Is your toddler truly gifted? What activities can you do with a gifted toddler to encourage his intellectual interests and abilities? Gifted toddlers are truly a “gift" to their parents. Recognizing your toddler’s giftedness and reacting accordingly can make a difference in your toddler’s future.
Identifying Gifted Toddlers
How can you tell if your toddler is gifted? Odds are, you’ve already noticed some hints that you might have a gifted toddler on your hands. Your toddler might exhibit advanced motor skills, a long attention span, a full vocabulary, or the ability to use complex sentences early on. Most importantly, gifted toddlers usually show a large amount of curiosity. To find out whether your child fits the "gifted toddlers" profile by asking a local psychologist to perform an intelligence test that can test for giftedness, such as the Bayley or the Stanford Binet tests.
In the meantime, here are several activities you can engage in to encourage your gifted toddler's learning.
Reading is perhaps one of the most exciting activities for many gifted toddlers. Although forcing a toddler to learn to read is not healthy, exposing your toddler to plenty of books will teach him to love language and to appreciate the wealth of knowledge that the written word can provide. Read all types of books – children’s fiction, nonfiction articles, letters to the editor, or even the weather section of the newspaper. You never know what will catch your toddler’s interest. Even better, take your toddler to the library and encourage him to explore whichever books he desires.
One of the most obvious signs of a gifted toddler is her curiosity toward all sorts of topics. Build on that curiosity by taking her to new places and giving her some unique experiences. For example, try taking her to various museums and see which ones interest her. Do different types of art projects with her, take her to an opera or other musical event, and help her explore nature. Each of these activities may appeal to some gifted toddlers but not to others, so watch your toddler’s reactions carefully.
Play to Your Gifted Toddler’s Strengths
Not sure how to keep your gifted toddler busy? Take your cue from him. Does he seem entranced by numbers? Try taking him to the grocery store and showing him the different prices on the products there. He can help you weigh produce on a scale, and you can show him how to find products by looking at the numbers on the aisles. Does your toddler love music? Let him play with an instrument, under careful supervision. Keyboards are especially helpful for toddlers, who can use them to explore several different types of sounds at once. Try some of these music games as well.
Of course, as soon as you see that your gifted toddlers are beginning to become restless or bored with a repetitive activity, switch gears. You should not view your job as actually teaching your child new concepts, but as exposing him to them to the extent that he shows interest.