What’s going on for baby?

Every experience a child has is a learning experience and the best learning still happens when it involves more of their senses at a time.

For example, everyday activities like a trip to the shops can be a rich (multi-sensory) learning experience for them. With parents alongside talking, listening, encouraging and sharing in their learning, the experiences are even richer. They’ll use ‘trial and error’ for solving problems. Like little scientists, they’ll test and experiment, finding out what happens when they do something and whether it happens every time.

Toddlers are able to make a plan and carry it out to achieve something, like dragging the chair so they can climb on it and reach something up high.

How can parents and whānau help?

Learning during outings

  • Make sure their toddler is fed and rested before a shopping trip, and remember to take along a snack.
  • Use a shopping list if time is a factor — it can help get the job done faster, and the toddler can hold onto it, helping them to feel involved.
  • Use self-talk, saying out loud what they’re looking for. Give a running commentary — this can help their child stay interested.
  • Look for a confectionery-free lane at the checkout.

Learning by playing at home

  • Put together a ‘sensory box’ collection for them to explore, with various items that all look, feel and smell different from each other.
  • Make up other types of collections, such as:
  • natural resources — leaves, shells and bits of wood
  • different objects of one colour, shape or size
  • items that float or sink (this could be a bath activity)
  • a variety of objects that are hard, soft, heavy and light.

Make sure that all items are safe: big enough that they aren’t a choking hazard (they won’t fit inside a cling wrap roll) and have no sharp edges.

  • Choose toys and playthings that their toddler can use in a variety of ways: water, sand, dough, blocks, balls and boxes.
  • Give their toddler time and support to help them problem-solve on their own, but always supervise and be ready to intervene if their child is getting frustrated or their safety is at risk.

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