To a toddler, the world is a playground. What does that string do? Where does that wire go? What happens if I go around that corner? They feel an intense desire to explore, find adventure, and enjoy the world. Help to satisfy their curiosities as a parent with these seven fun learning activities at home for toddlers.
Get inside the youngster’s mind
Toddlers want to run, walk, jump, dive off couches and climb the units in the house, and all without anything other than sheer faith that the world will deliver on their curiosities. The world is an adventure, a classroom, a space to explore and roam.
These kids are the purest creatures. They have a natural need to soak up as much as possible, so parents need to teach them as much as possible and foster that urge for exploration. Toddlers love to learn; they are sponges for information.
Toddlerhood is a fun time for all the family, and if you take the time to harness their need to learn as early as possible, you can embrace their thirst for knowledge and turn them into bright, eager young children.
The key to doing that well? Build off of the interests your toddler already has!
If they love to look at picture books, for example, use some favorite sight word games to help kids learn in an interesting way. You can give the world to your kids, and below are seven more learning activities at home for toddlers.
1. At-home learning activities for toddlers: Recognizing their name
Toddlers absolutely love labels. As they get a little older, they will learn to recognize their name. For now, start teaching him how to read and recognize the letters of their first and last names.
You can start with flashcards and then begin using large labels on the bedroom door and books to show them the letters that make up their name.
Sounding out the letters and having the little one say them back and read them on pages in a book at home is a great way to capture their attention and help them learn more. You can display their name and the letters on their toy box, their stool for the bathroom, in fridge magnets, and more.
You can graduate from those letters to other words beginning with those letters. For example, “M” is for Matthew, but also mice!
2. Learning to read with signs
Sight word games were already mentioned, but what about words and letters on the street signs outside? Toddlers pick up so much from the world around them, and if they are going to be out in the world on their own one day, then it makes sense to read the signs aloud as you see them. Ask them to point out the signs as you go.
Your child will learn to connect the letters that they see on the signs outside to the letters that they see at home. This connection creates the chance for learning conversations.
From here, you can ask your children to say those signs out loud and repeat sounds after you. That is how they start to develop their reading and comprehension skills.
As their parent, you will entertain and educate them, sometimes with less (or more) effort than expected. The best way to help your kids to improve their reading skills is to ensure that you are pointing to the letters and letting them recognize them as you sound them out. They may copy, they may not, but the beginning of their understanding is there.
3. Starting to count: Fun learning activities at home for toddlers
Children love to count. You see them line up their toys and their food, and they copy you if you start counting along.
Most two-year-olds can often recite their numbers up to 10 by school age. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they comprehend why they are counting or what it means.
This comprehension won’t likely appear until later. Still, you can begin to boost that number recognition.
4. Object organization
Children learn very quickly to match color-coordinated objects. They will be excited when they get this right!
Observing, comparing, and contrasting objects together is a part of their number and pattern recognition. You can do it with matching colored balls and cups, for example. Another idea is to choose objects of the same type but different sizes.
Your toddler will learn to organize objects for themselves over time as a result of these at-home learning activities. Here are some more ideas:
5. Shapes learning activities at home for toddlers
There are plenty of books that talk children through the variety of shapes out there in the world, from circles and squares to triangles and stars. Flipbooks, as well as number blocks that you fit into boxes, can help your child to learn the differences between shapes.
Parents can also show photos of objects that are specific shapes to their little ones. Asking your toddler to find you a shape that matches one in the picture is a great game to play.
You can get them to cut out shapes with you, too, from different paper types in different shades. Decorate them, identify them, and hang them up in the house too!
6. Food prep
Toddlers LOVE to be a part of the cooking process. There’s a reason your three-year-old sits on the breakfast bar to dip their hands in the pancake mix; it’s fun to make a mess and mix!
So, continue to introduce shapes to your boy or girl while in the kitchen. Use shape cutters to cut out sandwiches, for example. Cookie cutters can be used for melons and cucumbers, too.
Let your children trace the shapes and talk to them about those shapes and their sides or points. You can even show them the shapes of the food, from square sandwiches to circle cookies, as a way to introduce shapes.
Plus, you’re taking a load off your shoulders by doing food prep, whether you’re a single mom or sharing this task with your partner. So, your kid learn and you get a jump-start on meals, all while having some quality family bonding.
Remember when I said earlier how toddlers love to play messy? Well, with finger painting, they can get their hands literally into the learning process.
They can explore colors and how they mix. While doing this activity, talk about the many colors you’re both seeing and the various hues in each color group.
What are some other fun learning activities at home for toddlers? Are any of the ones listed above familiar to you and your family?