November 29, 2015

Playing with seeds

The other day, I was showing A a small tray, asked her to see how small it was and was talking quite a bit on it. Hearing the word tray, she quickly ran to the place where she wanted something. She was trying to explain me, pointed to a large tray and was asking for it. I then realised that, it was an activity done around 3 months back where I told her it was a tray. She quickly asked for all the materials used for that activity, insisted I sit along with her, and she started playing with it - the same way as told earlier.

She was much younger(didn't have ability to speak) than her present day when she first did that activity. She recalled and got busy for some time. The point I wish to convey from this experience is that, what goes into a child's brain, stays there. What you talk, what you show, what you do, what the child is exposed to since her early childhood just stays within. Be it positive or negative, it stays in the mind and is realised at an appropriate time. Now, what the parents wish their child must be exposed to is very important.

This is the same activity mentioned in #5 here. Just that, A is little grown up, she can speak, she asked me to get the tray, two bowls, spoon for her, played few rounds, asked me to play few rounds when she clapped for me. And, it was a nice time.

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November 11, 2015


We have a play tent at home, one part of which is a small tunnel. A likes going into it and does it quite often.

So, I explained to her it was a tunnel and that it is cylindrical in shape with two sides open.

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Toddler Playtime - The Physics way

In similar lines to Maths, Physics talks about comparison in position, speed.

Anything that is taught at school need not be learned as another subject, but, can be incorporated as a way of life. Mainly, for kids, playing is learning, living is learning.

Hence, we can show simple physics using stuff lying around the house.

Let us analyse the relative concepts in physics:
  1. Right - Left
  2. Up - Down
  3. Under - Over
  4. Front - Back
  5. Hot - Cold
  6. Tight - Loose
  7. Near - Far
  8. Inside - Outside
  9. Wet - Dry
  10. Moving - Halted
  11. Attract - Repel
  12. Light - Dark
  13. Concept of shadow
  14. Carrom game
  15. Aim it throw it
  16. Sound Shakers
  17. Electric Socket  
  18. Too much wind - Not much wind
  19. Sun - Shade
  20. Pumping air in Balloon
  21. Reflection in window pane
  22. See through porous  film
  23. Concept of Gravity
  24. Concept of sound 
  25. Mixer
  26. Pressure cooker
  27. Floating
  28. Rainbow colours
  29. Wheel
  30. Rolling
  31. Screw - Unscrew
  32. Inclined tunnel
  33. Tunnel
  34. Bouncing
  35. Clouds and Rain
  36. Seasons
  37. Ice - Steam
  38. Pushing
  39. Pulling
  40. Fanning
  41. Hard - Soft

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Concept of Right - Left

Well, right and left are very commonly used words. You could show:

  1. Right and left hands
  2. Right and left legs when putting on your child's shoes.
  3. The direction in which your car is turning while driving.
  4. Ask her to name an object that is on her right/left side.

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Concept of Up - Down

You can show the relative concept if up - down in the following ways:

  1. Point up and down with your hand and show which direction is up and down.
  2. A also throws an easy-to-throw object up and says up - down as it falls down. 
  3. You could show the elevator buttons for up and down directions.

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Toddler Playtime - The Maths way

What is maths? What does it talk about? How can a toddler understand Maths?

Well, simply speaking, maths talks about comparison in sizes.

Recognising the number patterns and orally identifying them is one of the steps to learn maths, not necessarily the first one.

Let us analyse the relative concepts:

  1. Big - Small
  2. Tall - Short
  3. Heavy - Light
  4. Full - Empty
  5. More - Less - Equal
  6. Identifying Shapes
  7. Counting
  8. Number puzzle
  9. Time
  10. Days and Months
  11. Sorting
  12. Addition with seeds, balls, blocks

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Concept of Full - Empty

You could explain the concept of full - empty to a toddler by following ways:

  1. Show the child any water bottle that is filled and another that is empty.
  2. Also, ask her to notice that the full bottle is heavier than the empty one.
  3. Ask the toddler to transfer contents(like dal ) from one glass to another, once she transfers to the second glass, tell her that the first one has become empty
  4. You could also refer to this activity to demonstrate an empty glass.

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A loves playing with dal or seeds.

I offered her dal, two glasses and showed her how she could transfer the dal from one glass to another.

As she was doing it, I showed her the glass from which she just poured and told that it is an empty glass. And she went on, pouring dal from one glass to another, yelling empty after every turn. 

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Well, sorting is basically forming sets. Sorting can be done in various categories - by shape, size, colour, etc.

You could use coloured blocks, mixed seeds to create a play for sorting.

This activity here could be of some help.

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Number Puzzle

Number puzzle helps in learning pattern recognition. Do not only concentrate on identifying the numbers, but also, trace your child's finger around each of the numbers so that she can feel the pattern.

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Days and Months

Try explaining to your toddler that there are seven days a week and 12 months a year. Sooner or later, she will surely understand.

Show her the clock and tell her it is where we look at to know what time of the day it is.

Show her the calendar and tell her it lists all months and days of a year.

