Toddlers are busy, emotional and need lots of attention. You’ve heard about the terrible 2’s... Basically, to me this is a process your child goes through as they go from being solely dependent on you as their caregiver to less dependent. This phase of development makes HUGE leaps in these toddler years. In fact you’ll see your child change more in these years than most others!! Toddlers are imaginative and when you can engage them you’ll be surprised at their creativity as well.
Here are a few areas of development and some activities that you can try at home:
Toddlers are usually pretty natural at physical exercise, in fact some of them never stop moving. Engaging your child in physical activity at a young age is an important part of development and will enhance their love for it later in life as well.
Here are a few ideas:
- My personal favorite is freeze dance. Toddlers LOVE to dance. Play some fun music and tell them when the music stops they need to stop dancing. They will have a blast.
- Go for a nature walk. Kids love exploring and walking around. Just remember to go at their pace, those short legs can’t move too fast.
- Obstacle course, use your imagination to create an obstacle course outside. Think rocks, stones, hoops, chairs and you can even use chalk.
- Follow the leader is a great outdoor activity to get your body moving as well.
Social and Emotional
Toddlers are in an interesting phase where they are learning to manage and regulate their emotions. This is something that starts at birth, but plays a huge role in this time frame. To help encourage this area of development here are a few activities.
- 20 minutes of uninterrupted time with a parent is huge in developing social and emotional. Set a timer and do nothing, but interact with your child for 20 minutes!
- Play ball with your child. Passing the ball back and forth is such great practice with taking turns.
- Practice a few rules. For a toddler this would look like; no playing in the garbage or bathroom. By practicing the rules you give them an opportunity to practice their emotional response to hearing the word NO.
- Another great way is to encourage them to play alone for a few minutes each day. Think about a basket of toys or activity that they can do on their own. Maybe try it while preparing a meal, you’ll be surprised to see how their attention span begins to grow.
Working on fine motor skills at home may seem overwhelming, but honestly it’s super easy. They are all the skills that your child is developing that will help them write later in life!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Everyday eating is such a great way to work on a fine motor. Think, those cheerios or small berries, all of that is developing that fine motor skill that your child will need to write later on.
- Beads are great for working on fine motor skills. Think BIG beads with BIG holes in the middle. This is a great place for them to start. They will need lots of help at first!
- Scribbling is such a great way to start introducing your child to the skill of writing. Something that will also help is letting them watch you write, color or draw. Give them a paper and non toxic crayons (they will put them in their mouth), and let them give it a try. You can do some hand over hand to help them as well.
Thinking of Preschool often the children's favorite activity is the sensory activity. Don’t limit this to a bin of items, but think outside the box as well.
- Toddlers LOVE waterplay! Don’t have a water table or sensory bin, doesn’t matter. Get a bowl from the kitchen or a big plastic bin. Anything you can fill with water works great.
- Add some toys to the water bin.
- Don’t forget you can always add a few drops of food coloring to the water too! Kids love that!
- Everything in the kitchen is great for waterplay. Grab the measuring cups, small plastic bowls and spatulas to change things up!
- For this you can use the same bin you used for water play, just simply wipe it out!
- Sensory bins are great to fill with leaves, beans, rice, dirt, sand and so much more.
- Add a few toys into the bin, this is a great way to encourage imaginary play.
Children can begin to develop their reading skills early on. The first step of this is simply being introduced to books, learning to turn the pages and look at pictures. Never underestimate the power of just looking, not reading through a book with your toddler.
- Reading a book with your child is a great way to encourage their love for reading
- Pick a theme for the week and read a few books that fit that theme
- Book Swap: Ask a friend if they will book swap. Porch drop off is great for this.
- Don’t forget books with textures and sounds are great for toddlers too!
- GO on a nature walk with your child and practice pointing and naming objects
- Play where is…. Inside the house. Name an object and have your child find it.
- Signing songs is a great way to develop those early reading and talking skills as well.
- Don’t forget to use hand motions
- When you can incorporate an object that is a great way to engage the child too.