Balls! Activity • Thursday
INFANTS Balls are great toy for babies of all ages. Starting as early as 3 or 4 months of age,
babies can reach, touch, and play a simple back-and-forth game. As babies begin
sitting without support, their hands are free to hold and “throw” balls. In the second
year, babies begin to become active participants in interactive ball playing.

Younger babies:
• With the baby lying on her back, show a small
ball, 2 inches across.

• See if the baby is interested in holding the ball.

• During tummy time, place a few brightly
colored balls in front of the baby.

Teacher Tip
Because infants’
motor skills are still
emerging, be prepared
to be the catcher and the
retriever! • Encourage the baby to look and reach for the
balls. Older babies:
• Use a big, light ball that is easy for the baby to push.

• When a baby seems interested, invite her to sit near you.

• Gently push the ball towards the baby and then gently roll the ball back.

• An older baby will like throwing a ball but will need help in making it a back-and-
forth game.

• Narrate turn taking and the baby’s actions.

Documentation Videotape babies playing ball.

COGNITIVE Babies learn how to engage in shared activities
and watch balls move as a result of their
actions. Babies coordinate eye-hand coordination and
large muscles.

50 August’s PLAYbook
Supplies • Ball
Activity Instructions
Babies experience positive relationships and
participate in back-and-forth interactions.

Infant Materials

Tropical Birds
Small Group Activity • Thursday
TODDLERS Toddler Materials
Painting with unique materials broadens toddlers’ sensory and learning experiences.

Today’s activity uses feathers both for painting and for creating colorful tropical
birds. Teacher Prep
Supplies • Paint shirts
• Paper plates
• Feathers
• Paint
• Small containers
• Construction paper
(black, orange, and
multicolored) Prepare by cutting circles for eyes from black construction paper and triangles to
form beaks from orange construction paper. Pre-make tail feathers by cutting 6-inch
thin strips from multiple colors of construction paper. Fold the paper plates in half.

Find pictures of tropical birds including, parrots.

Activity Instructions
• Invite toddlers to put on paint shirts and
gather at the small group tables.

• Talk with toddlers about the colorful birds that
live in the jungle. Show them the photos.

• Let the toddlers know their birds will have
colorful feathers, too, and that instead of
using paintbrushes, today the toddlers will use
feathers to paint.

• Pass out messy trays and folded paper plates.

• Make available small bowls of paint and
feathers for painting.

Teacher Tip
Trading is an
emerging skill for toddlers.

The key is to let toddlers
remain in control of the
choice to trade. Make
suggestions like, “You could
ask Michaela to trade colors
by saying ‘trade Michaela?’”
In this way, both children
hear the suggestion but they
get to choose their actions.

• Once the toddlers have painted their parrots, pass out the eyes and beaks. Using
the wet paint as glue, encourage the toddlers to place the eyes on each side of the
fold and the beak at the end of the plate.

• Introduce the feathers. Using the wet paint as glue, let the toddlers place the
feathers all over their birds.

• Set the parrots aside to dry. Once they are dry, fold in half and attach the tail
feathers. Documentation
Display the birds on the counter and encourage the toddlers to tell their parents or
another adult about how they decorated their birds.

Toddlers practice working together in a group
setting, cooperating, and sharing materials.

Toddlers build muscles in hands and fingers
and develop fine-motor control working with
Toddlers hear and practice descriptive words to
talk about their birds.

COGNITIVE Toddlers learn about birds. 51