I have heard ambitious mothers express concern over the fact that they don’t teach their toddlers enough. I have also had mothers ask me about the educational games to play with their toddler.
Toddlers have notoriously bad tempers and flaky attention spans. They like to run around and scream loudly. And everyone seems to be intensely focused on trying to teach them letters and numbers. While letters and numbers by themselves aren’t bad, a parent can ask themselves, why are said letters and numbers needed at such a young age. What’s the goal? Reading at three? Letters and numbers are great tools for more advanced skills, such as math on paper and reading. Unless you are planning on introducing these skills very early, there is little advantage in early letter and number recognition.
So, what are the Top 8 Educational Games to Play with a Toddler? What would sustain a toddler’s interest, yet also be educational to him/her?
- Sensory games. When you see a toddler, playing with a tub of dirt, it’s hard to imagine that they are actually learning early math and early science, yet this is exactly what they are doing. Sensory games should be a part of your daily play. Even something as simple as wringing a sponge can have huge educational benefits to your toddler. 7 Steps to Creating a Sensory Tub. Project water is a fun one to try.
- Music. Musical development teaches a sense of rhythm, art appreciation and even early math. Ideally, a toddler should sing daily. They should also listen to good music daily and clap to its rhythm. They should attempt to play some toy instruments, too.
- Memory work. Memory work trains the brain to retain. It activates the mental muscles. Some type of memory work should be included in your toddler’s daily routine. It could be a few lines of a poem or a simple song. 8 Reasons Why Should Children Memorize.
- Physical movement. No wonder your toddler is so active. They are learning to use their body and you can help! Memorize a set of specific motions to specific poems ( for this line we lift our arms up and for that line we spin around, etc.) Memorize simple dance routines or yoga poses. Teach your child how to safely jump, climb, fall. Strong gross motor skills and coordination help toddlers to be more effective learners.
- Active reading. We have all heard that reading to toddlers daily is important.Train your toddler’s brain by asking questions about the main characters in the stories you read, or about certain details, mentioned in these stories. It teaches the child to pay attention and to differentiate what’s important.
- Fun math. Add any objects you find. Subtract any objects you find. If you see a bird on a branch and two birds on another branch, ask your child how much is one bird plus two birds. If you see three birds on a branch and one flies away, ask the child how much is three minus one. Use daily situations to practice math continuously.
- Language games. Name an object and ask your toddler to describe it. Add to that description for the toddler to learn new words. Play rhyme games. Play the antonym games. Any word games you play with a toddler increases their vocabulary. Obviously, adjust the game’s difficulty to the child’s developmental level.