Learning Activities for Toddlers

What to expect:
Between their first and second birthdays, children Toddler learning activity
  • Are self-centered;
  • Are energetic, busy and curious;
  • Want to be independent and to do things for themselves;
  • Play alone or alongside other toddlers;
  • Have short attention spans if they are not involved in an activity that interests them;
  • Begin to see how they are like and unlike other children;
  • Like to imitate the sounds and actions of others (for example, by repeating words that parents and others say and by pretending to do housework or yard work with adults);
  • Increase their spoken vocabularies from about 2 or 3 words to about 250 words and understand more of what people say to them;
  • Ask parents and others to read aloud to them, often requesting favorite books or stories; and
  • Pretend to read and write the way they see parents and others do.
  • Add variations to their physical skills (for example, by walking backwards);
Between their second and third birthdays, children
Toddler learning activity
  • Begin to count;
  • Become more aware of others;
  • Able to walk, run, jump, hop, roll and climb;
  • Become more aware of their own feelings and thoughts;
  • Are often stubborn and may have temper tantrums;
  • Put together 2-, 3- and 4-word spoken sentences;
  • Begin to choose favorite stories and books to hear read aloud;
  • Begin to pay attention to print, such as the letters in their names;
  • Begin to distinguish between drawing and writing; and
  • Begin to scribble, making some marks that are like letters.
  • Expand their spoken vocabularies from about 250 to 1,000 words during the year;
What Toddlers Need
1- to 2-year-old children require

Activity for toddler
  • Opportunities to make their own choices: "Do you want the red cup or the blue one?";
  • Clear and reasonable limits;
  • Opportunities to use large muscles in the arms and legs;
  • Opportunities to use small muscles to manipulate small objects, such as puzzles and stackable toys;
  • Activities that allow them to touch, taste, smell, hear and see new things;
  • Chances to learn about "cause and effect" - that things they do cause other things to happen (for example, stacking blocks too high will cause the blocks to fall);
  • Opportunities to develop and practice their language skills;
  • Opportunities to play with and learn about alphabet letters and numbers; and
  • Opportunities to learn about books and print.
2- to 3-year-old children require opportunities to
  • Develop hand coordination (for example, by holding crayons and pencils, putting together puzzles or stringing large beads);
  • Do more things for themselves, such as dressing themselves;
  • Talk, sing and develop their language skills;
  • Play with other children and develop their social skills;
  • Try out different ways to move their bodies;
  • Learn more about printed language and books and how they work;
  • Do things to build vocabulary and knowledge and to learn more about the world, such as taking walks and visiting libraries, museums, restaurants, parks and zoos.
Children need to hear a lot of words in order to learn howto communicate. It's particularly helpful when you talk about the "here and now" - things that are going on in front of your child.

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