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I love flowers! Unfortunately I cannot keep actual flowers alive, so I really enjoy doing flower crafts & activities during the Spring with my kids using paper!
My 17-month-old is branching out and talking more these days so we decided to create a visual language activity for him to help introduce his siblings' names, follow simple instructions, and practice matching.
This week we helped him build a photo garden and had so much fun talking about names, matching colors, and tearing things down too!
Materials Needed: family photos, circle punch (this is the circle punch I used), colored cardstock, double-sided tape, scissors, and lamination paper (or contact paper) if you want to preserve your photo flowers and keep them safe.
I started by printing off two copies of each photo and cutting the photos into circles with my punch.
Then I cut out several colored flowers (2 of each color). This goes really quickly if you stack your paper and cut more than one at a time. Here is a flower template you could try.
Next I adhered the photos to the flowers with double-sided tape and then I laminated each flower.
While the flowers got laminated I cut out some green stems and a flowerpot and I stuck them to our building space with double-sided tape.
The reason I used double-sided tape is that it is way harder for babies and toddlers to rip it off paper and try to eat it, unlike rolled up regular scotch tape that my toddler can easily grab.
Once the flowers were laminated I just let my little guy explore them for a bit. He loved looking at them, walking around with them, pointing at the photos, and just smiling at them.
Next I used some tape and hung up one color of each photo flower. Then my little guy just went and touched each photo and we would point and say, "Who's that?" If he didn't answer after a little bit we'd say, "It's Catie!" (or Andrew or Ryan).
We left the other duplicate flowers on the floor (with tape attached to them) so we handed him one and he tried to match it to the same photo. My 3-year-old also had fun matching each photo flower and explaining to her little brother about relationships. "This is your brother." "This is you!" It was so adorable to watch her be a little teacher.
Both kids had fun working together exploring the photo flowers, sticking them up, touching them, and then my 17-month old also LOVED ripping the photo flowers down too! Good thing they were sturdy and laminated!
Since I know he loves to rip things down, we usually try and build that into activities. I would say, "Can you rip off Andrew?" He would quickly tear down all of the photos and sometimes he would hand me the one I had mentioned. It was adorable! By the time we were done he was better able to say his siblings' names in a way that I could understand a bit better. We'll keep our garden up somewhere visible so I'm sure there will be lots of opportunities to explore it and practice names!
It was darling to see how thoroughly motivated he was to participate in our simple language activity because it included photos of some of his favorite people. I need to make a few more flowers with pictures of Grandmas and Grandpa and some cousins or aunts and uncles too. I think photo activities are a great way to help kids stay connected with their relatives that live far away and learn their names.
While we explored we also casually talked about colors and words like step, flower, and leaf while we explored our little photo garden.