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Developing Toddler Skills Through Play. - Articles Surfing
Walk into any children's toy store and you are overwhelmed with hundreds of toys, games and outdoor equipment. While the vast majority do offer educational value in that they help develop skills, some are more worthwhile than others.
A toddler has many skills to master, motor skills, socialising with others, developing basic skills such as number and color recognition, in preparation for school. Play is the fun way of learning.
In order to develop a rounded personality a toddler should be introduced to a variety of activities. Some parents feel they recognise a particular talent at a very early age and there is nothing wrong in encouraging this, as long as it is not to the exclusion of other activities. A full personality will cope better with life. Try to provide a variety of toys to develop a wide range of skills including improving dexterity, social and emotional skills, creative skills.
Toddlers cope best with chunky items as long as their little fingers can hold them. Small pieces of toys are too fiddly and there is the risk they may swallow something.
Toys such as building blocks and large pieces of lego will help hand control. Wooden jigsaw puzzles encourage observation as well as learning manipulation. Outdoor toys like tricycles, climbing frames, slides and playing football will develop physical ability.
Social skills can be developed through interaction with other children. A toddler group is a perfect start particularly for an only child used to receiving all the attention. Sharing is not an easy concept for an only child who cannot understand why someone else should play with what they want. Dolls and action men will help them create social situations where they decide the outcome. It gives an opportunity to work out situations that may have bothered them or re-create a favorite TV program where they control the outcome.
Toddlers love creative activities. Painting with bright colors using large brushes, modelling with clay or plasticine, building models using toilet rolls and boxes are activities that will keep them absorbed for hours and give them a real sense of achievement. Do not allow them to become frustrated, step in if they need a hand, but guide rather than take over and praise the result. It may not be recognisable, but it is to the child.
Sing nursery rhymes and include simple homemade instruments, for example, shaking rice in a container or beating a rhythm on a tin with a teaspoon.
Books and storytelling should play a major part in a child's learning. They are an introduction to letters, numbers and color as well as a fantasy world. If toddlers like a particular book they will want to return to it time and again. Look for books that offer additional activities, pages with windows to open, different textures to feel or objects hidden on the page to be discovered.
Whenever you buy a toy consider what it may also be teaching your child. Give as wide a selection as possible to develop all the child's skills. A sense of achievement will build their confidence and prepare them for school.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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