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Goodnight Moon Activities for Toddlers

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One of our favorite bedtime books is  Goodnight Moon by by Margaret Wise Brown.  We love it so much that we did an entire unit of play and learning activities based on the story when the twins and their buddies had just turned two- I thought I’d compile them here in one handy resource for anyone looking for Goodnight Moon activities for toddlers. There are three posts in the series and all are linked below; each post contains lots of activities, so be sure to check them all out!

Goodnight Moon activities for toddlers

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activity

First up is this super-versatile Goodnight Moon vocabulary activity.

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activity

The twins helped me create a few simple materials and we ended up with an activity that we were able to play with in different ways for almost an entire week!  There is also a gross-motor component that made it a great choice for active toddlers.

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities

Next up is a collection of Goodnight Moon light box/light panel activities that we did with our toddler group, including directions for making your own DIY light box and a super simple and beautiful starry night sensory bin.  This  collection of activities includes sensory, fine motor, and pre-literacy targets.

Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities

5 Goodnight Moon Toddler Activities

Finally, here is a post containing five more Goodnight Moon toddler activities including a salt excavation tray for fine motor and vocabulary development, a baked cotton ball balloon popping activity, a pair of mittens matching game, a counting/color matching game, and a pretend play prompt.

Five Goodnight Moon Toddler Activities

Extension Activities

A natural extension of Goodnight Moon is learning about the night sky. We recently explored this concept with a night sky mirror painting activity- click on the photo below to see the post- it was really magical!

 Painting the Night

My friend Shaunna over at Fantastic Fun and Learning put together an amazing night sky unit with lots of great activities for toddlers and preschoolers, and the post also includes the Discover & Explore themed linky which compiles even more activities for exploring the moon, stars, and night sky from a variety of great kid bloggers. Click on the photo below to see all the activities- you really must check out her night sky reading nook!

Night Sky Resources at Fantastic Fun and Learning

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5 Goodnight Moon Activities for Toddlers

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Hello friends!  Hope you have had a fabulous, fun-filled week! We have been busy with our Goodnight Moonactivities, and I have five new ones to share with you today. But first, a recap- just in case you missed any of our other playful Goodnight Moon posts.

On Monday, I shared our Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activity, a fun and active way for toddlers to practice the vocabulary from the book that is easily adapted to various ages and skill levels. There are also several extension activities included in the post.

On Wednesday, I followed with some Goodnight Moon Light Table Activities,  including a  super easy starry night sensory bin.

And today, to wrap up our Goodnight Moon series, I am sharing five additional activities that we did throughout the week last week.  Come play with us!

 

1. “Red Balloon” Baked Cotton Balls

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

One of the twins’ favorites this week was our “red balloon” baked cotton balls.  I saw this idea over at Play Create Explore and knew it would be right up their alley.  The day before our book club play date was miserably cold and rainy, so preparing these together was the perfect activity to distract my tots from the fact that we couldn’t go “owshide.”  Following Play Create Explore’s instructions, we mixed one cup flour and one cup water, added all the red food coloring we could find, dipped the cotton balls in the mixture, and baked them at 300° for about 40 minutes.

The flour mixture formed a hard, crunchy shell around the soft cotton ball, and we had a great time “popping” our red balloons with toy hammers (above left) or by simply stomping on them (above right).  Creating the balloons was a great sensory play experience, and smashing them provided both fine and gross motor practice and eye-hand coordination depending on the method.  There was also some problem solving involved as the kiddos figured out how to break open the balloons using different tools.  As with any new experience, this was also a fabulous language stimulation activity.

2.  “A Pair of Mittens” Matching

This activity was very simple to prepare and introduced my tots to sorting by two attributes- color and size.  We’ve got color matching down pat, so I wanted to add a second component to make it more challenging. Luckily, while I was brainstorming I received a box of goodies from Craft Project Ideas and discovered these felt hand stickers inside, which were perfect because the package contained large and small pairs of hands (“mittens”) in several different colors.

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

I set up the activity by finding an old file folder, opening it, and drawing a grid on each side.  I chose two pairs of hands, one large and one small, in three different colors for the activity. On the left side, I stuck one of each pair of small hands in the first column of the grid. On the right side, I did the same with the large hands, making sure to put the matching colors side by side (see photo above for clarification). That way, when the twins were making a match, they could find the correct color first and then be presented with the decision of “big” or “little” mitten instead of searching randomly all over the folder.  I don’t have pictures of them completing this activity but the added size component did make it more challenging for them, mostly because they had to stop and scan both choices instead of just matching the first correct color they saw – it was an exercise in impulse control as much as anything!  After a few attempts they were both able to complete the puzzle independently. In addition to sorting/matching by two attributes, this activity targets eye-hand coordination, focus and concentration, and visual scanning.  Quite a bit for an old file folder and some felt stickers!

