Building a Strong Foundation
Fostering a love for learning comes first and foremost from the parent. No one else can make learning as enjoyable and inspiring as you. Why is that? Well, parents are a child’s first role model. They are with you for majority of the time and for the most part, they don’t have to share your attention with a bunch of other kids like a teacher does. Not only that, they look up to you for everything – the way you interact with others, the way you behave, how you show emotions, etc. That admiring look you get from your child when you do an activity with them, speaks for itself.
If you show that learning is enjoyable and fun, I can promise you that they will love learning too. This love for learning is the foundation they need to become confident and curious lifelong students.
5 Easy Toddler Learning Activities
A typical day with a toddler can be full of joy and laughter, but it can also be full of exhaustion and constantly thinking of, “Okay, what should we do next?” It’s a good idea to have a bank of activities lined up so that whenever you’re stuck somewhere between a tantrum and tears (yes, this could be the parent too) you can pull out a fun activity that will bring that smile back to both of your faces.
1. Sorting colors
I found these foam shapes at Hobby Lobby, and the cups are from a stacking cup set I already had. The purpose of this activity is to sort the shapes by color into the correct cup. I would suggest to NOT mention the names of the shapes because you will most probably confuse them at first. You only want to focus on the different colors at this point. Later, you can sort by shape after they master how to sort by color.
2. Matching Pictures
I was lucky enough to find this set of transportation cards at my local Dollar Tree! If you can’t find it anywhere, just print out some pictures and laminate them. Choose pictures that interest your child. My toddler is absolutely OBSESSED with transportation cars! So it’s no surprise that when I pulled this out, he was extremely excited! You can lay them all out in the correct order or mix them up, and see if they can find the correct match.
3. Matching Colored Popsicle Sticks
This activity was as simple to make as it was to play. Just tape down the cover to a small shoe box, poke holes, and add colored construction paper to label the holes. I love this one because it is a multi-tasker; they are identifying colors and practicing fine motor skills. After your little one has completed this a few times correctly, you can challenge them by going ahead and putting the popsicle sticks in the wrong colored holes. Then, see if they can find the correct match.
4. Popsicle Stick Container
This is an activity that I would start as soon as 12 months. The purpose is to work on fine motor skills by finding holes in a container. I cut out holes in different directions so that there would be a wrist rotation (which helps with strengthening muscles for future writing). You can also create containers with different shaped holes to fit coins or cotton balls. Just be sure to supervise this activity! I let Kian have a go at this by himself while I stepped away, and I came back to a little boy with a very blue tongue!
5. Counting to Three
Knowing how to count to 5, 10, or 20 is a great accomplishment. It’s the milestone needed to build all other math on. However, just knowing how to count is not enough. Children need to know what “one” actually means. That part is a little tricky, but with practice you’ll be surprised at how fast they pick it up! When I first introduced this activity, I only started with “one”. When I felt like Kian had mastered how many is “one”, then I moved on to “two”, then “three”. Go slowly, and make sure there is an understanding of the quantity of each number before moving on the next number.
I hope this gave you some ideas and inspiration to tackle learning with your toddler! If you have any favorite activities that you and your little one enjoy, please be sure to share them in the comments below!
Stay Blessed, Sharmin