Your toddler is your pride and joy, and you want only the best for her. As her first teacher, you likely want to provide a quality educational environment for her. If you let her shop for her own supplies, your cart may include crayons, paper and lots of toys. While those items can help you teach your toddler, you will need other items to attain success.
Your toddler will enjoy brightly colored, durable books. Fabric and board books are strong enough for your toddler to use by himself. Picture books with large, bright pictures can expand your toddler’s vocabulary and keep him focused on the story, even if the book contains no written words. Read something to him every day, covering various subjects he finds interesting, such as the world around him, people, animals, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and enjoyable activities. You can also tell him stories, repeat nursery rhymes and create books of your own from magazine pictures and illustrations you find online or create yourself.
Toddlers learn through play. Dolls, blocks, puppets, balls, stuffed animals, props and dress-up items allow your child to learn through role-play and experimentation. Include plastic or magnetic letters and numbers, colored shapes, puzzles and games in your supplies so she can learn pre-literacy skills, problem solving and turn taking. Have a tea party so she can learn social skills. Invite other kids over and let them play together, learning how to cooperate and interact. The toys don’t have to be expensive educational items. Pot and pan lids make enjoyable musical instruments. She can stack plastic containers and boxes or practice putting things in and taking them out. She might have more fun playing with boxes toys come in than the toy in the box. Make her a playhouse with a large appliance box or use a smaller box to create a house or car for her doll.
Craft supplies allow your toddler to become creative. Paper, crayons, finger paints, clay, glue sticks and blunt scissors are only a few supplies you might purchase in bulk. Washable crayons or crayons that only color on special paper will save your walls and furnishings, even if you watch him like a hawk when he has them. Paint-with-water books let him “paint” without getting paint around your house. Recipes for homemade paints, clay and stickers reduce your expenses without limiting his creativity.
A toddler curriculum might provide interesting ideas to use with her. Many large bookstores and children’s toy stores carry activity books with creative ideas for learning and for play. Don’t let a curriculum stifle your ideas. Take walks in the park, visit the zoo, plant a garden and anything else you think she will enjoy or learn from. Some of the best lessons are spontaneous and require no supplies except a creative imagination.
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