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A great way to get toddlers excited for learning activities is if you are excited about them as a parent.
But how do you get yourself excited about learning games? It can take work to figure out what to put together, gather supplies, and set things up. And sometimes it only takes a moment for your kids to just tear everything apart.
How do you get past that? Make the activities something you are excited about. And that doesn’t have to be hard.
Something that kids and adults can both get excited about? Cake.
I decided to take advantage of that and put together some super simple little learning activities that involve cake. Don’t worry, you won’t be giving your kids a ton of sugar. These all use a pretend cake.
Here are 3 cake learning activities for toddlers.
Cake Learning Activities for Toddlers
The main goal of these activities is to have fun. Yes, the learning matters. But if your toddlers aren’t feeling it, that’s fine. You can try again another time.
And don’t get caught up in the perfection trap. I draw and make a lot of our learning materials and let me tell you, they are far from perfect. That’s fine. Your kids don’t care.
Count The Candles
Simple counting practice here, but with a birthday cake because birthday cakes are amazing.
- Craft Sticks
- A Drawing of a Cake
I drew a cake. It isn’t that great, but fortunately, it doesn’t need to be. A simple line drawing will do, but feel free to dress it up a bit if you like.
Have your children roll the dice. Count out that many sticks and put them on the cake!
What They Are Learning:
This activity works counting skills, that’s pretty clear. You can make it more challenging for older children by rolling multiple dice and having them add or subtract the numbers on them.
But more than just simple counting, you are building number sense. Number sense is the understanding that numbers have unique values and those values can interact with each other.
It’s great to know that a 3 means three. But what value is that? We need to know what three objects in a group also looks like. We need to know what happens if we add or subtract one of our three. This is number sense.
Don’t forget to blow out the candles and make a wish for fun too.
Sensory Cake Decorating
Sensory activities are so important for kids. But it can be intimidating if you think sensory activities means you need a big elaborate or messy activity.
You don’t. Play Doh will do just fine.
- Play Doh
- A Drawing of a Cake (You can use the same one as the counting game!)
- A Page Protector.
Take your cake drawing and stick it in the page protector. This makes clean up easier and allows you to reuse the drawing.
Hand over the play doh and let your children decorate their cakes!
Yes, learning activities can be this simple.
You can offer additional guidance for your kids to up the directed learning. Encourage them to make shapes or create patterns. Both shape learning and pattern work help with future reading skills.
If you are feeling bold, you can have your kids try mixing the play doh to get new colors to use on their cakes. (This one is tough for me, I hate mixing play dohs!)
If your kids are into drawing, have them first draw a design on their cakes then fill it in with play doh.
Writing is an important skill, we all know that. There isn’t any pressure to start it too young, but preschoolers are often working on it in school.
I think the easiest way to get a little one excited to learn letters and practice writing is to use their name. What often has a name on it? A birthday cake.
- A Drawing of a Cake (I don’t like to waste time or materials, so you can bet I’m using this drawing as much as possible.
- A Page Protector
- Dry Erase Markers
Take your cake drawing that is proving more versatile than anyone ever thought it would be. Write your child’s name on it. Use regular letters or dashed lines, whatever you are feeling.
Put the cake in the page protector.
Hand it over to your child with a dry erase marker to write their name!
This is great because you can wipe it off and do it over and over.
What They Are Learning:
Obviously we are working on letters here. If you get tired of doing the name you can always go through the alphabet, but trust me on trying the name thing first.
People love their own names (most of the time), especially our little people. This love really helps them to want to understand what these strange symbols they are drawing mean. These letters represent them.
Seeing their name helps them see how letters need to be close together to form words, and you can start basic sounds too.
Writing lines also works on fine motor skills.
The goal here isn’t perfection, of course. The first attempts will be all over the page. Keep it upbeat and let your kids have fun, even if that means they just end up scribbling everywhere.
Cake Time Fun
The goal of these activities is, of course, to help our kids learn. But more than that they are a great way to have fun and connect with your kids.
When kids are playing the most learning is happening.
This post was written by Kim of Team-Cartwright.
Hi, I’m Kim! I’m the mom of three and a former chemist turned bookkeeper and mom. I am passionate about helping kids (and parents!) embrace STEM fields by sharing easy and fun learning activities. I also like to help twin moms and just moms in general by sharing the practical parenting methods I have found to work. My motto is you don’t need all the answers in life, you just need to be willing to wonder.