Language is perhaps the greatest resource we can share with babies and young children. Activities for infants and toddlers that focus on talking, storytelling, and reading are essential to the development of young minds. Within the first three years of life, children are constantly forming connections and building their minds in all areas. Being read aloud to helps jumpstart this developmental process. The ability to use spoken language to establish the cognitive, social-emotional, and even physical development of a child is an important skill for teachers to have.
Reading aloud to babies and toddlers is such a simple task that, often, it slips the minds of teachers. Many wonder how to incorporate reading aloud into their toddler classroom activities. However, reading aloud is seen, by many educators, as a comfortable and easy way to introduce the basics of early communication to infants and toddlers. Preschool activities that create a positive association with reading within young children are key to fostering this love for literacy.
Full of infant activities and toddler activities Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r-s for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos Experiences, Activities, and Games for Popular Children's Books, is a wonderful teacher resource for impactful activities that will make your little learners understand just how important and fun reading can be.
Here are some story time activities for infants and toddlers to try in your classroom!
The Itsy-Bitsy Spider by Rosemary Wells
Rosemary Wells illustrates this classic children’s rhyme with a curious duck that has delightful facial expressions. Learning about the rain and sunshine and wet and dry are added benefits of the enjoyable, musical rhyme.
Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r: Movement
- No special materials needed
- Demonstrate the hand motions that go with the poem.
- Help the child move his hands as you sing the rhyme.
Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r: Sensory
Watch the Rain
- A rainy day
- If you have a covered area outside, take the children there.
- Talk to them about what is happening to the bugs, flowers, grass, walkway, trees, and other things that they can see.
- Talk about the wonderful rain and all the good things it does. If you do not have a covered area, sit by a window with one of two children and watch the rain.
- Sometimes it’s nice to watch the rain and just listen to the sounds the rain makes.
Something to Think About:
The more senses involved in an activity, the easier it is to remember. That is the basic reason behind all the “hand rhymes.” Children like to move their hands while you recite poetry. When they watch the rain, they can move their fingers up and down like the rain.
Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
A host of costumed animals combined with a merry bunch of children make this a delightful book. The rhyming story is prefect for an action-packed story time any time the book is read. The illustrations are so realistic and lively they almost jump off the page.
Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r: Language
- A surprise such as a small toddler-safe toy or a silly picture of a costumed animal
- Whisper in one child’s ear.
- See if the child can whisper also.
- Whisper in her ear, “I have a surprise!”
- See if the child can follow a simple direction you whisper. (“Look behind the bookshelf. There’s a surprise waiting there.”)
Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r: Music
Dance the Story to Music
- Lively instrumental
- Recorded music
- After the children are familiar with the book and have demonstrated the various movements on the pages, suggest you “dance” the book.
- Play recorded music and read the book, letting the child act out the motions to the music.
- The more children participating in this, the more fun.
Something to Think About:
Toddlers love demonstrating their new physical skills. And they also love being active and being silly. This is a rather long action story so you may need to read only a few pages at one sitting. Take your cues from the group who is listening to the story. Be alert to their interest in the story.