Once a child [let’s say a girl] is up and walking she takes a lot more of a parents time, needing more interaction from the parent during the day [hopefully the parent can catch a break while she has her usual naps]. Keeping a toddler interested in what you are trying to show/teach her can be impossible 90% of the time, she is so busy listening to and trying out all the new sounds, sights and textures around her that it is very difficult to keep her attention.
I found myself walking around with my son and watching him experience all the different textures and shapes he found in our house, it was quite frustrating trying to get him to pay attention to me, that is till I cam up with the idea of tagging everything [yes everything]. I spent a couple of days writing out the tags [large enough for him to be able to see and hopefully read] and attaching them to the different objects with glue, sticky tape or press stick [up where he could not reach].
Now education was on my side, everything he looked at had a name and by walking around with him I would point at the tag on the chair and say the word – strangely enough he started pointing at a object and then look to me to say the word. Needless to say this young lad fell in love with reading by the age of 4 [his first book was a encyclopedia from a friends son who had used in in his grade 6 class and did not need it anymore] and had the spelling and reading skills of a 8 year old when he started his schooling at age 6.
Oops I have been sidetracked – let me go back to the little girl who is driving her mom nuts while running around, touching and trying to taste everything [please do not think you have a naughty child during this period, she is exploring and learning]
I suggest that you do not force the child to sit with your for periods longer than 10 minutes – until what you are showing her actually starts interesting her.
Get some interesting toys
* alphabet blocks – these can be fun as you can build with them and if you have enough letters you could actually spell out her name or yours etc etc
* large colored balls – roll these to each other, this will increase her motor skills and if you name the color as you roll her language skills will also improve [as well as her knowledge of color]
* toy phones – make sure they can ring but are not too noisy, getting her to know how to use a phone can be both a curse and a godsend. A person never knows when she will have the need to use a phone [mom could slip and not be able to phone for assistance herself]. The downside to this skill is the actual real phone – you will have to teach her the difference between phoning for real and phoning for fun [for the first few weeks she will dial random numbers and talk to imaginary friends]
* stacking rings – a toy designed to teach her about sizes, a relaxing way to educate
* musical instruments/toys – toddlers love music – how often have you seen them start to dance when music plays. Noisy for the parents but hours of educational fun for the child
* activity centers – designed with toddlers in mind, these toys have many different bits that move, buttons that make a animal sound and doors that open and close etc.
I could go on for hours about all the toys that are available to assist in the education and motor skills of a child, so I am going to shift into activities you could do with your child.
Fun Activities for a toddler
* finger painting – hours of messy fun if you could keep the toddlers attention long enough
* water play – in the bath, at last you can have her in one spot for longer than 2 minutes. Give her a small container an let her fill a bigger one – here you could count each one she pours out [you could also get a little wet here if your child has a mischievous streak]
* play dough or plasticine – teaching the little one to make shapes and letting them feel the solidity of the dough and realize it is pliable – quite fun for enhancing creativity in the child
* crayons – teaching them colors and motor skills by getting them to draw and discover the way crayons work
* sand box – all kids need one but please keep it covered with shade cloth when not in use [prevents pets from using it as there sand box] Here you can teach them the art of building sand castles etc
There are many activities you can do with your child, the most important and probably the best for both the parent and the child is going to the park or beach, not only do they learn social skills but spending the day with their mommy and daddy is a real treat for the toddler whose parents spend most of the day out at work. Remember as much as we want our child to learn, we also want her to enjoy life – all work and no play etc. should be every parents motto.
Candice is a full time author and entrepreneur. Visit her at Little Tikes Cozy Coupe for a whole range of toys available for infants and toddlers and children.