A baby becomes a toddler at 12 months old. By this age they will have gained about triple their birth weight and by the end of their toddler stage at 3 years, they will have developed 90% of their adult brain.
In addition to physical growth, toddler-hood is a period during which your child will experience great social, emotional and cognitive development. The speed of growth in these areas may depend on the toddler’s position within the family (only child, older/younger sibling etc) as well as their exposure to experiences and sensory stimulation such as a stressful environment, general involvement in life or travel.
Toddlers are concrete thinkers…
For toddlers to be able to understand and talk about things, they need to physically see, touch and handle them. Just watching it on TV is not enough.
“When children play they approach experiences with interest, ownership, empowerment and possibility. If we remove play from children’s lives we remove a possibility for learning”.
Below is a list of games and toys that will enhance a toddler’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.
o Simple puzzles
o Link-up such as trains and trucks
o Stacking blocks and cups
o Put in and pull out such as shapes and buckets, pegs and bag
o Picture books with objects, animals, lift up and noises
o Knobs and buttons such as phones, cash register
o Play games that give them the opportunity to say ‘no’ (is dad under the bed?)
o Dress ups such as a box containing bags, hats, shoes and jackets
o Match up games; asking what thing is the same-colours and shapes
o Household activities with their own miniature tools such as sweeping, phone, bath doll, tool box
o Allow them time to play uninterrupted on their own
As I mentioned there is a lot of brain development that happens during these early years which comes about through the connection (synapses) between cells (neurons). These connections require appropriate sensory stimulation for their replication. A lack of brain usage or stimulation leads to fewer synaptic connections and neural pathways being developed.
The ability to learn in the future has a direct relationship to what you are preparing their brain for in these early years.
Jan Murray has studied and worked as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan is a mother of 5 and co-founder and director of Settle Petal - http://www.settlepetal.com Through her business Jan provides information and support for parents to develop their knowledge, understandings, skills and attitudes needed to maintain and enhance personal health and physical development of all members of their family.