6 Steps to More Educational Playtime for Your Toddler

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Toddlers are rather marvellous and magical creatures, but knowing how to create an educational playtime can be a cause of stress for some parents. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to have fun and learn at the same time!

*This post is brought to you by James of UK Tutors


Image credit: Hamish Darby

Variety is the spice of life

For a toddler, there’s a huge world out there to learn about, so one of the most important aspects of playtime is making it varied. Not only does this ensure that playtime is continually stimulating, but also that your little one is able to enjoy a broad education.

Try different activities to practise a range of skills, such as drawing for motor skills, card games for memory and so on. Eventually, your child will probably show more of an interest in one or two areas of learning than others, and at this point it’s important to encourage them to do what they love, while also offering opportunities to continue to learn other skills.

This article offers some great ideas for a varied playtime.

Question time

Most toddlers’ favourite word is ‘why’, and for good reason. That word opens up the world and allows for a much deeper understanding of pretty much everything. It’s a word that we often stop using so frequently as we grow older, though. However, reintroducing the word ‘why’ into your vocabulary is great for helping your toddler to develop.

Open ended questions will encourage and allow your little one to express themselves much more fully than a closed question that only requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. And not only will you be challenging your child, you’ll also find out lots about them from their answers.

Let them lead

Allowing your child to lead their play is beneficial in lots of ways:

  • Firstly, by letting your child lead you are showing them that you trust them and value their opinion, helping to form healthy levels of self esteem and confidence.
  • Though you’ll have to provide a certain level of guidance to teach your toddler on how to use a toy or play a game, if you complete the task for them every time then they may take much longer to figure out how to do it themselves.
  • Children’s imaginations and minds are clean slates, so they are able to think up brand new ways of doing things. Let your child do their own thing, and they may just surprise you with an innovative solution to a problem.

This guide offers a useful technique that may help with letting a child lead conversations.

Play it again, Sam…

Maybe you really are fed up of watching Frozen, but your child is showing no signs of wanting to put the DVD back on the shelf for good; or you really can’t face another game of snap. As much as you might want to hide the DVD or deck of cards for the benefit of your own sanity, you’d be a fool to actually do it.

Children master skills through repetition, and if they are denied the chance to practise, they won’t be able to develop fully and achieve their potential. Focus on how much your child’s understanding of the film (or their rendition of ‘Do you want to build a snowman’) is improving, and use this to dig deep and find new reserves of enthusiasm when yours are running low.

Repeat, repeat, repeat

You may get bored of playing with the same toy, watching the same movie or drawing the same picture over and over again, but your child won’t – and this is an essential part of their development. This is how they will master the skills they’re practising, and while it can be frustrating, try to focus on how much they are improving and use that to show enthusiasm when they want to play building blocks (again).

Be sociable

Being able to share and work as a team comes from socialising from an early age, but your child is also likely to learn other skills from their peers – for instance, Katie might be able to help out with math, and Tommy’s linguist skills might rub off on your little one. Expanding your child’s social group will also expose them to a wider range of cultures and backgrounds, as well as extra toys to play with and ideas for games.

This article offers some more advice on helping your toddler to socialise.

Divide your attention carefully

In an ideal world, we’d have a separate pair of eyes to watch each of our children, plus an extra set on the backs of our heads just to be safe. However, for those of us following a homeschooling route, knowing how to divide our attention fairly can be a challenge. If you’re trying to follow a curriculum with your six year old, a three year old can make concentrating tough.

The trick is to have some fun activities in the bank that will occupy your three year old while you focus with your older child – and, luckily, this amazing mom has put some great ideas together that will ensure your toddler is still learning while they play alone for a while.

About The Author

This article was written by James Redcliff, a private tutor who works for UKTutors.com, a site dedicated to helping parents find affordable tutors for their children. Thanks for reading, and good luck making your playtime more educational!

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