Friday, August 30, 2013

Learning Activities with a 19 Month Old

My daughter is growing up quickly and is getting more and more inquisitive. I'm noticing if I don't give her enough attention and healthy play throughout the day she is just cranky and, I'm assuming, bored. She is normally very good at playing by herself. I know even with the little things she does, she is learning. I just can't help thinking "am I doing enough?" This is what sparked yesterdays happenings. Well, that, and the fact I really didn't feel like doing the housework!

I was researching activities to do with a toddler when I looked down and noticed that Melody was playing with her connecting shape toys. This may not sound amazing but it was the first time she was able to pop them together all by herself! I was so excited for her! She seemed very proud of herself, and scrounged up as many as she could find and started clicking them all together.

After seeing this, I got down to business! I honestly have never really thought about the play and activities we do together, but today I wanted a little structure for her, and also more focus on the task at hand. I decided I needed to take a look at her massive stack of toys spread across the living room and make some changes. I put some older toys away and brought one or two "new" toys out. I remembered a toy we had got at the thrift store and thought she might be able to play with it in a different way than before.

I was right! After cleaning up and separating her old toys we sat down in the living room with this little Fisher Price "cd player". I first showed her how to open up the front and take out the disc. Then I showed her how to put the disc back in through the slot in the top. (She wasn't able to comprehend this a few months ago, which is why it didn't get used.) With just one time of me demonstrating, she started doing it herself.

Honestly, she played with this long enough for me to do all the dishes! Win, Win!

After that I thought I would try helping her with one of her other toys that hasn't really been played with in a learning way. She got this little bug for Christmas last year. She plays with it all the time, just not with all the shapes that attach to it's body. So, with a clean room, I gathered as many of the shapes I could find and we sat down and I demonstrated with a couple shapes. As I was showing her how to attach the shapes in the matching holes, I said what shape it was and what color it was. She was able to do a few but kept pushing down the ladybug on top accidentally which pops all the shapes back out. That frustrated her a bit!

At this point I was in the learning/teaching mode and decided to make a trip to the Dollar Store to see if we could find anything useful. I really wanted some foam letters and/or numbers. No such luck. I can always make some myself so I wasn't too bummed. We did get a book, some crayons, and pack of learning sight cards.

We read the book before nap time, (4 times) but haven't opened up the rest yet. I might let her do some coloring today at some point.

After lunch I decided to do an activity I've seen on a few different places. I'm sure Melody has done some versions of this by herself at different times, after she has completely emptied my kitchen cupboards! I wanted her to try to do it with more focus, though. The hard part of this activity was for me. I had to get all her balls out from under the couch. This is a little difficult with a big round tummy! We took a muffin tin and sat in the middle of the living room with all the balls. I told her to put all the balls in the cups and she went at it. When all the balls were in the cups she said "Dah!", which means "Ta Dah!". Then she dumped it out and started again.

There wasn't quite a rhyme or reason in where she placed the balls, but I'm sure that will come with time. She really likes to stack things lately. She has a set of stacking cups that are played with daily. I tried to see if we could do some color matching since we have been working on colors a lot lately. I tried to get her to put the balls in the matching colored cups.

I probably shouldn't have had Backyardigans playing in the background! It was getting close to nap time and her focus was dwindling. She ended up just stacking the cups and she did put the balls in the cups but not the matching colors. Hey, it's a start!

I think next week we might start learning colors. I think I will do one color a week, with different activities involving the weekly color. Hopefully we will see some improvement in that category!

Do you have any favorite activities for a 1 year old?

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