As your toddler grows and develops, you can support his or her learning development by encouraging play and active exploration. Here are three fun ways to help your toddler learn through play.

Playing with building blocks that fit together is great for toddlers as it requires deliberate coordination and accuracy. It is also great for developing your toddler's imagination - he or she will learn to build a house (or anything else that he or she can imagine), or simply learn to arrange the colors together in particular patterns.

If you want your toddler to get the most out of this activity, purchase building blocks that come in different shapes, sizes and colors. You can then use the building blocks to help your toddler learn about shapes, numbers and colors. For example, you can mix up all the building blocks in a large transparent container and ask your toddler to find you three rectangular blocks, or four square blocks.

Allowing your toddler to have fun with play-dough will also provide him or her with hours of creative play. You can make your own play-dough by mixing two cups baking soda, one and a half cups water and one cup cornstarch with a fork until smooth, and then boiling over medium heat until the mixture thickens. To make colored play-dough, simply add a few drops of liquid food coloring to the dough. Alternatively, you can purchase a ready-made non-toxic modelling compound such as Play-Doh.

Clear some space on the kitchen table and show your child how to roll the dough with his or her fingers to make sausage shapes, little balls or other sculptures. Your toddler can also have plenty of fun learning to make flat shapes using a child's rolling pin and some plastic pastry cutters.

Sand play helps to develop and improve your toddler's hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Sand also has many interesting properties that can be explored. You can either create a sandpit for your child if you have a garden, or you can take him or her to the beach. Do ensure that the sand your toddler plays with is fine and clean. For more information please go to


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