One of my favorite aspects of watching toddlers explore and develop, is their ability to congratulate themselves on a job-well-done. Toddlers will often clap and cheer for themselves – “I did it!” – when they accomplish something that they’ve been working on. (Wouldn’t it be great if adults were so confident and easily pleased?!)
The other day, after I vacuumed the house, Zahir (18 months) was helping me put away the vacuum. He likes to help wrap the cord up and clip it into place. Then he pushes the vacuum into the closet where we store it. That’s no easy task for someone who is only about half the size of the vacuum.
Sometimes he struggles a bit. He pushes and grunts. He becomes frustrated when the vacuum gets stuck, or isn’t moving the way he wants it to. But, he keeps at it.
When he finally gets it into the closet, he steps back and looks at the vacuum, admiring his work. He has a sense of satisfaction on his face as he looks around to see if anyone else witnessed his accomplishment. He claps for himself (and expects anyone else watching to do the same). If he spots me or his brothers in the room, he runs over for a celebratory “High 5.” It’s adorable and inspirational to see his enthusiasm.
High 5’s happen often in our house. They make me smile, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the excitement and exhilaration behind them.
This activity is a great way to incorporate color recognition, language development, and some sensory learning into the simple act of a High 5.
What you need:
- Felt (various colors)
Start by tracing your hand (or your child’s hand) onto a variety of felt pieces. I chose to use five different colors, but you could use less to make it simpler for younger kids, or more to make it a bit more challenging for older toddlers.
Cut out the felt hands and tape them to a wall, window, or other vertical surface. I taped our felt hands to the refrigerator.
Let your child explore the hands…
Talk about the texture. Use descriptive words such as soft or fuzzy…
Name the colors as your child touches each hand. Encourage the child to repeat the color names.
Then, let them High 5 the hands…
Zahir had fun trying to find the colors as I called them out. “Can you find the blue hand?” He repeated the color names after I said them, which was great for language development…
Such a simple activity, yet it kept him engaged for quite some time. I left our felt hands up for a few days, and noticed him exploring on his own several times.