Here is a list of some simple ideas that create learning experiences as well as some wonderful play ideas too!
1. Growing their own garden
Gardens provide endless opportunities to learn and discover. They are great for showing children how plants need care and show them how to respect nature while they watch plants grow. Toddlers especially love to get involved and will feel proud to help plant seeds and water them. Plus gardening tools are great for developing strong hands and motor skills.
For older children, gardening helps to develop and understand early science and maths concepts – for example, things like helping to pot and water plants teaches little ones about volume and measurement.
Gardening is a great way to build responsibility and extend thoughts beyond self, plus little ones will feel very proud watching their garden grow!
2. Christmas Baking
Children absolutely love to help out in the kitchen! So why not get together and bake some Christmas treats to give to your family and friends this Christmas.
Not only does cooking provide some wonderful bonding opportunities, it also is great for developing fine motor skills and helping to build on language, talking and describing about what you are doing, e.g. mixing, measuring, kneading, pouring, which helps build their understanding and use of different words.
It also gives toddlers a chance to develop independence as well as social and emotional skills through doing something for themselves.
3. Learning about culture and tradition
Special days offer great opportunities to help create a sense of belonging that’s crucial to healthy social and emotional development. Celebrations like Christmas, or something similar your culture may observe, is a perfect time to start this. By introducing your own unique family traditions you are creating lifelong memories.
Singing encourages language development and Christmas carols are a fun way to engage with your baby while fostering these skills.
Pre-primary aged children love to show they remember what happened at special times. Getting them involved in the planning for a celebration also helps develop thinking and reasoning skills and being ‘helpful’, which once again develops your child’s self esteem and confidence.
Seasonal celebrations, such as Christmas, help children mark the passage of time so saying “Christmas day is in four more sleeps” helps develop these concepts.
Do you have special gifts you enjoy with your child? We’d love to hear about them!
For those looking for some toy ideas, make sure you read our Favourite Toys for Little Ones where we list our favourite toys that are perfect for young children and inspire creative play as well as key developmental skills.