The first 1,000 days is the most crucial stage of your child’s development. Beginning in-utero, this stage also covers the first two years of your baby’s life. During this period, your baby grows dramatically in all aspects — mental, physical, and emotional.
To give your baby the best start in life, it is only proper to fill this first 1,000 days with things and activities that boost their development. When your baby becomes a toddler and graduates from tummy time, it’s time to fill their days with activities that stimulate the mind.
Here are 10 of the best activities that are not only great for entertainment but also aimed at toddler learning!
Reading is a brilliant learning activity for children of all ages. For toddlers, in particular, reading is so important because around this age, they are beginning to recognize letters and even words. Encourage reading by pointing out words and identifying the letters. You may also point to things and tell your child what they are called to expand their vocabulary.
Aside from reading, counting is an essential skill that your toddler can now be capable of doing. Begin by helping your toddler master number recognition by pointing to number figures. Next comes reciting the numbers in order. Finally, help your toddler learn the actual skill of counting by touching and tallying. For example, line up a few coins and count them one by one.
Singing is entertaining, but did you know that it’s also a great way to boost toddler learning? Singing involves repetition, and toddlers need repetition in order to master concepts like numbers and the alphabet. Help your child learn concepts by singing songs about the days of the week, months, animals, weather, and so many more.
Letter and number recognition is an important foundation for verbal communication. Speaking comes first, but during the toddler stage, it’s also helpful to start preparing your child to write through pre-writing activities like tracing. Encourage your toddler to trace by letting them trace real objects (like a leaf) on a paper using crayons.
Sometimes, the best activities for toddlers don’t have to be complicated. In fact, they can be something as simple as sorting. Sorting by categories, like colors and shapes, sharpens your child’s mind as they are able to identify and group objects according to their characteristics. It also refines their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
If sorting helps your toddler learn how to identify categories and characteristics, matching helps them learn how to identify exact similarities. You can get a set of cards with matching drawings, or you can draw sets of the same objects like toys. Let your child match the pair. This activity boosts mental development and cognitive skills!
7. Sensory play
Sensory play does not actually end during the first year of your child’s life! Your toddler still enjoys — and learns from — touching and feeling things around them. For your toddler, you can let them play with objects with different textures such as pipe cleaners, magnets, cotton balls, and more. This stimulates the tactile sense and boosts cognitive and motor skills.
8. Arts and crafts
Your toddler is at the perfect age to start immersing into arts and crafts! Young toddlers may not be able to grasp tools like pencils and paint brushes yet, so don’t force them. Let them paint using fingers and edible paint instead! You may also let your toddler play with play dough and help them create various shapes and objects.
Another great activity for your toddler is balancing. This is the kind of activity that benefits your child’s whole being. It boosts cognitive and problem-solving skills, both gross and fine motor skills, and on top of them all, balancing is so much fun. Let your child balance on a flat surface, an elevated surface like a chair, a sloped surface like a ramp. Don’t forget to supervise!
10. Nature walk
Your toddler is naturally curious and would grab any chance to explore new things and places. Take advantage of this by taking them on a nature walk! You don’t have to go far; you can even stay inside your backyard. Create scavenger hunts to challenge them, or label the flora and fauna that you see. You may even teach your toddler how to plant!
Toddlers have an inquiring mind, and their minds are ripe for learning new skills and concepts. Give your child a great start in life by filling their days with activities meant for learning and fun!