Toddler world: where learning moves at warp speed

Watch a toddler closely, and you can almost see him or her making sensory and information connections by the minute. Everything is adventure and discovery. “This goes there. That does this. OK, I get it now.” Snap. Smile. Unsnap. Frown. Big learning is happening—and fast.

A UNICEF post on brain development, notes that in the first few years of life, “neurons form new connections at the astounding rate of 700-1000 per second.” Clearly, the seeds of learning sprout with Jack-in-the-Beanstalk swiftness.

From a parent’s point of view, that means just about every experience becomes a teachable moment, whether bath time, snack time, or before-nap reading time. Using that time well adds up. A 2013 post by Anya Kamenetz for Fast Company, based on a report from Common Sense Media, cited that 75% of kids under age 8 had used a mobile device, including “38% of babies under two years old,” a figure that was up from one in 10 just two years earlier.

Finding the best device possible for the littlest learners is important. For example, the Little Scholar® tablet is uniquely designed for children in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. It builds readiness skills to last a lifetime, and kids will have a blast mastering math, reading, spelling, and more, with over 200 preloaded apps, videos, e-books, and songs. The tablet also includes Charlie & Company™, an interactive, educational series for kids 3 to 5, starring Charlie the Golden Retriever and his best friend and “Anywhere Teacher” Miss Ellie.

For a different digital learning destination Bumble Bear: The Beeginning (iOS eBook) offers a charming e-storybook experience, beginning as a read-to experience for infants as young as 6 months, and then becoming a more independent adventure for toddlers. Turn on narration and page-turning for a little extra help or turn them off for more self-directed entertainment. The storybook also includes a “paper doll” play activity at the end. Little one can dress up Bumble Bear in clothes and whimsical accessories by dragging them across the screen and putting them on Bumble Bear!

However, even in the 21st century, not all learning begins with “e” for electronic. PBS Parents’ Baby & Toddler Math Milestones points out that “By the middle of the second year, most children will begin to see patterns in their environment. They will understand, for example, that night and day follow a continuous cycle. They also are becoming aware of man-made patterns, such as color patterns in a rug or tiles on a floor.”

Learning products designed for toddlers, whether early workbooks that combine coloring, tracing, and sticker play, or game cards that encourage playful completion, capitalize on pattern recognition en route to teaching ABCs, shapes, colors, and much more. They stimulate the senses as they build essential language, number, and perception skills. Plus, activities as basic as coloring and sticker play also sharpen fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.

Help channel toddlers’ natural curiosity and supercharged brain development into playful, productive learning activities.