30 Days of Play | Toddler Home Learning

After I posted the first instalment of my home ed timetable of things I do with Eloise, some of you asked me what I do with Lily. Because Lily is only 2 we don’t really have a timetable as such or at least not one quite as jam-packed as Eloise’s and a lot of our activities are just doing jigsaws or playing with whatever toys she fancies that day.  That being said, I do plan some of the more complex activities like tuff tray spots, play trays and sensory things.

This month I’ve incorporated something new and adding in Play Hooray’s light and dark theme. If you have a toddler and you’re not following Play Hooray then what are you doing with your life, haha? I find so many fun ideas for activities for Lily through her page and it’s so brilliant for those days when you’re lacking inspiration! Genuinely love this ladies page so much!

Day 1

Firework Painting – I found this idea through Mrs Mactivity’s Instagram, if you’ve followed my blog a while then you might remember I reviewed their website at the start of the year and since then LOADS more resources have been added! Anyway, Lily loves paints and all this activity requires was some toilet roll tubes, some paint, and some paper! Simple! This activity then branched out into accidentally letter recognition when Lily painted an “i” and so we did lots of other i’s as well as some l’s too. Also lots of handprints and arm painting, haha!

Chocolate Finger sparklers – This was an idea from Play Hooray, another simple but yummy one! We just dipped out chocolate fingers in some warm water to melt the chocolate a bit then dipped them in an assortment of sprinkles! The kids particularly loved this one because they got to eat some of the leftover sprinkles.

Actual sparklers – Bonfire night calls for sparklers when you’re little. I don’t like fireworks in gardens so we always just go for sparklers and this year we tried the carrot trick to make it so Lily could hold her own for the very first time. She liked them although she did try setting fire to her Halloween pumpkin though, haha.

Day 2

Letter recognition – Just a simple pencil and paper along with some plastic letters from her VTech bus. Nothing fancy but she loves doing this.

Day 3

Visiting Family – We went to see my Mum and Grandma which Lily always loves, she got to run around the massive garden and interact with various hundred animals. I say a hundred but really it’s just horses, goats, chickens, cats, dogs and a tortoise. She played football, threw balls for the dogs, kicked up leaves and just had a whale of a time.

Day 4

Letter recognition – Lily loves letters so we did a bit of letter recognition first, she is absolutely soaking everything up and can recognise a small collection of letters already which is mad because I hadn’t planned to start any of this stuff for a while yet.

Farmyard invitation to play – I put together this little tray of bits and left her to play with it any way she chose without suggesting anything and just letting her imagination steer the play.

Play-Doh expressions – I printed off a sheet from Mrs Mactivity and popped it into a plastic wipe clean pouch. Lily first showed an interest in expressions about this time last year and has been fascinated ever since and will draw various different facial expressions every day but I thought I’d mix things up a bit and have her make them with Play-Doh instead.

Bird feeders – Lily loves threading things so we thought instead of threading Cheerios onto spaghetti we would thread them onto a ribbon and hung them up in the garden for the birds. Eloise joined in with this too and they both loved it and Lily insisted on making 2 so the birds near us aren’t starving any time soon

Day 5

Poppy paintings –  Remembrance Day is this month we made poppies out of paper plates. Super simple and Lily loved it, I bought a bit pack of paper plates because there are so many crafty things you can do with them!

Bird feeders take 2 – Lily loved making the cheerio bird feeders so much we made some more using empty orange peels and filling them with a mixture of lard and bird seed. Then cheerios to decorate of course.

Day 6

Hedgehog house building – This was part of Eloise’s home ed timetable this month but Lily joined in. She found lots of leaves and small twigs to put on it! She also climbed on fallen tree trunks, tried to get the chickens to take her as one of their own and kicked a ball around a pitch of autumn leaves.

