A World Of Discovery!
Your two year old has now conquered the act of toddling, hence the word “toddler.” He has become a dominant explorer! With the added confidence and independence he gained in his first two years, he is now ready to explore a broader and more intimidating world.
Parents, you will need to begin this journey by providing a safe, stimulating, enriching environment within your home. The world of exploration you give him will enable your child the ability to discover new skills. These skills will assist your toddler in “making sense out of the world around them” and help him increase his self -confidence in navigating his expanding world.
FIRST, look around your home as if you have never been there before! Most likely, you have already child proofed the areas that are potentially dangerous, but you may want to take a second look. Toddlers are now inclined to climb higher, reach farther and open cupboards and closets that were not logistically accessible before.
Once you have “proofed your home” you are ready to HAVE FUN!
Start this process by designating specific areas in your home for “learning” playtime. Take a moment and identify areas would work best for your family logistics. DO NOT set up a play area in a main walking area, or near a television set. Plan an area that will provide a positive atmosphere while your child begins exploring and mastering new skills and of course, having FUN! Create an appealing area by using primary colors, pictures, posters of shapes, colors, letters/numbers.Don’t forget to display books and developmental toys. Before you go to the store and purchase these items, you may want to look around the house. There’s a good chance that you already have the essential toys and materials you need.
Please feel free to label these play areas for your child! This will begin a new world of pre-reading for your child, as he learns to recognize the letter symbols.
- The “Imaginative Play” area can be restricted to a trunk full of hats and costumes and a set of pots and pans. Your two year old is beginning to “pretend” with his toys and playtime. Her small bear is now her baby that needs to be fed…
- Develop a “Quiet Area” with blankets and pillows to where your child can read or for him to independently enjoy a quiet moment to them selves while they “pretend” to read. This is a valuable pre-reading activity that will help your toddler learn to enjoy stories, colorful pictures and begin early reading skills such as turning the pages in a book and looking left to right.
- A small table and chairs are needed for “Table Work” where your toddler can work on puzzles, draw single line sketches, and sort objects by color and shape. Your toddler is now ready to begin sorting. Place two clear plastic containers in front of your toddler. Use for example, two colored counting bears, place one of each color in the jars. Now model the task by saying “sort”, and continue to place the matching color bears in the appropriate jars. Don’t forget to PRAISE your Toddler as they complete each task.
- A “Gross Motor” area may look simply like a large bucket filled with balls to throw and roll, a variety of toys to push and pull, a child’s parachute or colorful bed sheet to make fly up and down and ride on toys to propel across the floor! Your active toddler is now engaged in rolling items, filling containers, walking up and down stairs, throwing … Use a colorful roll of Duck Tape, and tape a line across the floor. Enjoin him to jump over the line, roll a car on the line, walk on the line, walk backward on the line and sit on the line. This activity will help your child master new motor skills and following one command instruction.
When your child-friendly areas are complete, take your child on a tour. Share with him the freedoms and restrictions you have assigned to his new play areas. Spend time enjoying your child at play; continually give him praise for any positive exploration.
Your “curious” two year old is compelled to learn through play. The more inspired activities and spaces you provide for your child, the more advanced and well balanced he will become. As a Parent, the most important thing to remember is to have FUN with your two year old! Laugh with him to show him JOY, Praise him to demonstrate ACCEPTANCE, and provide him a safe environment where he can EXPLORE.