Ideas for toddler activities
Toddler activities that help them explore their world
As well as growing quickly, your toddler is learning more every single day. Their world is full of fascinating new shapes, sizes, colours, textures and sounds. And it all has to be explored before they can make sense of it!
You can help your little explorer discover their world with toddler activities and games that are fun for both of you and will improve their memory, creativity, attention span, language and movement skills.
Let’s play hide and seek
You may not have thought it, but sometimes the simplest games are all it takes to improve your toddler’s development.
Hide and seek is a great way to encourage their visual and mental learning. And now that they can make sense of different shapes and colours, they could help you look for their shoes!
Let’s go on a Nature Walk
A hedgerow, a strip of grass, garden or park – all of these have ‘natural treasures’ that will entertain your toddler and help them learn about their world.
As you walk around, show them how excited you are to find a leaf, flower, cone, stone, insect or snail.
Point out their bright colours. Let them touch and hold things. Find other things to compare them with, so they can start to understand similarities and differences.
Try walking on different surfaces: grass, mud, path, puddle, and mimic the sounds each make underfoot. Collect things to take home so they feel rewarded by their adventure – and you can use their ‘treasure’ to remind them of the experience later.
The farmyard of fun!
With just a few toy animals and sheets of paper your toddler can have fun pretending to be on a farm!
Simply sketch out a farm, with the farmhouse in the middle, and some barns and fields. Then place or draw the animals in their ‘homes’: cows in the shed, pigs in the sty, horses in the stable, chickens in the coop, ducks in the pond and sheep in the field. You might want to add a tractor and some hay bales too.
The fun really starts when you go around the farm, saying the names and making the sounds of each animal. Just watch your toddler’s eyes widen at all that ‘moo-ing’, ‘baa-ing’ and ‘cluck-clucking’!
You could talk about all the things that come from a farm too – by pretending to milk the cow, collect eggs from the chickens and shear the sheep for wool. The more you play, the more your toddler will remember their favourite animals and where they live. They’ll soon be able to place them in the right part of the farm.
Here’s an exciting way to help your toddler understand about the weather and changing seasons. It involves them in fun activities you can both keep coming back to.
1. Look at your photos: Start by looking through some photographs of you, your toddler, family and friends. Sort them by the different seasons e.g. grouping together those of you making sandcastles on the beach in summer.
2. Seasonal gallery: When you have a few photos for each season, attach them to a piece of card to create a seasonal gallery.
3. Get creative: You can add drawings, pictures from magazines, flowers and leaves – anything that goes with each season’s theme.
4. Get talking: Keep your seasonal collage somewhere handy so you can refer to it occasionally, such as at meal times. Chat with your toddler about the weather outside, the food they’re eating and how it fits in with the pictures.
5. Follow the seasons: Once your toddler begins to understand that seasons change, they can keep adding new things to their gallery. It’s a fun, ongoing activity they can enjoy in years to come.
Understanding their local area
For slightly older toddlers of around 2 years plus, this is a very simple map-drawing game that involves improving their understanding of where they live.
1. Sit down with your toddler and explain that you are going to draw a map to help you both remember where to go when you leave the house (you might prefer to use a map you already have, or choose one from the internet).
2. Ask your toddler which of their favourite places they would like to include on their map – thinking of family and friends who live nearby and other places they like such as shops and parks.
3. Write the names of each person or place on the map.
4. Ask your toddler to go on a pretend journey with you. Using their fingers, take them from your house, slowly describing the things you would see on your way.
5. As your toddler starts to understand what the map is for, you can give them a crayon to track their way to a place of their choice.
6. Go and explore! Take the map out with you both and talk about what you see along the way. Stop to add new things and places your toddler has seen. Take photos to attach later.
Your toddler’s very own map is something you can both look at and talk about at home – reminding them of their favourite places. It’s a great way to help them understand their world, while improving their memory.