As toddlers are becoming increasingly verbal and mobile, they need an environment to support their continuing growth and development.
Toddlers are also independent, so their desire to do things on their own should be taken into consideration when setting up their environment. Bins stored at toddler level and labeled with pictures and words, for example, will help toddlers find the toys they wish to play with and to put them back when they are done.
A toddler’s environment should include:
Open ended materials like blocks and wooden beads
A variety of surfaces to climb, walk, sit and play on, like pillows, soft climbing structures, blankets, wood and vinyl flooring
Engaging low level surfaces, like Con-Tact Paper with the sticky side faced out or metal surfaces that act as a mirror.
In terms of gross motor skills toddlers can walk, run, climb, navigate stairwells, carry objects and kick a ball. In terms of their fine motor skills, they are able to fill and dump containers, build towers several blocks high, and scribble. It is essential that a toddler’s environment supports the development of these skills.
Toddlers’ social interactions are more advanced because they can have conversations with others. During this stage of development children are also able to rely on their memory to imitate the actions they’ve observed others perform in the past. This is called deferred imitation. Nannies should take notice of a child’s ability to draw on past observations to navigate current and future situations.