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Thread: Games for Toddlers/Pre Schoolers

  1. #1
    Melinda Guest

    Default Toys & Games for Babies, Toddlers & Pre-Schoolers

    Please note that the following suggestions have been quoted directly from Kaz Cooke "Kid-Wrangling"?. The lists were compiled from suggestions by parents who completed a survey.

    Please ensure that you use safe versions of all these suggestions and ensure adequate adult supervision where necessary.

    Please feel free to add any ideas and suggestions that you have to this list.


    Good toys for babies (0 to 1 year)

    * Dangly toys to hang on the pram or above the baby to swat at ??‚??€œ if they make noises, so much the better
    * Small things that are easily grabbed, such as cars or blocks
    * Floor mats with interesting patterns for tummy play
    * touch and feel books
    * Balls too big to swallow, easy to grasp with two hands and not too hard or full
    * Rice in a tightly sealed plastic jar to rattle
    * teething rattle/ring that plays music
    * Crackly packaging for grasping (but be careful, it will be eaten if possible!)
    * A baby photo album with photos of family and friends for you to look at and talk about together
    * A safety standard bouncing harness (e.g. Jolly Jumper)
    * Little toys with wheels, which they can pull or push, or a small trolley or doll??‚??„?s pram to push along if they??‚??„?re toddling already
    * Stacking cups
    * A ball with a bell inside
    * A low toy shelf rather than a box so that they can see things better and learn to take them off and then, you hop, put them back
    * Plastic chains or rings
    * Soft toys with long ears or tails for sucking
    * Plastic ware and cooking utensils
    * Net bags used for oranges, filled with scrunched up paper
    * Tightly sealed plastic bottles filled with coloured water or rattly dried beans
    * Broken or toy phones (battery removed from old mobiles) for pretend calls and button pushing
    * A soft stubbie holder for holding, biting, pretending to drink, rolling or cutting things into (but not soft enough to bite off bits, i.e. not polystyrene)
    * A packet of chips (unopened) to pulverize
    * Blocks
    * Board books
    * An activity play centre
    * Teddies and fluffy toys (some babies and kids never really get into fluffy things although they're often given heaps)
    * A yoghurt container with a plastic block in it
    * Books that have little flaps to open and look under
    * A musical mobile
    * Unbreakable plastic spoons
    * A xylophone
    * A hammering game (pegs or balls are pushed or whacked through holes with a hammer)
    * Cloth books
    * A cloth dolly with a rattle inside
    * A battery-operated piano-style keyboard
    * A cardboard carton to be sat in, to put things into, and to be pulled along in down the corridor at warp speed
    * Cardboard tubes
    * An inflatable ball
    * Sticky tape half-stuck on something for the baby to pull off and put on (but don't let them eat it)
    * A baby-proofed cupboard for unpacking and packing contents
    * The saucepan cupboard
    * Foam jigsaw bases with numbers or letters that pop in and out
    * A napkin or tea towel for playing peek-a-boo with
    * A tissue box with bits of ribbon, material and different-textured things to put in and take out
    * Large plastic animals
    * A small squirting animal
    * A set of key rings with lots of keys
    * Pegs either rby themselves or pegged onto something
    * A baby-sized plastic watering can for bathtime
    * Balloons (but make sure the baby doesn't eat bits when one pops or deflates (get it straight into the bin)
    * Empty plastic yoghurt containers to experiment with (babies love to stick their hands in, roll them, put other things in and rattle, and tip things out of)
    * A stuffed caterpillar
    * A toy wagon
    * A safe mirror
    * A large rubber bath plug
    * A tambourine and anything else musical
    * A broken calculator, phone or anything with buttons to press
    * A sturdy plastic potato masher
    * Old paperbacks or magazines with pictures of kids and animals
    * A clothes basket and pegs
    * A squeaky duck
    * Finger puppets (big ones can be scary)

    Good games for babies

    * Peek-a-boo
    * Hide something and make it reappear
    * The baby throws and you catch
    * Rhyming games or songs
    * What noise does a duck, cat, truck (or whatever) make?
    * Pat-a-cake
    * Blow bubbles for them to look at and try to catch
    * Flap a cot sheet or coloured fabric gently above the baby, cover them with it and remove immediately
    * Round and round the garden


