I started collecting things for this bin around 12 months of age and have continued to add to keep things fresh for my now 21 month old. You could easily stretch these activities throughout a whole week, sometimes we will spend 2-3 days slowly working through these books and activities and of course playing trucks all day!! Lets take a closer look at our bin!
I realized I have a TON of puzzles for this bin. Did you know that puzzles help the brain produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. The benefits of this include a positive mood, better concentration, improved memory, and good motor skills. Puzzles help our little one with hand eye coordination, problem solving techniques, critical thinking, remembering, matching, and sorting. The positive effects of doing puzzles with your little one are huge and their fun. They really help build self esteem. I know when Connor finds a match, he gets so excited, we cheer, clap, and do our happy dance! Puzzles don’t have to be that traditional ones, there are many simple ones you can make. Let’s look at a few we use.
These were the very first puzzles I tried with Connor around 13 months and I was shocked at how well he did. He could not fit them together but he would hand me the matching pieces. All I did was print, laminate, and cut them in half. To start I would only put 2-3 pieces down at a time. Talk to him about them first to show him what he was suppose to do with all these pieces, “look how this one is red and this one is red, maybe their a match, Yes, it’s a firetruck.” Then I would help him put them together at his ability increased and I would add more pieces at a time. You can get a free copy here from: Royal Baloo
These are another great matching puzzle. Same concept just lay a few down at a time and slowly build. The last picture is Connor at 21 months putting them together, so you can see we still have so work to do but he’s improving. I got these for free here at: Mamas Learning Corner
I’ve actually printed and made the animal and fruits/veggies one from there too! I just print, laminate, and cut. So simple.
You can also make your own puzzles from flash cards or you can buy ones from Dollar Tree and just cut them in half in different ways.
These two are Melissa and Doug. The first one is chunky, which is great for little hands, it is very easy for Connor to get the pieces in and out. He also likes standing them up right and moving them around making truck noises so we use them often in our play. The second is great also because it has pegs so that helps make it easy to get the pieces in and out. We also use this one for a matching game I’m going to talk about late in my post. Both are a great option for a more tradition puzzle. You can get them here:
The chunky one is great for little hands.
The pegs also make it easy to get the pieces in and out.
Melissa and Doug also have these that are on my wishlist for our”Things That Go” collection. Click on the picture of the puzzle to purchase.
I just purchased these and REALLY love them. They are sturdy and easy to put together and they were not expensive as some of the other ones are which is why I choose to make my own in the first place. Connor has been matching well but I really wanted something stronger than just two flimsy pieces of paper for him to actually put a piece together and there certainly have done it. They have many different ones and I plan on purchasing more. There are a lot in the box so at 21 months I only put out 4-5 but he really enjoys these. I’ve linked them here if you want to purchase a set.
When I first got started with learning activities it was all about matching, making that connection of two objects. Now matching is life here at the Donaldson Home. Connor will be reading a book and we will see a concrete mixer and he’ll stop to run to go get his mixer and bring it back. This happens all the time now, when we driving and sees something to when we are working the yard, he’s always matching things, making those connections and I have to say, it’s very exciting. Here is how we started out.
These flash cards are amazing! They are big, sturdy, touch and feel and have REAL pictures. I believe we own each set. I started out with these and would place 3 toys around Connor and hand him one flash card at a time to match with his toys. This practice went on for a long time and then we started adding, magnets, puzzle pieces, you name it. Now he matches everything.
These are study, touch and feel, and the best part they have REAL pictures, which is so hard to find in flash cards.
As time went on and his ability increase I would start adding more things to match. This puzzle piece, this magnet, and this flash card are all a bus or car. I would keep handing him things and he would put it in the correct category.
Or he would sort all of his toys. For example: These are all of his garbage trucks, so I’d hand him a truck and he’d put it with the rest of his other ones. He also calls the big ones “mama” and the little ones “baby” just kinda starting that big small relationship there.
Another way you can sort or match is by using magnets. We LOVE magnets. We use them to match with our toys and when we are reading our books. This Things that Go book pairs really well with Melissa and Doug’s Magnets. In fact, you don’t really need any other book, this one has EVERYTHING! and even if you only did the book and set of magnets you would have everything you need to learn 20 different vehicles.
1. Matching magnets and toys
2. Matching magnets in book (the limo)
3. Matching our self made puzzle piece with the book tow truck
The things that go book is amazing and we have several in the series. I love it because it has real pictures. There are a lot on each page and was worried it would be over whelming but it hasn’t been for him. I feel you get a lot of pictures and things to talk about with these books.
This is our go to book for all Things that go
We have a lot of coloring books so I just like to make sure they get their rotation as well. So when we are working in this bin I will pull out all of our vehicle coloring books and we just sit together and color, talking about the vehicles and the colors of the crayons.
Connor has just started using Dot Markers and they are such a blast. I got these free dot printable here from: Gift of Curiosity
I printed a bunch off at once and pull one or two out whenever we work in this bin for him to complete. He loves them!
I hope that you can take some of these ideas and put your own twist on them or just share them as is with your little one! I wanted to mention the sensory bin of black beans would be great for vehicle play as well!
Let me know if there is anything else I should add to our bin! Thanks!