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Concept of Time

Keep talking to your toddler about time in the following ways:

  1. Tell her what time of the day it is - Morning, afternoon, night. 
  2. You could recall all that she has done in the day at her bed time. 
  3. You could also recall what happened the previous day to explain what yesterday is. 
  4. Also, tell her that you will be going somewhere the next day that is called as tomorrow. 

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Drawing various shapes interests children. You could also draw the shapes in various sizes to show big and small sizes.

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Concept of More - Less - Equal

You could use building blocks, rajma seeds or even stones to depict concept of more - less - equal.

Firstly, Make two piles of more and less number of seeds. If the child is fluent in counting, you could ask her to count each of the piles and explain her what more and less are.

Now, make another two piles that contain equal number of seeds and explain to your child that they are both equal.

(Image Source: google)

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Concept of Heavy - Light

You could explain the concept of heavy - light to your toddler by the following ways:

  1. Ask her to lift some easy-to-handle heavy and light things so that she can feel the difference between the two.
  2. Explain your child that something is heavy because it is filled up to the brim - say, a rice can is heavy because it is completely filled with rice. 

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Concept of Hard - Soft

Well, A is very fond of playing with Rajma seeds, and she tries to bite on the seed as well.

I explained that the seed was very hard, cannot bite it, it needs to be cooked to soften, and in no time, she deliberately started showing me how she tries to bite and she explains the reason to me.
No wonder, kids are quick learners. She says 'It is a seed, hard, cooker' meaning, it needs to be cooked in cooker to soften it. HAHA!

Now, give your toddler some cotton or soft fabric and explain her to feel how soft it is. Ask the child to press against the hard and soft substance one at a time for her to feel the difference.

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Concept of Fanning

You could use a hand fan or any book or sheet of paper for that matter to fan it at your child and ask him to feel the air.

Try fanning at different places, child's face, palms, arms, neck etc and let them feel the air coming by.

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Concept of Pulling

Well, there are many pull along toys available in market that children are fond of.

When they are pulling along, just tell them it is pulling and explain what it is. As the child is holding the thread and dragging it, the thread in turn drags the toy which it is connected to.

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Concept of Ice - Steam

Ice, steam both are easily available to show at home.

You could show each of them to your toddler and ask her to feel how cold ice is and how warm steam is. By practically feeling the temperature, she can relate to the difference very well.

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Concept of Seasons

Things to talk about seasons:

  1. Show them pictures of every season
  2. Tell them the Ant and Grasshopper story
  3. Mainly speaking, we get too much heat during summer, rain during rainy and chill during winter season. 
  4. You could talk of how the plants drop off their leaves and grow new ones.

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Concept of clouds and rain

Well, to explain the concept of rain to a toddler, you obviously cannot go by the scientific definition, but need to create a story out of the element - cloud. 

This is how I go, There is sky above the ground, blue in colour and there are lots and lots of clouds in the sky. All these clouds have some water(moisture in essence) and there comes a point where the clouds feel the water in them is very heavy to carry. They say, 'Oh! it's heavy', 'Oh! it's heavy' and drop all the water down that pours as rain. Here the rhyme goes, 'Rain rain go away'.

I really carry the essence of this story in my facial expression and my toddler is all ears when listening to me. I also, talk about the umbrella saying, we need to hold it on top us to avoid getting wet. And, she screams ' U for Umbrella'.

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Concept of Bouncing

Well, this is again one of A's favourites. She drops a ball on floor and says bouncy, bouncy, bouncy as the ball goes bouncing on the floor.

You could also show the same bounce happening when a ball is hit on wall.

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Show your toddler what a wheel is, how it goes round and round when the vehicle is moving. You could use any vehicle toy for that sake as well.

You can also tell him, a wheel is something common with all kinds of vehicles. Point to the wheel of each vehicle on vehicles chart. 

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Colours in Rainbow

Show your child what the seven colours in a rainbow are and when can a rainbow be seen.

V - Violet
I - Indigo
B - Blue
G - Green
Y - Yellow
O - Orange
R - Red

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Pressure Cooker

This may be an early concept to completely understand, but, for the basic part for toddlers, it is never too early, never too late.

Just keep talking, keep explaining and observe how keen your child is when listening and learning stuff.

The main concept of pressure cooker is to create and sustain pressure for boiling, The heat generated within pressure cooker along with great pressure gets the cooking done efficiently.
And then, it has something called as whistle, that expels excess pressure.

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Concept of Mixer

The main point in working of mixer is: it is not necessarily the sharpness of blade that cuts, but, it is the sharpness combined with the speed of rotation that cuts something that is put in the mixer jar.

Well, I keep saying - 'It is not about the sharpness but about the speed', whenever the mixer is turned on and A comes running to observe it.

As your child keeps growing, you could get better in explaining the complete concept. 

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Concept of Sound

May not be the precise scientific definition, but, you could explain to your toddler about sound by saying, any two objects that collide create sound. 

Now for the variations: Falling objects create sound, shaking seeds in a box creates sound, hitting something creates sound. 

The child can be offered plastic and steel spoons, bowls etc. to try experimenting various sounds. 

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Concept of Gravity

Well, there are simple acts that demonstrate the gravitational force. 

