I do want to point that these works accompanied our Africa themed printables – all of which are linked at the bottom of this post. These were ‘inspired’ by Africa (a large continent with a rich history and just tons of topics to cover) and were a very fun and simple way to start delving into the topic with my toddler.
Washing a lion
Spooning wooden beads and shells
To be real here, Mr. Toddler loves spooning and really doesn’t care whether I am using wooden beads and seashells to represent some of the bountiful natural resources in Africa. However, the themed spooning work is for me- to catch his interest and keep our materials organised.
If he were older (3-4 ish), I would include a description or explanation. Now, I did not. When we revisit this theme (which we will because we both enjoyed it very much), I will additionally make pre-reading or 3 part cards using natural resources found in Africa. He’s just too young to really make the connection in my opinion.
Mr. Toddler got to explore assorted spices that are commonly used in various African dishes. I picked here a few that we already had on hand (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves), but of course, you can use whatever you have. There is a great diversity in the types of dishes that are prepared in each region so this is quite easy to set up.
Predictably with Mr. Toddler, he chose to make this a pouring and mixing work after he was finished being patient with me while I named each spice and let him smell it.
Mr. Toddler usually helps me to prepare my own spice mixes when I am cooking. He always mixes them and puts them into one large bowl. That is why I should have known that he would mix them all together in this work. This is the basis for a pumpkin pie spice though (except that we use ground cloves).
Kitchen practical life
Mortal and pestle
We made colourful patterns. The inspiration for this work was the colourful bead work of the Maasai tribe (by the way, I have a few photos related to this in my Africa themed pre-reading cards printable pack!)
Digging for diamonds
Again, this was inspired by the natural resources available, but was really just targeting Mr. Toddler’s fine motor skills. The bowl on the right is for the diamonds he dug out of the ‘ground’ (black play dough).
All he did was play on it (banging at his will) but music is music! I danced while he played. Yep, I so shamelessly dance around the living room while my kid sings or pretends he’s playing a drum (banging on a pot), or this case, is playing an actual drum. Good times folks!
Exploring animals of Africa
First, I simply let him use the magnifying glass and look at the animals. We eventually moved onto making footprints in green play dough, and then used my African animal 3 part cards to match the animal figurines to the cards.
Matching baby and mommy animals
Making giraffe bracelets
Sorting beads by size
Sorting beads by type
We’ve had this elephant for about a year and have had it out during play time every now and again since I purchased it. This time, Mr. Toddler was not interested in it. At all. And didn’t touch this work once. He hasn’t mastered lacing yet, but just wasn’t drawn to it. I think it does better as a free play activity so that’s what we’ll be doing in the future.