When your baby reaches their toddler years, it’s a great time for you and them! Pretty much every activity they engage in becomes a way for them to learn and grow. It aids their development in some way or the other and contributes to enhancing skills. Children are born to learn and have several skills. With the right direction and help, they will develop those skills and become successful with time. Teachers and parents play a significant role in helping a toddler hone their skills. They are the backbone of your child’s developmental abilities. According to the CDC, a child’s brain development is largely influenced by their surroundings (1). The world around them plays a vital role in how their brain develops, and today we are here with some activities that will help your toddler. Keep reading as we list down six brain-boosting activities that you can do with your toddler:
1. Read With Them
Reading with your toddler is great for them. Be it some funny or exciting comic book like Tintin, or gripping stories like Harry Potter, you can engage your toddler in these activities easily.
Incorporate a daily reading routine with them to improve their listening skills, imagination, language, attention span, and vocabulary too. Your toddler might be too young to read by themselves — read to them slowly, so they understand you. If your toddler lets you, hold them on your lap while you read. It will make them feel safe and relaxed. It also lets them know that you’re giving them all your attention (2). Make sure you read the books your toddler asks for every night, even if it’s the same book over and over again.
2. Imaginative Play
Toddlers develop imagination and creativity through pretend play. So, don’t hold back — allow your toddler to explore their imagination and play however they wish to. They can dress up as characters of their choice and make up stories along the way. The time is to play, so don’t restrict them to their imagination. For example, if your toddler wants to dress up as a pink frog and be friends with a butterfly, don’t tell them that pink frogs don’t exist. It’s playtime, and they have the right to let their imagination run wild. Besides, fostering creativity helps toddlers explore the world around them, better understand themselves, learn problem-solving, explore and express feelings (3).
3. Encourage A Walk-About
You and your toddler spend the whole week at home (apart from going to school or work). So why not explore the great outdoors during the weekend? Go on a small hike close by and experience nature at its best. Your child will learn to appreciate nature and establish a connection with it. When you’re outdoors, it’s always an opportunity for adventures. Plus, it helps keep them at optimum health, both physically and mentally. Research shows that spending time outdoors can lower your child’s chances of developing short-sightedness. Exposure to the safe rays of the sun (with sunscreen) can also help boost vitamin D levels (4). So, go ahead and take that walk with your toddler!
4. Sensory Play
The term sensory refers to the five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. It’s highly beneficial for toddlers to engage in activities that include these senses. It helps boost their cognitive development (5). The best activity for a toddler is arts and crafts. They use their imagination and create something from scratch. Encourage your kids to use elements from nature to create something; it could be a “wealth out of waste” project. They could use leaves, rocks, twigs, and other materials found in nature. Another activity that uses senses is food-related activities. Get your kids involved in cooking and baking. They can help you prepare different foods that they enjoy, observe different textures and smells of the ingredients and watch how they come together to form the final dish (YUM).
5. Play With Things That Move
Fine motor skills are critical for a child’s development. They include the movements of your hands and fingers to control smaller objects. For example, picking up food, buttoning a shirt, holding a pencil, and tying a shoelace are all fine motor skills. Studies show a link between fine motor skills, language development, literacy, and brain development (6). You could start with simple activities for your toddler like picking up small objects, clapping hands, putting on shoes, playing with clay, and painting, drawing using arts and crafts. Don’t forget to use objects that are kid-friendly and safe. Avoid using sharp objects — ones that could become choking hazards. But most importantly, make sure that they are having fun!
6. Intuitive Games And Toys
Nowadays, many toy and game brands design products that help children in brain development and growth. From puzzles to word games, board games to ones that need physical effort, the list of such games are endless. And with the advent of internet tools, kids can even learn a lot from playing certain video games. However, you can’t just let your kid have any toy and expect them to have a great learning experience. To find the best products that your kid would benefit from, do some research online. We’re sure you will be able to find some amazing ones at affordable rates.
7. Outdoor Activities
The pandemic has almost locked us inside and this has taken a toll on our mental health for many of us. Kids too have been victims of this. Now that normalcy is slowly returning, encourage your child to indulge in some outdoor and sports activities. This will give them some much needed physical workout which is so good for mental as well as physical development.
Toddlers are still learning and picking up various skills, and it’s up to us to ensure that they develop properly. With the activities listed above, your toddler can pick up on developmental skills that will help them grow properly. In no time, you’ll notice that they are becoming faster and practicing good hand-eye coordination. How many of these activities have you done with your toddler? Let us know some of your most favorite ones in the comments below!