Kids are eager to figure out how things work. They’re like little scientists, constantly doing experiments, like throwing a ball on the ground to see if it will bounce, and then throwing a doll on the ground to see what it will do. They also learn to use objects as tools – like using a stick or standing on a stool to get an out-of-reach toy. And their growing memory helps them learn too, like when they imitate what they see others do, even hours or days later.
Here are a few ways you can encourage your kids’ growing thinking skills.
Give them choices
Hold up two different pairs of pajamas and say: “Do you want the rocket ship or the dragon pajamas tonight?” Ask them to pick out which story they want to hear from a selection of a few books you have chosen.
Add a twist
If they love pushing buttons over and over again, find other things they can push to make something happen, like the button on a flashlight.
Categorize everyday moments
Have them help with the laundry and put all socks in one pile and shirts in another. Go for a nature walk and collect leaves, pine cones, and rocks in a bag. Then sort them when you get home.
Let them be involved
For example, setting the table together is a matching activity since each family member gets a fork, spoon, napkin, and placemat (save the knives for a grown-up). Help them put each item on the table. Be sure to thank them and tell them what a big help they are!
Follow their lead
Let your kids do things over and over again. They will let you know when they are bored and need a new challenge!
Adapted from ZERO TO THREE