Spring Flowers: Arts and Crafts Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Spring has sprung! And, so have many beautiful flowers. Here’s an easy but fun arts and crafts activity for your toddlers and preschoolers. I have designed it to facilitate speech and language skills. Some helpful tips and strategies to stimulate vocabulary development are also included.

Flower Colored by DP - 33 months old

How to Color Flowers with Bingo Markers

Materials:

Bingo markers

Regular markers

Paper

Procedure:

Draw a flower. Include its petals, stem, and leaves. Keep it simple and make the parts easy to identify. This is especially good for children who need help in identifying parts from a whole. As you are drawing the flower, narrate what you are drawing (TIP # 1). For instance, “I’m drawing a flower. Now, I’m drawing the leaves…the petals…stems….etc.” This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how quiet some parents are when they are playing with their children. If you’re expecting a child to verbally communicate, it’s important to use language during these intimate experiences because it teaches them that communicating is fun and exciting! Be animated and add inflection to your voice (TIP #2) – especially when introducing new vocabulary. For instance, if you are drawing the stem, stress the new word to alert your child’s attention to it (e.g. “I’m drawing the stem”. Repetition is also important. Children need multiple repetitions (TIP #3) and various contexts (TIP #4) to fully understand the meaning of a new word. Enriching, hands-on experiences and multiple yet different interactions really help the child to fully understand. I’m not a huge fan of using flashcards for younger children, like toddlers, because they are one-dimensional and can be easily misunderstood. So, repeat new vocabulary many times during the activity (“I drew the stem.” “The stem is green”. “The stem is long.”). Then, after the activity, take the child on a stroll through your backyard or neighborhood and point out flowers and name their various parts. Lastly, avoid asking the child too many test-like questions (TIP #5) – “What’s this?” or “What’s that?”. Children are usually pretty aware that you are “testing” them and it takes the joy out of learning new things.  Once you have drawn a flower (or two or three or more flowers) let the child “color” them with the bingo markers! It can look something like this – colored by me or like the picture above – colored by a 33 month old boy:

 Possible Target Words:

Nouns                        Verbs             Adjectives/Attributes

Flower/s                      Grow               Big

Stem                            Draw               Little

Petals                          Water              Pretty

Leaves                         Smell               Long

Sun                              Touch              Short

Summary of Tips:

1: Narrate your actions (Feel free to narrate your child’s actions too!)

2. Be animated and add inflection to your voice

3. Provide multiple repetitions

4. Expose the new word in various settings and contexts (see extension activities for examples)

5. Avoid asking too many “test-like questions”. Two words: NOT FUN!

Extension Activities:

Go on a nature walk

Arrange some flowers in a vase

Plant a flower in the yard or grow some seeds in a cup

Kimberly Scanlon, M.A. CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist, an author and a mother. As the owner of Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC, a unique boutique practice in Bergen County, Kimberly embraces individuality and treats the whole person. Her goal is to spread compassion, hope, and some speech, language and literacy tips one moment, one person at a time.  Her first book, My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development and her her second book, Learning to Read is a Ball are available for purchase at online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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