“I do it myself!” That may be your toddler’s mantra, embracing every opportunity to learn, do, and become more independent. Role-play toys that encourage pretending will help your child understand new experiences, bringing the big world down to size.
He's on the move, walking forward, sideways and backward as well as running
Her rapidly-increasing vocabulary may range from 50 to 200 words
He can express a range of moods, from joy to frustration to jealousy
She can use shape sorters and throw balls
He can follow basic directions
She can scoot on toddler ride-on toys
He can stack one block on another
Nurture curiosity and problem-solving skills by providing gentle encouragement as he explores the toy's properties and responses to his actions. Your enthusiasm now will give him the confidence to tackle bigger challenges later on.
Make connections—this is a prime age for making connections between colors, shapes, etc. and their names. Reinforce these by saying color names out loud and pointing them out on the toy. Do the same with shapes or other features.
Demonstrate and explain over/under, up/down, in/out, loud/soft. Putting words to what’s happening with a toy helps your child understand the concepts behind language.
Read picture books about different types of vehicles and what they're used for. Talking with him is especially important at this stage, when he's building receptive language.
Encourage listening to directions (keep them simple at this age) and get her thinking about problem solving. Create little stories and assign small jobs to complete. "Can you drive the truck over to the door and unload the boulders there?"
Let him haul things around in his vehicles, or use them to transport people from place to place to foster understanding of each vehicle's purpose. Tell him how helpful he is, and you'll really bolster his confidence.
Explore the toy with your child, expressing interest in its features and strengthening thinking skills by questioning how it works: "I wonder what happens when we put the ball in here? … What do you think will happen when we push this lever?"
Read picture books together about construction work. Point out construction vehicles when you see them on the road, and remind your child of their similarity to his toy.
Foster imaginative play and ability to follow directions by giving little construction "jobs" to do. "We need to unload those boulders over here. Can you help?"
Clear a path all around so he won't be frustrated by bumping into things. As he gains more control, he'll learn to steer around obstacles.
Create a route for her to follow, with guideposts along the way. This will challenge her coordination and thinking skills as she anticipates what to do to reach the destination.
Build understanding of directions by saying the words as he moves forward and back and makes the vehicle stop, go or turn. He'll quickly learn that his actions put him in control.
Stimulate imagination by suggesting trips for her to take, passengers to bring along… even snacks to eat along the way. Having her own set of wheels will come in handy when your child is ready for role playing.
While playing, infants and toddlers naturally explore objects and engage in activities that stimulate their senses and help develop their motor skills.
The Many Benefits of Play Play is the way children learn about themselves and the world. Through play, they: Learn to get along with othersSort out conflictsPractice language skillsDevelop small (fine) and large (gross) motor skills.