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Today’s Guest Post is by Kristy from Afterschool Homeschool.
Here is a little about Kristy in her own words:
“First and foremost, I am a wife and mother. My husband and I have been married seven years and have two young children. One son is registered to go to public-school kindergarten in the fall and one has not yet entered school. Learning activities are a part of our daily schedule together, while my husband loves to do outings and science experiments with them on the weekends. My background and experience are in school counseling and writing. I have a Master’s degree in Education and an Education Specialist degree.”
The Toddler Dress-Up Game
This activity is a quick and easy way to play with your toddler and emphasize some vocabulary, dramatizing, and math skills at the same time.
- Individual photos of members of your family
- A hat, shirt, and pair of shoes belonging to each member of the family
- A few extra pieces of clothing (extra hats are most fun!)
Place each photo in its own space near the other photos. Coffee tables or couches can be good places for this activity. You will want room to put clothing in front of each photo.
Next, you guessed it: Put the hat, shirt, and pair of shoes belonging to each family member in front of their photo. Put the extra pieces of clothing to one side, but within reach.
Call over your toddler and point to the first photo. Say who it is. Encourage imitation. Put on the hat and narrate what you are doing: “I’m putting on Daddy’s hat!” Do the same with the shirt (“I’m putting on Daddy’s shirt!”) and the shoes. As soon as your toddler grins, you can bring him into the fun. Put the articles of clothing on your child. Each time you say the name of the piece of clothing, you are laying groundwork for better vocabulary.
Older toddlers or very verbal children may be way beyond naming pieces of clothing and family members. If so, encourage the dramatizing aspect. March around in someone else’s shoes and act like that person. Have your toddler do the same.
(I have yet to see the toddler who did not want to climb into Mommy’s or Daddy’s shoes. Let me know if you run into this issue! In fact, one of my sons used to like to put on two of Mommy’s pairs of shoes at the same time. This is the riskiest part of the activity, so of course closely monitor the Great Shoe Stomp.)
Finally, use the extra pieces of clothing. Do something along these lines: Say, “I am putting on two hats!” Put two hats on your head, one at a time, counting them as you do. Say, “I am putting on one more hat!” Count “one” as you put it on your head, then count the growing stack, “One, two, three!”
If your toddler is agreeable to it, place extra clothing on her, always counting. Don’t feel silly counting every little thing you can think of. This month’s issue of Parenting: The Early Years talks up number-talk: Researcher Susan Levine, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Chicago, found that “when toddlers heard numbers regularly, they were better able to understand simple math concepts by preschool” than other children who did not hear as much number-talk.
The last step: Be silly! Have fun! Before you know it, your child will be sporting facial hair and will roll his eyes at everything you say. Make the most of toddler giggles while you can.