10 activities to boost your toddler's development
Here are 10 easy, fun activities and tips to support your toddler's development! We've picked one from each area of development, plus two which are Montessori-inspired.
Personal and Social
What am I like? Talk to your little one and ask them about the things that make them so unique and special. This might be the colour of their hair, their eyes, how much they love being outside, or how high they can jump. This is a fantastic and easy way to help your little one understand and develop their own sense of self.
Funny faces. Let your little one know how you feel. It is good to share the emotions that you are feeling and how your facial expressions display may show that feeling too. Play a game and let them copy or guess the emotion e.g. frown for a sad face, or yawn for a tired face.
Let’s move. Are you in the mood for dancing, or maybe your little one is? Getting your little one to move around, whether they are jumping from sofa to sofa or attempting knee slides across the kitchen floor, any type of movement is beneficial! The skills that they use to do these types of movements are called ‘gross motor’, which are big movements which are responsible for developing whole body strength. This is also great for letting them explore the space around them and work on developing their spatial awareness skills!
Communication and Language
Make up a story. Ask your little one to gather some of their favourite toys. Make up a story with them, and let them choose the characters, scenarios or the weather. This is a great way to support the development of their imagination and creativity, whilst also understanding the concept of a story having a beginning, middle and end.
Play I-spy. This is a great activity with requires no materials at all. This activity supports your little one’s communication and language development by developing listening skills through hearing letter sounds and enhancing their phonic skills. This also helps your little one begin to relate letter sounds to objects. For example, “I-spy something beginning with h, h, h”, and pronouncing ‘h’ as ‘huh’ instead of ‘aitch’.
Child painting hand
Build something. Depending on the resources around, encourage your little one to create something by stacking or lining up some materials. Try to remember to ask them open-ended questions such as ‘Can you tell me what you’ve made?’, instead of ‘I love the castle you have built’.
Understanding the World
Go for a walk. Not only is going for a walk with your little one good for your and their mental health and well-being, but it also is great to help them with their physical development. You could talk about the different sounds that you can hear in the environment. By doing this, you can help your little one begin to make connections between the sounds they hear and the associated name.
Expressive Arts and Design
Imagine this... If the weather is nice (not too sunny) and you have the space to do so, lay on your back with your little one on a comfortable surface on their back too. Talk about the shapes, faces, animals, or numbers that you might see in the clouds. Encourage your little one to look up and tell you or point to something that they are interested in.
Practical Life (Montessori)
Encourage independence. Let your little one try to put their socks on or hand you their nappy. All of this is part of their development of self-care as they begin to learn that they can do things by themselves. It doesn’t matter if their t-shirt is on back to front, they tried! Maybe ask them if is comfortable, or if it is a printed shirt, ask ‘Shall we try and see if we can put the dinosaur that is on your back, on your tummy instead?’
Messy play! This doesn’t necessarily mean having to get out a tuff-tray (you can do this if you want to save a bit of cleaning up at the end!), but this could simply be them exploring the food in front of them with their hands at mealtimes. Or, they could explore the texture of some rough and smooth natural objects, and roll them in cool and smooth paint. The opportunities are endless!
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