5 Ways to Maximize Your Child’s Early Learning Process
During the toddler years, children are continually learning new skills that help them to meet new milestones. The parent’s job is to maximize their child’s development as mentors and role models. To enhance early learning, there are a variety of activities that help focus upon learning and aid in overall development. Since toddlers are known to learn best through playing, below are 5 ways to maximize their learning process.
1. General Motor Skills
They are essential as part of the early learning process for children. This includes using muscles in activities such as walking, running, kicking and jumping. There are many ways to help those skills along, such as balancing on one foot, learning to perform a new task or kicking a ball. Each day, try activities like these to develop your child’s gross motor skills.Music and art can play a big part in this process. For example, singing songs like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” can include movements that are fun as well as productive for verbal and physical skill enhancement. Activity gyms, like those made by the Baby Einstein company, are also a great source for enhancing early learning skills with music.
Fine motor skills involve coordinating small muscle movements. Picking up toys and putting them back or moving them about is a great way to teach toddlers how to work with their hands. Also, toddlers enjoy any activity that allows them to explore. Try walking around the room, pointing out objects, naming them and then letting your child hold them. Then ask them to “Put it back.” The added bonus to this exercise is teaching children responsibility and respect for property.
2. Language Skills
Beside learning how to read and write, language skills involve learning how to communicate. Signs and symbols help children to learn these basic and very essential skills. Using crafts to develop these skills also serves to enhance motor skills.For example, make an alphabet book to help your toddler learn letters and basic words. Use construction paper and computer paper to make a colorful and interesting presentation. Toddlers are attracted to bright colors, so doing this will immediately engage them. Use magazines, pictures and mementos to teach these cognitive skills.
It is never too early to introduce something you believe your child can accomplish. For example, teach them to glue pictures and items on appropriate pages. Add pictures to the pages that focus upon single letters, one at a time. Help them write names of each object below pictures.
3. Thinking Skills
A child’s thinking process can be cultivated with activities like using a mini obstacle course. Set up a group of toys as a small maze to walk through and around. Lead the way for them to follow and then see if they would like to lead the way so that you follow them. This also teaches coordination and balance, as well as cooperation. Toddlers love to be on the move, so this is an activity that they will always enjoy.
It’s an excellent way to teach many skills. From coordination to thought processes, stimulating their creative center will do much for overall learning. Painting may be done with non-toxic products or even foods like pudding. Teach them to draw shapes like circles, squares and rectangles. Encourage them to make their own squiggles. Teach them to sign the artwork and then put it on a wall or the refrigerator so that they receive validation for their work.
5. Cognitive Skills
Cognitive skills involve learning about counting, numbers and sorting objects. Also, children need to learn memory and problem solving skills. Developing these skills engages your child’s curiosity to help them focus upon managing the world around them. Some activities for these skills can include:
- Puppets. Use paper bags to make basic puppets with tissue paper, triangles of construction paper and buttons glued on. You can also draw on them with colors to make clothing. Start a show by creating a fun character for them to interact with. Help them to make a puppet and then encourage them to play along to make a puppet show. Perhaps use familiar characters that your child enjoys. Perform the show for other children, friends and family if possible.
- Color Walk. Go on a walk in the neighborhood or park and point out colors and items. Help your child find objects of specific colors. For instance, look for things that are green or brown. As appropriate, collect rocks and tree branches to take home. Then review what was found. With each walk, find colors that are a little more challenging to find than others.
Being a parent is one of the most gratifying challenges one can ever accomplish. Cultivating your child’s learning with these activities provide great ways to enhance early development. They also offer a wonderful bonding opportunity to establish trust and love with your child.
Being an advocate for childhood education techniques that were passed down from her late father enables freelance writer, Nadine Swayne, to offer this article to parents. Early educational development for children is a key element for their learning process. Whether it’s information gathered from ‘parent circles’ or products like those from the Baby Einstein company
that are used to enhance the thought process, parents have infinite means to maximize their child’s education.