As your toddler grows, you will notice that you have less of a role to play in entertaining him. Some of the time, he will entertain himself. He will play with his toys, explore new places and interact with new people, all without your help. Of course, you’ll be there watching, but you won’t be dictating the situation as you may previously have done. There are times though, when your toddler will rely on you for entertainment. Here are some much-loved, tried and tested toddler games:
Toddler Games #1: Colour Sorting
This is a great game and can be repeated endlessly as you choose different objects to sort. Firstly, you’ll need a couple of boxes to sort the colours into. If you are playing with a one year old, just two boxes will do, but as your child gets older you can introduce more colours to the game. Make sure the boxes are colour coded and that it is obvious to your toddler which box is for which colour. Now give your child an object, and ask him to place it in the correct box. Be sure to talk about the objects and colours are you play the game, as this will help your toddler to develop his language skills.
Toddler Games #2: Hide and Seek
You’ve probably been playing this game since your baby was born, starting off as a simple peekaboo behind a muslin cloth. As your baby grew, he may even have taken on the main role in the game, giving you peekaboos instead. Now that he is walking, you can try playing hide and seek. The counting to 10 may take a while to perfect, but he’ll love chasing you round the house to tickle you, and being chased himself.
Toddler Games #3: Secret Den
Most adults have fond memories of playing dens as a child. Whether you played it in your bedroom, under the stairs or in the woods near your home, chances are you loved having a little hiding place to call your own. All you need for this game is a selection of sheets and blankets to drape over furniture and create a den. Decorate the inside with cushions, blankets and cuddly toys. An older toddler might like the den to himself, but a younger one will probably want you to sit with him in the den. Outdoor dens are great fun too, but you’ll need to be dressed for mud just in case. Head into the woods and try building a den out of selection of branches and sticks, this will be a real great adventure for your little one.
Toddler Games #4: Hop, Skip and a Jump
Toddlers love learning, mastering and showing off new skills, and this game is the perfect way to do that. The game can be altered to fit the setting, and can easily be turned into a group game for birthday parties. You should stand with your toddler on one side of the room, and give an instruction of how to travel to the other side. This could be jumping, running, star jumps, crawling, rolling or whatever else your little one loves it do. Your toddler should set off to the other side of the room, ideally to a target such as the window or daddy, and then wait there. It can take a while for younger toddlers to get the hang of this part because they’re not fond of waiting, don’t worry if he heads straight back instead. Shout out another movement and ask your toddler to head back towards you for a kiss. This is a great game for burning off excess energy, and works really well with big groups of toddlers at the park.
Toddler Games #5: Ready, Aim, Fire!
You’ve probably worked out by now that toddlers love to throw (it was the bump on your head that gave it away), but don’t have a great understanding of what should and shouldn’t be thrown. By creating a throwing toy, for example a lowdown basketball hoop or bucket, you can direct your child to this whenever he feels the urge to throw. This is a great way to avoid tantrums when your child is about to throw something, simply offer him the ball instead and ask if he’d like to throw it in the bucket – chances are he’ll say yes.
Toddler Games #6: Use Your Imagination
Your toddler may have already started to use his imagination without prompting. Perhaps you’ve noticed him tucking his teddies in at night, pretend to cook with saucepans from the kitchen, or speak to daddy on the phone. Imagination and creativity is a great tool for play, and you should let your child lead where possible. Playing dollies, grocery shops, cooking, cleaning and doing funny voices are all great ways to introduce imagination games. The game plots will become more imaginative and complicated as your child grows older.
Toddler Games #7: Shark Attack
This game requires imagination, balance, co-ordination and a lot of bravery. Well, ok, imagined bravery, but that’s still important. Imagine the floor is the sea, and there are plenty of sharks, mermaids and whales swimming amongst it. The furniture represents dry land and boats, and you need to make your way across the room without getting wet. Spread cushions across the floor, and find a cardboard box to use a makeshift boat, and ask your toddler to point out the sights along the way.