Ideas for Play with your Toddler

Sensory Play

Water play in the tub or in a large bucket. Have many items for them to explore the water with.  Cups, sponges, tubes, funnels, and wash clothes are a few good ones.

Put one of the following materials in a large plastic container big enough for them to sit in.

  • sand
  • corn starch
  • flower
  • oatmeal
  • glitter

Blowing bubbles

Light play, use a flash light and shine it around a dimly lit room.  Change it by having many different size and colored lights.

Painting with water or paints.

Social Play

Dress up in costumes.  Take a trip to the second hand store and by child size hats, gloves, dresses etc.  Toddlers love to explore the way they look.  This also helps to support their understanding of roles.

Take your child to every day places, like the super market or mall and see the world through their eyes.  Children want to learn and understand the purpose of these places.  When you take time to explore it with them they are much happier sitting through a shopping trip because they know what happens in this place.  For this experience to have the greatest effect it has to be done fairly often, going once will not change behaviors.

Physical/Motor Play

Simple puzzles and sorting tasks are a favorite for toddlers, when you have good ones. Dumping and filling objects is a kind of sorting play.

Rolling and throwing balls.  Sit on the floor opposite your toddler with your legs open and roll the ball back and forth to each other.  As they get older begin to toss the ball back and forth.

Stacking blocks is great fun for toddlers but they won’t “build.”  Toddlers will stack a few blocks and then knock them down.  Or they will watch you stack a few blocks and knock them over.  This is normal for toddlers, they are learning about cause and effect and their ability for creation and destruction, a very powerful lesson.

Ready-set-go.  Have your child stand on one side on the room or yard.  Say ready, set, go, and have them run to the other side.  Toddlers love this game and it is a structured way for you to get them to use their energy.