    Good toys and games for toddlers

    * Cars, trucks, trains
    * Large click-together blocks
    * A plastic picnic set
    * Baby dolls and a baby doll's stroller
    * Playing pretend games
    * Drawing and painting using non-toxic, washable poster paints
    * Pasting using bits of fabric, paper, pictures torn fro magazines, cut-up streamers
    * Plastic tools and a construction hat
    * Books
    * Musical instruments, particularly bells and a recorder
    * Printing with large potato stamps and paint
    * Stickers
    * Any dress-up clothes, for either sex
    * A box of bandaids which can get emptied and filled over and over
    * Coloured wooden blocks
    * High-heeled shoes
    * A tricycle
    * A tea party set
    * Playing pretend to fix things
    * Kid-sized kitchen utensils to pretend to cook with
    * A wipe-clean magnetic drawing slate
    * A tent or cubby with blankets
    * Biscuit cutters, rolling pin and playdough
    * A small train set
    * Ladybird beetles in various incarnations
    * Pretending to be dinosaurs
    * Plastic frogs
    * Bangles
    * Wooden or plastic farmyard animals
    * Balls
    * CDs and tapes
    * Sewing enormous buttons onto a piece of cardboard with holes punched on it, or threading beads with a shoelace
    * Bubble blowing
    * Party whistles (the ones that roll and unroll when you blow them)
    * Coins and a money box
    * Letters and a posting box
    * Alphabet and number posters
    * Early jigsaw puzzles
    * Old purses and handbags
    * Coloured chalk on the footpath
    * Toy phones
    * Cardboard boxes
    * Pretending to have a tea party or playing (cooking stuff)
    * Playing "shop" with or without fake money and a cash register
    * Sanded offcuts of wood to stack or arrange
    * Soccer and footy
    * A toy hammer to hammer golf tees into Styrofoam
    * A spinning top


    Good toys and games for pre-schoolers

    * Playdough
    * Sticking things such as their own paintings, on the wall
    * Paint, crayons, pencils, felt-tip pens
    * Large empty cardboard boxes for cars, houses etc
    * Imaginative play
    * A plastic tool set
    * Glitter on and in anything and everything
    * Cars
    * Dollies with their own beds, prams etc
    * Snap-together blocks
    * A magnetic screen or a homemade metal tray with magnet letters or pictures on it
    * Plastic skittles
    * An old phone
    * Homemade musical instruments
    * A tea set
    * Brooms and feather dusters
    * Books
    * Age-related jigsaw puzzles
    * Dress-up clothes
    * Blocks
    * Simple card games e.g. Snap and Go Fish
    * Pack of cards
    * Dominoes
    * Easy board games such as Snakes & Ladders with big squares on the board and large dice
    * Op-shop teddies
    * Magic wands
    * Plastic farm animals
    * Balls, bats, rigged up "goal posts" and low, big netball goals
    * Making jewellery from pasta, cotton reels, big bedads
    * A doll's house and dolly people
    * Dinosaurs
    * A keyboard or a guitar
    * A torch with batteries (ensure batteries are secured safely)
    * A toy medical kit
    * Pirate costumes
    * Toy animals
    * A superhero cape and dolls
    * A fire engine
    * A trolley to pull or push
    * A magnetic drawing slate
    * Wood offcuts, hammer and big nails (supervision is essential)
    * Plastic jars with lids to screw n and off
    * Listening to tapes
    * Own personal tape player with earphones
    * Transforming toys
    * Plastic sea creatures for the bath
    * Assorted kitchen stuff such as old sieves, beakers and squirters for the bath
    * Plastic jugs with food colouring in them and something to pour into and out of
    * Balloons
    * Puppets
    * Scissors for kids
    * A pop-up tent
    * A bucket and spade set
    * Wrapping presents and making cards
    * A xylophone
    * Marbles
    * A spinning top
    * Chasey
    * Hidey
    * Tag
    * Simple tippety-run cricket
    * Tree climbing
    * Sand castle building
    * Hole digging
    * Nature rambles
    * Beachcombing
    * Cooking with an adult
    * Gardening with an adult
    * Reading alone
    * Drawing and painting
    * Cutting and pasting
    * Chatting on the phone or a pretend phone
    * Writing or dictating and decorating letters and posting them
    * Looking at kids websites
    * Making cards and wrapping paper


    Here is a list of craft ideas from BellyBelly Members.

