Thursday, November 19, 2009

live and let learn: toddlers

Before I answer the question left in comments the other day, let me state that I never left any of my daughters unattended while participating in any of the following activities.  I don't follow suggested safety guidelines- I'm just present.  Which means there and aware of what's going on. 

Question: If you had an 18 month old at home right now what projects or activities would you do with her?

Short answer: Let them do.  Adapt and relax.  Toddlers are preschoolers too- don't underestimate their abilities- they will often surprise you and they will "get it" eventually.  Each of my daughters had their own kid scissors by the time they were two. Not plastic "safety scissors" (who could ever cut anything with those?)  Real blunt edged scissors.  Just being exposed to them was helpful- eventually they learned how to hold and operate them correctly.  And by age four, they could use any scissors, even the kitchen ones. Save your money.  There is absolutely no need for the latest "learning toy".  Kids learn by doing.  So live and let learn.

supplies every toddler should have:


*I never bought special sized or shaped crayons, pencils, etc.  Kids will learn to hold everything correctly eventually, and the practice does their fine motor skills good!
Allow them access to:
your recycling bin toilet paper rolls, tissue paper, boxes, empty containers and lids, etc.
your canned goods great for sorting and stacking
your pots and pans and cooking utensils let them make a mess of your cabinets, better yet actually cook with them.
your dust pan and brush
your bags, purses, and shoes

a roll of toilet paper

cotton balls

Try, do, learn.  Researching unschooling and other various methods of child education- it was amazing to me the "academics" children learn through living.  Of course, you know that- it's instinctual, but we are groomed to think "learning" only happens when "teaching" is going on.  Well, you can see the learning value in any and all of the following things to do with your toddler...

  1. play ISpy They don't have to guess a specific item, just naming anything that is the color you named is good enough.

  2. go on a themed scavenger hunt (Outdoors: numbers, Fall, Christmas, etc.  Indoors: circles, numbers, colors, bears, etc.)

  3. make leaf rubbings

  4. take advantage of the local library Attend story hour, take out books, play in the childrens' room.

  5. two words: sidewalk chalk

  6. play "Jack" be nimble Lay a taper candle down on the floor.  Have your child jump over it while singing "Jack" be nimble, "Jack" be quick, "Jack" jumped over the candlestick - inserting your child's name.

  7. play follow the leader This works great for when you have housework.  Skip to the laundry room, stand on one foot while washing the dishes, etc.

  8. have a pillow fight Sound crazy? think gross motor skills!

  9. make a sock puppet Can be as simple as drawing eyes and a mouth on a sock with a marker.

  10. make some ice in large containers and add it to their bathtub 

  11. have fun with food coloring- try some green eggs and ham

  12. three words: arts and crafts At this age, that simply means letting them use the materials.  Glue, paint, color... do a little art every day.

  13. experiment with materials Golf ball painting, sponge painting, potato stamping, etc.  Glue cotton balls, cheerios, anything you have on hand. Color on paper, the sidewalk, your bathtub(tub crayons).  Think outside the box- the possibilites are endless.

  14. read with your child

  15. subscribe to preschool daze An amazing blog written by the director of a preschool and all projects are listed alphabetically so they are easy to find!!  An abundance of ideas- toddlers are preschoolers too, especially when they have you right there to help them!



SugarBritches said...


purejoy said...

only one comment?? crazy. i want to go rent a toddler and try some of these things!!
great ideas. and so creative. i wish i could have been your kid!!

gina said...

it was a fun age... time flies. :( but we still have fun. and i'm still addicted to that preschool daze- the stuff she comes up with it great! I'll have to wait for grandkids now. or maybe i should go back to school and become a teacher...

gina said...

and ashley- thank you for asking!

Conservative Knitter said...

I love this post!!! I could not have said it better myself@!

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