FYI: I may occasionally make reference to items that I’ve previously shared in my other article Daycare Planning and Activities: Schedule and Lessons Planning.
For toddlers, everything is a learning experience and incorporating this activity into your daily routine will help in many ways. Activities may be done individually so this will allow each child to express their creativity or imagination. However, since this activity is done in a group setting, it will also encourage the children to share in the materials that are being used, take turns in sharing their projects and engaging with others in a mutual task.
Repetition is a key component to learning at this age and being able to introduce something new in relation to something they are already familiar with makes it easier for the child to understand and learn.
A good consideration is to have an itinerary calendar you provide to each child’s family. This will encourage family participation and will allow the families to be included in the learning experience at home.
Let’s say that the itinerary calendar indicates that today is “Colors” day and the color is RED. As part of family participation, the child can either wear something red or bring a favorite red item to share as part of Circle Time. All of today’s activities with the children should incorporate the color RED – counting items that are red, identifying items that are red, learning the letters in the word red, etc. The calendar show that tomorrow is “Numbers” day and the number for the day is 4. Activities will introduce the counting up to four, identifying the number 4, learning the letters in the word four, etc.
Here’s how repetition and introducing new with familiar work together. Since yesterday was the color RED, we can introduce the number four with the number four being the color red. Repetition, reiterate. In learning the letters of the word four, the “R” is in both red and four. Repetition, reiterate. OK now let’s say tomorrow is “Shapes” day and shape is circle. You can incorporate the counting of four red circles. Repetition, reiterate.
There are many ways to work repetition and reiterate into your daily learning itinerary. It may take some effort but well worth it for the children’s learning experience.
I know that some parents may not necessarily agree with television or video learning but it is a good tool to utilize as there are many educational children’s shows. I know that if incorporated appropriately and moderately, it will work as a benefit in a few ways.
Educational children’s shows or video will engage the children and are often interactive as well, where they include children to participate. They can introduce basic learning such as counting, shapes, colors, etc. as well as behavioral learning such as expressing sadness or anger and sharing or caring. Most shows or video episodes are approximately 30 minutes – which is just long enough to engage but not lose their interest. Another benefit would be that it could allow you to prepare for their next lesson or activity while the children are occupied. I use this as a two-fold opportunity as it would be a cool down activity after playtime and it allows me to prepare for lunchtime.
Other interactive learning sessions can incorporate learning a song or dance like the Hokey Pokey, doing craft projects such as making musical instruments like drums or maracas’ or even holiday cards. Outside activities such as watering the veggie garden, picking flowers or even helping out with recycling are great learning activities.
Engaging the children to explore and learn is already half the task completed. You will know the task is completed because you will hear and see it.