(Developmentally Appropriate Gift Guide)
Is your child in the TREMENDOUS twos?
They say “terrible twos”, but just think what magical changes are taking place with your child at this age.
Their language and communication are starting to flourish. They begin to build things and socialise with other children as the confidence hits new peaks. They are literally surprising you every day with their smarter, more developed brains and what they have learned the previous day. They may be testy, but they certainly are not terrible.
A two-year-old brain is reaching its all-time peak! Brains are around 80% of their adult size, and the connections being made in their brain are hundreds of thousands, per minute! How much they absorb is heavily on the environment they’re in, and what tools they have to play with!
So – what can we get our two-year-old children during the New Year to maximise this window of learning opportunity? Here’s a few ideas.
Loose parts have been a revelation for us at Little Legend. Loose parts can be any material or object, which has no specific purpose or direction. The child is the direction.
First, with our daughter, we noticed the level of engagement when we brought in loose parts to her play time. Something as simple as a box, buttons, pieces of wood can spark brilliant ideas from your children that you would never have thought of. That’s because when there is no clear purpose, their brain, and imagination, will work hard to create a purpose.
Loose parts may seem dangerous to any mums or dads reading. Small things can quickly go into mouths.
The key to getting the most out of loose parts is supervising your child while they play with them. The benefits are truly worth it. Loose parts support problem solving, confidence building, and cognitive growth amongst countless other benefits.
The beauty of loose parts is, they can be found everywhere – nature provides them. If you want a Little Legend loose parts set, we have gathered a selection of our favourite loose parts to brighten up your household at Christmas.
“Children are effective communicators and through the creative arts, children learn to make meaning and freely express their thoughts, ideas and feelings. Drawing also acts as a powerful way for caregivers to understand how a child is feeling”. (Jola Sung)
A blank piece of paper is a canvas for expressing oneself, even at the age of two. Drawing starts to take more shape during the twos, so let’s get a variety of art supplies and have some paper available, so they can scribble whenever the mood takes them.
During this spell of childhood, we will see more controlled drawing movements as the fine motor skills improve rapidly. Children will start to name their drawings and produce lines, zig-zags and even circles.
Drawing alone, is a great sensory activity for toddlers as they experiment with different colours. A Little Legend, we believe in multi-sensory learning and we created a crayon made from pure beeswax, which has natural therapeutic aromas all from mother nature.
While they draw and admire their colourful art, they can smell each crayon and identify the relevant colours they are associated with.
Books, beautiful books. Our source of knowledge and inspiration. At the age of two, bedtime stories start getting really fun for parent and child.
That’s because our children start understanding emotions at this age, and fundamental concepts. They begin to appreciate characters and how they look, and crucially, how they feel.
The level of engagement is very high and everything you teach them during story time is being absorbed by their brain faster than we even realize.
Lots of beautiful diagrams which clearly convey the story is important, and we are the narrator! We are the educator. We can start to explain why things happen at this age as the concepts slowly start to sink in. For example: “Look at the giraffe. Why is the giraffe sad? He’s sad because he’s COLD” and so on.
At Little Legend, we love stories by Julia Donaldson, and also books about nature. A good nature book can help us describe the real beauty of life around us and how it all works! We would recommend the following books about nature/the environment.
- “Slow Down” by Rachel Williams
- “Lots” by Marc Martin
- “The Lost Words” Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
Block play is magical in so many ways, and somewhere into the early twos, children start to really enjoy building epic structures!
Block play is an open-ended activity, which allows a child to express themselves through building. It’s a creative task which will fully engage them until they are satisfied, or their structure has collapsed too many times!
Children tend to thrive when they are following their imagination, and won’t need to look at a picture or follow a plan. In open-ended play, the whole point is that they are the directors, they are the creators. That is why a set of wooden blocks, ideally of different shapes and sizes, is so ideal for their development.
Block play requires fine and gross motor skills, and problem-solving skills. They will improve their mathematics, science, and self-esteem as they complete their monumental buildings – it will leave them feeling good. Mission accomplished.
Playdough is an absolute MUST BUY for two-year-old children.
Good quality dough, which is natural and free from chemicals, will be the best thing you ever bought your child. Why is playdough so good?
At Little Legend, it was always a winner for our daughter since the age of 1.5 years old, but when we did our first Sensory Playdough Workshop at Little Treehouse Nursery, we recently saw that ALL CHILDREN LOVE IT, and so do their parents. It’s a universal activity.
The reason is simple. Children at this stage learn through their senses. The feel, smell and sight of playdough is a beautiful experience, not to mention what they can create with it. Again, it’s an open ended activity, which brings out the best in our children and forces their brains to work in overdrive.
The possibilities, and the benefits of dough for their development is endless, but we must stress – get organic playdough to ensure that if something goes in their mouth (which it will at least once) it’s not harmful.
Little Legend provides organic, homemade playdough which is naturally scented and free from chemicals. We don’t just provide the playdough, we design nature-inspired playsets, which combine dough with loose parts to create magical playdough sessions, time after time, day after day.