Playing games with your toddler isn’t only fun. The right games help improve physical, emotional, and cognitive skills. Playtime is a child’s primary learning method throughout the early years, and here are some interactive games you can try.
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20 Different Games to Play With Toddler
Hot and Cold
Hide your child’s favorite toy or snack somewhere in the room. As she gets closer, say she’s getting warmer...warmer...hot! Conversely, if she gets further away, tell her she’s getting cooler...cold. This game teaches your child focus and patience, as well as delayed gratification.
A classic game of Simon Says teaches toddlers the names of their body parts and tests their listening skills. When you say “Simon Says X,” your child must do X, typically touching or moving a body part. If you tell a command without “Simon Says” in front, and your child does the command, game over!
Similar to Simon Says, the Hokey Pokey helps your toddler follow directions and learn the names of body parts. Follow the classic Hokey Pokey lyrics and do what the song instructs.
A game of Parachute teaches your toddler to wait and listen, and it also develops their fine motor skills. In this game, grab a large sheet and have everyone work in unison to raise and lower the sheet. If you call “under, under, under!” everyone should dash under the sheet in time.
Hiding objects around the house or yard and having your child find them is like Easter coming early. You can instruct your child to find specific hidden items based on descriptions, such as size, color, or shape.
To promote balance, coordination, and gross motor skills, consider setting up a fun and safe obstacle course at home. It can be inside or outside, built with household objects.
Everyone loves a game of hide-and-seek! Hiding from your toddler teaches them problem-solving skills.
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Odd One Out
This teaches problem-solving and pattern skills. In this game, you lay out a bunch of similarly colored blocks or objects. Make sure to include a different one. Ask your child which one isn’t like the others.
You can then make it more challenging by doing this with classes of objects, such as animals or plants.
Building puzzles boosts your child’s memory and improves physical, cognitive, and emotional skills.
Place a coin or other small object under one of three cups. Shuffle them around and ask your kid to guess where the object ended up.
Card games like Go Fish!, Crazy Eights, and War create endless fun and challenge your toddler’s mind.
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Play your kid’s favorite music, and when the music stops, she must freeze in the position she was in. You can ask the kids to freeze in specific positions, such as letters or shapes, to make it even more challenging.
Divide kids into groups, and give each group a bag full of simple props, such as a sock ball, ribbon, toy jewelry, and so on. Kids then have 15-minutes to make up a skit with the supplies they’ve been given.
You can tape a hop scotch set inside for your kids to jump around on. Have them throw a marker into square 1, hop to it, then hop back. Repeat for squares 2-9.
If your child fails to hop there and back, it switches off to the next kid until someone can successfully hop squares 1-9.
Using a line of tape, you can test your child’s coordination and balance with a DIY balance beam. You can even challenge them to walk backward.
Have your kids toss an object around as quickly as possible to some music. When the music stops, the person left holding the potato is out!
Picnic memory game
Gather your kids in a circle and have them take turns. The first child says, “in my picnic basket, I packed…” and says an item. The second child repeats the initial phrase and says the previous item plus a new item. This repeats, testing memory.
Add a dime-sized dollop of soap onto a plate with some water until it starts to foam. Kids place straws in the water to start blowing bubbles.
A classic game of basketball is sure to tire your kids out! All you need is a bucket and rolled-up sock or a small ball.
The Listening Game
Take out a bunch of household objects and have kids close their eyes. As you move objects around, ask your child to identify them based on the sound they make. Items could be a glass (tap it), a pot and spoon, shakers, and more.
These games are fun and engaging ways to keep your child entertained and sharpen some of their most essential skills. Which game will you try first?
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