Teaching Toddlers

When providing learning experiences for toddlers, it is quite different than conventional adult directed activities. Toddlers have short attention spans and don’t take in a lot of lengthy directions or discussions. In order to get them to participate and stay for a moment, the experience needs to be rich in sensory stimulation as well as some back and forth interaction. For example, during the activity they need to be talked with, not talked at which is a bit tricky with toddlers who are learning language. Asking them questions about what they are doing and if expressive language is difficult for them, using yes or no questions can be helpful and get them thinking about what they are doing but make sure not to limit them to yes/no because they need the experience of attempting to answer questions to help them move to the next level. Here are a few learning activities broken into 3 areas to help twos explore the world of learning:

Sensory/fine motor:

  • Washing items with soapy water-put them to work even with washing their own toys
  • ice cubes- using tongs to pick them up
  • puff balls and small scoops
  • Bubbles- the all around mesmorizing pastime, spill proof covers are very helpful
  • finger paint with yogurt-it is edible for those who put things in their mouth

Number fun:

  • Create a numbers sensory art with glue and sand or glue pieces of paper
  • play a number match game with a deck of cards
  • have numbers cards and match that number of snack (cereal or goldfish) to it
  • put numbers on duplos and put them in order from 1-10 or beyond!
  • make binoculars with toilet paper tubes and go on a number hunt to find numbers in the house

Alphabet adventures:

  • Put letters and objects in a bag and pull them out and find things that start with that letter
  • write alphabet on cups, hide a pom pom under and have them guess where the pom pom is
  • build letters with duplos, legos or playdoh
  • write big letters on side walk in chalk and try to balance on the line
  • type letters on the computer while stating the letters they type then let them print it out

Keep activities fun and short and always enjoyable as toddlers need things to be novel and different. Children love the adventure of learning if you are having fun too!

By Tiffany Madsen