Learning about the world around them through play is a big part of healthy development for your little one. You can help by giving them a chance to explore their curiosity, encouraging them to try new things and discover what they enjoy doing. Here are a few ideas of activities you can explore together…
Toddlers are sensory learners who like touching, smelling, and tasting things to learn about their surroundings. On a piece of poster paper, trace the alphabetic characters and/or numbers using a dark marker. Have your child add texture to the letters by using sandpaper, beans, cotton balls, spaghetti, and pipe cleaners. Children can experience how a letter is formed by touching the letters, learning to write by using their fingertips to experiment with the letter shapes. Every day, while your child runs his fingers over the letters and numbers, speak them aloud. Create a poster that spells out his initial name to finish off the activity.
Measuring and Counting
Teach your little one how to measure using common objects. Although a ruler or tape measure is what you would typically use, you can also experiment and have fun with different objects to make the learning process more engaging. To determine how many “apples tall” your child is, have her lie down on the grass and then line up apples next to her. Or calculate the sofa’s “Legos tall” or the refrigerator’s “wooden blocks wide” dimensions in your home. Find out how many of your child’s books are needed to cover your bed for further amusement. Always count as you place the various items down, and your little one will soon be counting and measuring in a variety of ways!
Letter and Word Recognition
Label items in your home for example, window, door, chair, fridge. To make labels easy for kids to recognise, have them all the same size and use a simple typeface. Individual words should be typed, printed, and cut out before being attached to items with tape. The words can also be adhered to index cards with glue and placed on various items.
Encourage Independent Play
Start by creating a safe play space and laying out toys appropriate for their age. Whilst keeping an eye on them allow your little one to explore their surroundings. Manage your expectations – they may only manage a few minutes before needing reassurance from you.
Promote Creative Play
Your little one’s imagination will open up a world of wonder and learning. Don’t stop your child from playing if they are making up stories or acting silly – encourage your child to keep coming up with fresh ideas for games and imaginative play. Toys such as a wooden train set or some building blocks are perfect to spark their imagination.
Most importantly when your child discovers a passion, support them in developing and pursuing it. Encourage your little one to face his or her worries and feel secure when trying new activities. Providing your child with the opportunity to ask questions about their surroundings helps encourage their curiosity and love of learning.
Sam aka The Baby Guru