    Craft Supplies
    ??‚?? Paddlepop Sticks
    ??‚?? Carboard Boxes any sizes
    ??‚?? Yoghurt Containers
    ??‚?? Assortment of different glue
    ??‚?? Glitter
    ??‚?? Pipe Cleaners
    ??‚?? Coloured Cardboard/Paper
    ??‚?? Brushes
    ??‚?? Paint Stampers
    ??‚?? Paint
    ??‚?? Magazines
    ??‚?? Picture Punchers
    ??‚?? Felt
    ??‚?? Sequins
    ??‚?? Stickers
    ??‚?? Wool or Coloured Twine
    ??‚?? Googly Eyes
    ??‚?? Kids Scissors plain & decorative edge

    Craft Ideas
    ??‚?? cut out the letter of their name out of stiff card to stick things on, magnet on the back and its a fridge magnet.
    ??‚?? excess paintings make good wrapping paper.
    ??‚?? a photocopy of a photo on a card to decorate becomes a birthday/mothers day etc card.
    ??‚?? crowns and wands, anything that can be worn pretty much.
    ??‚?? get clear contact paper and stick it to the table so its sticky side up. The the kids stick coloured paper like cellophane, glitter, sequins, anything really to it, then you put another piece of clear contact on top and hang it on the wondow, or cut them into butterfly shapes, flower shapes, stars etc. before hanging
    ??‚?? fill up an old nappy bucket full of water, and put food colouring in it. Sometimes just one colour, other times, we mix them up for a bit more fun. I collect different sized containers, anything from old J&J baby bath products, yoghurt containers, icecream tubs, plastic cups, jugs..old bottles, anything you have lying around the house basically..and he just has a ball, tipping the water into containers, and from container to container. We also play a game called 'float or sink'..where he gets to guess if certain objects will, you guessed it..float or sink! I always make sure I have some objects that WILL sink, like a rock the wamer months, he could play this for hours..and it cools him down too.
    ??‚?? Gardening - Why not make a small patch of the garden just for the kids, so that if you have a bit of weeding or planting to do they can get in on the action as well.
    Last edited by {sarah}; April 14th, 2008 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Fixing **

  2. #2
    Jen Schuster Guest


    Wow Mel -What a post - HOw long did it take to type all that up?

    Some great suggestions I havent tried yet!!



  3. #3


    Yasin's favorite game at the moment is the noisey game. He makes a noise and I make it back and so on...... it keeps him amused for hours especially when we get onto rasberries.....

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW


    Bubble Recipe

    1/2 cup of dish detergent (washing up liquid)

    5 cups water (soft water is best - if your water is very hard consider using distilled or bottled water)

    2 tablespoons glycerine (available at the pharmacy or supermarket). You can substitute light corn syrup (not golden syrup!)

    Mix the ingredients together very carefully, so that you they don't get too bubbly. Pour into storage containers and, if possible, leave overnight to blend.

  5. #5
    Melinda Guest


    If you can't get glycerine or light corn syrup, you can also use cooking oil.

    I've actually not used glycerine or corn syrup before - I just used Vegetable Oil as per a recipe I have (the same as Christy's above) and it seemed to work just fine.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    A really good toy idea - even if I do say so myself

    Zander is always getting into handbags, mostly my sister's cos she has all sorts of pretty coloured ones... Sooo we decided to give him one of his own & he loves it to bits.

    So Mr Zander man now has a mauve handbag & inside is
    * his toy wallet (complete with credit cards that he got for Christmas)
    * a mint tin (with two rocks inside to rattle but glued shut)
    * an old purple mobile phone (battery & things removed, cover glued on)
    * his hair comb

    I'm also going to put his toy keys in if I ever find them! I was also thinking of putting a photo of him (cos he loves them!) inside his wallet where there is a clear space.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW


    ah Matilda has a handbag for when we go out with an old phone & wallet in it too! She loves it!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW


    Matilda is 19months and today we had a great painting day!!

    We put newspaper all over Matilda's ikea table & then taped down butcher paper. I put a small amount of water with food colouring in 3-4 take-away containers & put some cotton tips for her to paint with. She had a blast & although the pink food colouring is taking a bit to get off it was great fun!!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    Found some more in old posts in the back stalls I thought might be useful added to this post... thanks Kathryn

    Actiivites for ages 1+

    Choccy Banana Iceblocks

    What you need
    Cooking Chocolate
    Ice cream sticks

    What to do
    Your child can help by peeling the bananas, an older child or yourself can cut the bananas in half (across). Poke an icecream stick ino the end of each banana, then place them on a tray and freeze. When they are frozen, dip them into the melted chocolate. Very Yummy!!

