Colored Chalk

Being a parent in this technological age can be challenging. The temptation to pop your little one in front of the television or hand them an iPad to use for an hour is strong. But the benefits of spending time creating together far outweigh the ease of simply distracting them with technology. And the wonder, experimentation and growth that you’ll watch unfold before your eyes as they take on a craft or project is an invaluable experience. Here are some of our favorite projects to inspire, excite and invigorate your little one. Chances are, you’ll enjoy these activities just as much as they will.


Encourage your child to learn how to identify and make different sounds. Play musical instruments with them and listen to your favorite songs together. Try your hand at making homemade instruments. Fill empty glass bottles or vases with water and ask your child to gently tap each glass with a wooden cooking spoon to hear the differences in tone. If you’re brave and your walls are thick, do the same with pots and pans.

Cognitive Skills

Building blocks and Lego’s still very much have their place in the world of play, which is wonderful. These toys encourage cognitive growth, test spatial abilities and help children exercise their creative muscles. Let your child explore both free play with Lego’s and building blocks as well as more structured play that encourages them to try to recreate shapes and designs. Ask them what they’re building and ask questions about the stories they share. Consider encouraging them to recreate a structure you saw earlier in the day while with them to test memory and recognition skills.

Touch and Sight

These projects are especially beneficial for toddlers who are learning to navigate the world around them, but, of course, can and should extend to older children.

  • Roll Play-Doh into balls and have your toddler press down on the balls until they’re flat (fine motor skills)
  • Go outside, finger paints (or use sidewalk chalk) and get a little messy
  • Make chores fun: Teach them to lather soap for dishwashing and listen to the rustle of the broom as it moves through the leaves when sweeping
  • Experiment with light while making shadow puppets on the wall
  • Use all-natural dye (beet juice, raspberries, pomegranates) to tie dye shirts


Spend time in the kitchen, exploring the different herbs, spices and seasonings you cook with. Teach your child how to smell and identify the differences. Show your little one how everything smells when dry and the difference when applied to a recipe.


After your above experience enjoying the smells of the kitchen, let your child taste the foods made with the ingredients. If you have a garden ask your child to sample and pick the foods in the garden. Encouraging your child to associate smells with foods and, thus, creating a holistic experience around eating may also help deter ‘picky eater syndrome’ as they grow.
What kinds of activities do you and your little one enjoy? Share pictures with us on our Facebook Page.

Carmel Mountain Preschool provides a safe and caring environment with hands-on, developmentally-appropriate programs for children. We also offer excellent care for elementary school-age students with our before and after school programs. CMP is located at 9510 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego CA 92129, situated between 4S Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Carmel Valley, and Santaluz For more information, please visit our website or contact us at 858.484.4877.