The Importance of Educational Play

Just recently I was having a conversation with a friend who was asking me what was the best curriculum to use with her two year old.  Now, as a homeschooling mom I get the curriculum question often but not normally in regards to a two year old.  I asked the mom why she felt she needed something for her two year old and she told me that she didn’t want him to be behind his peers since he wasn’t in daycare like her older kids were at that age.

That got me thinking about what I actually do with my two year old in terms of “education” and this is what I told her–at two I do nothing formal (even though I have been accused by others of using flashcards).

At two, there is no such thing as a curriculum, it is all about playing and learning through play.  I encouraged her to think beyond curriculum and think about ways to incorporate learning into their everyday life.

The Importance of Educational Play

Here are some examples of educational play that you can do with your two year olds:

1. Every time we walk up or down the steps we count–she doesn’t know that it is learning, she just thinks it is fun to count the steps.  This is educational though because it is teaching her how to count to ten and beyond.

2.Sing songs throughout the day–my daughter loves to sing songs and truthfully, she has learned lots of things just by singing.  For instance, I rock her at night before bed and we sing songs then. Often its just Twinkle Twinkle or You are my Sunshine but I also try and sing the Alphabet Song with her and because of this she has learned her alphabet.

3. Provide a learning rich environment–simply put, buy toys or items that offer some value in them. Alphabet and number puzzles, dolls with clothes that they can snap on and off, shape sorters, blocks to build with etc. All these items are toys but they offer some learning value when playing with them.

Alphabet Sound Puzzle

4. Read, read and read some more–and when you are reading use your finger to point out all the cool pictures and letters on the page.  Teach your children that the sentences go from left to right, point out the letters  that make up their names, name the colors on the page–all of this increases the learning and the comprehension of the book.

Baby books

5. Provide a variety of creative tools–give your kids some crayons and paper and allow them to color.  Spray some shaving cream in the tub and let them smear it all over the walls, fill the sink with bubbles and let them splash and play.

Inspiration Art Case

Finally, and this is going to sound odd considering I just told you five ways to make learning fun for your two year old but don’t worry about making everything a learning opportunity. Just have fun!  Go outside and kick a ball, curl up on the couch and snuggle and watch an age appropriate show, go for a walk–and remember that even if you don’t use a “curriculum” with your two year old they are going to be just fine.

Disclosure: I was recently named a Partner in Play for Fat Brain Toys and this post was sponsored by them. All opinions are 100% my own.

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