7 Fun Hands-On Early Learning Activities for Babies and Toddlers - Ihsaan Home Academy


Early learning activities are fun, colorful, simple, engaging, yet very important for children's development. If you have babies and/or toddlers, there are many activities you can make at home without having the skills of making printables. The best things are usually the most simple things. Before your little ones start kindergarten, you can keep them busy, help them to better develop, all while having fun. Below are seven ideas I would like to share with you.

1. Ka'ba and Straws

This activity is perfect for improving babies' fine motor skill and hand-eye coordination. It strengthens the moving of their fingers, wrist, and their ability to focus. It also helps them understand the concept of objects going through holes; basically.

This is a very simple activity to set up, and it doesn't have to be as fancy as the one I made. I made a ka'ba one to familiarise my children to the ka'ba. Hey, any excuse to throw in Islamic concepts, right? And, you can even use the same ka'ba box to teach your older ones about Hajj. There ya go!

How to make it
  • Use an empty milk carton 
  • Cut it into a cube and use another piece to cover the top (glue or tape it)
  • Use white sheets of paper and color them black
  • Cut and glue them all around the box
  • Use a golden gift wrap, cut a long paper strip to glue around the box, and a little one for the door
  • Glue the golden pieces as shown in the pictures above
  • Let the box dry
  • Tape the whole box with clear tape for durability
  • Make little holes at the top of the box using a box cutter
  • Make a big hole at the bottom to allow the straws to come out from the other end
  • Get colorful straws and cut them to make medium pieces 
  • Get a zip-lock bag to store the straws

How to use it
Simply show your child how to put the pieces of straws through the holes. Your kids (even the older ones) will love it! Well, I hope, in shaa Allah.

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2. Golden Box

This activity has been a favorite in our home. It's a simple hand-eye coordination activity to help babies guide both their hands and eyes at the same time. It helps them associate what they see and how they use their hands to respond accordingly. This is an important life skill that babies learn as they grow up. If you remember when your baby was a newborn, he/she couldn't throw objects or even hold them at some point. So it's important to encourage the little ones to grab objects, throw them, drop them, and put them through holes. Hand eye coordination activities aren't only fun, but they also help your children develop later skills like writing, dressing up, wearing shoes, etc.

Now that we know how important this activity is, let's get to the fun part.

How to make it
  • Buy a bag of little colorful balls
  • To make the box, use a shoe box or cut out six equal parts of a box into medium squares. You could either make them squares or rectangles; it doesn't matter
  • Glue the whole box with golden  gift wrap (optional)
  • Let the box dry for few minutes to few hours (depending on the glue you use)
  • Tape the whole box with clear tape for durability
  • Make two holes (the size of the balls) on one side of the box; make sure the holes aren't too big so the balls would need to be pushed through in order to go in
  • Make a big square hole on another side as shown in the image to allow the balls to role out
How to use it
Have your child push the balls through the holes.
To make it even more exciting (especially for older children), have a race to see how fast and how many balls they could push through the holes.

3. Simple ABC

I just thought of this one after using flash cards for a while to teach my child letter recognition. I still use the flash cards, but this one has additional wonderful benefits. Not only could you use this activity to teach letter recognition, you can also use it to teach your child how to write the letters.

How to use it
  • Buy a magnetic doodle drawing board as shown in the image (there are many different types, use any of them)
  • Write each letter (lower case), pronounce it phonetically (i.e. 'a' as in apple instead of 'aa' as in acorn), erase it, and move on to the next letter
  • Do the same from 'a' to 'z'
  • Don't expect your child to read along, you can do that another time if you wish, but now focus on using this board as flash cards
  • Do this everyday until your child has mastered the letters
What makes this activity special is that your child can learn letter recognition and can sees how the letters are written by visually following the direction you use while writing them. You can expend this activity later down the line by having your child practice writing the letters.

4. Colorful Wooden Sticks

This activity is similar to the golden box, but it involves smaller objects for fine motor skills to help your child learn how to handle small objects, wrist control, and color recognition.

How to make it
  • You can either use a box or an empty yogurt container. If you choose a box, you can simply use another side of the ka'ba box
  • Get colorful popsicle sticks, or plain one, then color them using colorful permanent markers/paint
  • Make small holes using a box cutter just small enough to make the sticks go through. Make sure the holes aren't too big so the sticks would need to be pushed through a little bit
  • Also make sure the holes aren't aligned perfectly to allow your child to practice wrist rotation 
  • Color the surroundings of the holes with permanent colorful markers to match the sticks
  • Decorate the box/container as you please
How to use it
Have your child push the sticks through the holes.
Don't worry about the colors just yet until your baby has mastered the activity a little bit. To start teaching color recognition, have your child match the colors to the corresponding holes.

5. Pom Poms

This one is pretty similar to the ones above.

How to make it
  • Buy colorful pom poms
  • Use another lid and make round holes using a box cutter small enough to make the pom poms push through

6. Wooden Rectangles

Again, this activity is similar to the pom pom activity.

How to make it
  • Use another lid or make a line in the middle of the other lid to create a separation
  • Get small wooden blocks, rectangular wooden pieces, or whatever you find
  • Make holes big enough to make the object push through
  • Make sure the holes aren't aligned perfectly to allow your child to practice wrist rotation
How to use it
Simply have your child push the objects through the holes

7. Pegs

This is a wonderful and advance activity because it requires lots of focus. Your baby may not be able to do this activity right away, but it's worth introducing it now.

How to make it
  • Get plastic or wooden pegs; I prefer the colorful ones
  • Use the container from the previous activities and take the lid off
How to use it
Have your child put the pegs around the container as shown in the picture. Don't worry if he/she isn't able to do it just yet. Just show your baby how to do it by doing it yourself. Let your child play with it until he/she is one day able to put the pegs on the container. You can even move on to the clothes pins/pegs to encourage your child to squeeze to open them in order to strengthen your his/her muscles in shaa Allah.

Neat and easy storage
For easy and neat storage, I like using the same containers for multiple activities by only switching lids. It takes less space and makes storing fast and easy. For the little pieces, you can use zip-lock bags to separate and store them, then put them in the containers.

You don't have to make these activities exactly the way I made them. These are simply ideas you could use to make your own. Have fun with them, decorate them as you wish, and add varieties if you wish. I like to decorate them so they don't look like piles of trash around the house. I hope you'd find these activities useful and they will benefit your children, in shaa Allah. If you have any questions, be sure to comment below in shaa Allah.

Here are some of the items you may need, in case you don't already have them and would like to purchase them. You can also purchase them at your closest dollar general or poundland/poundworld.
Amazon affiliate below ...


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