From the time your child first learns how to raise her arms over her head and bring them back down, she's learning opposites. As your toddler gets older, she can take on more complex opposites. Make learning about opposites exciting, using interactive activities, games and art projects that help to reinforce the concept.
1. Movement Activities
Start out with basic movements that your toddler knows, such as moving her arms up and down. Put your arms up and say "arms up" to your toddler, then "arms down." After following you for a few times, start off with "arms up" and let your toddler finish with arms down, then do the opposite. Open a drawer saying "open," and then "close" as she closes it. Do several other opposite movements, such as sit and stand, step up and step down and clap loudly and clap quietly. Repeat until she has the hang of it and automatically does the opposite of what you are doing.
2. Opposite Games
Create flashcards with pictures of opposite items for an opposites matching game. For example, on one flash card, draw a picture of an oven with the word "Hot," and on another a picture of melting ice with the word "Cold." Draw other opposites such as on and off, and happy and sad. Mix up the flashcards and have your toddler match up the opposites. For another activity, sing and do the movements for the Hokey Pokey, which is all about opposites.
3. Opposites Discovery Center
Set up bowls with a variety of opposite pairs that your toddler can touch or even taste for a better understanding. You can put cotton balls in one bowl and small rocks in another soft and hard. For sink and float, fill both bowls with water and put a toy that can float into one and a toy that will sink in the other. Place wet sand in one bowl and dry sand in the other. For sweet and sour, you can put a slice of an orange and a slice of lemon in each bowl. Get as creative as you like and go through each set with your toddler, reinforcing the opposite pairs.
4. Opposite Arts and Craft
Help your toddler draw a happy face on one side of a paper plate and a sad face on the other. Cut out eye slits and attach a craft stick to the bottom to create a happy and sad mask he can play with. You can also draw a line in the middle of construction paper and help him create a picture of a day scene and a night scene. Talk about what he sees during the day, such as the sun, and the stars he sees at night.
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