by Ron Mohl | Lakeshore Lead Educational Presenter
Toddlers make new discoveries everywhere—especially in their own learning environments! When you create a nurturing space filled with excitement and wonder, you can help toddlers develop social-emotional, language, motor and cognitive skills. Follow these four tips to create an engaging learning environment that sets toddlers up for success through play.Read More →
Tip 1: Encourage choices to foster independence.
Furniture can be especially helpful to toddlers’ physical development. Toddlers might try standing and walking at any moment. Support their curiosity and independence by filling your environment with super-sturdy units with rails, like our First Steps® Double-Duty Storage Center. Toddlers can use the furniture to pull themselves up and maintain balance during their first steps.
Keep your space stocked with safe materials toddlers can easily grab and use. For example, our Soft Seats make it easy for little ones to choose where they want to sit in a play area.
Tip 2: Help toddlers soothe themselves.
The ability to self-soothe is important to the social-emotional development of toddlers. Make sure your environment includes areas where toddlers can get some privacy while remaining in view, like our Toddler Treehouse Hideaway. Areas like this help toddlers soothe themselves until they’re ready to play with others.
Tip 3: Facilitate sensory learning.
Sensory exploration helps toddlers engage with their environment and connect to learning. Look for sensory materials that make sounds, look stimulating and feel interesting and inviting. Here are some examples:
- Our Washable Sensory Pillow has a soft, touchable surface and petals that rattle, squeak and crinkle.
- Our Toddler Two-Station Sand & Water Table provides plenty of tactile learning and creative play. Encourage toddlers to sculpt sand castles to boost persistence.
- Our Play & Explore Color-Changing Light Center will motivate exploration of colors and color blends.
Tip 4: Be a play partner!
Increase the value of play by getting involved! Join children on the floor and describe actions and objects to help build vocabulary. You can even make the experience more comfortable with our Backpatter’s Seat.
As toddlers play, ask open-ended questions. If they’re using our Community Play Carpet, you might ask:
- Where in town can we park our cars?
- Where in town do you want to work?
Allow for conversations that have back-and-forth exchanges. Even if you get a simple coo or goo in response to a question, show respect by following up with a reply.
Perfect your learning environment! Check out our new catalog to find developmentally appropriate materials for infants and toddlers.