Activities and experiences are major building blocks in a child’s social, emotional and cognitive well-being. Simple things, like taking a walk, pointing, and asking, “what’s that?” are immensely important to your child. Here is a list of 5 simple things you can do with your 1-2 year old to guide their developmental building blocks.
Sponges and water
This one is great for outside, or around the kitchen sink. Take a squishy sponge and show them how it sops up water and squeezes out. Then let them try. Your little one will learn “cause and effect” and develop their muscles in hands, legs and back. Take it a step further and have them wash their waterproof toys. But be careful, it can get wet and slippery, so adult supervision is required.
Collect at the park
Take your toddler to the park or grassy school grounds and look for items to collect. Ask to find the “perfect” leaf. This could be done with rocks and pebbles, finding smooth or rough textures. This teaches your child to search and observe, sensory skills as well as a great physical activity and bending and walking.
Toy and cups
Play the classic “find the toy” game with your child (or whatever object you have on hand). This one can be a little hard for your baby to follow, so be patient with them and help them along if they struggle. The resulting thinking skills are invaluable for your littles. Problem solving, hand eye coordination and focus are all part of this fun and easy activity that they will surely love. Watch the video below for examples of the cup game (1 minute 22 second mark). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9h3HpnUuiY
Make some noise
Find some objects and toys that rattle, shake and make different noise. Show and play alongside with your child as you explore and make a song. The tone and texture differences help thinking skills, and the movement and talking help physical and communication. If you want to take it a step further from here, sign up for a Kindermusik class here at Root for Kids.
Hi, hello, bye, goodbye
Play a game with your child where you poke your head through a doorframe and wave while saying “hello” and then poke your head away, so not to be seen, and say “bye-bye.” This can be done with and empty cardboard box or a makeshift fort. Your child will try to copy you or come towards you. The communication, physical and cognitive skills learned here are important in their early social skills.
This list was adapted from ZERO TO THREE’s “Play-activities for 12 to 24 Months” For more information and extra activity ideas, see https://www.zerotothree.org/resource/play-activities-for-12-to-24-months/.