Incidental Learning Opportunities for Toddlers

by Dale Badger, May 2015

900 words

3 pages



To be a tree is a great experience to start with, which simply means repeating the movements of trees when wind blows. This experience can be easily integrated into the daily routine, for example while walking around park or forest. Trees cannot walk; all they can do is stand still and swing with the wind. To better understand the tree structure, the parent can bring a tree costume. The costume should clearly show such parts of the tree, as tree trunk, branches, and leaves.

A second learning opportunity involves home pets. A cat can be compared to the lion on TV. The difference is that a lion is much bigger and lives in the wild. The child can touch the cat and compare it with lion. This experience will help children understand the interconnections in the world.

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability means respecting social diversity, helping the vulnerable people, etc. A simple experience can help children understand that we all live in the global community where actions of one person affect another one. A child can give his or her toy or cloth to another child who needs it. This action must be explained and completed with the help of educator or the parent.

Another way to present social sustainability to a child is by explaining the need of the line to popular attractions on a playground (if there are too many kids on the playground). Child can not enjoy the attraction at once, but he or she needs to wait a bit until the children, who are in front of the line, ride the attraction first.

Connecting With People, Places, Technologies

A phone call to one of the parents will familiarize the child with the possibilities of phone. This can be conducted with the help of educator, explaining how it works.

Another experience involves finding a famous tourist place photo in the internet. Children then visit that place with the parents and compare it with the picture.

Connecting With Natural Materials

Children can play a game requiring them to guess the material indoor and outdoor items are built of. They will familiarize themselves with wood and stone products.

Another experience can be that of collecting trees’ leaves. This can also be integrated into the daily routine, for example while walking around the park. Children will learn that different trees have different leaves. Children can make pictures out of them at home.

Reflection on Learning Opportunities

Incidental learning is more important than the traditional learning for toddlers. They learn the world from the experimentation and experience. Children explore the environments on a daily basis. The majority of the things are new to them. The educator just needs to provide more situations emphasizing certain learning topics, and explain them. While walking around the park children can imitate trees, learn about their structure, touch and smell them, find the nests of birds. Children can find out that worms live under ground by digging a hole. The experiment requiring children to guess the material different items are made of involves thinking and analyzing. Children …

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