Last updated on Feb 2nd, 2021 at 04:47 pm

South Africa has been in lockdown for 98 days today – and your toddler has probably been at home for longer than that. So, not only is he bored out of his mind and missing his friends, he might also not be getting enough stimulation.

“Access to quality early childhood development (ECD) centres is critical to ensure the establishment of a solid foundation for children’s future learning,” says Lisa Voortman, head of Education at GROW Educare Centres.

Not only do these centres provide safe, structured learning environments dedicated to unlocking the potential of each child, they also play an essential role in supporting working parents.

Helping your toddler reach his milestones at home

Lisa says young children, if properly stimulated and engaged at home, should reach their milestones without formal pre-school education.

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ALSO SEE: Is your 3-year-old reaching her developmental milestones during lockdown?

“Parents often question the role of play in the learning process, and whether they’re doing it right at home. Remember that a child is like a sponge; they absorb information and learning throughout their day by just playing, and mimicking the world around them,” she adds.

Simple daily tasks are ideal activities to occupy and stimulate young children. Lisa suggests the following:

  • Laundry is a perfect time for children to learn how to sort and match. Identify a big T-shirt and a small T-shirt, group clothing by colour and then by owner. Arrange them in patterns. These fun activities are pre-math skills that form the foundation for future learning about math concepts.
  • Wiping down surfaces encourage large muscle movement and crossing the midline while giving your child a sense of mastery and pride in their accomplishments.
  • Cooking and food preparation are tasks children love to be included in. Use the opportunity to count, measure, read instructions and discuss. These activities make baking fun and educational, too.
  • “What’s in the bag?” is a fun and inexpensive game you can play using a variety of household items. Simply collect an assortment of objects and put them in a bag. Sit with your child as they unpack each item and start playing: name each item, talk about where in the house it belongs, who it belongs to and what it’s used for. This activity is a fun way to spend quality time stimulating language, vocabulary and expanding their knowledge.
  • Matching lids on storage containers help with problem-solving, math concepts like size, and understanding too big or too small.

*To support a GROW Educare Centre sign up for MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet at or via the App.