Now that summer is here, sand and water play are back on the agenda, plus lots of outside games. Here's a simple activity to encourage letter recognition and exploring.
Maths for toddlers isn't difficult numbers and hard sums... it is much more fun than that!
Take a box of sand, some old cartons or tubes such as toothpaste cartons, little cereal packets, or stock cube boxes. Take some spoons such as tea spoons, wooden cooking spoons, dolly sized spoons. Ask you little ones to fill the tubes and boxes with their hands and with the spoons. Then get them to empty the contents or transfer from one box to another. Show them how to do it. Make piles of sand, squash the sand and fill the boxes. Then, ask them:
This is the beginning of learning about mass and weight... its also great fun!
Messy Play is a fun and important part of play - babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are always delighted to get their hands stuck in to some messy play. They get to feel and touch items and substances they wouldn't normally handle. But, it is also useful for the beginnings of mark-making and ideal for observing their world and how different ingredients change when mixed up. Most importantly - it is fun!
Get a large tray such as a baking tray with fairly deep sides to use when doing messy play. Add some ingredients to the tray and encourage the little ones to mix and feel and play with the substances.
Remember to protect clothing, floor, tables and keep any valuables away from the mess. Have fun!
Some children love bugs and worms, but others are scared or nervous around them - this is a great activity to enthrall those who are interested, and gently introduce worms to those who need some encouragement! By setting up a wormery, you get to see what happens underground. It's clean for us, safe for the worms and very interesting for the children.
You need to find the following:
It may look like scribbles, but from a very early age, the marks that children make on a page are an important step towards learning to write and communicate. Through their marks children are communicating their ideas, showing us how they feel and developing their own imagination. They are also being creative no matter how messy or scribbly their picture or words look to us when they have finished.
Give your child regular opportunities to make marks, draw, scribble, make lines and create pictures - at home, in the garden, in the park, at the restaurant, in the car. There are lots of times you can settle them down to draw and write and keep themselves entertained at the same time!
From the moment a baby holds a crayon and makes their very first mark on a page, their journey towards writing had begun. It may not be a conventional pencil used to write on a clean sheet of paper, but there are all sorts of other ways to get babies and toddlers used to the idea of mark making. Here are a few ideas to begin with:
Once your child becomes a toddler a whole new world of toys are suddenly available to them. They can shake and hold, throw and grasp, walk and run... it's a very exciting (and challenging!) time for parents and carers. But, how should a toddler's home or setting be equipped?
Toddlers basically play with whatever is available to them. They need stimulus and an actual 'thing' to play with but at this age it doesn't really matter if it's from an expensive toy shop or your kitchen drawers! They don't know if something has been passed down from an older cousin or if it's brand new.
It is, of course, difficult to put down exactly which toys your toddler needs, because it depends largely on what they like to do and what they already have, but as a rough guide, the types of toys for toddlers should probably fall into the following areas in order to give them a wide ranging and exciting choice.
The Natural World
In order to teach your toddler about nature and the world they need to learn about the natural materials available to us. Whether you live in a house with a garden or a flat without any outside space, there are so many ways to introduce the natural world.
Fill a basin or an old baby bath and splash around with plain water, water will bubbles, warm water and cold water. Find spoons and sieves and all sorts of things to play with in the water.
Buy some modelling clay or play dough, or make your own (log into ToucanLearn to find recipes) and just have a squidgey time! Make mud pies and mountains and get really messy. (Just make sure you protect your clothes, surfaces and floor!)
Get a sand pit or go to the beach and build castles, make tunnels or simply add water and change dry sand into sopping wet sand.
Try and include some building blocks in your toddler's toy box. They are great for building a make believe train, or a castle.
Here we've offered just a few basic ideas. Toddlers with even some of the above stimulating equipment will have lots of brilliant experiences. Have fun!
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