Learning With Fun: How to Keep Toddlers Engaged

Children are watching more television than ever. Conditioned to screen time, it’s no wonder that many toddlers enjoy watching cartoons or playing games on mobile devices. According to the University of Washington School of Medicine, toddlers that watch three or more hours of television per day are 30% more likely to not be able to pay attention to school. Several other studies have demonstrated that passive screen time can hurt learning abilities

Although it may be tempting to succumb to your children’s desire for the TV, it’s also important that you take an active approach to their education. “Choosing a school that focuses on active early development is a great way to give your toddlers a nudge in the right direction, and ensure they have fun while learning,” says Montessori Preschool and Daycare in Spring TX. “But it’s also important that you build upon that foundation outside of school hours.” With that in mind, here are a few ways you can help your children have fun while learning: 

Create a Sensory Bin
A recent trend in toddler activities is sensory play. Sensory play stimulates the child's senses, and this is important during early development stages. They’re easy to make at home, and it allows your children to explore their senses within the confines of their own home. You’d be surprised at how much a simple sensory bin can engage your child and keep them busy (in many cases, it will keep them more occupied than traditional toys that capture just a few minutes of attention at a time). Check out a few ideas for sensory bins here

Through these sensory creations, they can imagine, explore, and learn—all while engaging their senses. By manipulating small objects, they’re improving their motor skills. As they manipulate different sensory materials, they’re also learning about cause and effect, which improves science, math, and logical reasoning skills. You don’t have to use just bins, either. Bottle and bags also make great sensory objects. For example, you might fill a bottle with glitter, water, and beads, or fill a freezer bag with squishy putty. 

Engineering Toys
Engineering tools help toddlers develop important learning skills, like problem solving and critical thinking. They ignite curiosity, and allow children to learn as they play. For example, Duplo building blocks from Lego teach children fine motor skills and help develop creativity. Boon Bath Pipes can be put together to create water funnels on the bathroom walls. As they get older, they’ll be able to play with even more advanced toys, going as far as building their own working robots and moving vehicles. 

Take Them to the Bookstore
Encouraging your toddler to sit down while you read to them can be frustrating. With shorter attention spans, you’re never guaranteed that your toddler will actually listen and retain information. However, you can get them excited by involving them in the book purchasing process. Children become very happy when they are actively involved in their own decision-making. Allow them to pursue the children’s books, choosing titles that interest them most. Many bookstores also have reading hours for children, which puts them in an active learning environment with their peers outside of the classroom. 

Get Them Involved In a Sport
Playing sports not only has immense physical benefits for children, but it also helps them learn a variety of important lifelong skills. They’ll be able to better understand the ability to follow directions, hone their motor skills, learn communication and teamwork, and develop interests that shape their future. 

They’ll also develop important social skills as they play with their peers. Dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, soccer, and t-ball are all great options for toddlers. What’s important is that the emphasis is on physical activity and fun; they’re too young to understand the aspect of competition, so coaches will focus on having a good time as children learn a variety of gameplay and developmental skills.