When you’re a parent and your child is a toddler, not a day goes by that you’re not looking for things to do that will entertain your little one. And being that the toddler stage is one of the most important times in any child’s development, it’s important that you do all that you can to educate them while they’re having a good time.
There’s a pretty good chance that you already own some blocks and Fisher-Price toys. But if you’d like a few other creative ways to spend some quality time with your son or daughter, here are some other great activities that the both of you will enjoy.
Make a “popcorn picture,” Popcorn is fun to eat. But if you’ve ever strung popcorn for your Christmas tree before, then you also know that you can use it for artistic purposes too. So why not pop a big bowl of popcorn, put some aside to eat, and the other part away to do an art project with your toddler? All that you need is glue (preferably a glue stick) and some construction paper and you and your child can make all kinds of fun designs with popcorn. Plus, as a bonus, the feel of the popcorn will help to develop some of your toddler’s cognitive skills.
Act out lyrics of songs. Music is a universal language that helps evoke all kinds of emotion, including joy. As you’re singing some of your child’s favorite songs with them, act the lyrics out and ask them to follow along. For instance, if you’re singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” do some of the rowing actions in the process. That way, they can learn what different words mean by first watching you do them and then following suit.
Introduce beanbag races. Did you happen to have Field Day at your elementary school while you were growing up? If so, then you probably remember the great exercise that you got while you were having tons of fun with your friends in the process. Well, if your child has a playdate coming up, pick up a couple of small beanbags so that they can have their own mini Field Day. You can put one on each toddler’s back and tell them to crawl until they get to your designated finish line. It teaches them to follow instructions and develops their ability to balance, too.
Play “pretend bowling.” If your child goes to a daycare like Educational Playcare and you asked someone who works there about some learning for kids activities that you should try at home, one thing they might recommend is taking your toddler bowling. This does not mean an actual bowling alley. You can actually set one up at your house with the help of some plastic pins and small plastic ball and a tile or hardwood floor. Bowling is entertaining, and it’s an effective way to teach your child hand and eye coordination. You can get a toddler’s bowling set at Kohl’s, Target, or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Teach them their body parts. When it’s bath time, you can still use it as an opportunity for your child to learn. Put on some fun music and sing along as you ask them to point to various body parts. You can add more parts into the mix as they memorize the basic ones. The more excited you get when they point to their eyes or their tummy, the more willing they will be to learn more. Have fun!