Ask you toddler to hold a toy, take it to shoulder level and release it, do not throw it, and it falls down. You may have to repeat couple of times for the child to get in sync with the activity. Be sure, to enact and talk in appropriate voice to hold the child's attention. 

You could ask the child to repeat doing it with various toys. Be careful in how you teach your child. Make sure he doesn't start dropping all easy-to-break things around. You can always teach appropriate ways of playing. Do not give up and yell if your child doesn't heed your word. 

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See through porous film

Well, we have a circular net film at home and A enjoys looking through it.

(Image Source: google)

Also, net bags are easily available in hypermarket stores that you could show your toddler and ask him to see through them . You can also make funny faces from the other end and watch them laugh.

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Reflection on window pane

There is a dark window pane in A's outdoor play area where she stands for a while and looks into it. She says, that is A, she lifts her hand, she laughs, she moves and notices the reflection.

Add to her learning, by talking about reflection, the window pane, opaque, translucent, transparent etc. It may not help right away, but, it surely helps. Whatever you speak, kids retain in their memory. 

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Filling a Balloon

Filling air in balloon is an interesting activity. The child may ask you to do it repeatedly by which we get tired, but, what's more than their fun and learning?

You could explain the toddler that there is air in the balloon, we cannot see air, we can only feel the air. I use a manual balloon pump to fill in the balloon and A observes the balloon as it expands with air.

Then, I also point the balloon pump to her palm so she can feel the air, she wriggles at it and asks for it again. 

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Concept of Sun - Shade

The concept of sun and shade is synonymous to the concept of light and dark.

You could show your toddler sunny weather, tell him the floor gets hot due to that and he could also be allowed to feel the heat. On the contrary, show him some shade and ask him to feel the warmth in shade.

You could even tell him that the shade that exists is actually the shadow of something big around. Though it may take time to understand the complete concept, toddlers will sure pay an attention to what you say. 

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Concept of Windy - not much wind

Some evenings, we observe there is too much wind blowing and some days there's no much wind. Show the same to your toddler. She is sure going to enjoy the wind as well as learn the difference.

Well, during A's outdoor play time, if it is windy I tell her that it is windy, there's too much air blowing and she could feel it. Always remember to talk to a child in a cheerful and attractive tone with proper voice modulation and expression. She is sure to have fun. 

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Electric Socket

I often find A enquiring on everything she notices on her way. The basic funda of learning for kids is, their questions must be encouraged. Their thinking must be encouraged. However busy you are, never ignore their question.

One evening, she happened to ask me what something is on a wall (it was a closed electric socket) and I told her it was an electric socket to which you can plug something in.

I showed her the plug, switches, charger, router etc and told her that there was electricity in the socket,  passes through the wire and it was needed to charge something, to turn on the TV, turn on the mixer, grinder etc. She was very keen in listening to all that I spoke and later, even now, she keeps talking about them too.

She points at the router and says, internet, electricity, shock. Well, I also told her that if she touched the electric sockets, there is a possibility of shock. I am sure she didn't understand what shock is, but, given the way I talk to her, with voice modulations and actions, I am also sure she understands something even if it is not precisely the concept. It is just a matter of age and children will gradually understand all that we tell them. Only point is, you have to be patient, consistent and encouraging. 

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Concept of Attract - Repel

Well, the best way to show the concept of attract - repel is by using magnets. A, already plays in quite few ways with magnets and she says they stick to each other.

You can find her play with magnets here.

A also plays with the magnetic alphabets that could stick on the fridge, also available for sale online.

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Concept of Light - Dark

It is a very fundamental concept that we are able to see something only when light rays fall on it. Try to show what dark and light is to you toddler using following ways:

  1. Flash a torch light on her palm and show her how the beam of light falls on her palm
  2. Switch off lights in a room to show what dark is
  3. Show her the surroundings at night to know that it gets dark in the night

  4. Show her how morning looks like - bright and sunny
  5. Show her shadow and try explaining her that there is shadow only when there is some light. This play activity could help.

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November 10, 2015

Concept of Move - Stop

This is an interesting learning as well as play for toddlers. Read more:

  1. I show A how the fans moves with my hand and then slows down and comes to a stop when it is turned off. Make sure to use good amount of hand movements and various voice modulations according to the speed of your hand movement.
  2. I enact the same way when talking about the washing machine
  3. I turn any object that has a circular base round and ask her to watch it as it comes to a halt.
  4. And then, show the same with my hand turning round fast, slow down and coming to a stop.
  5. You could roll a ball and show the child how it comes to a halt in some distance.

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Concept of Wet - Dry

Following are some ways to teach concept of wet - dry to a toddler:

  1. You could give the child a wet cloth and ask her to feel it
  2. Likewise, give her a dry cloth and ask her to feel the difference
  3. Show her how wet clothes are dried under the sun
  4. You could also pour few drops of water on her shirt and tell her the short has now become wet and it needs to be changed
  5. You could also show some spilled over water on floor and tell her that the floor is wet and one needs to walk carefully
  6. Also, wipe the wet floor with dry cloth and show her how it absorbs the water

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