Try these easy activities that focus on more than one developmental area at a time, as recommended by Anel Annandale, Mysmartkid’s educational psychologist.
- Play Dough Is An Educational Superstar!
It helps strengthen hand muscles, and allows your child to explore their creativity and imagination. By mixing play dough of different colours together, your child is learning colour theory; moulding the play dough helps them to explore different shapes. Better still, it’s super-easy to make. Find a recipe (see www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Playdough-Play-doh) and let your child help you make a batch of play dough: this helps them learn about concepts such as measurement, heat and malleability.
A great way to strengthen your child’s visual analysis and synthesis skills, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and concentration.
- Play I-spy
Probably the easiest game of all, I-Spy requires absolutely no setup or equipment. Say, for instance, ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with b’ (remember to use the phonetic sound: for example ‘buh’) and have your child guess the object. You can play it in the car or while doing your shopping: this will help add to your child’s ever-increasing vocabulary while helping them hone their auditory perceptual skills.
- Bath-time Fun
Add a sprig of rosemary, mint or lavender to your child’s bath water to help them hone their sense of smell, or a couple of drops of food colouring for learning colour theory. (To be safe, avoid aromatherapy oils, as only certain types in certain dilutions are safe for children). Add plastic (needle-free!) syringes to help strengthen hand muscles. Teach your child to blow soap bubbles to help strengthen those fine muscles in the hands and around the mouth.
- Build An Obstacle Course
Use whatever you have at hand. Your little one will love crawling, jumping, sliding, hopping, balancing and squirming their way through the obstacle course, all the time strengthening their big muscles (gross motor) and getting loads of sensory and proprioceptive (where receptors, for example blood vessels and muscles, supply information about the state of the body) input.