    Egg Flip

    What you need
    1 egg
    Vanilla Essence
    1 cup milk
    2 teaspoons sugar
    Banana (optional)
    Mixing bowl
    Wooden spoon

    What to do
    YOur child can help you collect all the ingredients and utensils, then break the egg into a bowl, add vanilla and sugar. HOld the bowl while your child beats the mixture until it is frothy. Next, pour in one cup milk and add banana then beat again. Pour the egg flip into a glass and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. This makes one drink. If you want more multiple ingredients by number of people

    Edible playdough

    What you need
    Peanut paste
    Milk powder
    Edible food colouring

    What to do
    Younger children often eat regular playdough. If this is happening with your younger child, put away the regular playdough until they are older and can understand not to eat it, and make a batch of edible playdough.

    Simply mix on part of peanut paste to one part of milk powder and half a part of sugar. Double or triple the quantities if you require. Add food colouring if desired.

    Paint Pots

    What you need
    Buckets or empty tins
    food colouring
    Paint brushes

    What to do
    Young children love painting but it is not always possible or pratical to provide real paint. they also love painting with real brushes like mum and dad.

    Half fill each bucket or tin with water and add some food colouring. Give the child a paintbrush. Now the child can paint paths, driveways, concrete, or even the outside of the house, and you can rest easy knowing it can all be hosed off.
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    Activities for ages 2+

    Colourful Playdough
    What you need:

    1 cup plain flour
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup cooking salt
    1 tablespoon cream of tartar
    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    Food colouring or powdered paint
    wooden spoon
    plastic containers

    What to do

    With a wooden spoon mix the flour, water, salt and cream of tartar in a saucepn over a medium heat until thick. when it has cooled, add the oil and knead well on a floured board

    Divide the playdough up into at least 6 balls an add a different colour to each ball until you have red, yell, green, purple and orange playdough. Put each colour into a seperate container and encourage your child to create playdough pictures. When they are finished help your child to sort out the colours to put back in their containers for another day.

    Creative Playdough
    Use the recipe above but give the child different things to help create patterns in the playdough such as cookie cutters. pototo masher, meat tenderiser, ice cream sticks, garlic crushers, plastic scissors, tea strainers etc

    Make sure you are close by to admire their latest creation

    Feet Painting
    What you need
    2 tablespoons cornflour
    cold water
    1 cup boiling water
    food colouring
    wooden spoon
    large sheet of plastic or plastic tablecloth

    What to do
    Blend the cornflour with a little coldwater and mix to a smooth paste. add the boiling water and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens. Add some food colouring and mix thoroughly

    Cover an outdoor area with a large sheet of plastic or a plastic tablecloth. Let the children draw pictures in the pain with their feet. Make sure there is a bucket of warm soapy water on hand for cleaning up.

    Have a green day

    What you need
    Green items such as clothing, food, drinks, toys, paint

    What to do
    Tell your child in the morning that you are going to have a "green day" or whatever colour takes your fancy.

    Some possibilites for a green day
    add a small amount of green food colouring to their milk
    Select green food for your child to try, such as avacado, kiwi fruit, celery, green apples, honeydew melon, snow peas
    Select green clothes for everyone to wear
    Cook green food, such as avacado dip, green jelly, green cordial iceblocks, patty cakes with green icing.
    Make a batch of playdough add blue and yellow food colouring to it to make green
    Add a drop of blue and yellow food colouring to bath water so child can have a green bath at end of the day
    Be 'greenies' and do the gardening, or plant some seeds
    Goto the park and collect lots of different leaves for leaf rubbings at home with green crayon or pencils
    Make and use some green paint
    Read "green eggs and ham" at bedtime

    Bubble pictures

    What you need
    Margarine containers
    powder paints
    liquid detergent
    drinking straws

    what to do
    Half fill each margarine container with cold water and add some powder paint and a little detergent, place a drinking straw into each container and show your child how to blow into the straw to create bubbles. Keep blowing till the container is almost overflowing with bubbles.

    Press the paper on top of the container and when you take it off there will be beautiful bubble prints on it.
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    Activites for Ages 4+

    Simple guitar

    What you need
    Shoebox with lid
    six to eight rubber bands of different sizes

    What to do
    Cut a hole in the lid of the shoebox about 8cm in diameter. Put the lid back on the shoebox and press down hard on the lid so the rubber bands won't actually touch it. Now stretch the rubber bands right around the box and position over the sound hole.

    As your child plucks the rubber bands they will hear different sounds.

