Themes are not my favorite thing in the world. It’s always so frustrating when that perfect book doesn’t come in on time for the colors themed week or you get a bunch of books on one topic and don’t really love any of them. It isn’t always the most organized way to go, but I prefer to put a ton of great toddler books on a variety of topics and find common threads among them (many times it’s just librarians picks and no one cares one bit, honestly). Today I was in the mood to read Clip Clop by Nicola Smee. I also had Where’s Spot? on my shelf and thought “Dogs!’. Where’s Spot? is also a discovery, peek-a-boo type book so we played a scarf peek-a-boo game and our activity was all about discovery.
Our sort of craft “policy” in my library is to do only open ended art activities. For toddlers, the most “art” I ever really do is give them daubers and paper or finger paint. But I do like to do a lot of open ended activities like this one. I hid flat-ish plastic objects in trays of rice so they could dig around for things, sort items out of the rice trays in to clean trays, or just finger paint in the rice. Every kid did something different, but the best part was how much the parents talked to the kids about what they were doing. I heard lots of “Oh, you found an apple!” or “Looks like something red. It’s a round button!” And everyone wanted to do it at home. Just EXACTLY what we want them to do!
Here’s the before and after on one part of a table. Things “hidden” on the red tray and things uncovered on the yellow tray. Lots of fun and it just requires a vacuum for clean up. I’ll even save the rice for future sessions so it’s cheap, too.