They don’t call it the terrible twos because parenting a toddler is just so darn fun. Instead, a 2 year old is boisterous, curious, headstrong and volatile, leaving you totally exhausted and completely bewildered all at once. One of the best ways to manage a tyrant toddler is to make sure she’s consistently engaged in different activities that nurture her yearning for learning. In fact, if you’re really smart, you can harness some of her most loved objects as everyday teaching tools, you clever mom you!
You may have bought that block set to give you a few precious moments of quiet, but it can also serve as a valuable teaching tool. In fact, imaginative play toys are ideal for hand-eye coordination, motor skills, color matching, taking turns, sharing and other games that help teach your little one about the world around him in an enjoyable way. Think along the lines of blocks, puzzles and sorting activities rather than bright, electronic toys that only have one or two ways to play.
Your tiny Picasso will be more than happy to assist you in a round of fingerpainting, but you know that art supplies are for a lot more than mess-making. Using paints can give you the opportunity to discuss colors, experiment with mixing and practice hand-eye coordination. Your little one might even be old enough to experiment with child-safe scissors, as long as you’re there to supervise. If you’re not keen on introducing scissors just yet, clay and a plastic butter knife can work just as well for exploration purposes.
Most 2 year olds love to eat. Cereal pieces, soft fruits, cooked veggies, crackers — you name it. So instead of handing over a snack without thinking, utilize food as a way to teach child how to share. Offer your child a bite and then ask if you can have one too, or see if your child wants to share with a playmate. You can also use food to talk about colors and shapes — grapes are purple circles and crackers are orange squares. In that case, playing with your food is totally kosher.
Toddlers are exploring and learning more each day, which is why sturdy board books are a must for a learning session. Exploration, touch and sounds can all be found in the right type of play books, so invest in a good-quality library. You can never start too young to foster a love of reading and learning in your little one, and reading together might even give you some quiet bonding time in the eye of your regular toddler tornado day.