Oh, toddlers! Those funny, little humans with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and independence. If you live with a toddler, you've probably heard the words, “I can do it!" or “Let me try!" Instead of greeting those words with frustration, channel them! Help your little one learn (and gain valuable skills that will soon make your life easier!) by helping master the endless bits of information and inspiration that are all around.
You can take advantage of your little one's natural curiosity and yearning to learn with these six fun and simple activities.
1. Letters are everywhere! Take advantage of it.
Toddlers love to sing the alphabet song. Take advantage of this natural interest by talking to them about the sounds that letters make. Point out the first letter of their name and emphasize the phonetic sound. Do the same with the words “mama" and “dada." Or use an alphabet puzzle to talk to them about the sounds of the letters. These are fun and easy ways to introduce them to reading. Plus, there are opportunities to teach letters all around.
2. Count those numbers, too.
Just as quickly as toddlers pick up letters, they pick up numbers. Extend this experience by playing games that introduce children to counting. Have your toddler count orange slices at snack time or the number of people seated at the dinner table. Not only will they enjoy these games, it'll get them excited about mealtime too!
3. I wanna get, musical. Musical.
When playing an instrument like a toy piano, toddlers tend to bang-bang-bang for 10 seconds before moving on to the next thing. Help them build an appreciation for music by playing their favorite song on an instrument. You can also expose them to musical terms, teach them to count in (1,2,1,2,3,4) or put on a mini-concert. Soon, your little maestro will be sitting for longer stretches and playing with an appreciation for music.
4. Get crafty
Who doesn't love making art? It's a wonderful outlet for creative expression, especially for little ones. Think outside of the box when introducing art materials to little ones.
To help kids get especially creative, try handing over an assorted group of unusual objects, and encourage them to use them as they wish! Next thing you know, you'll be living with a little avant-garde artist.
Your little one can make a collage on foam or felt sheets, glue puzzle pieces or dried beans to paper. They can use scraps of paper, or Cheerios, or pom pom balls. Maybe even grab some items from the great outdoors (try twigs, blades of grass, leaves or flowers), and encourage your little one to create a nature scene all of their own making.
Working with a variety of materials allows children to explore their creativity and everyday world.
5. Try cooking together
Toddlers love to cook! It makes them feel proud to prepare their own foods. Snack preparation is an easy way to let them explore their growing independence. Have toddlers slice a banana using a butter knife. They can also peel clementines and egg shells. Or have them make their own orange juice with the help of a manual citrus juicer.
6. Make cleaning fun
Yup, a 2-year old can help you clean. In fact, they love it! As long as the task is simple and age-appropriate, toddlers feel proud when they help you around the house. Some easy activities include: folding washed clothes, cleaning a table or high chair with a sponge and wiping spills with a paper towel. Kids will jump at the chance to help you with these chores! All you'll need is a little patience. (Okay, maybe a lot of patience!) But it will pay off for both of you in the long run.
Go to CuratedCare.com for more inspiring activities for your little human!