3. “A Comb and a Brush” Vocabulary Hunt Salt Tray

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

After seeing these EZ Grip Paint Brushes in my CPI loot, I thought a salt tray excavation was just what the doctor ordered.  We had never tried salt trays before this activity, and they were a definite keeper! My little ones loved them and have requested them over and over.  This was another very simple activity to prepare; I printed more of the Goodnight Moon vocabulary pictures from Homeschool Creations, cut them apart, and taped them to the bottom of some of our tot trays.  Then I covered the bottom of each tray with a shallow layer of salt and gave them to the twins along with a paint brush.  At first they were content just to make marks in the salt, but they eventually discovered the hidden pictures and were very diligent about uncovering each one, showing it to me excitedly, and then carefully covering it up again.  I loved watching them with this activity, which targeted sensory exploration, vocabulary, and fine motor skills.

 

 4. “Three Little Bears, Sitting in Chairs” Counting and Color

       Matching with Manipulatives

This exercise was a fun mix of guided activity and open-ended play.  Since both of my tots have shown a great interest in “counting” lately (they try to count everything…my toes, buttons on our shirts, pictures in books, our dogs’ eyeballs, etc.) I thought it couldn’t hurt to expose them to some number symbols through play.

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

To begin, I cut a piece of paper in half and wrote the numbers 1-3 on the rectangles with a Sharpie.  Then I gave each tot their own piece of paper and they practiced pointing to each number and saying its name.  They were very serious about this part! Then I gave them each three “chairs” (small wooden blocks) to put on top of the numbers.  Finally, I gave them three teddy bear counters that matched the colors of their chairs- they both matched each bear to the corresponding color with no prompting from me.

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

We did these steps over and over for quite awhile- they loved it when I gave them new sets of chairs and bears in different colors to count and match.

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

Since both the bears and blocks come in different sizes, we were also able to match bears to chairs by size (see photo).  When I saw them start to tire of the activity, I gave each one another handful of bears and made the rest of the blocks available to them.  I saw lots of great pretend play after that- they built towers and simple slides for the bears, and even put them to bed!

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

Whee! Down the slide.

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

The bears sleeping (or going potty, depending on which kid you ask).

This early math stimulation activity exposes young learners to number symbols in a playful way while encouraging one-to-one correspondence. This helps children move beyond rote counting and eventually develop a basic understanding of counting and numbers. I followed my kiddos’ lead on this one, and only stayed at the semi-structured level as long as they were interested. Once we moved on to free play with bears and blocks, the opportunities for language stimulation and symbolic play were abundant.

5. “A Bowl Full of Mush” Pretend Play

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

This last activity came about because the twins had enjoyed playing with the “bears and chairs” so much the day before.  They were all smiles and “Yes, Mama!” when I asked if they wanted the bears again!  This time I set out a few bears and cube blocks for each child along with some homemade play dough, small spoons, and some beautiful wooden sorting bowls from Mama May I (look for a post about her wonderful shop soon). Then I sat back and watched the twins prepare bowls full of mush and feed them to their bears.  This activity targets sensory exploration, fine  motor skills, imagination and creativity, and symbolic representation.  But best of all, it was just plain fun!

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

 

Goodnight Moon Activities @ Twodaloo

I hope you enjoyed these activities based on Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon.

* Once again, thank you to Craft Project Ideas  for supplying our paint brushes and felt stickers! Click on the text link to visit their website for tons of great craft ideas for your little ones!

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Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities

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Welcome to the second installment of activities from our Goodnight Moon week! In case you missed it, we started our week with a fun and adaptable vocabulary activity based on the classic children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown. Today I will be sharing a few activities we did (and are still doing) with our light boxes. Friday I will wrap up the week with  five more fun Goodnight Moon toddler activities. Come Play With Us!

Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities @ Twodaloo

Light Boxes

For our group session, I used two light boxes so that all four tots would have a chance to play with the light activities simultaneously.  One was a commercially available light panel (find it HERE) that was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law, and the other was a DIY version that I threw together from things I had around the house. You can read about exactly how I made it in my latest post over at Little Pnuts (find it here).  Both versions worked well for our activities, but the DIY version started getting a little warm after about 30 minutes of play, so be sure to monitor the temperature if you are using one you created yourself.

