Two Can Learn Better than One!

Tags: problem solving

Biggest, Tallest and Fastest in the World!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Activities, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) , Tags: comparing size, eyfs, problem solving, reasoning and numeracy

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Part of the Government's Early Years Foundation Stage areas of Learning and Development covers 'Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy' and one of the focuses is 'Shape, Space and Measures'; in order to introduce the idea of size and comparison, try this simple activity, especially if you have recently been to a zoo!  This can be done when walking along the street to playgroup or when sitting on a bus.  Make it a chatty conversation, and not a mathematical exercise.  Keep it simple and talk about the possible answers.

Ask your child some size related questions:

  • Which is the tallest animal in the world?  A giraffe.
  • Which is the heaviest animal in the world?  An elephant.
  • Which is the fastest animal in the world?  A cheetah.
  • Which is the smallest animal in the world? A tiny bug
  • Which is the fluffiest animal in the world? A baby bunny?
  • Which is the biggest animal in the sea?  A whale.

Go to the library and find an animal dictionary or encyclopedia and look up the animals to see what they look like.  See what other interesting facts you can find out.  What do they eat?  Where do they live?  Do they live in groups or alone?  You could also go on line and look for images of the animals and search together.

Try comparing the size of other things around the house too.  Which is the biggest cupboard?  Run and find it.  Which is the tallest lamp?  Run and find it.  Which is the smallest door?  Run and find it.


Learning through Logic

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Activities , Tags: building blocks, logical, logical thinking, obstacle courses, problem solving, puzzles, shape sorters, sudoku, textures, thinking

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Children learn in different ways and one of the ways in which they learn is by applying logic and deduction, essentially learning through exploring.  To nurture this approach to learning, introduce simple puzzles and toys that encourage thinking and problem solving:-

  • Touchy feely: books and toys with different textures allow a baby to feel and discover how different surfaces feel.
  • Shape sorters: these come in all manner of designs, from simple puzzle boards to shape sorters built into ride on toys.  Shape sorters help to encourage logical thinking as babies slowly work out how to match shapes with their matching slots.
  • Building blocks: whether old fashioned wooden blocks or construction toys such as Duplo or Megablocks, children can explore how objects interact and cause and effect with physical items.

You can boost the logical power of older children by stimulating thinking with mental challenges:-

  • Quizes: older children can learn by asking questions and you can encourage learning by asking questions back to them.
  • Puzzles: 'spot the difference', mazes, simple word searches and small sudoku puzzles can be enjoyed by children from the age of 4 upwards.
  • Obstacle courses: create an obstacle course in the garden on a grand scale, introduce challenges such as how to cross a crocodile pit or how to go from one end of the garden to the other without stepping on the ground - problem solving is all part of logical thinking.

The ability to learn through logical thining is a skill that will assist a child throughout their lives - encouraging this style of thinking from early on will create a solid foundation on which they can grow with time.

Understanding Rules

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Babies, Child Development , Tags: executive function, problem solving, reasoning, rule forming, rules

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Babies begin to understand rules even before their first birthday, but the ability to form and adapt rules in their mind happens only after a few years.  From early on, your baby will learn to interpret when you say not to touch something but the formation of 'executive function', where a child truly begins to think, understand and analyse for themselves, develops slowly over their first five years.

Executive function is the ability to examine a situation, apply behaviour known on learned rules or experience, and then be able to refine their behaviour based on the outcome for future experiences.  For example, a baby will open a cupboard and pull everything out, but it takes an older child to actively look for a packet of biscuits in the cupboard, learn how to get to them if they are out of reach and manage to obtain them.  This development takes several years and isn't simply down to experience, the part of the brain that assists executive function is one of the last parts of the brain to develop.

By four years old, your toddler is more intelligent than the adult of any other species on the planet!  This may seem surprising, but no other animal comes near to having the understanding or reasoning of a four year old child.  Of course, in human terms, there's still an awfully long way to go, but next time your little one does something that makes you proud, just remember that they're already inside the top 0.1% of most intelligent creatures on earth!


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

Sign up FREE to ToucanLearn to follow our activity based learning programme for babies, toddlers and children. We offer hundreds of fun learning craft, games and activities - every activity is aimed at the capabilities of your specific children. Download custom activity sheets, and log their progress in each child's unique Daily Diary!

You'll also find sticker and reward charts, certificates, number and letter practice. Every activity links into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development.

Fill in our Daily Diary to log progress against the EYFS and add photo entries instantly simply by sending them straight from your phone. You can share diaries back with parents or childminders so that everyone can enjoy watching your children develop.

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