You will be amazed by the pace of your child’s cognitive growth during the first two years of her life. She is curious and motivated to explore and discover the world around her in order to understand, make meaning and “come to know” the people, objects and her environment.
Your child does this by actively using her five senses – sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing -- to interact or play with concrete materials and objects in her environment and engage with adults and other children. Through her senses, she gathers information to problem solve and form concepts about objects, colours, shapes, develops her self identity and relationships with others.
For example, when she shakes a rattle, a sound is produced. As she experiments by shaking other objects, she learns that not all objects produce a sound. Though it is not visible to the eye, your child experiences a shift in her understanding. She realises that it is by banging the object with another, another kind of sound is produced. She is a scientist in action, processing and making sense of the world around her.
You can further enrich her understanding by talking to her about it and providing her with variety of materials and experiences. Include visits to the parks, to the Singapore Science Centre, and walks around the neighbourhood.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
Sing number songs or rhymes. Popular titles like ‘One, Two, Buckle my Shoe’ and ‘Five Little Monkeys’ can be used to introduce your child to the world of numbers. Songs and rhymes are a fun way to help your child acquainted with music, rhyme, language and numbers. Make it fun and enjoyable so your child not only remembers longer, but becomes more eager to learn.
Sort the laundry. When you are done with the laundry, sort out the clothing items together with your child, the shorts in one pile and T-shirts in another. As you involve your child with simple chores like these, your child is getting acquainted with the processes of daily life. This enables your child to learn about the world around her and understand how things work.
Go on a treasure hunt with your child. Pick up differently-shaped leaves, pebbles, shells, twigs and other “treasures. Sort these out. Talk about the groupings, their differences and similarities. Examine their colours, textures and shapes. Once you are done, stick them up on a board with strong glue. This becomes a texture board for your child. Your child will enjoy the sensory play of exploring different textures.
I can remember. Your child’s memory skills can be enhanced through games. Let your child look at three to four pictures. Place them face down in the same position for your child to guess the picture.
Match! Provide your child with shapes such as squares, circles and triangles. Cut these out from a cardboard and have her match similar shapes.
Play puzzles. Provide your child with simple four-piece puzzles or puzzles with knobs to solve.
Ask questions. When sharing a book or looking at a picture with your child, begin your question with “I wonder why...”, “why do you think” or “what happens if”.
Peek-a-boo. Hide objects under a cloth and wait for your child to find them.
Explore and experiment. Make dough with your child. Talk about the texture, colour and taste, if applicable. It is all right even if your child says only a single word.
Shapes galore! Have your child name the shapes of objects and things in the house. Set up a corner or a table of objects and things of similar shapes for her to compare and contrast.