Topics / Skills (BIRTH - 33 MONTHS)

Click on one of the topics to find quick, fun, low-cost activities you can do with babies and toddlers in your caregiving setting. For each topic, you will find a brief introduction and three areas of focus with stepped out activities and brief “more activity ideas.” Tip sheets on various topics and issues that are of importance to educators of young children are also included. Whether you are a new or experienced educator, you’ll find lots of ideas to keep your children learning, growing, and having fun.

Math is about a lot more than counting. When you watch a child line up toys in a row, clap along to a song, find a matching mitten, or show you she wants more of a game—she is doing math! 

Overview Activities

Music can make babies smile, bounce, wave their arms and legs, or settle down and fall asleep. Listen to different kinds of music with one baby or plan group sing-alongs with other babies and toddlers. The babies will be having fun and you’ll be helping them grow creatively, physically, and emotionally. 

Overview Activities

Playing is serious business for babies and toddlers. It’s how they learn about and discover new things in their world. Join in a young child’s play and you not only increase the fun—you increase the learning, too!

Overview Activities

Read, read, read with babies and toddlers to help them grow into lifelong readers. At this young age, it’s not about teaching children to read—it’s about making pleasant connections around books and reading. So cuddle up and read every day.

Overview Activities

Babies and toddlers look at the world as little scientists—they are curious about everything around them. Explore alongside a child and he will learn to ask questions, solve problems, and develop basic science skills.

Overview Activities

Talking with young children is one of the most important things an educator can do. It’s your playful “conversations” that will help young children learn about language and about the world around them.

Overview Activities

Scribbles and drawings are more than just marks on page for a child—they are ways to share ideas and express feelings. Encourage young children’s scribbles because they are important steps on the path to learning to write.

Overview Activities

Units / Themes (3 - 5 YEARS)

The MA Early Learning Curriculum is nine units (30 weeks) of media-based curriculum focused on specific concepts and skills that enable educators to offer a full-comprehensive STEM/ELA program to children 3–5 years of age. Detailed activities and resources for five days of STEM, literacy, and social-emotional instruction include Between the Lions and PEEP and the Big Wide World media resources as a focal part of the curriculum. Whether you are a family child care, center-based, or school-based educator, the curriculum enables you to provide a rich and developmentally appropriate learning environment for preschool-age children.

In Unit 1, children are introduced to their new learning environment, to each other, and to the ideas of exploring and observing their world. Children also begin to learn about family, friends, the alphabet, the library, and much more.

In Unit 2, children are introduced to color. They will begin to identify shades of color, mix colors, view the world through transparent colored  lenses, and explore color in light. Children will investigate the world of color all around them—indoors and outdoors.

In Unit 3, children begin to explore the basic concepts of sound and gain an awareness of the sounds all around them. They explore where sounds come from, what direction sounds travel, and how to track the source of a sound. They also explore classifying and creating sounds of different volume, pitch, and timber.

In Unit 4, children explore the world of musical sounds. They listen to and produce sounds using different materials and begin to understand how to change sounds to produce a desired result. They also explore vibrations as they pluck rubber band guitars and they begin to explore how music can affect them—both emotionally and physically.

In Unit 5, children investigate how different objects move when placed on a ramp and become aware that the shape and texture of an object affects whether it will roll or slide. They build ramps and measure how far objects roll when they leave the ramp. Children also observe what happens when an obstacle is placed in the way of a rolling object.

In Unit 6, children learn about different materials and tools that are used in building houses and other structures. They begin to understand that how a structure is designed and built will help determine how strong and stable it will be. Children build structures out of various materials and use measurement tools to explore estimating size as they build.

In Unit 7, children will become aware that plants are living things that grow in places where their needs are met. They begin to understand that all living things have basic needs in common. Children will plant their own seeds and bulbs and observe, compare, measure, and graph their plants’ growth over several weeks.

In Unit 8, children explore plants we eat. They use their senses to identify and describe different foods such as fruits and vegetables. Children begin to learn where some foods come from, what parts of plants we eat, and how seeds travel from one place to another.

In Unit 9, children investigate the world of water. They learn that water does not have a shape of its own and how it behaves differently when poured onto different surfaces. Children use tools to drip drops, create rivers, and build dams as they explore evaporation, absorption, floating, and sinking.


There are many ways to search for fun and engaging activities. Find the ones that are just right for you!


Explore best practices in early childhood education through seventeen engaging, content-rich, video-based trainings. Take the online 45-minute self-paced version, or download the Facilitator's Guide to lead family child-care and center- and school-based educators in a 1.5-2 hour training.

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