Toddlers are a bundle of energy. They need something to occupy them all the time and this can be a challenging task to any parent. First time parents are regularly at a loss, when it comes to finding new ways to keep their child occupied. A toddler by nature is eager to learn new things.
At this age a toddler learns a lot through observation, role-play and repetition. As their first role models are parents they try and learn as much as they can from parents. Learning while doing some fun activity together is the best way to bond and teach a child new concepts.
Games For Toddlers
There are a lot of early puzzles available that help your child understand the concept and keep them engaged for a long time. A simpler variation to this is to print your family pictures and cut them in puzzle form. Sit with your toddler to arrange them. As the puzzle is solved, your toddler sees the similar faces of your family members and recognizes them.
This game helps in building the child’s hand-eye co-ordination. It also helps in educating the child about the concept of family and introducing members in the family. A more permanent variation would be to stick those completed puzzles on a hard board and place the board in your child’s room, where the toddler can see them. Give some treats or sticker stars to the child on successful completion to give a feeling of accomplishment.
Shadow tag is an outdoor activity that you can enjoy with your toddler. On a sunny day, take your child to a park. Show the child his/her shadow. Run around in different directions and show the child how the shadow follows you. Initially, it will be funny for the toddler to see his/her shadow following him/her.
Later, once the concept of shadow is clear to the child, jump on his/her shadow and say ‘Tag’. Ask the child to repeat your action by tagging your shadow. This game explains the child the concept of shadow, day, sun and a vague idea of directions. It is also a good form of exercise to the child.
Playdoh or clay modeling is an all time favorite activity for children from any age group. They love to make different shapes. Let them explore their creativity. Help them make a cake, necklace or an apple.The idea of being able to create different things from one portion of clay is fascinating to the toddler.
They will try and explore other possibilities. This will improve their creativity and imagination. It will also teach them patience, perseverance and focused thinking.
Cut fruits into slices and lay them out in a plate. Give your toddler another plate and ask him to make various faces out of these fruit slices. Keep the whole fruit next to the table and help him/her make faces. Each time the toddler picks up a fruit slice, show the whole fruit and name it. This will help your child recognize the fruits while making funny faces on a plate.
Once the faces are done, eat it with the child, one feature at a time. Say things like ‘Next we eat the nose!’ This will also give the toddler an idea about facial features and recognizing body parts. While eating you can also talk about taste; say things like ‘Oh! The grape nose was sour!’ giving the toddler an idea about various tastes and improving his/her vocabulary at the same time.
Make the child and his/her friends form a circle. Explain to them that they need to do what Jack says. Start with simple things like ‘Jack says jump’. Initially you might have to do it along with the children, to help them better understand the game.
Once they are clear about the game, then you can start with a little tricky, or even funny actions. This will help the child develop his/her mortar skills. They will also learn to listen attentively and follow commands.
Build a secret den by covering a table with sheets. Let your child invite a friend or his/her play things into the den. They can cook, sleep, play or even have a party in the den. For a more permanent structure, you could also make a den from old boxes. Cut out windows, so the child and peep out every now and then.
This will give them a sense of belonging. Having a party with small food items made by the child will give them confidence. Let your toddler host a party with self cooked food and see him/her beam with pride.