Parents had a rough 2020. The national lockdown left moms and dads without the support of childcare or play schools, leaving parents to find ways to keep their toddlers stimulated and learning. Now with the adjusted alert level 3 lockdown extended until 15 February (for now), leading to extended school holidays for public schools, we’ve been on the look-out for great ideas to keep our children stimulated and engaged. Now when it comes to toddlers, we need them to also have some fun, especially when it comes to our busy bees.   

Early Childhood Development innovator, Meg Faure, who is a best-selling author and co-founder of Play Sense, reminds us parents that play is the intense work that toddlers do.  “It’s through their daily play that they are moving forward to tick those developmental milestones such as the gross and fine motor skills, and attaining language, while also making progress in developing vital ‘super sensory’ capacities such as creativity and imagination, problem-solving, emotional intelligence and collaboration, amongst others,” she says. 

Activities and games that ignite these ‘super senses’ are deeply absorbing for 2 to 4-year olds, and Meg recommends four fun, money-free ways that parents can keep their little ones not just occupied over the holidays, but actively developing and learning in the best ways:

  1. Get outdoors into nature – the summer holiday is the ideal time for being outdoors and physically active every day.  Playing in gardens, in mountains and forests, at your child’s comfortable pace, allows plenty of stimulating time to stop, look, discover and explore.
  2. Build and construct activities – from playing with blocks to putting up tents and creating forts, these sorts of projects engage little ones in solving problems and collaborating in a team or partnership.
  3. Make believe games – a box of pretend play items such as feeding bottles, spoons and sippy cups, as well as clothing items such as hats and socks or old handbags, phones and glasses can be a treasure trove that enables your child to test out their understanding of roles, interactions and life through play.

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