Toddler Activities

The Magic Pear: Easy Games for Young Preschoolers

As summer winds down, I’m realizing that I am exhausted and ready for Fall. My two-and-a-half year old heads back to preschool in a week (nine days to be exact, but who’s counting?) Even though he only goes part-time, it’s still a necessary break for both of us as I can feel our patience, both his and mine, is beginning to run thin at times. It doesn’t help that his sister was born during his last week of school and is really taking up time and attention…and leaving me pretty exhausted each day. As if a constant ball of two-year-old energy isn’t exhausting enough! But I digress. All I know is at this point in the summer I need some easy games we can play that keep him engaged while I am sitting (or more likely nursing my newborn) and this one fits the bill! This game originated in Africa and references the baobab trees that grow in Madagascar.

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One kind of Baobab tree

There are two versions of this game but they both use the same basic rhyme:

Ti-Ki-Boom, Ti-Ki-Boom, Ti-Ki-Boom, Ti-Ki-Boom

Down The Baobab Went The Hare

Ti-Ki-Boom, Ti-Ki-Boom, Ti-Ki-Boom, Ti-Ki-Boom

Up He Came With The Magic Pear

(I’ve also heard people use the phrase “Chicka Boom” in place of “Ti-Ki-Boom”)

 

Version 1:

Get a pear (real or pretend). No pear? Any object will work, and you can just call it a pear. Preschoolers are great at pretending! One person hides the pear and then sings the rhyming song. When the rhyme ends, the other person has to find the magic pear. Easy, but hours of fun!

Version 2:

I made this version up when I was literally too tired (and busy nursing) to actually get up and hide the pear anymore. It’s basically “I Spy” (my son’s other favorite “mama-gets-to-sit-down” game) but with this rhyme instead. I will say an object in place of the word pear and my son will have to find that object. So, I would say, “Up He Came With The Magic DUMP TRUCK” and he’ll race around looking for his dump truck. Super easy. When Ir un out of things for him to find, I will start to use colors or shapes, like “Up He Came With The Magic PURPLE” and he’ll have to find something purple. I do this with I Spy a lot too, since he wants to play for so long that I often run out of things to find so this keeps the game going a little longer.

Why play these games? Besides the “sitting down while keeping energetic kids occupied”-which is really the best part!-they are fantastic for cognitive function. Both versions build object permanence, recall, and deductive skills as well as memory and spatial awareness. Adding in using shapes or colors to look for strengthen your child’s knowledge of…you guessed it…shapes and colors. Both games also are wonderful for honing focus and listening skills since children need to listen to the rhyme so they know what to look for and when they can starting looking. These are the types of games that really get your preschooler kindergarten-ready!

Want to enhance these games? Reading about the baobab tree is easy as there are a large number of terrific children’s books about these special trees. Here is one of my favorites from back in my full-time teaching days:

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This Is The Tree: A Story Of The Baobab Written by Miriam Moss and Illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway


Another way to enhance the learning is to use the phrase Chicka Boom instead of Ti-Ki-Boom and then read the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. You can take that even further by having your child look for letters or letter sounds…I’ve done this with a felt letter set so students, including my son, can find actual letters but if they are ready to move past letter recognition, have them find something that starts with the letter B or has a B sound, etc. You get the gist.

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault.


Hope these games can help you get some rest as you sail into the Autumn. Enjoy!

 

Toddler Activities

Little Bunny Rabbit: A Song For Building Cognitive Skills

Whoo hoo, it’s song #1 in this learning songs series!

This easy little finger-play song is great for building concentration and focus, and most little ones think it’s so much fun to play! It has a similar concept to the song Bingo in that you’ll substitute a hand motion for song lyrics.

For Little Bunny Rabbit, you’ll sing the whole song through once or twice using both the hand movements and words. Then you’ll sing it again, swapping out words for only the hand movements. (For some kiddos, it might be best to sing it through a bunch of times first to give them a chance to get to know it better.)

Little Bunny Rabbit:

Little Bunny Rabbit (make bunny ears) had a fly upon her/his nose (point to nose)

A Fly Upon Her/His Nose. A Fly Upon Her/His Nose (point to nose every time)

Little Bunny Rabbit (make bunny ears) Had A Fly Upon Her/His Nose (point to nose)

So She/He Swished It And S/He Swashed It (“swish” your hands by your nose)

And It Flew Away! (hands can be wings, flying away)


After singing it a time or two, leave out some words but keep the hand motions:

Little (make bunny ears) had a fly upon her/his (point to nose)

A fly upon his/her (point to nose)/ a fly upon his/her (point to nose)

Little (make bunny ears) had a fly upon her/his (point to nose)

So she/he (swish and swash hand by face) and she/he (swish and swash hand by face) and it (make hands fly away)


Here are the words without the hand motions, just to make it easier to read (with female pronouns, but feel free to change it to the pronouns you use with your child):

Little Bunny Rabbit had a fly upon her nose

A fly upon her nose, a fly upon her nose

Little Bunny Rabbit had a fly upon her nose

So she swished it and she swashed it and it flew away!


Make this song your own by using your child’s name instead of the word “Bunny” and whatever pronouns you use with your child. You can also make up your own hand movements, or add new ones. I usually do one for fly and swap that in and remove the word fly on the second sing-through. Whatever makes it more fun for you and your kiddo!

This song will help build important cognitive skills, including focus, concentration, listening, and memory, all while increasing motor planning skills and strengthening the fine muscles in the hands and fingers. Hop on, little bunny!