Stimulate your toddler without breaking the bank

By admin
17 April 2014

You don’t always need expensive games and gadgets to get your toddler school-ready. A few minutes a day of some basic activities can go a long way to teach them valuable skills they’ll need for their education and life in general. Gaya Schatz of baby website Little Bo Babies weighs in.

You don’t always need expensive games and gadgets to get your toddler school-ready. A few minutes a day of some basic activities can go a long way to teach them valuable skills they’ll need for their education and life in general. Gaya Schatz of Little Bo Babies baby website weighs in.

Here are some Little Bo Babies tips on how to stimulate your toddler (especially in the winter months when we all need some inspiration).

Floor time

It’s pretty simple: you just sit on the floor and play with your child.

Here are some fun things to do on the floor:

  • Roll a ball back and forth to each other.
  • Build . . . anything: Lego, blocks, towers, stacks. Building does amazing things to the brain for logic, maths, ordering and grouping, and fine motor skills.
  • Play with animals, stuffed toys, anything that involves both of your interaction, conversation and focused attention.
  • Paly with toy cars – you can build a “track” with your building blocks for you to race on.

Table time

Teaching your child to sit and stay on a chair by a table (not a high chair or car seat) takes the kind of self-discipline that will stand them in good stead in the school years. Learning how to sit still and focus is a skill of such value it should be called a “gift” rather than a skill.

Some fun things to do during table time:

  • Puzzles – fantastic for logic and maths and a sense of accomplishment. Peg-board puzzles are great for little fingers, and when your children are two or three years old you can start expanding to three- to 15-piece connected puzzles.
  • Have a blast with play dough – cheap to buy, super easy to make.
  • Draw – “fat” wax crayons are great for little fingers. Chalk is fun as well.
  • Paint and finger paints.
  • Have a tea party with you and the dolls.

Outside time

Scheduling some outside time every day does great things for health and imagination.

Here are some fun things to do, even when it’s cold outside:

  • Fill a basin with soapy water and let your kids wash their tea set. Don’t worry if (when) they get wet; it’s part of the learning process.
  • Water painting – use a paintbrush and water to “paint” the outside wall, driveway or paving around your house.
  • Draw on the pavement with chalk – such a fun way to use art outdoors.
  • Kick a ball.
  • Climb a tree.
  • Play catch.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Play peekaboo.
  • “Camp” with a blanket tent or a real one.

Outing time

Most moms try to get to the shops before picking up their kids from school or daycare. It’s just so much easier. Sadly, this means robbing our children of valuable life skills such as:

  • Social skills: Ask your child to smile and say “hello” to the cashier, and “thank you” to the packer.
  • Task order and completion: They’ll see you with a shopping list, keeping to the list and finishing shopping with groceries in hand from the list.
  • Learning that different rules apply in different places: the shops, church, granny’s house, the library all have different rules we need to abide by.

You don’t have to buy groceries every day, so find other things to do to get out of the house with your kids:

  • Go to the library.
  • Visit family and friends.
  • Go to the park.

Bored time

This is a funny one, isn’t it? Don’t stimulate your child every minute of the day. Boredom is the father of creativity. Embrace it. If need be, plan it.

-Gaya: Little Bo Babies

Gaya Schatz from Little Bo Babies is a mom of twin girls and runs an online store that offers baby products and advice to new and seasoned moms. Email her at gaya@littlebobabies.com for more tips and ideas.

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