Knocking over a pile of blocks at day care…sticking a sock-covered foot into a mud puddle…toddlers are constantly exploring the world around them. You know they’re getting messy and having fun, but did you also know they’re learning at the same time? Toddlers learn best by exploring. According to Jean Piaget, they are in the sensorimotor stage of development. They need to get out and explore the world around them in order to learn. Exploring nature is an easy way to do this, especially with all the recreation opportunities for Rohnert Park toddler programs. No need for any formal programs; your toddler will be happy to walk with you on a trail, touching tree bark and listening to birds chirp. The world is her university.
Preschools that include opportunities to move, shake, and generally have a good time with the world around them are best-suited for this type of growth. Child care providers have the opportunity to do this with a group of children, but one-on-one is always a fun way to experience life as well. One fun activity is to put out shaving cream on a table that is covered with an old plastic tablecloth. Let the toddler feel it and explore making lines and designs on the surface. Depending on your toddler, you or a caretaker who is babysitting could even draw letters in the shaving cream and then identify them along with a keyword: “D is for dog,” and so on. There are some toys that specifically encourage this exploration, but sometimes the best way is just to get out and enjoy the world around you through your toddler’s eyes. So the next time your toddler sticks her hand in a glob of jelly, consider it a step in the right direction of her academic future.