Should I set up structured activities for my toddler or just let him play on his own?

Should I set up structured activities for my toddler or just let him play on his own?

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Asking this question is like asking, "How do you learn best: through direct instruction or by exploring on your own?" You would probably say that both are important for learning, right? The same is true for your toddler. Both structured and free form play contribute significantly — and in different ways — to your child's development.

Structured activities are a great way to introduce your toddler to new ideas. For example, shape- or color-sorting toys, where your child must fit the blue triangle piece into the blue triangle-shaped hole, help him work on his matching and sorting skills. Another simple yet truly educational toy is a set of cups that nestle inside each other. Your toddler will learn the concept of bigger and smaller, and how to organize objects accordingly.

But to truly master ideas like these, he needs to explore what happens when he tries different stacking combinations. He can benefit both from observing you and from exploring on his own. Once you've given him the materials he needs, let him head off in whatever direction he chooses — don't feel you need to manage his play. Although it's fun to demonstrate new concepts to your tot, he should be able to decide what he wants to do with the information. For example, he may decide that rather than organize the nesting cups according to size, he'd rather fill them up with water or rocks, then empty them (an activity that fascinates most toddlers). Or he may abandon the cups altogether in favor of piling up rocks. Children use play to help them better understand the concepts and ideas that they find interesting, so they tend to be the best judge of how they should be playing.

Of course, you can still set up your child's free playtime around specific concepts. If he seems interested in music, for example, set up a "one-man band" with pots and pans, a rattle, a child's drum, and anything else you can think of that's remotely musical, and let him have at it. If your child is a nature buff, get him a collecting jar, with holes punched in the lid, and help him find bugs and snails. With a little imagination, your child's unstructured playtime can offer a wealth of learning opportunities.

Watch the video: 16 Toddler Activities You Can Do at Home. 1-2 year olds (June 2022).


  1. Taidhgin

    It is the true information

  2. Ceolwulf

    Tell me who can I ask?

  3. Keefe

    What charming question

  4. Unai

    wonderfully, very entertaining opinion

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