[caption id="attachment_13335" align="alignnone" width="315"] Courtesy of whattoexpect.com[/caption]
Toddlers need games that inspire their little imaginations and allow them to explore their small part of the world through play. Toddlers often respond well to imaginative games and may want to play the same game over and over again. Be aware that they do have short attention spans though so try to make use of what you have in the house, or stock up on simple resources, rather than buying expensive games that might not get that much use. Here are some ideas for games to play with your toddler:
- Build a den Toddlers love dens and cubby holes; in fact any small spaces of their own that they can hide away in. Make a simple den using large sheets or towels and a sturdy table and fill it with cushions. Your toddler might like to invite their teddies inside for a tea party or picnic.
- Finger painting We call it finger painting but most toddlers prefer to paint with their full hands, arms and often feet as well. Use a large roll of paper or wallpaper spread out in the garden or on a plastic sheet inside and let your toddlers loose with suitable paints that will easily wash off in the bath. If you don’t have anywhere big enough to display their masterpiece you can always use it as wrapping paper.
- Set up Shop Assuming your toddler has accompanied you to the supermarket at some point, they’ll love the idea of their very own shop. Raid the cupboards for packets and boxes of dry foods and place them in different locations around a room. Give your toddler a box to push as a trolley and let them shop. When they have filled the trolley you can play the cashier and pack it into a shopping bag for them. If you’re lucky they’ll help you put it all away again when you’ve finished.
- Paper fun It’s amazing what you can do with a simple piece of paper even if origami isn’t your speciality. Start by making paper hats for you and your toddler to wear, and paper aeroplanes to fly around the room or boats to float in the bath. Older toddlers will love making paper chains to decorate the house or paper snowflakes to stick on the windows.
- Action songs Songs with actions are a fantastic way to keep toddlers entertained while teaching them something at the same time. Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes is a favourite for teaching them about the body, Five Little Monkeys is great for learning to count, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is ideal for calming things down. You can make your own shaker instruments out of plastic tubs and dried beans to play along with the songs.
- Nurturing games Teach your toddler to care for others by playing nurturing games where they get to take on another role. They could play mum and use their own spoons, bowls, and bibs to feed their dolls, cleaning their faces when they are finished. They could take on the roll of the doctor checking teddy’s temperature, giving him a drink of water and wrapping him in a blanket before putting him to bed.
- Scrapbooks Toddlers love to collect things so it’s a great idea to provide a shoe box where they can place objects you’ve picked up to do with a particular event or season. Autumn is wonderful for collecting fallen leaves, and Spring is a great time to collect Easter pictures and flowers for pressing. You can use the shoebox collection to create a scrapbook or temporary display, and the more creative among you can