Make everyday count as fun day for learning for your active and gregarious toddler. Who says learning cannot continue at home with the child’s first teachers ?
Below is a list of 7 everyday toddler activities which can easily be bypassed as ordinary but which promotes learning nonetheless. Parents, you will do well to take complete advantage of these teachable moments to drive home “lessons” with children in the 2-4 age category.
1. Bath time
Did you know that bathing time can be a very good time to learn basic math and science concepts? When your child hits the water with her hands or uses a rubber duck to splash water in the tub, she learns about cause (Who or what made it happen?) and effect (what happens?).
When the duck or other rubber toy remain on top of the water, your toddler is learning about floating and sinking objects and the difference between liquids and solids.
2. Filling and dumping out cups
Have you taken time to observe that children love filling and dumping anything including cups?
This activity helps children learn about empty and full, and in and out. In the process of continuing this exercise they are able to discriminate between when a cup is empty and when it is full.
3. Talking with children.
Talking with your toddler using rich and varied vocabulary extends and expands the language ability of children. Experts have proven that children will accumulate vocabulary when they are in an environment where language is freely expressed to them.
Converse with your children, you will be laying the foundation for phonetics, syntacs and learn the basis of phonology.
Talking with your child teaches her the exchanges in communication; speaking and listening as well as build their own word bank and expressions.
4. Block play
Toddlers typically play with blocks by placing them in and out of containers, then they go on to stack them on top of each other or lay them side by side.
At this stage it is important that the blocks are wooden and light weight, plastic, form or cardboards.
When children are engaged in this way they are experimenting with the physical properties of matter, solving engineering problems, exercising muscles of large areas of their bodies such as their limps, shoulders and trunk which will be used later on in hand writing.
4. Turning the pages of books
Turning book pages bring numerous benefits from the sheer joy of it to exercising the muscles of the finger in preparation to hand write. And from print awareness to visual discrimination.
Use books that are sturdy so the pages do not easily get torn but if they do, learning continues with cause and effect lessons.
Storytelling provides face-face interaction with young children which is a valuable social component in learning that is fast diminishing.
The physical interaction in learning is becoming a luxury with the advancement in technology and increase in children’s on-screen time.
A good story teller will maintain eye contact with the children, while telling the story. This tells the child you care and the children are important to you care, the voice inflection will spur their imagination, your gentle touch, closeness and smiles will create a warmth and thrills no story online can deliver.
So snuggle up, dim the lights for greater effects and read or re-tell a favourite story to your toddler.
7. Singing and rhyming:
Toddlers love songs and rhymes and most often would want to sing along with you.
Singing and rhyming with your children can provide loads of happy and teachable moments.
- The children learn sounds, new words and how they are pronounced.
- They learn to follow directions, learn basic concepts of math, science and language.
- They learn to communicate and develop social skills.
In conclusion, those everyday activities you engage with your toddler are no ordinary activities but they are valuable and precious moments with your child. Remember this time will soon pass away forever. Do Take them seriously because your child does.