Toddlers are naturally curious. We can use this curiosity to teach the child about the world around them. One way we can do this is through language development. We can provide the child with real and scientific names of things, like species or type names of flowers, birds or dogs. We can connect learning to things that have meaning to the child like sharing books and stories about their favourite pastimes or animals or vehicles. We can also teach them the parts of things that the child is familiar with, for example their body parts and anatomy, the anatomy of their favourite animals. Instead of saying this is the 'fin' we can tell the child this is the 'dorsal fin'. The more accurate we can be the more information we can pass onto the child.
For this purpose I love anatomy or parts of cards. The toddler is too young for three part cards but anatomy cards are perfect. The illustrations are accurate. The words tell the toddler that different parts have a name, also a written name, and they can be a starting point, a launching point for further exploration. For example 'what does the tail rotor do' or 'why does the helicopter need a tail rotor'?
I love to add anatomy cards to model animals perhaps with a story book on a tray or basket for further interest. My toddler responds well to them, he will select this work to do together for example read the whale book and at the end we will look over the card and name the whale's body parts. The helicopter work he often selects independently and will match the model helicopter to the card and from memory name some of it's parts.
Today Otto pulled a few gorgeous carrots out of the garden at his Montessori toddler class. He brought one carrot home and wanted to show everyone. Why not provide an anatomy card and we can look at all the parts of this very wonderful carrot before washing it, slicing it and eating it for snack! How precious these moments are!
Resources: Helicopters on the Go, Helicopters, Things That Go Touch and Feel Picture Cards, Sunflower Anatomy Card, Humpback Whale Anatomy Card, If I Were A Whale, Koala Mini Poster (with characteristics) - from now until December 31, 100% of profit on the sale of this koala poster will be donated to WIRES, the Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation, Carrot Anatomy Card.
Related article: Vocabulary Building - Toddler Anatomy Work - including anatomy cards at 26 months.
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