Sunday, October 18, 2015

List of Toddler Activities

Toddler Development, Stimulation and Activities (Mostly suited for 1 – 3 years)
Gross Motor Development
  • Play ball games.  Throwing, kicking, bouncing, rolling!
  • Toss bean bags
  • Dance to music together!
  • Climb in, over, under and through things!
  • Make an obstacle course using cushions and pillows
  • Hold your toddler on a gym ball and do movements
  • Play ‘ball’ with a balloon
  • Let them balance – walking on a plank, or on big tractor tyres, or along little garden walls (always support them!)
  • Give your toddler colourful scrap paper and a small hole puncher.  Show them how to use it.
  •  Make tents with furniture and big sheets to climb into
  • Make tunnels with chairs for them to climb through
  •  Jungle gyms, swings, sandpits 

Fine Motor Development
  • Fill a few small containers with different textured things, like popcorn, rice-krispies and raisins.  Let your toddler empty the container, and then pick up the small individual snacks and put them back again.  (Munching along the way!)  This encourages picking small objects up, and can help with sorting too.
  •  Stacking rings and cups, or building blocks
  •  Jigzaw puzzles, or wooden shape puzzles
  • Stringing macaroni onto a string
  •  Stick stickers on a paperplate or surface, and let them pick the stickers off
  •  Scribble with crayons
  •  Tickle with feather dusters
  • Play with cellophane
  • Put grains of rice inside a deflated balloon
  • Bury plastic animals in a bowl of sand, or a bowl of material etc, and let the toddler find the animals
  • Give the toddler containers with lids and screw tops and show them how to open and close them
  • Play with fridge magnets on the fridge or on a tin tray

Language Skills
  • Talk, talk, talk to your toddler.  Tell them what you’re doing.  Tell them what colour things are.  Count things.  Explain shapes.  Use descriptive words, and let them participate / feel / experience:  “feel the cement is hot” “feel the tiles are cold” “feel the rain is wet” “touch the soft blanket” “taste the sweet grapes”
  • Copy sounds that your toddler is making, and then encourage them to make sounds that you make
  • Using a doll or another person, point out body parts
  •  Show pictures of facial expressions and point out happy, sad, etc
  • Show them photographs of loved ones and talk about them
  •  Let your toddler learn words and say them – don’t let them get used to just pointing out what they want, ask them “what”
  • Play word games with your toddler, like pointing at an object, starting to say the word, and letting them complete it
  •  Read books!  Read lots!

 Social and Emotional Development
  •  Arrange playdates with other toddlers
  • Put words to their facial expressions or actions: “oh you got a fright at the loud noise!” “are you upset that you have to put the toys away”, “wow, isn’t that so pretty!”
  •  Give them time and space when interacting with other toddlers
  •  Teach them to share – when eating finger snacks, ask for a bite, thank them for sharing.  Set an example by sharing with them.
  •  Talk about feelings – tell them you love them often, tell them how you feel when you are tired, irritated, happy, excited.
  • Massage your toddler
  •  Teach your toddler respect for people and animals by setting the best example

Messy Play
  • Messy play gives kids lots of opportunities to learn and develop. 
  • Painting: finger paints, hand or foot prints, big paintbrushes, using cut up sponges or materials to paint with
  • Playdough
  •  Maizena mixed with water
  •  Custard
  •  Jelly
  •  Shaving foam
  •  Baby powder
  • Glitter
  • Cooked spaghetti
  •  Rice, cereals
  • Shredded paper
  • Decorate marie biscuits
  • Make ‘slime’ (using grated soap and water!)
  • Make iced marie biscuits
  •  Oats & syrup
  •  Smash (instant mashed potato)
  •  Sand
  • Make fruit kebabs
  • Bark chips
  • Water bowls with small containers, cups and utensils in to pour water in and out of

Creative Activities
  • Do lots of hand print and foot print art!  These are great fun for little ones, and make such great keepsakes!
  •  Let your toddler scribble with crayons on paper
  • Let your toddler make birthday, Christmas, I-Love-You cards for loved ones
  • Play scavenger hunt with your toddler, with themes such as shapes, opposites or textures.
  • Let toddlers taste different tastes and explain to them what they are tasting
  •  Create a home-made band out of pots and spoons!
  • Encourage your toddler to sniff at things, tell them what they are smelling
  • Peg-a-box:  Put clothes pegs around an icecream container or similar, and let the toddler remove them.  Show them how to put them back again.
  • Have two buckets – put them some distance away from each other.  Fill one bucket with objects, such as socks, and let toddler transfer all of them into the empty bucket.  And back again.
  • Play with dried leaves – make piles, jump through them.  Stick them on a paper with a tree drawn on it.
  • Bake cookies – involve the toddler in the process and the decorations afterwards
  • Play memory games like hide and seek – hiding objects in the same place in a room
  •  Dance with scarves or ribbons

Outdoors / Outings
  • Go for a walk.  Take a basket or container with, let your toddler collect little items along the way – stones, leaves, sticks.  Talk about them.  Ask questions, “how does it feel”, “what colour is it”
  •  Let your toddler do “people-watching”.  Whether it’s people riding bicycles, shopping, exercising, playing games – the movement really stimulates these little brains.
  • Blow bubbles – let your toddler catch them, and let your toddler try and blow bubbles by themselves
  •  Let them walk in the rain – with raincoats, boots and umbrellas
  •  Let them walk on grass and in sand, tell them about the texture
  • Point out flowers, trees, birds – make them aware and appreciative of nature
  •  Lie on the grass and point out clouds
  • Run and chase each other!

Car trips
  • Pack a ‘goodie bag’ – a drawstring type bag, filled with small toys like cars, shapes, Purity lids, different textures, ribbons with bells on, etc.  This provides entertainment by unpacking and examining each object.
  • Offer snacks that take time to eat – like a container of cheerios, or biltong sticks
  • In-car DVD player
  • Books
  • Nursery rhyme CD’s

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