Your toddler is learning all the time. What may look like simple play is actually one of the key ways your toddler learns about the world. Your toddler’s brain is busy developing the ability to think, comprehend, create and predict what happens next.
Watch your toddler think
Watch your toddler think during playtime as your child:
- Takes things apart and puts them back together.
- Puts toys in a container and dumps them back out.
- Builds a tower and watches it fall down.
- Lines up toys in a straight or not so straight line.
Simple activities to encourage thinking skills
Your toddler’s brain is rapidly growing and developing. Support development of thinking skills with these simple activities.
Basic puzzles: Puzzles develop thinking skills as your toddler figures out what goes where. Memory is improved as your child remembers that a piece didn’t fit in one spot and sets it aside until he or she needs it later.
Ask simple questions: Toddlers love to ask, “Why?” Well, now it’s your turn to ask some questions. Help your toddler stop and think with simple questions like:
- “Which piece could make this tower even taller?”
- “How do you get the shapes back out of the box?”
- “Can you find all the animals that feel soft?”
Read books: Toddlers like to repeat actions over and over again. You probably have a book you’ve read together a thousand times. Next time you read it out loud together, encourage your toddler’s thinking skills by:
- Leaving out a word and letting your toddler fill in the blank.
- Asking what will happen next or what’s on the next page.
Play “find it”: This simple game develops problem-solving skills. Ask your toddler to:
- Hide a toy in a different room and you’ll go find it.
- Find a different toy in the toy box.
- Find a toy you’ve hidden under a blanket or pillow.
This is great for learning language skills and how to follow simple directions.
Explore same and different: Toddlers enjoy grouping objects that look similar, such as wooden blocks in one basket and plastic blocks in another. Your toddler is categorizing when:
- Sorting objects by color, shape, size or function.
- Stacking rings in the right order.
- Putting socks in one pile and shirts in another.
Watch, encourage, and enjoy your toddler’s delight and excitement of learning how to think.