For Children From Age 2 To 3

What should you expect of children from 2 to 3 years old?

Children this age are...
● Becoming more aware of others and their own feelings.
● Often stubborn and may have temper tantrums.
● Developing a great interest in other children and enjoy being near them (although they are usually self-centered).
● Able to jump, hop, roll, and climb.
● Developing an interest in pretend play--playing at keeping house, for example, or pretending to cook and care for a baby.
● Expanding their vocabularies (from about 250 to 1,000 words during the year).
● Putting together 2, 3, and 4-word sentences.

What do 2 to 3 year old children need?

Children this age require opportunities to...
● Develop hand coordination (with puzzles or large beads to string or by scribbling, for example).
● Do more things for themselves, such as putting on clothing.
● Sing, talk, and develop their language.
● Play with other children.
● Try out different ways to move their bodies.
● Do things in the community, such as taking walks and visiting libraries, museums, informal restaurants, parks, beaches, and zoos.

Making Music

Music is a way to communicate that all children understand. It's not necessary for them to follow the words to a song. It makes them happy just to hear the comfort in your voice or on the recording or to dance to a peppy tune.

What you'll need are...
● Your voice.
● Music.
● Music makers (rattles, a can filled with beans or buttons, empty toilet paper rolls, pots, pans, plastic bowls).

Here's what to do!
● Sing a lullaby to a cranky infant.
● As children approach their first birthdays, they begin to like making music themselves. Have them try banging a wooden spoon on pots, pans, or plastic bowls; shaking a large rattle or shaking a plastic container filled with beans, buttons, or other noisy items (make sure the container is securely closed); and blowing through empty toilet paper rolls.
● As toddlers pass their first birthdays, they can actively participate in nursery rhymes, even if they can't recite the words. They can imitate hand movements, clap, or hum along.
● As preschoolers become more physically coordinated, encourage them to move to the music. They can twirl, spin, jump up and down, tiptoe, or sway.

Here are some tips for getting young children to sing:
● Sing yourself. Sing fairly slowly so children join in and enjoy themselves. Discourage shouting.
● Start with simple chanting. Pick a simple melody, such as Mary Had A Little Lamb, and sing la, la, la. Add the words later.

Introduce music to your children early. Listening to you sing will help them learn to make their voices go up and down--even if you can't carry a tune!

Music and dance teach preschoolers to listen, to coordinate hand and finger movements, and to express themselves creatively.

Reading To Your Child

The single most important way for children to develop the knowledge they need to succeed in reading is for you to read aloud to them--beginning early.

What you'll need are...
● Good books.
● A children's dictionary (preferably a sturdy one).
● Paper, pencils, crayons, markers.

Here's what to do!

● Read aloud to your child every day. From birth to 6 months your baby probably won't understand what you're reading, but that's okay. You can get her used to the sound of your voice and get her used to seeing and touching books. To start out, use board books with no words or just a few words. Point to the colors and the pictures and say their names. Simple books can teach children things that will later help them learn to read. For example, they learn about the structure of language--that there are spaces between the words and that the print goes from left to right.

● Tell stories. Encourage your child to ask questions and talk about the story. Ask her to predict what will come next. Point to things in books that she can relate to in her own life: Look at the picture of the penguin. Do you remember the penguin we saw at the zoo?

● Look for reading programs. If you aren't a good reader, programs in your community like Even Start can provide opportunities for you to improve your own reading and to read with your child. Friends and relatives can also read to your child, and senior citizen volunteers are available in many communities to do the same.

● Buy a children's dictionary--if possible, one that has pictures next to the words. Then start the let's look it up habit.

● Make writing materials available.
● Watch educational TV. Programs such as Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood help your child learn the alphabet and the sounds they represent.
● Visit the library often. Begin making weekly trips to the library when your child is very young. See that your child gets her own library card as soon as possible. Many libraries issue cards to children as soon as they can print their names (you'll have to countersign for them).
● Read yourself. What you do sets an example for your child.

The ability to read and understand makes for better students and leads to better job opportunities and a lifetime of enjoyment.

Play Dough

Young children love to play with dough. And no wonder! They can squish and pound it and form it into fascinating shapes. To make it at home you will need the following...

2 cups flour.
1 cup salt.
4 teaspoons cream of tartar.
2 cups water.
2 tablespoons cooking oil.
Food coloring.
Food extracts (almond, vanilla, lemon, or peppermint).
1 medium saucepan.
Things to stick in the dough (popsicle sticks, straws ).
Things to pound with (like a toy mallet).
Things to make impressions with (jar lids, cookie cutters, or bottle caps).

And here's what to do!

1. Add the food coloring to the water. Then mix all of the ingredients together in a pan.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it forms a soft ball.
3. Let the mixture cool. Knead slightly. Add food extracts to different chunks of the dough if you want different smells.

Give some to your toddler or preschooler so he can pound it, stick things in it, make impressions in it, and create all kinds of things.

Play dough is a great way to develop hand muscles and be creative. And cooking together, with all the measuring, is the perfect way to begin learning mathematics.

Letting your child handle some dough while it is still slightly warm and some when it has cooled off is a terrific way to teach him about temperatures.

Play dough can be made ahead of time and stored in an air-tight bag or container.

Article Source - U.S. Department of Education.

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