Squish Bag Tracing

Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities @ Twodaloo

Our first activity targeted fine motor skills through sensory exploration.  I filled several small plastic sandwich baggies with yellow hair gel that I had leftover from another activity.  Since the yellow was really pale, I added a generous squirt of yellow food coloring for an added punch of color, taped the baggies shut, and then squished it all up until the gel was nice and bright (this is totally something you could do with your little ones, mine just happened to be napping).  After that I printed a tracing page from the (free!) Homeschool  Creations Goodnight Moon printable packet, cut it into strips, and put each tracing strip under a different baggie for the tots to practice tracing with their fingers if they wanted.

M is for Moon; P is for Pom-Poms!

For the next activity, I printed Making Learning Fun’s M is for Moon Magnet Page, another awesome free resource, and placed it on the light panel.  These pages can be used for tons of different activities with many different types of manipulatives- they were intended for use with small round bulletin board magnets.  We used the twins’ current favorite manipulative, sparkly pom-poms, to fill in all the dots on the moon and letter “M” on the worksheet.  The combination of poms and lightbox has kept my little ones’ attention to this activity much longer than I expected, and we have done it several more times since it was first introduced.  Sydney surprised me one afternoon by filling the moon up with all yellow and white poms with no prompting from me!  This activity provides fine motor practice, sensory exploration, and exposure to alphabet characters for letter recognition.  You could also modify it to work on color matching and patterning if you so desired.

Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities @ Twodaloo

Starry Night Sensory Bin

As usual, the sensory play activity was everyone’s favorite of the three light box activities! It was super easy to prepare- I hydrated some purple and blue water beads, mixed them together in a small plastic bin, and added some clear geometric shapes from a set of our lightbox manipulatives (find them here) to represent “stars” in the night sky.  Then I provided small containers for the tots to transfer all the stars into if they wanted to.

When I introduced this to the group, everyone went a little bananas for the water beads, and the containers were mostly used for filling with beads and dumping them everywhere 😉  But on subsequent days my two stinkers have been very diligent about collecting every last star and placing them carefully into the baskets.  When their motor skills are a little more developed I will give them spoons or tongs to try to fish out the stars, but for now just grabbing them with their little fingers is challenging enough amongst all the slippery water beads!

This activity helps promote sensory exploration and is wonderful for fine motor development– look at that pincer grasp in the photo below!  It has also been fantastic for language stimulation; both of my tots have chattered nonstop every time we have played with this tub, labeling the colors of the beads and the sensations they are feeling…”Weeet! Coooold! Sleeyee (slippery)!”

Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities @ Twodaloo

I hope these activities inspired you to give light box play a try, or at least pull out your copy of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  This is the second of our Goodnight Moon series…stay tuned for the final installment on Friday!

*Thank you to Craft Project Ideas  for supplying the sparkly pom-poms featured in this post! Click on the text link to visit their website for tons of great craft ideas for your little ones!

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Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activity

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

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This week we have been doing activities from Goodnight Moon,the classic children’s book written by Margaret Wise Brown.  You can see from the picture that our copy of the book is well-loved by the wear-and-tear around the edges.

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

I designed this activity as the opening activity of our group time to reinforce the vocabulary from the book.  I don’t have many pictures from our group play session this week because, frankly, I had my hands full (our children were VERY excited to see each other after the long holiday break)! However, the twins and I have played with the materials from this activity at least once a day since I introduced it, so I had other opportunities to photograph them in action for you!

Creating the Activity

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

To begin, I downloaded free printable Goodnight Moon activities from Homeschool Creations and printed the vocabulary pictures from the packet.  I cut stars from some old yellow file folders I had and the twins helped me glue each picture to its own star.  Next, I punched a hole at the top of each star and my little ones helped me thread half a colorful pipe cleaner through each one.  Finally, I twisted the pipe cleaners around each other and bent them so that each star had its own hanger.

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

After the stars were dry, I lined them up in a tabletop pocket chart that I have from my speech therapy days.  Then I collected small toys and objects from around the house to represent the vocabulary words in the star pictures.  You can see some of the objects I collected in the photo above.  I placed all of the objects together in a colorful bag.

After preparing my symbols and objects, I wanted to create something to hang our stars from to add an active element to our play.  I took two child-sized folding chairs, cut a single long piece of twine, and tied one end of the twine to the back of each chair. Then I  spread the chairs across the playroom, suspending the twine between the chairs.

Presenting the Activity

To present the activity, I had the children take turns putting their hands in the bag, pulling out an object, naming the object, and then finding the matching star from the pocket chart.  Then they got some fine motor practice by hanging the stars on the twine using the pipe cleaner hangers.

