Your 2-Year-Old

Approaches to Play and Learning

Your toddler’s job is to play, and he takes that job very seriously! And although he still enjoys playing alone, he’s also ready to start playing with others. And that includes many people — his friends, his classmates and you. He might organize a toy car race or help build a castle with blocks. Try not to interrupt when he’s concentrating on a task. He’s focusing on finishing what he started! His imagination is growing each day. Thankfully, his attentiveness is keeping pace. Watch as he works hard to master new tasks…or asks for help when he needs it. That’s a (playful) job well done!

A new, easy to use online application for child care assistance and state funded pre-k: Early Ed Connect

“I Do It!”

It’s the toddler’s battle cry: “I do it!” She’s ready to try things on her own, and it’s time to let her! When she wants to buckle herself into her car seat, patiently wait and lovingly give tips if she asks. This growing independence means she’s showing you her initiative. That’s a healthy place for her to be! She’s asking lots of questions now. As her go-to resource, you’re the one who can provide her with all (or maybe just most) the answers.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Are the children engaged in activities that they pick? The classroom setting should be a place of self-guided exploration and discovery. Teachers can — and should — provide guidance and supervision, but they should not be overly controlling.

My Imagination Makes Playtime Fun!

Have you ever hosted a tea party with your toddler even without all the “right” supplies? That’s okay! In your toddler’s mind, a stick becomes a spoon and a blanket is a tablecloth. That’s the beauty of his growing imagination and the gift of his flexible thinking. So, as you serve tea to GI Joe in an empty stacking cup, know that your tea party is as perfect as your toddler needs it to be!

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Do you hear lots of questions from teachers? Great teachers expand and extend play with provocative questions that ignite little minds. Listen for open-ended questions about what children are doing now — and what comes next.

I Can Finish What I Started.

The dog may lick her face and the TV might blare in the background, but your toddler is learning how to focus her attention on the task at hand. She’s determined to master her activity. That might be stacking blocks or eating peas. And as you likely know all too well, nothing can get in the way! Well, almost nothing. Except maybe that beautiful dandelion or that shiny car or… The good news is that her attention span is growing, and she’s learning how to finish what she began.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Notice whether children move quickly from activity to activity, or whether they’re encouraged to finish what they’ve started. It’s important for teachers to help nurture persistence and perseverance in the classroom. They should nurture the skills that build interest in completing activity. Encouraging little ones to keep trying is one great example of that.

Play with Me!

It’s time to introduce your toddler to some new social situations. He’s ready to play with his peers – at least for short periods of time. Watch as he gets caught up in imaginative and friendly play with his friends! Will they pretend to cook a meal? Build something with blocks? His imagination is unlimited, and his social skills are expanding!

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Is there genuine care, concern and respect between the teachers and the children? If you witness harsh tones or overhear shaming language, there’s a better place for your toddler. Children learn from adults how to work together — and developing that skill requires great role models.

All children learn and grow at their own pace and in their own way. For more information about the skills and milestones for your child's age check out our developmental milestones resource page. If you continue to have concerns or questions please give us a call at 1-800-299-1627.