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Ways to Enrich Toddlers' Learning & Language Development

by Christina Schnell, studioD

Being the primary source of early learning and language development can feel overwhelming. Just walk down the educational aisle at any major toy store, and it's easy to feel like there's a long list of things you should be doing. The good news is that, contrary to what your neighbor or latest educational toy commercial claim, everyday experiences and tasks provide some of the best opportunities for language and learning enrichment, notes the Massachusetts General Hospital Child Services Center.

Housework Help

While she might not be the most efficient folder, describing the process of daily chores around the house helps your toddler connect actions and words. Ask her to help sort colors in the laundry or count and match different colored socks while folding to enrich her vocabulary and introduce the concept of quantity. Talk about making the bed using directional words like up, down, left, right and over. Name each item while she hands you clean dishes from the dishwasher to improve her vocabulary.

Interactive Story Reading

Reading a storybook is good, but what really improves your toddler's understanding and language development is discussing the pictures and concepts while reading to him, explains Massachusetts General Hospital of Children's Services. Answer his questions about the characters and pictures, and ask him open questions about what he thinks will happen next or how many green animals are in the picture compared to brown animals. Read stories with different characters as well as some of his classic favorites.

Whole-Body Language

Modeling the concepts of speaking, gesturing and listening with your whole body give your tot a more comprehensive language and learning experience. Use your hands to gesture directions or movements, make eye contact while speaking to your child and show her the same courtesy when she's speaking to you. Connecting gestures like shrugging your shoulders, pretending to shiver when cold or fanning yourself when hot help bring new concepts and words to life.

New Environments

Experiencing new environments gives you and your toddler a chance to compare, count and discuss all the new things he sees. Take a trip to the aquarium or zoo and ask him what he thinks the animals are doing or talk about the contrasting physical features of two different animals, suggests ZerotoThree.org. Go to the grocery store and have him find and count out fruits of different colors or match paired items, like milk and cereal or peanut butter and jelly.

About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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