24 - 36 Months
Infants and toddlers are holistic learners, which means that although one activity may primarily target one developmental area, all domains are “at play.” When you are targeting motor development, your presence and connection with your baby also inevitably target social/emotional development, your words develop your child’s communication, and the concepts you discuss and problem-solving your baby is doing develop cognition. The more you interact with your baby, the more your baby learns!
These activities are all meant to be interactive, and should be supervised by a fully present adult.
Young children learn new concepts best through experience. When we give our children opportunities to imitate, explore, and play, they are learning about the way things work, and listening to the vocabulary we use.
Play games with opposites - do something fast and then slow, go on top of something and then under, forward and then backward. Try to use your own bodies, as well as objects you can manipulate.
Phonemic awareness is a term that describes the ability to detect, identify, and use different speech sounds. The words “chat” and “pat” differ by one phoneme (“ch” vs. “p”). The ability to distinguish different sounds is linked to the development of literacy skills in a young child.
Performing fingerplays and songs together is a wonderful way to support this skill, as they often include rhymes!
+ Motor / Sensory
There are, in fact, 7 senses that help us process the information our bodies take in from the outside world. Most of us know the first 5. The vestibular is our sense of balance. Proprioception is the sense of our body in space, and can be supported by “heavy work.”
Encouraging activities involving pushing & pulling is a great way to support proprioception, & can easily be integrated into everyday activities and chores.
+ Social / Emotional
Pro-social behavior is highly linked to “social cognition,” and the ability to take another person’s perspective. As your child grows, it is natural that this is an emerging skill, easier in certain situations than in others!
Encourage the positive behavior you see both in your own child and while witnessing others. Comment on helpfulness and cooperation, and help your child make connections between behavior & its affect.
bring this information to life
+ Musical Experiences
- Integrate conceptual learning into musical experiences by playing with rhythm, lyrics, and movement (sing quickly or slowly, sing a song about going fast or slow, dance around the room quickly or slowly)
- Play or sing a song during a difficult transition - personalize a “good-bye” song or use a calming lullaby to soothe
- Offer a number of different kinds of instrument (shakers, things that ring, drums)
+ Literacy Experiences
- Read/make a book that develops awareness about cultural and linguistic diversity (e.g., ethnicity, holidays, languages, geography, family structure, etc)
- Find/make a book, about the current season, a favorite song, or a subject of interest. Make observations together and connect to real-life experiences
- Pick a category, and go through a book pointing out everything in that category!
+ Sensory Experiences
- Collect natural materials and play a guessing game, closing your eyes & taking turns by touching, describing, giving clues...
- Make bubbles together, and talk through the steps. Catch, pop, clap them in your hands, pile them on top of one another
- At the grocery store, let your child handle the produce you buy, placing it in the bag after smelling it, touching it, and talking about its features
+ Visual Supports
- Draw the outline of familiar objects on a piece of paper, and have your child find each one (or choose from a box of options)
- Take a few washable toys and give them a bath. Point out different areas of their “bodies” to wash, talk about making sure the soap doesn’t get in their eyes when you wash their heads, and link to your child’s experiences!
- Show pictures & videos of friends & family