Everyday Activities of Toddlers and Their Families Making Every

Everyday Activities of Toddlers and Their Families Making Every
Everyday Activities of Toddlers and Their Families
Making Every Moment Count
Toddlers learn by doing. They learn about their world and
how to interact with others by exploring and participating in
activities around them. Learning in everyday activities where
they use what they learn makes the skills immediately useful
and functional and more likely to generalize. Everyday activities and routines at home provide an incredibly rich source of
learning opportunities for toddlers.
Everyday activities can vary widely across families and
cultures, but there are many common activities that families share. Despite differences, most families spend time
eating, caring for each other, doing family chores, playing,
and learning together. By taking advantage of the activities
that you are already spending time doing, you can provide
the intensity needed to support your child’s learning.
All families of toddlers spend some time in everyday activities in the following 8 activity categories:
Play with People includes social games such as peek-a-boo, “I’m gonna get
you” and hide & seek. It also includes songs and rhymes like “Ring-around-the-Rosy”
and “Itsy-bitsy Spider.”
Play with Props includes play equipment such as a slide, rocking
horse, or swing, and moveable objects, such as a large ball, wagon, blanket,
or sofa cushions. By adding motivating actions and movements, you can
help to create enjoyment with the object and interaction.
Meals and Snacks provide a great context for sharing enjoyment and
interests as well as natural everyday practice of requests and protests. By having your child participate in preparing the food, cooking, setting the table, and
cleaning up, you can create more opportunities for practice and learning.
Caregiving Activities such as washing hands, dressing, changing
diapers, bathing, and brushing teeth happen many times a day and can be
structured to offer many opportunities for productive roles, social interaction,
and communication.
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Play with Toys includes constructive play with solid objects like blocks and
puzzles; or fluid materials like play dough, sand, or finger paint, and pretend play with
vehicles, animals, or dolls.
Family Chores like picking up toys, putting clothes in the laundry, feeding a
pet, getting the mail, or taking out the trash or recycling are opportunities to engage
your child. Taking advantage of the time that you already spend doing family chores
can create learning opportunities during these necessary tasks.
Books, Letters, and Numbers can help promote language and
literacy. These activities can be set up to promote interaction and sharing interests
with books, magazines, photo albums, iPad apps, or computer games.
Transitions are the moments that occur between activities and are critical to adding predictability to what is coming next as well as expanding opportunities for learning throughout the day. Teaching your child how to “make a
plan” as one activity ends can help provide a smooth transition and promote
active engagement from one activity to the next.
Practice makes perfect! Learning to embed supports and
strategies in a variety of everyday activities across these 8 categories will promote learning and generalization for both you
and your child. However, moving from simply having opportunities to promoting active engagement for a toddler with
communication delays can be challenging. It may require
careful planning and support by you and your early intervention provider. Families may need help to expand meaningful
activities with new ideas or to add new types of routines and
activities that will build your child’s inventory of experiences.
Variety is the spice of life! As you gain confidence and
your child makes gains, you are encouraged to create “hybrid” categories by mixing elements, such as playing with
toys in the bathtub, looking at a photo album during snack,
or playing a social game during diaper changing.
All the world’s a stage! The home provides a safe context for
you to become comfortable and confident using intervention
supports and strategies that you are learning. But don’t forget
that learning opportunities extend beyond the walls of home.
These 8 activity categories can be extended to places in
the community. Families go to the grocery store, the post
office, the doctor, and run all sorts of other errands. Toddlers and their families also spend time at the neighborhood
playground, library, church, or temple. Families visit other
family members and friends, attend school activities for siblings, or go out to dinner. These natural environments in
the community also provide rich and varied opportunities
where learning can occur.
Parents are often surprised to find that some of the most
fruitful opportunities for a child to learn occur in the context
of the activities you are already doing each day. When you
take a close look at how your family spends time, you will
find moments for learning where you least expect it. Most
importantly, by taking advantage of the ordinary events of everyday life, you really do make every moment count for your
child’s learning. Moments add up to minutes and hours that
are critical to impact learning and development for toddlers.
Copyright © 2015 Florida State University. All rights reserved.
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