To tod­dle not a dod­dle on ac­tiv­ity land­scape

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Wine - Tod­dler­fest July 22-30 Scitech, West Perth www.scitech.org.au Sara Fitz­patrick

PERTH has plenty of ac­tiv­i­ties for kids aged six-plus but not so many for tod­dlers, ac­cord­ing to Scitech’s Belinda Ger­ard.

“There’s not a huge choice of things and par­tic­u­larly find­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that are ed­u­ca­tion-based for lit­tle ones can be quite hard,” she said.

“There are great places for kids to amuse them­selves, but try­ing to find some struc­tured play that ac­tu­ally in­vites kids to play in a con­struc­tive way is a lit­tle bit harder.”

Tod­dler­fest kicks off this week, of­fer­ing a stim­u­lat­ing dis­cov­ery des­ti­na­tion for one to five-year-olds and their fam­i­lies.

Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude sen­sory and bub­ble play, farm­yard an­i­mals, road WHAT: WHEN: WHERE: TICK­ETS: safety learn­ing, a read­ing nook and ba­sic first aid ed­u­ca­tion.

“There has been a lot of re­search show­ing that al­low­ing kids ac­cess to these hands-on and in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties sets a re­ally good foun­da­tion for cre­ative and crit­i­cal think­ing and helps them de­velop into full and healthy adults,” Ger­ard said.

“So by pro­vid­ing these un­usual ac­tiv­i­ties and al­low­ing ac­cess to an­i­mals etc they can get across the sci­ence thing and fam­i­lies can learn a few dif­fer­ent ways to play to­gether and learn some in­for­ma­tion they may not know.”

Tod­dler­fest is a bi-an­nual event, run­ning for five years. Chil­dren un­der four are free. “A lot of par­ents don’t re­alise what they al­ready of­fer their kids,” Ger­ard added.

“In­stinc­tively they are great at what they do and they’ll en­gage them in dif­fer­ent ways, so com­ing to Tod­dler­fest can some­times just be a good re­minder to say: ‘Yes, you are on the right path, keep do­ing these great things.’”

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