There are plenty of ways in which you can help your toddler to learn that will enable them to develop skills that they will need once they start school and you can put these into practice whether you are their parent or nanny.

It is important to make these activities fun to keep your toddler interested as they can be easily distracted if the teaching method is not very engaging for them however this can make it trickier to focus on the goal of helping them to learn.

Here are some activities which combine fun with learning so that you can both enjoy the time you spend together working on and developing these new skills.

Get labelling

Labelling items around the house is a great way to get your toddler to start understanding letters and the fact that a collection of these symbols form names of the things that they use every day.
The best way to do this is to label items with a consistent label design and use a clear font that your toddler will be able to understand. This means that they will not struggle to see individual letters and absorb how they all look different to each other.

Change the items that you have labelled every few months, so that they are regularly rotated which will give your toddler some new letters and words to focus on. You can also start to test them once they have begun to learn what the different letters are.

You may also label drawers and boxes with the names of the items that go inside them. This is a good way to teach your toddler how to organise things and tidy up, plus you can make it fun by pretending that you have forgotten where things go.

Start a scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are a great way of helping your toddler to learn as you can incorporate a whole variety of techniques into this one fun activity.

During the hunt you can ask your toddler to find several items which they can distinguish by shape, colour or texture so that they start learning about these different qualities. For example, ask them to find something that feels smooth or an item that is square.

Once they have developed counting skills you can also start to include this skill in your scavenger hunt too e.g. finding three toys or locating something that has five buttons.

Outdoor scavenger hunts offer a fantastic way for toddlers to start exploring the world around them, plus it includes some very important exercise too! Outdoor hunts also give the opportunity to teach toddlers about the seasons, as you will only be able to find certain items during particular times of the year.

Encourage creativity

Sometimes the best way to help a toddler to learn is to let them be creative and encourage them to use their imagination.

One way to do this is to set up creative play stations which they can explore. You might like to have an area where they can colour-in or paint, one where they can play music, one with bricks so they can construct different things and one with different role play costumes, so they can play and have fun dressing up like a fire fighter or vet to save the day or a chef ready to make some delicious food.

Get involved in their creativity and suggest things that they could do if they seem to be struggling for inspiration. You can also help them to develop their ideas by giving them some initial guidance to get them started off with.

Giving toddlers the time and space to try new things is vital when helping them to learn as this is when they can discover ideas that they may not have had before. Ensure that you are around to answer any questions that they may have or so that you can carry out tasks that they may not be able to, such as cutting out shapes or putting on costumes.

By carrying out these 3 ways to help your toddler to learn, you can help them to pick up new skills which will improve their development and can help them to grasp a good understanding of different things before they start school.