Lets take a look at some simple and fun learning activities for 2 year old’s that you can do together to support their development. Children’s language skills develop so rapidly during their second year of life. From talking single words at the beginning to having full sentence conversations with you by the time they turn 3. Although everyone’s kid developed on their own timeline, many parents can agree that the evolution is mesmerizing.
Toddler’s vocabulary explodes during their second year, and so does their motor skills. This is the time my son really got interested in books making it a great learning activity for 2 year old’s (or any age). Some of our favorite also include tabs and pop ups which he could interact with now without breaking the book. (For the most part)
Here are 5 of my Toddler’s Favorites:
I realize that the use of screens is quite controversial, but we use it freely in our home. Our rule of thumb is simply to ensure he is getting a significant amount of outdoor and play time every day. We also discourage taking it to bed at night.
When Luca turned 2, he started to really get interested in learning games. We downloaded a few free ones at first but eventually went all in and invested in a full out educational app for the IPad. Learning Games on the IPad are a great as learning activities for 2 year old’s (in moderation).
Noggin: It’s a monthly subscription and is developed by Nickelodeon. It has a variation of S.T.E.A. M learning, book reading as well as favorite Nickelodeon TV shows such as Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig.
ABC Mouse: If you are looking for an app that doesn’t offer TV shows as well, another popular learning program is ABC Mouse. They offer both a desktop and app version of their learning games just like Noggin but I would consider it to be more extensive than the Noggin. It is a great learning program to get once Noggin feels too easy.
Games for Learning
Anything you do with your child can be interpreted as a game if you use your imagination. Running to the car, chasing your kid to put their clothing on, singing a song while brushing teeth. Sure it might not always work, but regardless its worth setting up daily activities this way. However, if you want to really focus on playing with the intention of learning, here are some great tips!
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Many parents grudge engaging in pretend play with their children (and when I say many, I mean me!). We do it though because its an amazing way to connect with our children and see the world through their lens.
Play with a story line is a great way to reenact social situations in a safe space as well. Normally I will follow my toddler’s lead and incorporate social interactions into our pretend play. A few example are:
- how to properly verbalize not wanting to share or do something
- how to react if something doesn’t go your way
- sharing and taking turns
- explore being the “bad guy” without hurting anyone
- develop problem solving
Numbers, Letters, Shapes and Colors:
So many good games to support our children learning the basics. Don’t feel pressure to teach them these things though. Studies show that social-emotional learning during preschool years is the absolute best things you can do to set your toddler up for success in school and life.
Puzzle toys are a great way to encourage 2 year olds to engage with numbers, letters, shapes and colors via physical and sensory means. They are placing these items in the correct spot and can start a conversation about what it is they have in their hand.
Outdoor Activities for 2 Year Old’s
There are so many benefits to spending time outside with our 2 year old’s. Children are soaking in the world around them all the time and there is a lot of learning opportunities outdoors.
Being outdoors with your 2 year old almost always includes crossing streets or walking in areas that will require caution. Use these opportunities to talk about how to properly navigate those situations. For example, we practice always stopping at crosswalks to check for cars, or how its important to stay close to me if we are in a crowded area.
Our toddler spent a big portion of his summer as a 2 year old zooming around on his balance bike. I think he really enjoyed the freedom out of the stroller and it was easy for me because he would always be moving forward instead of stopping (which he does when he is walking).
Playgrounds are such a great neutral space for children to practice their social-emotional skills. There is turn taking with other playground kids, mixed ages that interact with each other and a ton of physical play that will stimulate your child.
I often refrain from taking our toys to the playground as navigating sharing and saying no is an additional layer of complexity, especially in relationship to children you don’t know. If you do take toys with you, be ready to help your child say no if they don’t want to share. It is a good idea to bring more than one toy, that way you can suggest to your child that he let a friend play with his other toy.
Don’t overthink it
We all put undue pressure on ourselves to be our children’s teachers in order to set them up for success, when the reality is that they are learning machines without us. The best thing you can do is role model behaviors you want your child to learn and be mindful of your own reactions and words used to express yourself.
If you give your child 1:1 attention, they will actively engage in activities that helps them learn about the world around them, follow their lead and you will do great!
Academics is overrated at this age. Don’t worry too much about letters, numbers etc, instead teach them about the everyday and about their emotions. Most of all, make them feel loved and safe, because in that type of environment, they will flourish in other aspects of life too. I hope you like these simple learning activities for 2 year old’s and that you feel less pressure next time you spend time with your little nugget.
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