    Texture rubbings

    what you need
    cryons or pencils
    textures around your house or garden

    what to do
    Go on a texture hunt with your child. Place the paper over car tyres, bark, leaves, carpet, coins, tiles, flowers, bricks, anything with an interesting texture. Your child then rubs with their crayon or pencil. Label the texture rubbings for them so they can show the rest of the family

    Snail Mysteries

    What you need
    magnifying glass

    What to do
    carefully look at the snails under a magnifying glass. Can you see rings on their shells? Count the rings on each snails shell. The snail with the most rings is the oldest.

    Explain to your child that as a snail grows inside it's shell, the gell grows from the edge, and so more and more rings are added. Each ring means a growth spurt.

    Neighbourhood playmat

    What you need
    A sheet of heavy duty white vinyl
    Coloured permanent marking pens

    What to do
    Discuss with your child the features of your neighbourhood - where the roads go, the houses, parks, local shops, schools, and any other familiar landmarks. Then carefully mark thme on the vinyl (you might like to do it in pencil or coloured chalk first and then draw over it in permanent pen when you are happy with the result.

    Mark your home, your neighbours homes, the local streets, and the landmarks on the map. Go for walks with your child and talk about other landmarks you could put on the map. When the map is made, let the child use it as a playmat.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2006


    Have a green day

    What you need
    Green items such as clothing, food, drinks, toys, paint

    What to do
    Tell your child in the morning that you are going to have a "green day" or whatever colour takes your fancy.

    Some possibilites for a green day
    add a small amount of green food colouring to their milk
    Select green food for your child to try, such as avacado, kiwi fruit, celery, green apples, honeydew melon, snow peas
    Select green clothes for everyone to wear
    Cook green food, such as avacado dip, green jelly, green cordial iceblocks, patty cakes with green icing.
    Make a batch of playdough add blue and yellow food colouring to it to make green
    Add a drop of blue and yellow food colouring to bath water so child can have a green bath at end of the day
    Be 'greenies' and do the gardening, or plant some seeds
    Goto the park and collect lots of different leaves for leaf rubbings at home with green crayon or pencils
    Make and use some green paint
    Read "green eggs and ham" at bedtime
    This is the coolest idea ever!

    Ali & I still have a couple of weeks (plus or minus a couple of hours) until Cashie is born, but I like the idea of finding things to do with Cashie when they get a little older.

    I can so see us having green, blue and red days. But not brown days. Not too keen on yellow either... :P

  11. #11
    angeleena Guest


    I'd like to suggest you a couple of games you can play with toddlers.

    One of the game I call "Colored Heaps". The game teaches the child to distinguish colors and systematize objects.

    Make heaps of different one-colored objects (consisting of ringlets, bricks, pencils, etc.) and make another colored heap. Now you can ask the baby to bring a read ringlet from the heap and put it back. The game can be played with one toddler as well as many kids.

    Also you can play such a game: take a bowl with water and a cup. Show the kid how to pour water from the bowl into the cup with the help of a spoon. Also games with watering pots can be very interesting.
    Last edited by Rouge; May 22nd, 2007 at 11:51 PM.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic


    * Bumpity Bump*

    This is a great thread!

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Climbing Mt foldmore

    Smile ~~

    We play a peg game,
    clip pegs onto a pice of cardboard, all around the edges, can be done in alsorts of color combinations, matching, alternating etc,
    its great for dexterity and color recognition.

    We do a similar game with buttons, I bought a heap of buttons from a junk shop and put them in a jar, then get Lulu to "sort" them into ice cube trays. its intersting watching what combinations he does, can also direct him to sort combinations.

    Macaroni necklace is another that can keep him going for awhile. a piece of string and thread the macaroni on. You can use macaroni, shells, penne etc

  14. #14
    digishank Guest


    hey hun, thanks for the nice list.without any doubt it is the best list i have seen so far.cheers..!

  15. #15


    this list of ideas is a lifesaver...i was running out of things to do with my toddler very fast...thank you

  16. #16


    Has anyone else got a Smart Trike for their toddler? I brought one for my daughter Sam last month at Target and she absoltuely loves it! We go out walking together and I push her around in it. The best part is, is that it will grow with her until she is 2 years old and she will be driving it herself! I am due again in October, so baby number two will inherit it!!

    Other games I play is to fill baloons up with rice and draw faces on them - my girls love that too.

    Thanks for the ideas they are fantastic!

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Auckland, NZ


    This is SUCH a great thread! Thank you so much for all the fab ideas, great to keep little ones entertained, especially over winter!

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