Published April 24, 2012
Toddlers are little bundles of curiosity, liveliness, and enthusiasm. Most parents wish they had even a fraction of the energy that these kids have! Toddlers are usually up for most anything (except eating their veggies or cleaning their rooms); so parents have a lot of terrific options for playtime. Here are some great activities to do with your little one.
- Freeze dance. Put on your toddler’s favorite upbeat music and start the dancing. Turn off the music at random intervals. Your child (and you!) have to freeze in whatever position you are in until the music comes back on. This works well if you have multiple children or are hosting a play date or children’s party.
- Go to the park or playground. If you have a community one nearby, take advantage! If not, check out local schools and see what their playgrounds are like. Let your child run, climb, swing, and play to her heart’s content. Take the time to swing with her and take a few trips down the slide. Your toddler will love it.
- Get some sidewalk chalk and let out your inner artist. You’ll find that you like this activity, too!
- Play dress up. Get old Halloween costumes, plastic jewelry, dresses, wedding tiaras, hats, etc., and let your child dress up. This is great for boys and girls, and they can put on a little show if they want.
- Make a movie. Every toddler loves to be the star. Fortunately with video on everything from iPods to cell phones, this is easy. Film your child singing a song, dancing, doing a trick, or just being silly. The best part will be watching it!
- Bake something together. Let your child be your “assistant” and dump the ingredients into the mixing bowl. If you make cookies, your toddler can help you make shapes or decorate them with sprinkles.
- Have a picnic. Doesn’t the same old lunch taste better outside? Bring your sandwiches and apples outside, spread out a blanket, and enjoy the sun. Don't forget a little treat like fun animal cookies to make it extra-special. If it’s raining, there’s no reason to delay your picnic. Have it inside on the living room floor. Toddlers thrive on routine, but these little departures are a lot of fun for them.
- Take a trip to the library. If your library has a great children’s room, this is a wonderful resources for those long afternoons when you need something to do! Children love to go somewhere, and here, they can play, read, look at books, and do activities. You don’t even have to shush them.
- Look at picture books together. Kids love to look at pictures of themselves! Take out your toddler’s baby books and stroll down memory lane together.
- Paint. Spread out a piece of plastic or a tarp on the floor and get busy.
- Do some chores. Toddlers love to help their parents, so seize the opportunity. Have them help you sort clothes (Mom’s go in this pile, yours go in this pile…etc.), rake a pile of leaves (expect much of this “help” to be counterproductive!), carry firewood, water the garden, walk to the store, or whatever you need to do. Make it fun, and your toddler will think playtime lasts all day every day.
- Do something outside; if you can, go hiking, go to the beach or park, or take advantage of some other natural amenity in your area.
- Put a tent in the living room and have a little camping trip. Whether for nap time or overnight, your toddler will love this mini-vacation.
- Make a pine cone bird feeder (spread peanut butter on a large pine cone and roll it in birdfeed or sunflower seeds). Hang it up outside and do some bird watching.
- Get some window crayons and do some interior decorating on your glass. Children can adorn their bedroom windows with fun pictures.
The special thing about toddlers is that they think most anything is fun; they have terrific attitudes, and all they need is a parent/babysitter/relative/etc. who is willing to let them explore, discover, play, and be themselves.