As teachers with 21 years of classroom experience between us, one could say that we are more than used to working with children. And you would be right. Being around kids and teaching them is second nature to us.
One could also assume that considering our professional background, we’d have no issue in keeping our own children busy and entertained. Well, I have to confess that since becoming mothers we completely understood the struggle parents were having in providing their children with fun activities that were also educational.
Indeed, one of the reasons that What Does Mamma Say exists is to help and support parents by sharing our experience, educational materials and fun activities that have been tested in the classroom on hundreds of children and most importantly our own little monkeys.
Today, we are very excited to bring you another way of occupying your child’s time with stimulating, educational activities: an interactive ACTIVITY BOOK for kids.
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What is an Activity Book?
If you are a parent and spend some time on Facebook groups you probably already heard about activity books, also known as quiet books or busy books.
Basically, an activity book is a collection of worksheets that will engage the child in a play-based learning activity type.
Activity books are great for all ages. Babies will especially love the busy books made of fabric like felt, that will exercise all their senses. Toddlers and preschoolers will benefit from activity books that will practice their critical thinking skills as well as literacy and numeracy skills, thus preparing them for school.
Why have we decided to offer you an Activity Book?
There is actually a little story behind our decision to make an Activity Book.
Since summer is almost over *sigh*, Monica was asking me whether I am ready for those long rainy autumn days. I mumbled something along the lines of “yea, kinda’, not really”, I am more of a grasshopper than an ant, plus autumns and winters in Spain are more forgiving than in the U.K.
So, Monica, being the ‘plan ahead’ type, and foreseeing many days stuck inside with an active toddler suggested that perhaps we should create some fun, engaging and educational worksheets for our boys that will keep them busy and us sane.
I gladly embraced the idea and we started working.
Since our munchkins were so excited and had so much fun doing the activities, we decided to share the Activity Book with other parents who might be looking for ways to entertain their children.
What makes our Activity Book special?
The internet is full of ready-made busy/quiet books and wonderful, original ideas for printable activities.
And, although we love browsing such ideas for inspiration and looking through other people’s activity books, our trained teacher’s eyes can’t help but find faults, from the minor ones to the more serious ones. Don’t misunderstand me, there are many great activity books for toddlers out there but it is clear to us which ones have been created by people with an educational background and which haven’t.
It is true that just about anyone can make an activity book but at the end of the day, most parents would opt for an Activity Book developed by two experienced teachers who know exactly what skills your child should practise and how to do it.
When we started making our interactive activity book we had two clear goals in mind: to keep our kids happy and to prepare them for school. So, as you will notice, every activity has been created accordingly.
What are the benefits of an Activity Book for your toddler?
Here are just a few reasons why your toddler should have an Activity Book:
1. No more boredom
The colourful, interactive activities will give children the chance to keep their hands and brains busy for some time. Of course, since each child is different the amount of time they will be engaged will also differ. Which brings me to reason number 2:
2. Increases concentration
According to Summit Medical, a normal attention span is 3 to 5 minutes per year of a child’s age. So, a four-year-old should be able to concentrate anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes.
Activity books are a great way of increasing concentration through entertaining activities. Gradually, through encouragement, the amount of time that they are able to dedicate to one activity will increase.
3. A break from screentime
I know that many parents are worried about the time their children spend in front of a screen. An Activity Book will provide a break from that, at the same time keeping children engaged, entertained and learning.
4. Prepares children for school
Towards the end of preschool children should be able to sort objects by colour, shape and size, understand sequencing, count out objects from 1-5, saying the numbers in order at least up to 10, identifying some numbers and letters, colours, shapes, being able to read and write their own name and identifying some of the letters that make up their name.
An Activity Book is an excellent tool for children to learn all of the above by playing and having fun. And we all know that the most effective learning happens through play.
5. Refines Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination
As you will notice many of the activities have smaller cards that need to be picked up and placed in specific places. Others involve using a pen/pencil. All these will improve the small muscles in the hands and fingers which is vital for important tasks like feeding themselves, writing, grasping objects and so on.
Similarly, being able to place the cards in the correct designated place will practice the hand-eye coordination skill.
6. Take it with you anywhere
As with the tablet, an Activity book is portable and can be the perfect companion for longer car trips, a nice way to occupy time while waiting for the food in a restaurant, it fits in a beach bag nicely or a suitcase. And the best thing of all, they never run out of battery.
What activities will you find in our Activity Book?
As mentioned above, we carefully considered what a child should know at the end of preschool and created the worksheets accordingly.
Thus, in our Activity Book you will find:
- Where does this belong? -> sort the cards according to where they belong, in the fridge or in the wardrobe
- Where do they live? -> sort the animals according to where they live, on the farm or the savanna
- Sort the toys by colour-> put the toys in the coloured baskets according to their colour
- Sort the fruit by size-> put the fruit in the bowls according to their size: big, medium, small
– sorting is a very important skill. Through this type of activity children understand that objects can be alike or different, they can belong to certain categories and groups. Sorting will develop logical thinking and introduce kids to early mathematical concepts.
2. Matching worksheets
- Match the shapes->a simple, classic game of matching the shapes
- Match the animals to their shadows-> decide which shadow belong to which animal
- Match the animals to the words-> match the animals on the left column to their corresponding words on the right column
- Feed the animals-> draw lines from the animal to its food
- Build a house-> arrange the geometrical shapes so that they match the outline and form a house
Matching activities practise visual discrimination, improve memory, concentration and vocabulary. Not to mention that matching skills will help children to match letters to their sounds.
3. Colouring worksheets
- Spin the wheel and colour -> construct the wheel and make sure to print several copies of the colouring pages. The game is simple yet extremely entertaining. Choose the character that you want to colour and spin the wheel. To whatever colour the arrow points, that’s how you need to colour the character.
Colouring is an important activity in early childhood for many reasons: it encourages creativity, improves fine motor skills, gives kids the chance to use writing utensils, develops the hand and fingers muscles, improves concentration.
- Learn to spell-> the worksheets have 2 sections. The first is all about letter recognition and matching in order to construct simple, 3-letter words. The second part focuses more on phonics by encouraging kids to say the words out loud and deciding which ones start with the target letter.
You will also like:
- Cut the numbers and match->with this worksheet, children will get the chance to practice simple addition. They will need to count the objects and write the correct number in the circle (for older children who can write the numbers) or put the previously cut out numbers in the correct circle.
- Name and count the shapes-> count the identical shapes, name them and write down how many there are.
Because we know how tricky it can be sometimes to entertain kids, we want to offer a sample of 10 pages from the Activity Book for FREE.
I am happy to report that it was a resounding YAY! Both our boys were very excited and interested in the activities. Naturally, talking about 2 different personalities they also liked different activities.
George loved matching the animals to their shadows, he did this over and over again, matching the shapes and the sorting games.
Radu adored the spelling games (he’s quite good at them), feeding the animals activity and building the house.
Overall, the activities have been received fantastically well and they have provided our kids with hours of educational fun.
Materials needed for building your own Activity Book
- Binder for the worksheets- you can get a simple one and personalize it together with your child
- Letter stickers- use them to write your child’s name on the binder.
- Thermal Laminator and laminating pouches- we suggest laminating the worksheets for longer use.
- Velcro- besides the practical use of velcro our kids went crazy over it
- Hole Punch
We would love to hear what activities your child loved and see how your Activity Book turned out. Let us know in the comments section below or send us a message.
We share all of our ideas, articles, activities with our children, important information we come across on our Facebook group Learning Activities for Kids. Join us and other like-minded parents and make parenthood easier!
Learning activities for kids