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

After all the stars were hung, we hung the big round moon (also from Homeschool Creations) from the middle of the twine and had great fun using prepositions by tossing our cow beanie babies over (and under) the moon, just like in the book!

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

Hooray!

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

 Going under the moon with the cow!

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

My turn!

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

So proud! (He looks huge in this picture! What happened to my baby?)

Other Ways to Play

As I mentioned earlier, I have used these materials with the twins multiple times since I initially introduced them.  In addition to repeating the original activity, we have used them in several different ways:

  • We practiced putting the stars in and out of the tabletop pocket chart (good for fine motor skills).
  • We read the book together and found the matching stars as the vocabulary was introduced in the book. (i.e. “In the great green room, there was a telephone…can you find the telephone?”)
  • As more of a tot tray or tabletop activity, I laid out the stars on a tray and handed the matching objects to the twins a few at a time so they could practice matching objects to pictures.  Both of them really enjoyed this activity and were very proud when they completed the whole tray! *Click here for more about why this simple activity is so beneficial for your tots!

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

“…three little bears, sitting in chairs.” – Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

Pictures to objects matching activity

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

Making her first match!

Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activities from Twodaloo

So proud of herself!

Other activities to try:

  • After nap today I am going to hide the stars around the playroom and engage the twins in finding and naming them.
  • We will also try spacing the stars out on the floor and jumping from star to star, naming them and perhaps talking about their functions as we jump (Will loves telling the the functions of objects through words and/or gestures).

This activity really got my “speech therapist brain” going and I was thinking of all sorts of ways these could be used with children in different ages and stages of language development.  Since many of the vocabulary words from this book rhyme, you could use the stars to match rhyming word pairs.  Scatter the stars around the room and play “Eye Spy” using descriptive language (i.e. “I spy something yellow that you sit on”).  Turn off the lights and hang or tape the stars up around the room; use a flashlight to find the stars and talk about them.  Be creative and think of ways to adapt these to your particular goals and targets- there is lots of fun to be had with this simple activity!

This is the first in a whole series of Goodnight Moon posts planned for this week.  Wednesday I will be sharing some fun Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities, and then Friday I will end the week with five more Goodnight Moon activities for toddlers.

*Thank you to Craft Project Ideas  for supplying the colorful pipe cleaners for this activity! Click on the text link to visit their website for tons of great craft ideas for your little ones!

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Benefits of Object-Picture Matching

Matching objects to their corresponding pictures is a very common early childhood activity.  Although object-to-picture matching is widely accepted as an important basic skill, you may still be wondering what all the fuss is about!  Here is a summary of some of the benefits of object-picture matching activities for your little one.

Language and Cognition

Matching an object to a picture requires the understanding of the picture as a symbol, or representation, of the actual object.  The ability to understand symbolic representation is a crucial prerequisite to learning and using language!

Object-to-picture matching is a great way to build vocabulary in young children.  When the pictures and objects don’t match exactly, children have to use their knowledge of the distinctive features and/or function of the object in order to match them correctly.  For instance, it may be fairly simple for a child to match a small blue bowl to a picture of the exact same bowl, but if the bowl in the picture is large and red, the child will have to use reasoning (i.e. both items have the same basic shape and the same function) to realize that the object and picture go together. Recognizing distinctive features and functions of objects helps grow category knowledge, in turn creating deeper understanding of vocabulary concepts.

Early Literacy

When matching objects to pictures, your child is practicing visual discrimination skills, becoming familiar with one-dimensional print, and learning to connect real objects to print.  These are important pre-reading skills.

Math

Matching objects to pictures also encourages one-to-one correspondence, which is a foundational math skill.

Tips for planning object-to-picture matching activities:

When planning object-to-picture matching activities, you can make them easier by finding pictures and objects that look very similar (i.e. a small blue bowl to a picture of a small blue bowl) or increase the difficulty by making the objects more diverse (i.e. small blue bowl to large red bowl).  Alternatively, you can up the ante by requiring the child to match several objects that are very similar except for one or two minor details, such as a set of plastic cows with different markings or bears of different sizes.  This version of the activity requires more attention to minor detail.

Start by introducing only a few object pairs at a time and then slowly increase the number of options you have out as the child gets more proficient with matching.

If you are trying to find pictures to match small manipulatives or toys that you own, you can often check retailers’ websites and pull exact photos or drawings of the items off the site.  Just be sure not to use them beyond working with your own child (don’t distribute them or charge money for them) so you don’t get in trouble for copyright violation!

I hope this information inspires you to try some object-to-picture matching activities with your own little ones! The pictures in this article are from our Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activity– click on the text link to see other ways we used the picture symbols.

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