I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-800-BABY-123 (1-800-222-9123).
Did you know that 85% of brain growth happens in the first three years of life? As the mom of 2 toddlers, that’s kind of an intimidating statistic. I want to make sure my kids have every opportunity to grow into happy and healthy adults.
The good news is, healthy toddler brain development doesn’t have to be complicated. Toddlers learn through playing so there are so many opportunities to have some fun and make sure their little brains are developing the way that they need to. For a great nutritional option, we love Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™.
Toddlers can be so much fun. This stage is one of my favorites and I’m going to be so sad when it is gone. I love seeing them learn to do new things and getting so excited when they discover something new.
My twins were preemies, so they’ve had a bit of catching up to do and I’ve worked hard to make sure that they have had the opportunities they’ve needed.
Brain-Building Activities for Toddlers
We try to do at least one thing every day to help with brain development, not only because I know how important it is, but also because it’s just a lot of fun for my girls.
Not sure what activities help with brain development in toddlers? Here are a few of our favorites:
Sensory Play – This can be anything from play dough or slime to playing in a tray of shaving cream. Get creative. We used to keep a sensory bin out filled with dried beans and assorted toys and it was always a hit with my kids. We may have to do that again now that my girls no longer put everything in their mouths. Toddlers learn by using all the senses, so sensory play is a fantastic way to incorporate their sense of touch. As my kids get older, we use sensory play to teach letters, numbers, and shapes. Using more of their senses helps them retain more information and just makes it more fun.
Blocks – Blocks are fantastic for early math skills. We keep a variety of blocks at my house and pull them out whenever we need something fun to do. My girls will usually turn block play into pretend play by bringing in little toy animals or dolls. It’s so fun to see what they come up with.
Pattern Play – Toddlers love pattern play and it is such a great early math skill. We’ve used toys, manipulative, printed images, etc. It is so easy and fun to create simple games that help toddlers learn to see patterns. Once you have some practice with pattern play, it’s fun to go outside and look for patterns in real life. My toddlers love finding patterns when we take walks, like the lines and stakes in a fence or a pattern of car colors in the parking lot.
Pretend Play – Pretend play has always been one of my favorites, and I like to make sure that my toddlers have a few good toys to help encourage pretend play. We love our toy kitchen, but simple things like kid-sized cleaning tools, a few hats, or wooden toys can really help spark the imagination, too. My girls love when I jump in and play with them, but they also love playing on their own. Their favorite thing to play is “family” and they take turns being the mom, the dog, or the big sister. It’s so fun to watch them and I love that they are working on brain development at the same time.
Color Mixing – This is one of my girls’ favorite activities lately. They’ve just discovered that by mixing two colors together you can create a brand-new color. It’s like magic to them and they have so much fun experimenting with colors. We started with the three primary colors and moved on from there.
We keep things simple by squirting a few spots of paint on white paper and letting them experiment. If you want to take things up a notch, you can use eye droppers to drip two colors of liquid water color onto cotton balls, mix play dough balls together, or finger paint.
Is your Toddler Getting the Nutrition She Needs for Brain Development?
As important as it is to be sure that toddlers have plenty of opportunities to participate in brain-building activities, nutrition definitely plays an important role in brain development too.
We focus on getting a wide variety of healthy whole foods. I was worried that wasn’t enough, though. After doing some research on DHA, I’ve learned how important it is for a growing brain. Experts recommend toddlers get 70-100 mg/day of DHA to help support early brain and eye development and on average toddlers only get about 25% of that on a regular basis. That’s a huge nutritional gap.
You can increase DHA in your toddler’s diet by serving fish. While I’m lucky that my toddlers actually enjoy fish (most won’t touch it), we don’t eat it nearly often enough.
The typical toddler diet (cheese, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, etc.) has some serious downsides. My kids have gone through phases with food and at times they are more willing to eat healthy food options than others.
We help fill in the gaps with Enfagrow Toddler, from the maker of Enfamil®, the #1 Brand of Infant Formula recommended by Pediatricians. Enfagrow Toddler is a milk-based toddler drink (for toddlers between the age of 1-3) that includes DHA, prebiotics, and other important nutrients that toddlers may not be getting as part of their regular diet.
My girls absolutely love Enfagrow Toddler and I feel so much better knowing that they are getting good nutrition, even if they are going through a picky phase.
Enfagrow Toddler is available in a convenient 32 oz. liquid bottle and 32 oz. powder tub. Visit Enfagrow.com to learn more and request free samples.
This is sponsored by Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™.