Infants and toddlers enjoy the repetition of activities, which then leads to new skill development and a sense of mastery. As they explore and experiment with their bodies through space, it allows them the opportunity to make many important discoveries about their own body and abilities, and to develop an understanding about gravity, force and motion.
Young children are driven to learn and will always pursue learning at their own level. Children will drive their own learning through play, we can sit back and observe this learning as it unfolds! During this activity time, you can encourage your child’s physical development and demonstrate appreciation for what they are capable of by allowing them the time and space to try new things, make mistakes and to try again. By encouraging your child to continue their play and exploration, you can help foster a sense of competency and the development of positive self-esteem.
You can support your child’s language and critical thinking process by asking open-\ ended questions and offering prompts for them to think (and talk) about what they are doing:
- What is happening?
- How does it feel?
- Look at what you did!
- What happened when you… (pushed the toy…dropped the ball…etc.)?
- Tell me more about what you are doing…
Through investigation and exploration of the environment and the open-ended materials offered with other children, your child can also develop many other skills. These skills include language, social emotional skills and cognitive development in the domains of attention, math and science. A few of the important developing concepts and skills your child is working on are:
*Perceptual-Motor Skills and Movement: This is demonstrated when the child:
- uses sensory information to control their body by reaching and moving to explore
people and objects
- tries new and different ways to coordinate small or large body parts
**Gross Motor Locomotion Skills: This is demonstrated when the child moves in coordinated ways in order to:
- creep or crawl towards an object or person
- takes steps forwards or sideways while holding onto furniture
- walks in an upright position holding an object in each hand