There are many resources for parent and caregivers to explore developmental activities which will keep your active child busy, while helping him or her reach important learning and developmental milestones. Incorporating these activities into playtime or daily routines can help children explore the world around them, enhance skill sets, and build positive bonds with their caregivers. Through play, babies and toddlers try out new skills, explore their imagination and creativity, and learn about relationships with other people.
Some examples of resources which offer developmental activities include the following:
- Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resource System (FDLRS) provides several resources to activities to enhance a child’s cognitive, communication, language, motor, physical, self-help, and social-emotional development.
- Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, offers many activities in order to make play time both fund and educational for your young child.
- Parents magazine has a wealth of information for your growing child, including many resources regarding activities to improve development, enhance parent-child interaction, and more.
- Family Education offers developmental activities by age, ranging from Tummy Time for infants to Number Matchup for Preschoolers, in addition to printable resources and other tools.
In addition to the programs and tools listed, see how day-to-day play can help support a child’s learning:
- Birth to 9 months: Toys that engage your baby’s senses, such as mobiles, rattles, chew toys, and chunky board and cloth books. Toys that help him or her learn cause and effect, such as pop-up toys and busy boxes.
- 9 to 18 months: Toys such as plastic tools, play food, and animal farms. Problem-solving toys that help children learn how things fit together, such as shape sorters and nesting cups. Push and pull toys and balls also let toddlers move their active bodies.
- 18 to 36 months: Materials that help them use their hands to create, such as play dough, crayons, and finger paints. Objects that help children use their imaginations, such as dress-up clothes, action and animal figures, dolls, and stuffed animals.
- 36 months and beyond: Materials which mirror real-world objects which allow them to imitate adults in conversation and action. For instance, a play kitchen that imitates a real kitchen will allow children to model the activities of their caregivers. Learning-centered toys will allow them to practice skills like counting as they prepare for school.