If you’re like most mamas, you’ve spent considerable time roaming the aisles of your local toy store searching for that perfect game for your toddler — one that will keep him engaged (that is, away from the remote, the stairs and the dog) and will help him learn. You’ll be happy to know that at this age, simple games work best. Puzzles, hide-and-seek, memory games and dice games all teach your toddler tons. Plus, they’re so engaging and fun, you may finally be able to stop worrying about your neatly folded laundry getting dumped out of the basket. Again.
Don’t you just love the way your toddler furrows his brow in concentration as he tries to shimmy the wooden firetruck puzzle piece into its rightful spot? Keep the puzzles coming, because they teach children lots. Psychologists have determined that a child’s brain is influenced when he is given the opportunity to manipulate and act on his world. Puzzles are the perfect vehicle for this, and doing them enhances hand-eye coordination, fine-motor skills, problem-solving, shape recognition, and memory. There are hundreds on the market today featuring transportation, animals, shapes, colors and numbers — all of the things closest to your toddler’s heart.
Toddlers love to find and be found. It’s in their DNA — the chasing, the shrieking, the laughing — they can’t get enough of hide-and-seek. Why? Shirah Vollmer, MD, notes on PsychologyToday.com that hiding gives kids a chance to explore and to know they’ll be fine on their own, helping them to develop a sense of autonomy. And being found is reassuring — when kids are pursued, they feel loved. “Hide and seek reassures children that people in relationships can separate and they can come back together,” Vollmer writes. So don’t feel like spending the whole afternoon playing good old hide-and-seek is a time-waster — you and your toddler are actually strengthening your bond, big time!
“Goat!” your toddler will proudly proclaim, flipping over a card to reveal a furry white animal with horns. Tots love memory games, either the traditional kind with a variety of images on cards or wooden blocks, or through a smartphone app. The games are great “exercise” for the brain; they increase neuron growth and have been linked to increased cognitive abilities and better academic performance down the road. Memory games also provide an opportunity for quiet concentration, something much-needed during the craziness of a typical day. At this age, it may still be difficult for your toddler to sit for longer than ten minutes or so, and that’s okay. Even if you play a memory game in spurts, it’s still beneficial.
Simple Dice Games
Six months ago, your toddler might have seen a set of dice and flushed them down the toilet or fed them to the cat. Now, believe it or not, she’s ready to use them to signify simple meanings — when it’s her turn, or what card or object to pick up. By playing an easy-to-follow dice game designed for her age, your toddler will practice key life skills, like how to take turns and how to problem-solve in order to “score.” This is also the perfect introduction to good sportsmanship — for example, if your child happens to lose a round, you can teach her to say, “Good game.” Reassure her that she might win the next time she plays.
As the pressure to pass standardized tests increases, even preschools are spending more time on strictly academic subjects. Instead of a general introduction to the alphabet, many preschools include a ...Read More
Just because your little learner's lead teacher makes it look easy, doesn't mean that acting as an early childhood educator is simple. Teaching preschool age children requires highly specialized training ...Read More
The best time to send your child off to school depends largely on whom you ask. Proponents of starting kindergarten as early as possible believe it gives a child a ...Read More
Your little one may face a culture shock in daycare if your Christian values prevent him from doing things that are common in many daycare centers. That does not mean ...Read More
In the world of foster care and adoption, when it comes to siblings, keeping them together is always the first choice. Even though in your mind, you see yourselves all ...Read More
Most parents adore that toothless gummy grin, but whether you like it or not, teeth begin to surface as your baby turns around 6 months old and his first milk ...Read More
You can use the camera on your iPod Touch to take VGA-quality photos and store them on the device, but you can also transfer high-quality photos from your computer to ...Read More
Because it's not enough that your preschooler or kindergartner can build an amazing sand castle and (almost) tie her own shoes -- now you have to worry about her math ...Read More
While an early educational program might not ensure that your preschooler is Harvard bound, it can help her to learn better. Whether you are looking to build on a specific ...Read More
In the beginning of the PC revolution, when monitors where often 12 to 14 inches in size, using your keyboard directly in front of the screen was not an option; ...Read More
Instilling self-control by establishing and sticking with rules is the name of the game when it comes to reigning in misbehaving toddlers and preschoolers. Self-control -- something many adults could ...Read More
As the mom of a toddler or preschooler, you are probably well acquainted with the magic of dipping. There's just something about dunking her meal that can get even the ...Read More
Potty training is a normal part of every child's physical and emotional development, but not every child develops at the same pace. If your child is resistant to potty training ...Read More
The grief that accompanies parental death can trigger psychological side effects for your child. If these psychological effects are long term or if they interfere with your child’s emotional or ...Read More
According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 80 percent of children living in the United States have at least one sibling. Many children have more than one sibling, and ...Read More
There are a number of psychological tests used to measure intellectual ability in children, but there are a limited number that are available for preschool-aged children. Although measurement of skills ...Read More
Toddlers are curious by nature. Young children in the toddler stage are discovering their independence and are interested in exploring the world around them. However, their exploration can lead to ...Read More
You don't have to break the bank to throw your little one a top-notch bash. Free or low-cost places such as public parks are creative alternatives to the more pricey ...Read More
If you're looking for a fun activity for you and your preschooler, (and an unforgettable party treat) these puppy cupcakes are sure to please. If you want to get creative ...Read More
Sensory play activities are enjoyable and educational for your toddler or preschooler. You're encouraged to join in the fun but expect to get your hands messy! Any pastime that stimulates ...Read More