Lesson Plans for Toddlers – How to Make Learning Fun!
If your toddler is at the age that they should be doing preschooler activities then you may be feeling overwhelmed by the concept of “teaching”, and an inadequate substitute for an actual preschool teacher. The truth is that there is nothing a preschool teacher can do for your toddler that you cannot do at home! The main key to teaching your child (and having fun doing it!) are making toddler lesson plans. Lesson plans for toddlers do not have to be complicated so don’t be nervous. It is not like you are planning out a high school curriculum! There a plenty of activities to add to your lesson plan that will encourage your toddler to learn while having a great time with mom (or dad!). If you are a bit nervous about getting started, let me help you. I was once in your shoes and I think I can offer you some great places to start; from creating themes to boosting their cognitive skills. Keep reading to find out more!
Preschoolers are at the point where they should be introduced to colors, numbers and letters. This will make their lives much easier when they enter kindergarten. Having said that, add color of the week, number of the week and letter of the week. For instance, this week you will be focused on the color blue, the number 1 and the letter A. You can read books that focus on these topics. There are many theme based books that you can find at your local library to help you out. Go through the books and have them identify the weeks color. Get a book that is all about your letter of the week. The main goal here is recognition, and daily use of the week concept helps them to develop rote memory skills which will prepare them for actual thinking skills. In the long run, they will be able to learn basic math concepts from this type of activity, as well as their alphabet and some art.
Your daily or weekly lesson plans should include lots of creative activities. Start with the fact that your toddler knows the people in their family better than anyone else, because up to this point, the family is their entire world. Keeping this in mind, develop art activities surrounding the family. My favorite one was always the family collage. You cut out photos of each family member and allow your child to clue them to a poster board. Once the pictures are glued, have them draw (scribble) the colors that they have already learned about on the empty spaces of the poster board. And speaking of drawing/scribbling, this is an extremely important item to add to your daily lesson plan. It helps them be artistic and develop their find motor skills. What they put down on paper now will enhance their pre-writing skills for the future.
Science and Sensory Skills
Science and sensory skills go hand in hand. Help your child start a worm farm! Sure it sounds gross but it is very beneficial for their learning! Not only does it show them how worms live and work (science), but they also get to stick their little hands into dirt and compost or leaves (sensory). Another fun sensory skill that can also be applied to science skills is making Jell-O. Showing your child how making Jell-O works (science) can be really fun. Once the Jell-O is done you can let them eat some and play with some to get the feel of this delicious substance (sensory)!
A toddler is always making new connections between old knowledge and new concepts. This is their cognitive ability at work! Cognitive development is rather rapid at this age so nurture it as much as possible. The main aspects of cognitive growth can be fostered with daily activities such as stacking, sorting, observing and learning cause and effect. Coming up with cognitive activities is very easy! You can sort blocks, arranging them by size or color. You can stack objects – books are great for this! You can have a treasure hunt too! For this, all you need is a short and easy set of objects and a magnifying glass. Allowing exploration is important to your toddler’s cognitive development.
Your child is developing language skills from the moment they pop into the world, but it is the toddler years when these skills are quickly propelled forward. Music is a great way to encourage language development. You can find all sorts of preschool aged songs online that can help you in this area. You can also play I Spy, and question and answer games. Anything that involves word development is a good activity since toddlers love to ask you questions.
Developing a toddler lesson plan doesn’t look so difficult now, does it? What you think of as “schooling”, they think of as fun! If they are not having fun or you are not holding their interest, move onto something else. You cannot force a toddler to learn something that they are not interesting to them, so keep trying different activities until they become interested. They won’t even know that they are learning and that is the real beauty of it!