Free Play in Your Toddler Classroom
With toddlers, play-based learning is highly beneficial. Since their attention span is much shorter than older children, organized lessons can sometimes fall flat, but by taking advantage of organic learning opportunities created through normal play, your students are on the fast track to completing all the learning objectives on your list!
Trucks & Cars
By observing your toddlers as they push around their Matchbox cars and oversized trucks, you'll notice that more is at work than simple play:
- As they push the cars up inclines and over bridges they're discovering gravity.
- They experiment with motion and speed as they 'race' cars around the classroom (and sometimes in to walls!).
- Students tap in to problem solving skills during activity.
- As students work and play together, they learn critical social skills.
- When explaining to you or other students what is happening (e.g. how the car performs on the bridge, what the name of their driver is, etc.) they are refining language skills.
- Gross and fine motor skills are being strengthened as they 'drive' their vehicles up, around, under, and everywhere!
- As they drive their cars, students are exploring the uses of wheels and how they work.
Take inventory of the toys, games, and puzzles around your toddler classroom, then begin organizing them by important learning objectives and concepts. In this way, you can begin to 'highlight' certain play activities to fulfill daily goals!