Children spend a significant amount of their early years in the family home making it an important space to promote early development. There are hundreds of ways you can adapt your home and routine to provide better learning opportunities for all ages. Here are our top 5 for toddlers.
1. Label everything
Despite the fact that your little one can't read yet, education aptitudes begin growing at an early stage. The first three years are of high importance when it comes to the basic building blocks of reading and writing. Labeling household items, such as the toy bin or desk introduces your child to letters and helps them understand that words have actual meaning. Include a picture of the item along with the word to give more context.
2. Set Up a Weather Window
Get a set of sticky velcro dots and stick one to the inside of a visible window. Take a piece of blank white card and have your child draw a picture of the day's weather by using any art medium (crayons, markers, watercolours). Add a word below the drawing that describes the weather (cold, snowy, sunny). Stick another piece of velcro to the back of the drawing and help your child stick it to the window. Repeat every day until you have a set of weather drawings for every condition and update each day.
3. Introduce Organisation
Now that everything is labeled (see point 1) you can better promote tidying by keeping toys, clothes, dishes, and household items in specific places. As you put things in their labeled bins and drawers, turn the process into a guessing game. Ask your child where certain items belong and encourage them to find the right place themselves. As your child becomes more familiar with the process, place items in the wrong locations and challenge your toddler to find your mistakes. These tasks give you a way to begin teaching your young children about responsibilities, helping others, and being part of a family.
4. Make sensory bags
Throw together sensory bags or bottles that let your little one explore with all their senses. Cut up scrap fabric and make a texture-rich feely bag, use a few different scents or add jingle bells to make a “listening bag.” Adding rice or pasta to a bottle makes a fantastic shaker too!
The more words your child hears, the richer their vocabulary will become. Not only are they learning new things to say, but also starting to understand how communication works. You talk, they listen. They talk, you listen. Practice this over and over again every day. There’s no need to make special “talk time.” Instead, keep the conversation up throughout the day.