Inquisitive, intelligent and curious are just some of the traits your toddler has. Their little brains are soaking up the world around them like a sponge and they learn the most from those who are closest to them. This can be daunting sometimes, as alongside the daily struggles of parenting, we seem to be responsible for also ensuring they have the best start in education too! But, do not fear! Although sometimes it can feel overwhelming, teaching and learning at home really is going with the flow and there are lots of learning opportunities that you will be exploring without even realising.
Below are some practical activities and learning opportunities from inside your home. Listed room by room, to give you an insight into just how easy they can slot into your daily life!
• Kitchen: cooking & baking – lots of number vocabulary, weight language (more and less), counting, washing sorting, communication and language skills (talking during meal times), personal, social and emotional skills – helping around the kitchen – (setting the table, putting things in the sink for washing, simple chores – putting away their plastic plates etc), mark making – writing a shopping list, self-confidence – displaying their artwork on the fridge!
• Lounge: Often a hive of activity with toys, but additionally reading and story time may take place in here, music and dancing, language skills galore in here too! A cosy place to introduce puzzles, flash-cards, new vocabulary.
• Bathroom: Water play, measuring (full, empty, half full), role-play with bath toys, mark making (bath crayons), messy play (think bubbles, shaving foam), hygiene skills, teeth brushing, toilet training, following instructions.
• Bedroom: Reading, story time (can happen anytime of the day but often a story before bed is a lovely way to introduce), getting dressed/undressed, pairing socks, helping to put away clothes, simple tidying chores (making the bed, tidying away toys).
• Outdoor/garden space: This can be immediate access from your home, or in the area, (the local park or green space). Outdoor space provides so many opportunities for physical development as well maths, literacy, speech and language and a whole host of other learning skills. Outdoor games, curiosity of finding objects, fresh air and play all contribute to your toddlers learning experiences.
As you can see from the list above (which is nowhere near exhaustive) learning is happening in the home surroundings constantly. So, by becoming aware of this and actively seeking out learning opportunities will only enhance your little ones experiences. Little Learning Box is one way of easily providing extra learning opportunities and activities to do in addition to all of the core learning that is going on in day to day life.
You could also choose to focus on one separate area in your daily living that perhaps needs a little more attention. There will be phases that your toddler progresses through and you can address these as and when they arise. Toilet training for example. Or it may be something simple as promoting reading a little more, a bedtime book basket for example might just create that excitement and time for reading and with a little boost you may notice your toddlers speech and language and book handling skills improve over that period of time.
In short, you know your little one the best and as with all parenting follow your instinct and what you know they enjoy and what you think they could benefit from next. Remember, a happy toddler is one who will learn. So, if they are in a grumpy mood because they are tired, hungry (the list goes on) it is best to try again when they are in a better mood. Take their lead and have fun exploring the world through their eyes.
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