We learn best by doing throughout the whole of our lives. The foundations of learning by doing are laid early in your child’s life, so it’s important to get them into good habits from the earliest age. Help your toddler to discover skills through active play with our ideas for games and activities.
Why active play in the early years is so important
Crawling, walking and talking are important milestones that every parent looks out for. The toddler years are a stage of unparalleled learning opportunity, and your child’s experiences at this important time will stay with them for life. You can encourage all of these skills and a fascination for the world in your child by actively playing with them.
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Fun ways to play with your toddler
What toddlers need most is the time and space to explore, your interaction and conversation, and simple toys that help them use their imaginations. Repeated experiences help them learn, so when your toddler says, “Again! Again!” just go with it. Play is part of a bigger picture that includes listening, observing and social interaction that you as a parent can help promote.
Active games for toddlers
Simple building blocks are a great toy for toddlers. They encourage: concentration and patience to pile them up (and knock them down), communication skills to explain what they’re doing with them, social skills to share them, and imagination - are they houses, cars or animals? We all have pots and pans, plastic boxes and wooden spoons in the cupboard. These are great for imaginative play – one minute your toddler can be a chef, the next the drummer in a rock band.
Cushions (off the sofa) create dens and ‘caves’ to hide in, ‘stepping stones’ across imaginary rivers populated by hippos and crocodiles, and soft towers that can be piled up high and then demolished. Cushions can be hilly landscapes around a toy farm or town. Cover a table with a bed sheet and scatter cushions inside to create a princess’s four poster bed for some storytelling. You really can’t have too many cushions when you have a toddler.
Anything involving water is great fun, from a simple washing-up bowl of water and some plastic toys to a parent and toddler session at your local swimming pool. You can make water even more enjoyable for your toddler by adding things to see what happens – colours, sand, salt, detergent, or even make ‘cornflour slime’ (two parts cornflour to one part water) - a weird, semi-liquid material that’s fascinating to handle.
For encouraging physical movement, you really can’t beat dancing to music with your toddler. Make it fun by playing musical statues. Vary the style of music to interpret each time – you could choose a march, a waltz, some hip-hop and something ethereal to create a music and movement session. Repetitive action songs, such as that evergreen favourite, The Wheels On The Bus are ideal for learning words and movements, so brush up on songs you loved as a child and have a singalong.
Learning to stand and observe, and simply taking in the world around them is often an underestimated part of toddler play and experience. Take time out to go for a walk simply for the sake of it, stopping to look at and talk about every flower, bug, shop window or object that your toddler takes an interest in. It’s a simple activity, but fantastic for encouraging one-to-one bonding, language, observation, curiosity and physical exercise.
Active play - moving, chatting, imagining, sharing experiences and bonding with each other - really is one of the best things you can do for your toddler at this amazing stage of their lives.
Aptamil Growing Up milks are tailored to your toddler’s stage of development. As your toddler begins to discover their movement, Aptamil Growing Up milks contain specific nutrients tailored to support their growth and development, as part of a varied, balanced diet.
Aptamil Growing Up milks contain:
- Iron to support normal cognitive development
- Vitamin D and calcium for normal bone development
- Iodine which contributes to the normal growth of children
Learn more about Aptamil Growing Up milks at Aptaclub.co.uk.
Advertorial brought to you by Aptamil Growing Up milks.