Toddlers love to play and besides eating and sleeping, it is all they really do. But it’s not just playing for them as they are hard at work learning important physical and cognitive skills, learning about the environment around them and gaining muscle control, coordination and balance. Each new skill lets them progress to the next one, building on a foundation that leads to more complicated physical tasks, such as jumping rope or kicking a ball on the run.
Toddlers are always looking for what next to do as they have to develop their skills no matter what and if they don’t have enough toddler play activities to keep them busy (and sometimes even if they do) they end up playing where they shouldn’t like painting the walls, or turning their especially bought Handmade Leather Booties into a football and throwing it over the fence into the neighbor’s yard at the same time scaring the neighbors cat. Ah! Aren’t toddlers such a joy?!
Playing and learning are completely natural for toddlers, so mastering physical skills should be fun and games for them As a parent, you should give your toddlers many opportunities to practice their developing skills while providing supervision so they stay safe while they learn. And with this, it might be easy to run out of ideas but thank God for the internet. There are many indoor toddler games you can set up for your child and play with them too. Below are some ideas that if implemented will hopefully save your handmade leather booties from destruction and your wall from crayon or child poop. (No guarantees)
Play Dress Up
Have some old clothes lying around? Play this dress-up game! All you need are two suitcases or bags filled with dress-up clothes. Teams or even just a parent and a preschooler can face off, racing each other to try on the funniest outfit, including one of each item of clothing. I played this when I was in boarding school and we called it “catch the train” racing to finish putting together the outfit and running to the finish spot (the train) with the suitcase. Who knew that game was preparing me for real life since i’m always in a hurry to catch the underground train these days.
Baseball is a favorite pastime for both kids and parents. You can set up an indoor baseball court using recycled cardboard tubes from rolls of gift wrap or paper towels as a child-friendly baseball bat, and use a balloon as the super-softball. This should keep them occupied for quite some time.
If you have even more leftover party balloons sitting around, You can come up with quick games and activities involving balloons. In Balloon Magic, children get a sense of gravity and static electricity by playing with balloons. In Flashlight Fun, children can explore shining colorful spots of light on the ceiling and mix different colored spots to make new colors and can also shine the flashlights on the balloons for extra dimensions and excitement.
Room Within a Room
This is the good ol’ cardboard playhouse game. You can create forts (also with sheets) or cardboard houses and your toddlers and preschoolers will love this kind of playhouse. Toddlers and preschoolers love any kind of playhouse. Find a big cardboard box to fashion into a makeshift playhouse, or turn the chore of changing the sheets into a fun opportunity to build a fort out of fabric and pillows. You could even do it in a sport that is semi-permanent.
Stuffed Animal Fun
Most little kids already have a collection of stuffed animals just sitting around. Bring the furry friends to life in these new versions of two classic games. In Animal Charades, children pull a stuffed animal out of a pillowcase and act out that animal. In Musical Animals, children march around a circle of chairs with stuffed animals sitting on them and grab an animal whenever the music stops. This is a great game when you are hosting playtime or if you have more than one toddler. And if you have one toddler, that’s also great, they get occupied with themselves pretty easily.
Fun with Bottles
Empty bottles in your recycling bin actually make some pretty fun toys! In Toddler Bowling, kids roll a rubber ball toward the plastic bottle “pins” (fill them with dried beans if you need to add some weight). In Bottles and Lids, tots simply explore matching a variety of bottles with their correct cap and screwing/unscrewing the caps. You can also just fill empty plastic bottles with fun combinations of materials for little ones to shake and observe. Be sure to glue on the cap!. This is a great game to play in the yard.
This is an artsy activity to bring out the Van Gogh in your toddler and it’s relatively mess-free and helps kids with their dexterity. Set out some squishy marshmallows and some toothpicks for your preschool Picasso to sculpt into a work of art.
Threading is another fun physical activity that helps your child work on fine motor skills. All you need are some objects with holes through them (such as large tubular pasta, big wooden beads, empty spools, or even empty toilet paper rolls) and some shoelaces and let your toddler start stringing them together. This helps to build their sense of coordination.
If it’s too rainy to play in the sandbox or if your child doesn’t have one try making an indoor sandbox with different materials. Make an indoor sandbox by filling a cardboard box or a baby bathtub with dried beans, rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, or salt. Give your child some sand toys or even just cups and wooden spoons to enjoy digging, scooping, pouring, and more. Be watchful that they don’t try to eat it. You can even color the rice with food coloring to add variety and more color to the box.
Homemade Play Dough
Globs of homemade play dough and other DIY craft supplies are a hit with creative toddlers and preschoolers. Your child might just have as much fun making the play dough with you in the kitchen as she will playing with it! All you need is salt, flour, water, and food coloring. Google more ways to make this happen.
Hopefully, these tips help you on days when you don’t have any more new ideas.