Toddlers are constantly learning and developing their minds. At this age, most of their learning is done through play.
Learning through play is essential, there are so many benefits to play such as encouraging communication and developing social and cognitive skills to helping them to gain self-esteem and much more.
A few weeks back, my twin toddlers turned 3. One of the gifts they received was a toy Pick and Mix Sweet Shop. They loved it, but I loved it more!
Not only is the sweet shop lots of fun to play with, but there are also so many other benefits to this sort of activity that helps my children learn essential skills, without them even knowing!
We set up the sweet shop and my children we eager to play and get their hands on the new toy.
Firstly, this sort of activity promotes social interaction. I showed my toddlers that if they take turns then each of them could be the shopkeeper and the customer. One of them would have the scoop and wait for the customer, the other would come to the shop with some money and ask for some sweets.
This encourages sharing and cooperation which can definitely be difficult when your only 3!
They took turns with the little scoop, scooping up sweets to put in and out of the jars or onto the scales. This improves my little ones hand-eye coordination. Seeing the pots fill up or the scales overflowing as they put more and more sweets on also teaches them about the cause and effect of what they do. More essential skills for their future development.
Whilst we were playing, I did notice how they spoke to each other. They used their imaginations and spoke to each other as a customer and shopkeeper, asking for sweets or change for example. After a while, I noticed they started to ask for different coloured sweets or a certain amount of sweets which is fab. Not only are they improving their communication skills, but they are also learning about colours and numbers.
My eldest decided he wanted to play too, he made little signs for the shop saying OPEN or CLOSED. He also decided to be in charge of the money and set up a Bank. Playing this type of activity also promotes early counting and gives an introduction to coins and money. My toddlers didn’t know which coin is what, but could happily count the money in and out of the till for example.
We have had lots of fun playing sweet shop! It can be difficult to get children excited about learning, but it is easy when it’s fun!