Day 7

All Things Wild – We visited All Things Wild which is basically one of Lily’s favourite places. On this visit, she rode the Dino Train which just so happens to be pulled by a tractor so she was in her element there, she did some crayon rubbings, walked with wallabies on The Outback Trail, rode go-carts, stroked a guinea pig and a pygmy goat, kissed a T-Rex, played football, tested out her balancing skills on the stepping stones, went in a big helicopter, a digger, a car, played in the sand and built LOADS of sandcastles, sat in a tractor, marvelled at ducks, high-fived a monkey through the glass and conned us into buying her a shark toy in the gift shop.

Day 8

Cinema trip – Our local cinema has Toddler Time screenings just for little ones and we have taken Lily before and she loved it. This time we went to see Room on the Broom and Lily was absolutely transfixed. Before the screening, she joined in with the themed colouring in the little cafe too. This also tied in with the Play Hooray light & dark theme this month because Lily loved it when the cinema went dark before the film started!

Day 9

TotBag activity 1 – Lily had great fun making the spooky spider from her TotBox. She collected the sticks she needed yesterday and helped weave the wool around them to create the web. She loved sticking on the spider’s eyes the best!

Bubble wrap invitation to play – I had a delivery that was packed full of the massive bubble wrap so I lay a huge piece along our hallway and Lily had great fun running and jumping on it shouting “pop pop pop”. I made sure she was barefoot so she could really get the feel of the bubbles under her feet.

Letter recognition – Lily has a wipe clean book of dot to dot letters that she loves doing. She instigated this activity by grabbing the book and pen herself and practising the letters “c” and “d”.

Imaginative invitation to play – As well as the bubble wrap we ended up with a gigantic box which I hauled into the living room. Both girls played shops in there and Lily absolutely loved it. Boxes are always the best toys.

Day 10

Baking – Today we used our Messy Me baking set to make some festive cookies! Lily loves rolling and cutting the dough although she slacked a bit when we covered them in chocolate and just ate 90% of the sprinkles whilst I did that bit, haha!

Light exploration – This months Play Hooray theme is light and dark so we used a box I got some blogger mail in and made a den. I filled it with glow sticks, flashing coloured battery powered tea lights, fibre optic bits and bobs and glow in the dark stars along with anything remotely sparkly or shiny. We turned the light off and Lily was instantly amazed by all the different colours!

Letter Recognition – Lily found a worksheet I had printed out and said “ah, ah for apple” completely unprompted so we had some impromptu letter play. She loves forming letters in her wipe clean books following the dotted lines so none of it is actual work, she just loves a dry wipe pen.

Day 11

Letter to Father Christmas – Today we did Christmas lists, Lily did some lovely painting on hers and wrote her own name (with some dot help from me). She asked for some books, a dolly, a baby shark and some sand. Not sure where Father Christmas is going to find a sack big enough to fit a baby shark in but there we go. I love her little list.

TotBox – Lily completed the last two activities in her Totbox today, she made a Leafy Light Catcher and had great fun wrapping lots of brightly coloured wool around some lovely cardboard leaves which are now hung in our window.

Day 12

Planted a tree – I bought a little wild cherry tree sapling from The Woodland Trust and incorporated it into this month’s home ed timetable for Eloise but naturally, Lily wanted to join in so she helped dig the hole and protect the little sapling with a tube and a stick. Everybody should do this, it’s a great way to not only help the environment but also to get the importance of trees instilled into children at a young age! She spent the rest of her time running around the garden and fields after chickens, goats, horses, dogs, etc.

Day 13

Play-Doh name recognition – Lily absolutely loves Play-Doh so anything that involves a tub always grabs her attention. I have some little wooden letters and used them as stamps to write her name in the Play-Doh. She loved stamping letters on it and sounded them out whilst doing so.

Nature rainbow – I got this idea from someone on Instagram but can’t remember who but we went on a walk to collect some leaves and then made a collage rainbow out of them. We sorted them into colour groups and counted them as we stuck them on the paper.

