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Science

“Cat. Dog. Cow.” Your toddler can talk about her favorite animals by name.

Circle 1

She’s also aware of trees, flowers, sun and rain. Every day, she learns something new about her physical world. To boost that growth, she’s also eager to explore the things she has yet to discover!

Your 1-Year-Old

Watch as her natural curiosity drives her to figure out how things work. When I turn this knob, water comes out. When I tear this piece of paper in two, I have more paper. When I squish this strawberry in my fingers, it makes a beautiful, tasty, red mess. She’s a beginning scientist, learning both by trial and error and by cause and effect.

  • I Am Exploring My World

    Trees, leaves, rocks. Pots, pans, spoons. Your toddler explores it all, and he’s beginning to understand how certain things fit together…and how others don’t. He watches you in the kitchen and imitates your actions. He throws a rock in a pond or a puddle and is amazed by the ripples it leaves behind. His physical world is big and broad, and he’s eager to discover it all!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Sand paper shapes, large rocks, a table full of sand or water — these are all great science and sensory materials to look for in a classroom. Teachers support learning about these things by asking questions and encouraging exploration. “What happens to our sand if we pour water on it? Let’s find out!”

  • I Like to Feel the Sun on My Face

    Your toddler may point to the sky and yell, “Bird!” or “Plane!” She’s noticing the differences between what she can touch and feel on the earth and what exists above her in the sky. She’s also fascinated by the sun and the moon. She’s captivated by the wind and the rain. What’s more, she understands when the air is hot or cold…and is able to communicate those observations to you. “Brrr…,” she says when she steps outside on a brisk autumn day. And when the snow begins to fall in the winter? She has a whole new world to discover!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Look for books with real photos of nature including images of seasons and plants/animals. Teaching about weather should be interactive. Maybe the teacher uses a bear that gets dressed for the daily weather. Perhaps she asks children to pick an image that they think matches the weather.

  • I Can Tell You All About My Body

    He can name his eyes and his nose, his fingers and toes. He points out the dog, the cat, the cow and the pig. Your toddler recognizes living creatures, including bugs, birds and everything in between. And he also understands his own body. Want to know where his ears are? Just ask. He’s ready to tell you!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Whether it’s through a book, a song or a puppet show, look for examples of children learning about living creatures. You want to hear conversations about body parts. Those chats might be sparked by a song like “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” or by counting the legs on a large plastic bug.

  • I Can Build It Up… and Tear It Down

    When it’s bath time, give your toddler some different-sized plastic containers. Then, watch her work her magic. She may hold one under the faucet as she watches the running water spill over the edges. She may dump the contents of one container into another. As she does, she’s noticing that it might only fill a portion – or that it might overflow. She’s testing the limits of her environment with the tools around her.

    This is also the perfect time to introduce building materials — from wooden blocks to plastic toys to empty boxes. She’ll enjoy building with and stacking them as much as she enjoys knocking them down!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Blocks of many sizes, materials and shapes should be on-hand. If you see those building tools, also check out out how they are used. Are children given the time to build and then knock them down? You want to see free time for building. And then more time for destroying and for rebuilding. Ideally, you should see the teacher joining in on the fun.

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