We are happy to share today our toddler activities routine as part of our toddler daily schedule for the fall & winter season. The print out below includes some examples of each activity category.
Our toddler activities routine is less-structured – Aiden determines on his own the activity he wants to do and when. Nevertheless, for us is important to include activities from each category into our daily routine. How do we achieve that? We make sure, that the toys and materials Aiden plays with, cover those categories.
Like every kid, he has his preferences – he loves to draw and paint for hours. Additionally, he loves to exercise and dance.
Additionally, we try to spend at least an hour outdoors in the wintertime. We go for a walk in the park, at the beach, and to the playground. Only if there are strong winds or really heavy rains, or we are sick, then we need to stay at home.
Why am I a big believer in less-structured activities? For two good reasons.
Firstly, when he chooses the activity by himself, he has his own goal and agenda that he works towards to. He moves, repeats, talks to his toys. Also, he puts toys and items in the order in his own terms. He imitates, builds, counts, repeats letters and words, draws, dances, sings as much as he can. Without a doubt, he is concentrated on his activities. For me is sometimes hilarious to observe him and I want to squish him. However, any involvement from my side would be an interruption and he would react probably well. So I keep quiet and try to work. It is another story if he invites me to play with him or we have invited friends to play with.
Secondly, there is extensive scientific research on less-structured activities. It shows that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning. That leads to benefits in later life. With less-structured activities, a child can learn to manage oneself and his resources better in order to achieve a goal. They can improve self-control, develop creative thinking, and practice to stay focused. Sounds good, right? Another good thing is that EFs are trainable and can be improved with practice.
The only thing that we prepared is a simple, natural environment with enough space and sufficient order. He knows where each of his toys stands. I’ve sorted out his toys according to the activity category and try to keep only the toys he currently plays with. I’ve shared our best 10+ toys for fun and engaging toddler play in a separate post.
Importantly, he can safely move everywhere around the house since the very beginning. Moreover, he can explore the things he is interested in. In addition, he accesses and takes out his toys, other safe items or materials by himself.
Try to buy always toys that offer the possibility for sequential activities, so each activity your child gets engaged in has a beginning, middle and an end.