Toddlers are constantly exploring and learning new things. It’s a fun and exciting time. Playing with your toddler helps them develop their language, fine motor cognitive skills and more. Here are a list of 20 games and activities for you and your toddler.
Materials: 3-4 plastic animal toys or animal stuffed animals
Get all the animal toys together. Show your toddler an animal and make the sound it makes. Ask your toddler to copy you and make the animal sound. Repeat this with 3-4 animals. When you feel your toddler has grasped the concept make an animal sound and ask your child to give you the animal that makes the same sound.
Paper Towel Tube
Materials: paper towel tube
Encourage imaginary play with your toddler. Show your toddler different activities you can do with a paper towel tube. Show them how to use it as a microphone, telescope or drum stick.
Materials: hand-held building blocks
Toddlers love knocking things down. Help your toddler build and big tower of blocks. This is not only fun but helps with your toddler’s fine motor skills. Try to build the tower of block the same height as them. Then say one, two, three knock them down. Have your toddler knock down all the blocks. Your toddler will want to play over and over again.
Materials: large beach or rubber ball, optional stuffed animal
Roll the ball to your toddler. Ask your toddler to roll the ball back. After doing this for a while put the stuffed animal on top of the ball. Ask your toddler to sit on top of the ball. While holding your toddler on top of the ball, roll it back and forth and in a circular motion. If they seem hesitant try putting a stuffed animal on top of the ball and doing the activity. When they see the stuffed animal is safe they will be more curious to try. This activity will help with your toddler’s balance.
Catch Me if You Can
This is a fun and easy game to play with your toddler. Crawl on the floor in front of your toddler saying in an exciting voice “try to catch me!” Crawl away from your toddler fast. This will get your toddler’s attention. After your toddler tries to catch you for a little while let them catch you. Then you say I’m going to get you and crawl after your toddler. When you catch them give them a big hug and play again. It may take a couple of tries before you understand the game but when they do they with want to play over and over again.
Peekaboo is a great game to play with your toddler. There are many ways you can play this fun game.
Cover your eyes with your hands
Cover your toddler’s eyes with their hands
Play using a toy or stuffed animal
Play using a small blanket
You can also play hiding behind objects
This is a great bonding activity for you and your toddler.
Where’s Your Nose?
Play this game to teach your toddler parts of their body. Touch your nose and say this is my nose where is your nose, using your toddler’s finger point to their nose. Repeat this over and over again to they know where their nose it. Try it using other parts such as eyes, ears, mouth, head etc…
Teddy Bear Pretend Play
Materials: stuffed animal bear or other type
Ask your toddler to complete tasks with the stuffed animal. Some examples are where are teddy bear’s eyes, feet, hands, nose etc…. Tell your toddler to give their teddy bear a kiss, tickle, put to sleep, drink. They will have a lot of fun taking care of their bear the way you take care of them.
Materials: music, optional kids instruments
Turn on some kid friendly music such as nursery rhymes, Sesame Street songs and ABC’s song and sing and dance along. Ask your toddler to complete tasks while dancing such as spin around, touch your toes, shake etc.. do these things with your toddler so they can imitate you. Add in some of your own music by giving your toddler some drums or tambourine.
Blow some bubbles for your toddler and show him/her how to pop them. They will have so much fun popping the bubbles you blow for them. After doing this for a while show your toddler how to blow bubbles themselves. Remember never leave your child unattended with the bubbles. Have fun.
Read, Read and Read Some More
Reading to your toddler with help with developing their vocabulary and get them interested in books. Get books with big colorful pictures and only a couple of words. One each page you read point out the picture. If there is a dog say where’s the doggie and using their finger point to it. Do the same thing for colors and parts of the body. In no time your toddler will be able to point to the pictures themselves.
Materials: paper, tape, crayons (thick crayons work best as they are easier to hold)
This activity is done while your toddler is in his/her high chair. Tape a piece of paper to your toddler’s highchair tray. Give him/her a crayon and let them experiment with drawing on the paper. Play with your toddler by taking turns drawing on the paper. You draw a line first then have your toddler draw a line. As they get older they will try to copy the same lines that you drew. This activity helps toddlers with their fine motor skills.
Materials: beach towel or child blanket
This is a fun game to play with your toddler and helps them develop balance. Spread the beach towel or blanket on the floor. Place your toddler on the towel or blanket and slowly pull them across the floor. While doing this pretend that the towel or blanket is a train and say choo, choo, or a car and say zoom, zoom while pulling him/her.
Materials: bucket, water, paintbrush
On a nice warm day go outside with your toddler. Fill a bucket up with some water. Give your child a paintbrush and let them paint the driveway, patio, sidewalk, porch etc…with the water. They will have so much fun painting with water and since it’s water it will dry and there will be no mess.
Play dough Play
Materials: Play dough/clay, optional rolling-pin, popsicle stick
Get some non-toxic play dough or clay or make some yourself with one of our clay recipes. Show our toddler how to roll the play dough/clay make a ball, squeeze it, pull it apart etc… Use a popsicle stick to cut it. You can also use a rolling-pin to flatten the dough/clay.
Materials: beanbag, basket
Show your toddler how to throw a beanbag into a basket. Ask your toddler to bring the beanbag back to you. When just starting to play you may have to walk with your toddler over to the basket and help them get it out until they understand the concept. Next give your toddler a turn and have them try to throw the beanbag into the basket.
Sharing is Caring
Materials: small toy
It’s never too early to start teaching your child about sharing. In this game toddlers will learn about and practice sharing. Sit on the floor opposite from your child. Give your toddler a toy and say “Do you want to play with this?” After your toddler has played with it say “can I play with it now?” have your toddler give you back the toy. They may need help with this and also get mad until they understand the concept. Repeat.
Materials: pail/ bucket
Take a walk outside with your toddler to explore nature. Look at all the different rocks, leaves, flowers, twigs etc… Have your child collect these things along they way and place in pail/bucket. When you get home sit with your toddler and look at all the things he/she found. This is also fun to do at the beach.
Look at What I Can Find
Materials: Magnifying glass (plastic)
While outside with your toddler show them how to use a magnifying glass. Tell them about how something looks bigger while looking through it. Give them the magnifying glass and look at flower, leaf or ant. This will be fascinating to your little one.
Materials: toy telephone
This is a fun pretend game to play with your toddler. Take a toy telephone make a ringing sound to pretend the phone is ringing. Answer the phone and pretend to talk to someone your toddler knows such as a sibling, grandparent. Say to your toddler do you want to talk to ______ and give your toddler the phone. What your toddler chat. playing this game will help with language skills.