When children crawl over the teddy bear, climb under the table, go through the tunnel, walk around the chair, go in and out the door, they are developing physically and mentally as they learn about the relationship between their bodies and the objects they are navigating. You can help your children develop their language, mathematical, and conceptual skills by verbally expressing what they are doing. Here’s how.
Use words with experiences
Infants love to grasp, hold, reach, throw, drop and put everything in their mouth. You can help your baby develop with simple household items and toys; plastic bowls, wooden spoons, containers of various shapes and sizes, blocks, stuffed animals etc. Gather only safe items by making sure they are not too small to choke or swallow and not too hard or heavy to hurt. Then let your child start exploring. When she puts the animal in the bowl. Comment “You put the animal in the bowl!” Ask her to do things like “Stack the block on top of the bowl.” Show her what you mean as you say it.
Toddlers love to collect, carry and climb into small spaces. You can encourage your toddler’s development with household containers, collections and some sheets and blankets. Set up a little private space under a table by draping some sheets and blankets over it. Place some items to collect around the house; balls, toys, small containers, lids, etc. Ask your child to collect all the items or specific items. As she starts collecting comment on what she is doing. “You picked up the blue ball and put it in the basket.” Ask her to “Take the basket under the table and dump everything out.” Now look for more items. Count them as she goes. “You put one toy in the basket.” “Now you put two toys in the basket.” “You had to walk through the door to get that one.” “Let’s put the toys on the chair.”
Preschoolers love to take direction and show they understand. You can encourage your preschooler’s development by setting up a simple obstacle course together. It can really be just about anything. Step on the chair, crawl under the table, jump on the carpet, walk around the spoon, toss the ball into the basket… You get the idea. Just set it up and have some fun. As you and your child go through the course describe what is happening. “You’re crawling under the table.” “Now you have to jump off the stair.”
You can add additional concepts and physical challenges like balancing on a board while holding a ball. “Don’t fall off into the ‘water’!”