Toddlerhood is all about exploration! When children are young and still new to the world, everything is an adventure. Farmers’ markets with colorful fruits, restaurants with new smells and tastes—even your own backyard is full of things for toddlers to learn and explore.
One of the best ways to encourage this exploration of the world is by taking your toddler on walks to new places. In Little Walks, Big Adventures, Erin Buhr provides 52 fun ideas for walks with your child—one for every week of the year. Each new place has fun activities you can do with your child to help them learn. Below are a couple simple places to which you and your child can walk together.
The easiest place to explore by foot is your neighborhood. Though familiar, your neighborhood is full of interesting things that can grab a child’s attention. While walking with your toddler, she might find fallen leaves to pick up and examine, or see a butterfly land on a tree for the first time. Pay attention to what your child notices and talk to her about it.
Try making a book about what you see while on your walk! You and your child can extend the learning experience from the walk to your home, and later review all the exciting things he found during your exploration. You can add to it every time you walk around the neighborhood.
What to Do:
- Take photos of your walk—especially the parts that interest your toddler
- Print the photos
- Make a book by gluing the photos t index cards or card stock
- Label each page using a marker
- For durability, cover each page with clear contact paper
- Use a hole punch and rings or yarn to bind the pages of the book
Grocery Store Walk
Even adults can get excited about the grocery store. Imagine how much more exciting it is for a toddler. Grocery stores offer children a great opportunity to learn about food, counting, money, colors, the senses—almost anything! Plan a special trip to the store where your child helps you pick out ingredients for a treat you can cook together.
The produce section is one of the best places to engage your toddler. The fruits are always brightly colored and are unpackaged so that you can touch them. Fruit are also very useful in teaching how to count.
What to Do:
- Encourage your toddler to help you count a certain number of berries while you make a fruit salad. Counting is an early math skill that engages toddlers’ cognition
- Count out one apple for each person at lunch or two crackers at snack time