4 Learning Activities for Toddlers


This post includes four learning activities for toddlers, now that baby C turned one year old. One of the most important decisions we made over the past year is deciding how C should be cared for after I went back to work. We thought long and hard about whether to pursue a nanny share or a child care, and which child care to choose after touring a few. We decided on a child care due to the social interaction with other babies and toddlers; the caring environment we observed; and the commitment to ongoing communication with parents.

For me, one of the most important aspects of selecting a child care is how the center works with parents. I’m partnering with Bright Horizons® on today’s post. Bright Horizons’ offers early education, including child care for infants, toddlers and preschool. Families of children that attend Bright Horizons are kept informed about their child’s daily activities, with a focus on helping both kids and parents to prepare children for school. Bright Horizons’ teachers and directors are experienced in providing effective communication with children and families, and the centers themselves are supportive, friendly and active communities. Learn more by visiting the Family Resources tab on their website.

When I look back at our first year as parents, it doesn’t feel like the time flew by but every experience seems like it just happened – such as his first smile and laugh, his first plane ride to Florida, his first time rolling over, his first visit to my parents’ farm in Iowa, his first “real” food, and his first time crawling. K and I are enjoying every new experience with C, including finding creative ways to teach him new things. Below is an overview of four learning activities we have played with C recently.

Activity 1: Music

Listening to and making music is a frequent activity in our house. Our favorite kids music is the Sesame Street station on Pandora. C has a few musical instruments, including a drum and mini piano. But plastic kitchen containers and wooden spoons often work the best! Bonus – I can make coffee in the morning while C is occupied with an activity.

Bright Horizons also has fun musical ideas for toddlers at home, including “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Elbows” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” Find more ideas here.

Activity 2: Book Selection for Story Time

We read to C as much as we can. I usually start the morning by reading him books in the rocking chair in his room; I read him a few books after picking him up from child care; and K reads him books before he goes to sleep at night. One thing we started doing recently is allowing him to select the book, to start teaching him about choices. We show him two books and ask him to pick which he wants to read. He definitely has favorites but sometimes surprises us with his choice.

C received lots of new books for his birthday from his generous family and aunties. We are excited to dig into new reading material!

Activity 3: Photo Memories

For C’s first birthday party, I printed monthly photos and hung them on a ribbon display to see how he changed over the past 12 months. C loves looking at photos of himself so much that we are planning to hang this in his bedroom. It’s an educational game to learn numbers too, as we talk to C about each month.

Activity 4: Basket of Toys

The simplest things are often the most fun for toddlers to play with. C has lots of small toys, including balls, stuffed animals, soft blocks, and trucks. We put small toys in a cloth-covered box for him to play with. He loves taking toys out of the box, tipping over the box, and using it as a drum.

Find more ideas for At-Home Learning Activities on Bright Horizons website. This is a wonderful resource for learning and play, with activities organized by age group {infant, toddler, twos, preschool, and more}.

Interested in learning even more? Sign up for the Bright Horizons Family Matters weekly e-newsletter, which includes articles, tips and strategies for families.

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