Babysteps: Parenting Resources From ZERO TO THREE


No, I Want That Bowl!

As little ones grow up each day, parents may find that they tend to have their own way for everything and show little flexibility. Parents may be worried and wonder how to help. Click here to learn more about inflexibility in toddlerhood, and what parents can do with it.

On Your Lap, In Your Heart

Grandparents—whether living near or far—enjoy a special relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents are the ones who are often willing to read the same story over and over, play a silly game, or say “who’s there” to a knock-knock joke more times than they can count. Check out ZERO TO THREE’s resources just for grandparents.

Mommy, That Man Is Fat!

Sometimes our toddlers make observations or ask questions “Why is that lady’s skin so brown?” that make adults very uncomfortable. Learn more about how to answer these typical questions from very observant 2- and 3-year olds by clicking here.

Fun for the Under-3s

Birth to 12 Months: Finger and Feet Painting.

You can do this outside or in your house. Place some large white paper or cloth on the ground or floor, undress your baby down to diaper, put her feet or hands in child-safe tempera paint, and then press gently onto the paper or cloth or let her touch the paper on her own. Many babies will enjoy the sensory nature of this activity and will want to explore. If your baby doesn’t enjoy it, clean her up and try again another time. This activity encourages sensory exploration and also works your baby’s fine and gross motor skills as she bangs, touches, crawls, and walks over the paper. Have some messy fun!

12-24 Months: Let’s Go Strawberry Picking!

From middle June till early September, it is harvest time for different types of strawberries. Take your child along with you to a farm with strawberry patches to pick some to take home. When you spot one, point it out and label it “strawberry” or observe that it’s “red.” Children learn new words and concepts through direct experience with them. When you get home, have your toddler help you wash the strawberries or hold the colander while you rinse them. After you remove the stems, hand the strawberry to your toddler to put in a bowl. This type of “cooking project” is age-appropriate and fun, while also teaching your little one about how strawberries grow, the color red, and cooperating in family routines.

24-36 Months: What Does That Cloud Look Like?

On a cloudy day,  lie down with your toddler on a blanket on a grassy spot. Look up at the puffy, white clouds and talk about the shapes you see. Ask your toddler questions: Do you see that cloud in the shape of a whale? What shape does that cloud look like? What else does it look like besides a human face? Do you see a “turtle cloud” sailing slowly across the blue sky…? This outdoor activity sparks imagination and creativity, builds language skills as you talk about the clouds and perhaps make up stories together, and—most important—fosters giggly togetherness between the two of you.



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