Toddlers are a bundle of energy and are constantly working on the things and people around them. They want to explore their environment to see what they can and cannot do and how other people respond to their different behaviors. Having a toddler around can be tiring at times. But it also gives us an opportunity to engage them with new activities, helping them explore the world around them.
There are loads of activities which MUST be done with toddlers that will support her/his development and maybe even help burn off some of that excess energy! Below are a few activities you can try with your little one.
1. PLAY with them!
A toddler spends a major (or all) part of their day with her/his mother. So, don’t just keep yourself busy with the household work or with office work! Spend time with them – there are many cute little games you can indulge in every now and then:
•Tickling and Giggling
•Play hide and seek around the house
•Play with bubbles
•Pretend you don’t know where their hand/ head go while you dress them up
•Make tent house with bedsheets/ under dining table
2. DANCING with them!
Toddlers love dancing. So put on the music – their favorite number – and dance with them. Dancing helps in developing large motor skills. Toddlers become more aware of their body and the movement of its parts. They build up balance and coordination through dance and movement activities.
Sing rhymes with them, and do the actions along with it. e.g. twinkle twinkle, incy wincy spider, wheels on the bus etc. Toddlers love it. Its ok if you can’t sing very well, it doesn’t matter to your child !! You may sing traditional children’s songs, or the latest bollywood number or your own favorite song.
Songs or rhymes are both spoken and heard. Toddlers don’t have to be able to read in order to learn them. Singing their favorite songs or rhymes over and over again helps kids become consciously aware of sounds and music.
Sing to them – you may be instilling in them a lifelong hobby/ interest.
Reading to your child can be the best ever gift that you can give her/him. There are variety of books available in the market with beautiful illustrations – interactive, musical, touch and feel and many more. Read to them everyday and boost their imagination!! Also, you will find their vocabulary increase by the day.
5. Explore the Nature
Nature is the best teacher – for kids as well as adults. Make it their friend at a very early age. Let them play outside, explore the nature and its wonders!! Here are a few things that you can do:
•Take them to the park everyday – make it a ritual. Let them run around and have fun on the swings.
•Feed cows at a nearby Cow shed, or probably a stray cow
•Let them water the plants in your garden
•Walk in the rain
•Let them splash in the muddy or water puddles once in a while
•Walk in the snow – play with it, make a snowman
•Take them to zoo
•Let them touch and see leaves, twigs, stones etc.
6. Art & Craft!
Art is a way to express your emotion – for kids as well as adults. It brings out the creativity in a child. Completing a task successfully boosts their self esteem and they would love to spend time with you, creating something new.
•Give your toddler some crayons / paint and some chart paper. Allow some free play – let them explore the colors and their textures.
•Do some hand and finger painting with them.
•Give them some chalk and a board to scribble on
•Give them some stickers to stick on a sheet or board.
These activities will also help them develop their fine motor skills.
7. Visit Relatives and Friends!
We all live in nuclear families nowadays. Also, our social lives are very limited due to the business of life. But it is very important to make your child interact with other people – young and adult. They become social, more adaptable to new people and situation and learn to share. Elderly people have more patience than us and have a diffrent way of handling and interacting with kids.
So take them to visit grandparents, uncles and aunts, or for a playdate with a friend and her kid.
8. Sensory Activities!
Though nature in itself offers a lot of sensory stuff to explore, but you may want them to explore it further in a rather controlled environment. For example sand and water play offers a lot of learning – it helps in the development of hand – eye coordination, develops muscles as they lift containers with water, observe objects that sink and float, splashing in the water and the like.
Let them play with ice, grains, playdough etc. and other such things but under supervision. Let them play with water and some toys for some time, before bath.
9. Pretend Play!
When kids indulge in Pretend Play, they discuss ideas, share responsibilities and work together to complete an activity. It gives them an opportunity to be creative and imaginative as well. There are many activities that you can do with them or provide some toys:
•Pretend Phone – have imaginary conversations with your little one-use toy phone or remote control. Kids will express themselves better and even learn some communications kills.
•Doll House – Kids talk to dolls, groom them, imitate mom/ dad or teachers while playing. Kids learn compassion and empathy by putting themselves in other person’s shoes.
•Kitchen Set – have a small tea party with friend or stuff toys.
•Pretend Police play / Fireman Play – encourages role playing in different situations.
There are loads of activities that you can do with toddlers before they are too big !! Having a toddler around is very busy; but you don’t want to spend the toddler years in a haze and miss out on the best parts of this cute and funny stage – So you need this list!
Written by: Neha Jolly