Many would describe toddlers as terrible, trying, impatient, busy, curious, picky and emotional! While at times those descriptions may be true…toddlerhood (ages 1-3) is all about being curious and becoming independent. It includes a colorful set of changes (especially emotionally) that differ from any other time in life. In order to fully understand the roller coaster range of abilities and emotions these little people experience, we need to put ourselves in their shoes. The lesson and activities in this unit hopefully give your students better insight as to why these little people react the way they do during this challenging, but fun phase of life!
- Begin with this fun Toddler Simulation–Paper Plate Drawing Activity (see sample below): Give each student a paper plate and a marker. Have students place the paper plate on their head. Ask students to draw on their paper plates (which are on their heads) without looking. Here are the instructions:
- Draw a line for the ground
- Draw a house with a roof; add shingles, chimney and smoke if desired
- Draw a door on your house and add a door know to your door
- Draw two windows on your house
- Draw a tree beside your house; add flowers and a fence if desired
- Draw a dog beside the tree
- After the six steps have been given, let everyone look at their plates. Have students count up the number of points they received by following this rubric:
- 2 points if the house touches the ground
- 2 points if the tree i is touching the ground
- 1 point each if the door and windows are actually on the house
- 1 point if the door knob is actually on the door
- 1 point for every detail on the roof: shingles, chimney, smoke
- 2 points if the dog is actually beside the tree
- 1 point if you actually drew flowers
- 2 points if you actually drew a fence after all safety is important
- Paper Plates
- Discuss the points earned and deem someone a winner! Ask students to describe what they wanted to do, what they were trying to do versus what actually happened and their reactions. Most will tell you that it was frustrating! And that is the point because that is similar to what toddlers’ experience as they are trying to development into independent little people. What they “want” to do or are “trying” to do doesn’t always happen they way they want it to!
- For a concluding activity, students will explain the quote “walk a mile in my shoes” and how it applies to toddlers. The length of the response should be “as long as it needs to be” to fully explain and apply it to toddlers.
- If time permits, here’s a fun little optional video illustrating toddler rules and behavior.
- Stay tuned for more on toddlers next week!