parenting resources

Everyday Learning Activities for Toddlers

Toddlers are of an age where practically any activity is a learning activity, but it can be helpful to parents to know exactly what types of skills kids of this age can gain the most from. While kids have fun and enjoy themselves, they can also be observing and learning from the world around them in a completely unique and wondrous way. The world is a classroom for toddlers and some of their everyday activities now can help to lay the foundation for future skills like reading and counting.

Letter Learning

Kids generally start recognizing letters around the age of 2 or so, right in the prime of their toddler years. The easiest thing to start with are the letters of their name. As kids learn names and words, observing and mimicking what things are called, what better thing to start with than their own name? There are plenty of letter games and toys that can activate this part of your child’s brain, whether it be block letters, magnets on the fridge or construction paper cut-outs for a future piece of room deco – get hands on with the letters that spell your child’s name and even things around the house. Once they have a grasp on things they know and are familiar with, the easier it will be to introduce new words and concepts. Our I See Do You See Alphabets? personalized book introduces the letters of the alphabets and things that start with each letter too and it’s personalized with their name which would appeal to them and motivate them to learn faster.

Number Crunching

Toddlers may be too young for math, and while counting may be feasible, it is always best to start off with simple number recognition. Like with letters, there are plenty of games and toys that revolve around the activity of spotting, identifying, and naming numbers. Once kids are familiar with their basic numbers 0-9 they can begin to tackle larger numbers as they get older, continually building on the information they already know. Memorizing numbers can be helpful, too. Play memory games involving your home phone number or even your address. This can be a fun way for your child to learn and become familiar with numbers while also learning helpful information in the event they ever get lost or need help. Our I See Do You See Numbers? personalized book introduces numbers 1 through 10 and is perfect for toddlers.  Not only do they spot the number they also have to count the items on the page providing hours of reading fun and education.

Colors Everywhere

Our world is full of color, and it comes in all different shades and hues – but before kids can begin naming intricate variations of any one color, they need to learn the basics first. For toddlers, it helps to ground them in places where they are familiar and places where they can easily practice, like at home. In addition to color games and puzzles, simply naming colors around the house or on clothing and out the window can help encourage your child to be curious and to pay attention to the world around them. By grounding kids in their surroundings, introducing them to new places, including places like daycare or preschool when they’re ready.

There are plenty of games, toys and other things that drive kids to better their familiarity with letters, numbers and colors, but there is so much that parents can do in every other aspect of their lives, too. Ask children to spot letters they recognize while driving around town or see what they can spot on their box of breakfast cereal. Count the number of items you have whether you’re collecting their stuffed animals or asking them to count their chicken nuggets at lunch. Learning can happen anywhere and everywhere, and when it is made a part of your child’s every day, they are more likely to keep looking and learning as they get older, too.

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Brain and Body: Engaging Indoor Activities for Kids

 

As the weather prepares to switch gears, playing outside will become less and less of an option for kids when it comes to playtime. Keeping kids entertained indoors can be difficult, especially when they are more likely to reach for a mobile device to play a game or ask to watch TV or a movie. Parents can encourage kids to read, write, or be creative, but many of these activities are sedentary. While they may be enriching in other ways, kids still need to find ways to be active even when the weather doesn’t allow it. Here are some engaging indoor activities that get kids moving and keep them entertained.

Mastering Math and the Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are always fun. They’re mainstays at themed birthday venues and they’re every kids favorite unit in gym class. You can create your own at-home obstacle course using string and household furniture. But to make it more engaging, you can also use – playing cards! Using playing cards or index cards with numbers or functions like plus signs and subtraction signs, will challenge kids to complete certain equations or create a path through the obstacle course that allow them to collect the cards they need to solve the problem. Kids can pretend they are super spies or secret hackers looking for the right code to unlock the secret at the end of the course, or at least earn themselves a snack.

Going Wild

Animal books are great gateways to learning and reading. Animals are diverse and many children like looking at the pictures or learning about where animals live, what they eat etc. You can learn all about animals, whether it be via a book or the internet, but you can also incorporate some stretching into the mix – challenge kids to mimic the animals they’re learning about. Stretching can help muscles but getting into these animal poses can also require some creativity and brain power as well. According to Integrated Learning Strategies Learning Corner, animal poses like a horse trot, worm crawl, or the crab walk, can be great for executive functioning within the brain, regulating emotions, and practicing gross and fine motor skills. Plus, they’re just fun to do!

 

Balloon Ping Pong

Ping-pong indoors can be dangerous, but not if you change up your game equipment. Swap out a ping-pong for a balloon and your ping-pong paddle for a paper plate attached to a popsicle stick. There are plenty of other games that can be made indoor-safe as long as you trade in the traditional tools, especially hard balls that could potentially break household items or hurt others, for soft, plush things instead like pillows, poufs, balloons and other materials. These may be simple, but sports-related activities get kids up and moving but they also help them hone their hand-eye coordination skills, build better interpersonal relationships, and encourage good sportsmanship.

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Whether to Homeschool or Not?

Homeschooling has become more mainstream in recent years, but it is still a rare thing in today’s world. As education becomes more widely available to people from all walks of life, homeschooling is still a thought on many parents’ minds. There are many reasons why parents and caregivers may choose to go the homeschooling route, but there are certain things that you need to keep in mind if you are thinking of doing the same for your children.

Define Your Priorities

For many parents, it is their ideology that drives them to consider homeschooling. If there is a particular set of ideas and values that you would like to impart to your child that they may not receive in another setting, then this is the first thing you have to do. Not only will it help you ultimately make a decision but it can also help shape the way you approach homeschooling if you go down that route.

Know Who You Are

In the same vein as above, it helps for parents and guardians to figure out who they are and what their approach to homeschool is. There are a lot of stereotypes out there, but ultimately you are your own person and your approach to homeschooling will be entirely your own. Knowing what your goals are and what your approach will be can help you make a decision, however, it will have a huge impact on how you go about educating your children as well.

Get Acquainted with Curriculum

Even though you will have more control over what your child learns and how they go about doing so, learning more about curriculum styles and requirements can provide you with guidelines when it comes time to creating your own curriculum for your child. Give yourself some homework and read up on the educational philosophies of homeschooling. Certain ideas and approaches may jump out at you and resonate with your thoughts on homeschooling and why you want to consider it in the first place.

Define Your Time

As a homeschooler, you will need to dedicate a lot of your own time to educating your child, but there are other types of time you may need to allocate as well. For many kids, school is more than just about education but it is also about activity and socialization. It is important that parents take these important types of developmental time into consideration before making a tentative schedule of your own. Will you be able to handle scheduling learning time with these other activities? Doing so can help your child become more well-rounded and aid them when it comes to developing key physical and social skills, so it is vital to keep these other types of learning in mind.

How Will You Support It?

This is perhaps a more pertinent question for parents choosing homeschooling over public schooling, but in any case, homeschooling is a full time job. It demands time, supplies, and resources, too. Parents who might otherwise send their child to private school can allocate those designated funds to support homeschooling, but since public school does not require tuition, the time and effort put into it will need to come from somewhere.

There are many things that parents need to consider before homeschooling. For some, it is a personal choice whereas for other parents, kids with special needs (whether they be related to medical requirements and limitations or learning and behavioral disabilities) or with special circumstances may get the most out of homeschooling because of their needs or because of accessibility. There are plenty of resources for parents to check out, and sometimes medical professionals can offer advice if the choice to homeschool is related to a child’s medical or behavioral needs. Reach out to others, gather differing opinions and ideas, and try to make an educated decision before taking the leap.

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