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How to Turn Playtime Into Learning Time

Some of the most joyous moments of parenthood are the times we spend playing with our little ones. The smiles and giggles, the wonder and awe, are all signs that they are discovering – and enjoying – their new world.

Playtime is essential to the bond you develop with your child. It’s also a time when new interests are developed, new experiences are learned and mental growth development is engrained. In the interaction during playtime, progress is actually being made on the road to toddlerhood, as your child moves from stage to stage.

Here are some recommended activities that are designed for the dual purposes of fun and learning, beginning with the skills development they will encourage:

Motor Skill Development; Object Permanence

You’ll need hide behind something, like couch, tree and then pop out again to surprise your little one. This peek-a-boo activity turns a “classic” child-pleaser into a time of curiosity, discovery and self-satisfaction. Show your little one a toy then hide it all around your house or with a cloth, following by ask, “Where did it go?” and wait for the reaction. Reward mightily with praise when found the toy.

Understanding Cause and Effect; Fine Motor Skills

Demonstrate how to stack nesting toys inside each other. Give your child to try stacking on his own and encourage him to match your stacking movements. Make it a competition!

Problem Solving; Fine Motor Skills, Hand & Eye Coordination, Social

Inter-fitting, colourful wooden puzzle are a time-honoured activity for your little ones. Again, you’re the teacher in this moment, using this educational learning tool to teach your little one develop strategies on how to complete the puzzle set. You may guide your little one’s hands to the pieces and their position too!

Auditory Discrimination

Here’s a phonemic activity idea that you might consider for your little one. It helps children to notice that words in our language have meaning and follow certain patterns. Your first task is to thinks of a word that has a lot of rhyming words. Then “sing” the word and their rhyming partners three times each. Try replacing a real word with a made up word that sounds funny, like “boogada, boogada, boogada; doogada, doogada, doogada” and on! Either way, it’s all about the importance of language and a light-hearted expression of your love.

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