Once babies become toddlers, they are much more responsive, energetic, opinionated, and sometimes bossy- they are not called the “terrible twos” for nothing! However, their play habits also become more developed and their problem-solving skills begin to emerge. They are eager to communicate and play with others as they continue to learn about their surroundings. Here are some activities parents and early educators can do to support their children’s learning through exploration and play.
How to Play with Your Toddler:
- Participate in games that require more advanced cognitive skills like “dress up” or “make-believe”. This play encourages your little one to use their imagination and be creative.
- Get them and moving! Physical play is just as important as pretend play because development of gross-motor, or large-muscle, skills helps increase kids’ strength, coordination, and confidence. Whether you are kicking a ball around with them outside and having a dance party, it is important to incorporate movement into your everyday routines.
- Fine motor, or small muscle skills, are also developing during this stage! These skills are strengthened with tasks such as drawing, building, and other activities that involve hand-eye coordination.
- Start developing their vocabulary! Remember, every game you play with your little one is an opportunity for them to learn. Therefore, when you are at the grocery store or going for a walk, encourage your toddler to name all of the fruits, vegetables, or living things that you pass on the way.
- Puzzles are a great way for your toddler to develop important cognitive skills like problem-solving, visual memory, and shape recognition. It also teaches them task-persistence when things get a little tricky!
Overall, with these simple and easy to create activities, your toddler is constantly learning and building crucial cognitive skills. Including:
- Creativity and imagination skills
- Gross-motor and fine-motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Language development
- Problem solving
- Memory skills
The brain of a toddler is truly amazing. It absorbs an incredible amount of information simply from observation and interaction. Therefore, it is important to feed these hungry brains with fun and collaborative play that encourages growth and development.