Do you find it hard to keep your toddler entertained? There’s only so many times you can play the same games over and over again before you start to feel like you’re slowly going insane. When the days are dragging on and you’re struggling to think of new and exciting games you and your little one can play, the ideas below may just save your sanity…
1. The “Senses” Game
One thing toddlers love is to explore and indulge their senses. It’s exciting and new so anything which enables them to put their new skills to use is always welcomed with glee. Creating your own “senses” game will keep your toddler entertained for hours and it’s educational, too.
There are many things you can add to this type of game. Think about the five different senses:
You can create a game which focuses upon one, two or all five of these senses if you want. If you focus on one at a time, however, it gives you the opportunity to create five different games.
Typically, touch and sight tend to be the easiest and most enjoyable for toddlers. Taste and smell related games are better suited to slightly older children. So here, let’s focus on a couple of touch related games.
A good educational touch game is to trace the outline of either numbers or letters of the alphabet. Then, give your toddler various decorative supplies to fill them in. Focus on different textures such as cotton balls, glitter, beans, sandpaper and pipe cleaners. Your toddler will love the different feel of each item as they stick them into the spaces.
Another great touch game includes filling items with different textured ingredients. So, filling bowls with pasta, rice, goo, pipe cleaners, cotton balls and anything else you can think of. It’s a very simple activity, but your little one will love hearing the sound of the items filling the bowl, then the feel of them as they dip their hands into the bowls.
These are just a couple of ideas. If you look online, you’ll come across loads of different sensory game ideas you can try.
2. Freeze Dance
Does your toddler love to boogie? Dancing games can be really fun for both you and your little one. The freeze dance is particularly enjoyable, challenging your toddler to freeze in a certain position when the music stops.
This can be done in a few different ways. The least challenging is to get your toddler to simply freeze in whatever position they are in once the music stops. If you feel that’s too easy and less likely to hold your little one’s attention, try asking them to freeze in specific positions. It could be that once the music stops they need to get into an animal position for example.
You could even turn it into an exercise related activity where your toddler needs to switch to a gentle toddler-friendly yoga pose. You’ll be surprised just how much toddlers seem to love this game!
3. Scavenger Hunt
Toddlers naturally love to explore so what better way to take advantage of this than through a homemade scavenger hunt? This activity is something you can prepare for in advance, or even make up on the spot if required. It’s also a fantastic way of keeping them entertained while out shopping. You could ask them to find various items in a store, for example, or ask them to identify items that are a specific color.
At home, you could label various items such as the refrigerator, table and chairs, then ask your little one to find specific items. Asking them to find things and then providing a reward at the end is a surefire way to keep them entertained and even do a few small chores at the same time. Asking them to find a pair of socks, for example, or find a toy in another room and place it into the toybox is a very subtle and enjoyable way to get them to tidy up a little.
This is an activity which your toddler will never find boring!
4. Color Sorting
Sometimes, it’s the most basic tasks that keep toddlers entertained for hours. If you’re looking for an activity that educates, as well as keeps your little one busy, color sorting is a great idea.
For this you’ll need lots of different colored items. It could be building blocks, card or even teddies. You’re also going to need either large paper bags or empty boxes for each color. Attach a piece of paper to each bag or box, representing each color you want your little one to identify. Then ask them to place all of the blue items in the blue bag or box, the red into the red one, and so on.
It’s one of the simplest ideas, yet it’s also one of the most effective and enjoyable.
5. Tissue Paper Fun
Another very simple idea is to give your toddler tissue paper to play with. This is a great one when you’re stuck inside due to poor weather.
At various times throughout the day, place tissue paper down onto the floor. Try to invest in different patterns and colors as this will hold their attention for longer. At first, they’ll simply enjoy picking it up and looking at it. Then you can encourage them to crumple it, throw it, rip it or whatever they want to do with it. It’s amazing that something so simple can be so enjoyable!
You can also expand on this idea and place tissue paper in various places around the home. Combine it with the scavenger hunt idea and get your little one to find all of the pieces of tissue paper hidden around the home. This is a especially great creative game if you’re on a budget.
The above will have hopefully given you some great ideas the next time you’re looking to do something new with your toddler. It’s hard work coming up with new exciting ideas every day, but as you can see from the games above, it’s often the simplest of things which provide the most enjoyment.
Do you have any other great creative game ideas? We’d love to hear about them below!