Day 14

Invitation to play trays – I have started creating little play trays for Lily which I will do a more in-depth post on but at the moment we have a nocturnal animal play tray filled with glow in the dark stars, various nocturnal animals and a dark blue silk scarf and a nature play tray which is filled with a green silk scarf, a small log, leaves and a small pumpkin. She loves these and they are great learning prompts! Today we filled one with water and one with Zimpli Kids Baff Slime and sprinkled some tiny elastic bands in both. I gave Lily a straw to hook out the bands. Great for fine motor skills as well as colour sorting!

Day 15

Glittery nature wands – Ever since Halloween, and even more so since we saw Room on the Broom at the cinema, Lily has been fascinated with witches and dragons so we decided to make our very own wands today. We collected some good wand sticks on a walk not long ago and we used lots of different glitters and confetti and PVA glue to cover the sticks in sparkles and a pom pom on the end, obviously.

Day 16

Baked currant buns – Because it’s World Nursery Rhyme Week this week I wasn’t to do at least one themed activity so me and Lily (and Eloise) made some currant buns. I try and do quite a lot of activities that are very sensory, particularly messy ones because Lily can be quite hesitant to really get stuck into messy things so I try and encourage it as much as I can. She loved kneading the dough and putting the cherries on top. We used the Peter Rabbit English Currant Bun recipe for the buns if anyone was wondering. We also did some colouring sheets from Mrs Mactivity whilst the dough was rising.

Invitation to play tray – I switched up her trays last night so her nature one has a few different bits in and I made up a whole new one for her to pour and tip things. I made a little construction type set up with diggers and tractors which a base made from popping corn, oats and pasta. This has got to be her favourite one yet and she sat playing for near 2 hours solidly just tipping and pouring and sorting.

Day 17

Straw blowing art – This was a last minute activity because most of the day was spent helping Eloise write letters to various people about deforestation but more on that in my Home Ed Timetable post. Anyway, this is a pretty simple and quite activity, water down a bit of paint, piece of paper and a staw then the jobs a good ‘un. Lily loved this and it’s a great way to help develop their fine motor skills. She found blowing down the straw quite tricky as the ones we have are the bigger kind so it took a bit of puffing to get the paint moving!

Felt Christmas tree decorating – I bought a felt Christmas tree off eBay which comes with little decorations that velcro on and Lily bloody loves it! They can take them on and off as many times as they like and hopefully, stay away from the real Christmas tree, haha,

Day 18

Name rockets – I found this idea on Pinterest and the idea is you cut different coloured paper squares and write each letter of the child’s name on each of them and get them to stick them down in order. Finish up with some details like glittery stars and voila! Great for name and letter recognition, we have Lily’s stuck up on her board.

Hedgehog Play Tray – Earlier this month we built a hedgehog house and to follow on with that theme I updated her play trays with a hedgehog themed one. I dug out a couple of themed books and our Holztiger hedgehog and some other bits and pieces and let her independently play.

Clay play – To follow on from our hedgehog theme, we made our very own hedgehogs out of clay and penne pasta for the spikes. Lily loved sticking the pasts into the clay so much!

Day 19

Name recognition – We have a dry wipe board thing with her name on that she absolutely loves playing with. All it is is a piece of laminated paper with her name in dots. Simple, but it’s one of her favourite things at the moment.

Open-ended play – We rearranged our bookshelf so the bottom three shelves are Lily’s. Well, bottom 4 really but the top one is full of her home learning bits and pieces and a folder full of her paintings and letter formations. Anyway, the bottom three are hers with one being for open-ended toys. At the moment we have the Grimms 12 piece rainbow and mushrooms as well as her favourite books so they’re easy for her to find.

Day 20

Put the Christmas Tree up – Lily and Eloise decorated 90% of the Christmas tree this year all by themselves. This has led to a very bottom heavy tree with about 9 decorations on one branch but the fact they did it themselves makes it the best tree ever. The lights made for great sensory exploration, again tying in with the Play Hooray theme for November.

