Did you know that playing with a favourite toy, reading a book or scribbling in a magazine is central to all your child’s development and learning? By the age of 2, your toddler will start to use her imagination, creating worlds with her toys, books and magazines – and she will love you joining in
1 To the drawing board
Your toddler’s scribbles may not look like a Monet or Matisse. But her mini-masterpieces are helping her to build the confidence, strength and coordination to start writing. Let your child grasp the crayon however she likes and roam free with it on paper. Why not try drawing around your hand and adding a face to it, then ask your child to draw her own. You’re bound to end up with a jumble of unrecognisable lines, but there will be lots of giggles, too.
More scribbles! Print this colouring-in poster from In the Night Garden magazine
2 Build a story
The words in your little one’s favourite book may be incomprehensible to her but you can involve her in telling stories to build confidence for reading later. The best books for your toddler have big pictures and repetitive sounds and phrases that let her join in. Try sitting back this weekend and asking your child to tell you a story by looking at the pictures. It’s likely she’ll find a whole new amusing take on her favourite book.
More storytelling! Print this bedtime story from In the Night Garden magazine
3 Teddy’s starring role
Your toddler’s toys are special. After all, she’s cuddled - and probably chewed - her favourite for as long as she can remember. Your child will love using her imagination to tell you about her teddies, so try acting out a story with them. Let your child lead by asking her questions like, How is teddy feeling? And where does he want to go? Creating funny voices for teddy will be sure to make you both laugh.
More role-play! Look after Makka Pakka from In the Night Garden magazine
4 Colour hunt
If the weather is trapping you indoors, you’re bound to have a restless toddler on your hands. Relieve pent up energy by creating a colour hunt around your favourite things. If your child loves Igglepiggle, see how many blue things she can find in a particular room. You might want to look for things that are chocolate brown! Your toddler may also love hoarding and collecting at this age, so turn this into a rainy day project by creating a special colour collection for your child to keep.
More colours! Use this downloadable picture of Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy from In the Night Garden magazine
5 Make a personalised jigsaw
It’s easy to create a jigsaw puzzle for your toddler. And it’ll prompt her to use skills that will later help her to read and write. Try drawing pictures and tearing them in half for your child to put back together. You could draw your family, your house or a pet. If you’re not a great artist, you can tear pictures from magazines instead, stick them on some card or thick paper, and cut them into parts.
More matching! Print this picture of the Tombliboos to create a jigsaw from In the Night Garden magazine