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Toddler Learning: Fun or Formal? (page 2)

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Updated on Feb 15, 2012

Three-Year-Olds

Exploratory Learning: Kids at this age are beginning to shift from parallel play to more interactive play with peers. Make the most of it by providing activities she can enjoy with friends.

  • Playdate pals. Arrange scheduled playdates with her friends to maximize the potential for shared exploratory learning.
  • Water and sand. Pratola says parents can encourage active learning by providing a safe environment with simple, manipulative toys and activities, such as unstructured play with water and sand.

Organized Learning: Your child has morphed from a toddler to a preschooler, and it's time to begin practicing some of the basic skills that will allow her to get the most from her organized learning experiences once she's old enough for kindergarten.

  • Sitting still. Circle time activities, sitting still for books or while you sing songs are all good ways to reinforce the concept.
  • Focus her attention. Basic worksheets that hone pre-kindergarten skills, can be fun for your preschooler to try. Don't demand that she finish it all in one sitting, but urge her to spend a few minutes with her attention focused on the task at hand.

Above all, learning needs to be fun. Golinkoff says if parents talk with their children, follow-up on their interests, take them places and allow them to help you with a variety of tasks "they will learn all they need to be ready for school." If your kid isn't interested, she won't be getting the most out of the experience. Keep her engaged by providing a variety of activities and styles.

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