Your 2-year-old might not be a math wizard yet or writing the next Harry Potter, but his thirst for learning will be immense and his brain is already capable of soaking up a phenomenal amount of knowledge and skills. Every game you play with your toddler will be a valuable contribution to his development.
Games For Language
Experts at PBS Parents estimate that your 2-year-old already knows between 500 and 700 words, and is starting to use those words to form simple sentences. It won't be long before you struggle to get a word in edgeways. Use role-play to work on language skills by setting up scenarios such as a mini shop or cafe. Swap roles so your toddler can practice asking questions and answering them and use props such as a toy till, costumes and tea sets to add to the fun.
Developing Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills refer to your toddler's ability to use her large muscles and limbs. Your toddler might test your own motor skills sometimes with all her running around, but you can fine-tune hers with simple obstacle courses. Include objects for her to climb through and over and set tasks such as jumping, putting on items of clothes, kicking a ball and pulling toys along.
Developing Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are small actions such as picking up objects with your fingers, tasting or feeling. Building a tower of blocks is a way of developing these, and of course your child will love knocking them down as well. Pouring sand or water in and out of containers is another action requiring fine motor control. For a variation, let your toddler move pieces of cereal from one container to another -- and a few into his mouth on the way.
Playing with patterns will encourage your toddler to use problem-solving and logic skills. Anything from food to pairs of colored socks can be used to make different patterns. Recognizing shapes is another important mathematical skill. Play with a shape sorting box, go on a shape hunt around the house and make shapes using modelling clay or dough. Keep repeating the names of the different shapes during these games. Count objects during play and everyday life -- anything from grapes in his bowl to numbers of teddies on his bed. Introduce these numbers into songs and nursery rhymes.
Painting is one way of learning and experimenting with colors, but if you are not in the mood for mess, try a color collection game. Fill a bag or basket with different colored items and then help your toddler hunt around the house for items that match the colors. As she starts to learn the colors the game can develop and you can call out colors for her to find.
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