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Activities to Support Healthy Brain Development

For 2 and 3 Year Olds

  • Give your child props to play with in the tub, including slotted spoons, colanders, scoops, and squeeze bottles. Allow child to play with items while you talk about what each one does.
  • Play the itsy bitsy spider or other finger games.  Encourage your child to do the movements with you and to make up some new movements.
  • Using play dough, allow  your child to press cookie cutter shapes into the dough. Show him how to twist his wrist to release the dough. After several shapes are removed, have your child try to put the shapes back into the outlines.
  • Blow bubbles outside and encourage your child to chase the bubbles. Move around so she needs to stretch, jump and reach to get the bubbles.
  • Hide a small object in the room, and talk about all of the places it could be. Use preposition words like over, under, on, in, etc. to describe the places where the object might be while you help to find it.
  • Stop by local businesses and collect items with the business’ logo on it.  Show your child one logo at a time as ask if they know where the logo comes from. Try to “read” each logo together.
  • Sit with your child and help to stack blocks. Encourage the child to stack with you. Add different types of blocks for a variety of surfaces.
  • Take a clear plastic jar with a lid and fill it with small objects, such as pasta from alphabet soup. Fill the remainder of the jar with black beans, and seal the top. Shake the jar and encourage child to find each letter or object through the side of the jar.
  • Assign a different musical selection to different parts of the day to establish routine. The repetition of it will help your child make connections to what activity is coming next.
  • Offer snacks which can be counted during snack time. As you give each item, count it with your toddler, and encourage them to do the same.
  • Sit feet-to-feet with legs apart your toddler. Push balls of different sizes back and forth, and the increase the distance between you. Discuss how you are sharing the ball.
  • Fill a plastic bucket with damp sand. Invite your child to explore the sand with her fingers. Show her how to draw circles and shapes with her fingers, and how to make the writing disappear with a swipe of her hand.
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