Day 21

Cooking Dinner – We didn’t really do anything particularly structured today but Lily did help me cook Carbonara. She broke the spaghetti up and put in into the pan and touched all the utensils (while they were cold obvs) and gave some herbs and spices a sniff.

Imaginative Play – The past week or so Lily has really been getting into role-playing with her toys. Mainly her little plastic animals and stuffed toys but it’s so cute watching her do it as well as have us join in!

Day 22

Mud + Bloom box activity – Eloise got sent this months Mud + Bloom box for me to review and today we did one of the activities! We used some of the pinecones Lily collected on a forest walk with her Daddy to make a little owl.

Day 23

Clay Painting – Lily’s hedgehog finally dried so she painted it various shades of pink, orange and blue. The pasta made it a bit more of a challenge to paint and she figured out that using different sized brushes helped her getting into the nooks and crannies!

Day 24

Christmas decoration exploration – Good old B&Q with their masses of trees and lights, Lily loved looking through the maze of pretty lights and festive characters. I feel like this is a bit of a cop-out but to a 2-year-old all of this is new and she loved it so much. We actually went in to grab some bits so we could get started on the painting around the house.

Drawing – I spent the afternoon painting whilst Lily napped (or refused to nap I should say) so we didn’t do any particularly interesting other than some drawing together, Lily drew a spider and her Daddy holding her.

Day 25

Water play – Whilst I was staining some wooden toys with food colouring I set up a play space for Lily with a twirly pipette and some cups of coloured water. This is so simple but amazing for fine motor skills, colour recognition and colour mixing.

Day 26

Baking – Today we made some mince pies! Using out Messy Me star cutters and apron again! The girls cut all the shapes out and mixed the mince and satsumas and they taste amazing although Lily refused to eat one after all her hard work, haha!

Snow Play – Well, not real snow of course although we are forecast some later this week! We used the Zimpli Kids SnowBall Play which both girls loved! It’s such a strange texture but rolls into balls just like snow so this would be great for snowball fights but I wasn’t brave enough to let them do that in the house, haha!

Play Trays – I mixed up her play trays again today, I’ve kept her nature one but I’ve made her popcorn tray a bit more interesting by adding more tools and some lentils for a bit of sensory texture. The other one I used an old maple syrup jar and some pasta to make a fine motor skills activity using tweezers to post the pasta through the top of the jar.

Day 27

Woodland walk – We live super close to a gorgeous little woodland and Lily loves walking around there. Today the fact I know The Gruffalo off by heart came in handy because we found Snake’s log pile house as well as Fox’s underground house. Lily also spotted the Gruffalo and we all had to run away from him with her. We also made a snaiol friend, briefly went on a bear hunt to get through some mud and collected some leaves and bits of fallen fir tree for our nature crafts. This was a brilliant walk and reciting The Gruffalo all the way round (multiple times, haha) really got Lily’s imagination flowing.

Day 28

Making Cheesecake – We had tickets for Gruffalo workshop for toddlers today but turns out people are dicks and they scammed a bunch of Mums with toddlers so we made a lime cheesecake instead. Lots of contrasting sensory input with the icing sugar and lime combo.

Day 29

Play-Doh Play – Lily has a Play-Doh advent calendar this year (highly recommend by the way) and she is loving all her new stamps and cutters!

Day 30

Planting daffodils – I’m hoping I’m not too late with this one this year but we took to the gardens and planted a tonne of bulbs in the hope we have some very brightly coloured borders come the Spring!

Lily’s favourite books this month:

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

So that’s what our home learning and play activities looked like this month! I hope you enjoyed reading the things Lily got up to as much as I’ve enjoyed recording all the fun things we did! I know I will love looking back in a few years time!

What have you got up to this month with your little ones?

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