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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Your Toddler Can Play and Learn at the Same Time

Our kids can play all day and they don't seem to get tired. But did you know that playing can help them a lot? Here is a guest post from Sally who have shared to us some helpful articles last month.

How Your Toddler Can Play and Learn at the Same Time

Parents who are looking for a way to have fun with their child while promoting physical, emotional and cognitive health should look into a variety of puzzles for their child. Child’s provide so many benefits to the child’s development, and it’s something that you can do with your child as a family activity. Puzzles and problem solving activities for toddlers are also ways that your child can spend time on their own.

There is a wide selection of puzzles available for infants up through the toddler age and into grade school that target the improvement of mental and physical skills. You can start your child out at a young age to start problem solving with puzzles, and increase the difficulty of the puzzles as they grow. There are many levels and suggested ages to look at as they begin their journey solving puzzles. Here are a few reasons to include puzzles in your child’s daily routine.

blocks

Photo Courtesy to Jussi Linkola/Flickr.com

Cognitive Benefits

Options like a snake cube or jigsaw puzzles are going to help your child’s cognitive development in a variety of ways. They are going to learn how to recognize shapes and patterns, and figure out how to make shapes connect with each other. The child’s memory has to work to remember how to turn and move the pieces around, and to remember which pieces didn’t fit when tried. At first the child may have a hard time recognizing which points connect together to create a total picture, but over time they will know how to align the pieces so they slide into place, or so they can easily be pushed or snapped into place.

Sorting the pieces by classification, like color, character and edges helps improve eye recognition tactics. The child will be able to see that just like the puzzle, and many things around them are built like a puzzle. They will have to solve problems with their hands using puzzles, and learning how to solve a snake cube puzzle is something they can progress to.


Physical Development Enhancement

Moving and turning the puzzle pieces helps develop fine motor skills, which will help the child with tying shoes, buttoning their pants, writing and coloring and more. Hand to eye coordination is also going to improve. The mind has to deliver the right message to the hands, and over time the puzzle configuring and mind to body messages will improve and get faster. This allows the child’s hands and mind to learn to react to things more quickly.


Physical Development Enhancement

Puzzle activities that stack will help your child recognize and learn about weight distribution and balance. Working with the puzzles by stacking, sorting and balancing, will help your child make things fit, when cleaning their room or doing other physical activities.


Emotional Encouragement and Improvement

Puzzles are great for encouraging emotional development and improving confidence. The child will have to see that if they don’t give up and keep trying, they can use their mind to get through their struggles and situations. Finishing the puzzle is a goal, and the child learns that their goals can be accomplished even if they have to work on them a little at a time.


Emotional Encouragement and Improvement

The puzzles can also show your child how to work and solve problems independently, without you guiding them step by step. They should learn to resolve problems and try all possible positions or solutions until asking for help. The puzzles are going to improve the mind by strengthening their confidence, decision making and critical thinking.

There are puzzle games that you sort by color, size and shape. As your child gets older puzzles can help to teach numbers, letters, animals and other things, and the child will think that they are playing a game and having fun. You can use puzzles to help the child learn without it feeling like you are trying to get them to memorize information.

If your child is having any struggles or is missing any milestones in their physical or intellectual development, ask their pediatrician if there are any specific types of puzzles that could help them overcome this or improve the concerns. Having time where you work with the child to see if they are doing the puzzles correctly, and having time to let the child explore and work on their own is going to be the most ideal for their progression while they develop and grow.





About the Writer

This post is written by Sally is a working woman and a mother of 2 kids (currently 10 and 8), living in a suburb of Brisbane. As mom, she learn so much about providing healthier and happier lifestyle for her kids. You can find more of her articles being featured on www.mouthsofmums.com.au.

Images provided by Sally.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Train Your Little Picasso With Crayons

Seeing burst of colors that appears right under their hands is indeed an exciting sight. Colors make toddlers feel happy and they will surely feel a lot more joy if they are the ones creating colorful scribbles on paper. Letting a toddler use crayons is a good way to help them develop fine motor skills, fondness for art and creativity. So, why not buy a box of crayons for your little one?



But you cannot just pick any crayon. There are crayons designed for toddlers. These could either be jumbo crayons or those that are triangular in shape for easier grip. You also have to make sure that you get the ones that are non-toxic because a curious tot would sometimes put the crayons inside their mouths. What's more yummy looking than a bunch of colors anyway? You can also teach your child to keep the crayons once they are done using it. If they won't listen the first time, that's okay. Just keep on repeating it and they'll eventually get it. For the first early coloring sessions of your child, always be there to guide him.


I have mentioned that tots would tend to place crayons inside their mouths. If this happens, you can take away the crayons from them and explain to them that it is for art and coloring. Then show them how it is done. If they still place it in their mouths again, then you have to take the crayons out of sight. You can do coloring some other time or you can resort to other art materials like stickers.



I bought Bella crayons at an early age. I taught her how to grip on it using her right hand and to scribble it on paper. I have large sheets from blu prints of house plans that I designed. These were blu prints that had some mistakes on it. Instead of throwing them away, I let Bella use it for coloring. I would place the paper on the floor and she could sit on the paper while scribbling. But she would always ask me to draw something on the paper. I'll hold her hand to form shapes and draw whatever she can think of.

"Mommy, draw cat. Mommy, draw circle. Mommy draw flower. Mommy, draw caterpillar." The list is endless! lol But I still do it. Sometimes, the drawings look funny but as long she can identify it, that is fine. Seeing Bella occupied with her scribbling makes me happy but when she gets tired of drawing on paper. She'll draw on something else and when I say something else, I mean wherever and on whatever she can think of!



She'll draw on the wall, on chairs, tables, toys, even on my computer screen and her favorite Lalaloopsy Littles, Bundles. Our room looks like Elmo's room. It has crayon writings everywhere!

This is normal for toddlers but it shouldn't be tolerated. You have to explain to them that drawing has to be done on paper and not on the walls or on anything. They might not listen to you at once but you can tell that to them repeatedly. Show them that art and drawing is a positive thing. It's drawing on anything that is negative. Teach that to your kids repeatedly. In time, they'll be able to get what you mean. You can stop them from writing on walls by:

1. Show them how to draw on paper.
2. Repeatedly tell them drawing on walls is not good.
3. Show them that you are cleaning the walls so they will know that it isn't really good. Or if your toddler is older, let them clean their own mess. This way, they won't do it again to avoid the chore.
4. Create a gallery of their drawings. They'll be encouraged to draw more on paper once they see their drawings framed or placed on the wall.
5. Purchase other art materials like easels and encourage your kid to draw.
6. Allocate a space in your home for their art activities.

When you do this, they will be able to practice and appreciate art even more. Start doing that while your kid is still a toddler. I want Bella to develop her love for art in an early age. That is why I got her crayons even when she was still a baby. Remember that drawing is not just about fun. It can also help your kid's physical, cognitive, emotional and social development.

So, if you are hesitant to give them crayons at an early age, don't be.


Toddler on Crayons

I actually want to treasure Bella's scribbles because she won't be coming back to to this stage anymore. When the time comes that she'll be able to draw well, I'd show her the first drawings she did as a toddler. I took photos of some of her scribbles. They may appear senseless but the truth is, these scribbles mean a lot. It shows how she developed as a child, her love for colors and art, and this could pave way to a better school performance and career in the future.





I guess I'll add some more. lol. I want to go back to this post when she is a bit older. I'm sure she'll laugh at these scribbles and would scold me for posting this for everyone to see. haha. But she won't be a toddler again. So, I'd better keep these photos. 

How about you mommies, how was your toddler-crayon experience?