Like many toddlers, my Little Man is a very busy, opinionated little person! I am always trying to find ways to keep him occupied and out of trouble. Included in this post, are some activities that are fun, but also help to get his brain working! Feel free to leave some of your favorite activities you use for your toddlers in the comments!
Curly has always loved puzzles and would sit and do them over and over. Little Man will some of the time, but has always is more interested in her puzzles, not his..#siblings! We have been doing a lot of number and alphabet puzzles as part of our learning time, so he will listen to us and try to do them after. I will often set several different puzzles out for him too. Some of his favorites are the shape, truck, and farm animal puzzles. When he does them I will talk about what pieces he is putting in, what colors they are, and will give him pointers like “turn” or “flip it like a pancake.” He is always so excited when he puts in a piece or does a puzzle and says, “Me do it!” My favorite ones for him are by Melissa and Doug. They are so colorful and sturdy!
When we play games or Curly wants to play memory, I will pull out Little Man’s matching cards. He received a set from my mom for Christmas, they are farm-themed and to play he tries to fit two pieces together to make one picture. He usually does pretty well, but like most kids, does better when someone plays with him! I will usually talk about what piece we found and what part of the item we are looking for. I also will ask him to name the picture and what colors he sees or what noise the animal makes. He is pretty smart if I do say so myself! It won’t be long before he will be beating me at memory like his sister! (You could also do this activity while matching colors or shapes together)
This is a simple thing for your toddler and older kids to do, but I have a feeling many parents cringe when thinking of getting it out! Many preschoolers I have had would always want to play with play dough for their free-time and when asked about theirs at home would say, “I never get to play with it!” Believe me, I get it…it can get everywhere! Play dough, kinetic sand, and slime are in the same boat for me..but they are all great for building fine motor skills. If I can get Little Man in his high chair with some play dough and tools, he will stay busy for at least 30 minutes! He loves to try to use the “cookie cutters”, knife, and scissors, and will say “I cut it!” I will talk to him about the colors of the play dough, shapes he makes, and will prompt him to try to roll snakes or balls. I will also try to involve him and Curly in the clean up and have them get out the little broom and take turns.
To do this activity, get out some noodles and some containers or pots and pans and utensils. Then let your child sit on the floor and pour them back and forth and stir and cook! My husband let Little Man do this first, can you believe it? I guess his mom would let him and his brothers play with rice and beans in the kitchen! It is a great way for them to pretend to cook like Mom and Dad! They can think about what they want to make and use lots of different vocabulary about cooking and baking. Just make sure to pick up all the noodles so they don’t get crushed and your dog doesn’t eat them. (Mine will eat uncooked noodles..is that normal?) Then you can put them in a container or bag to play with another time!
Building with Blocks
Blocks are something I would think most of us have at home in some shape or form! There are so many different kinds to use! Just at my house we have wooden ones, duplos, legos, and magnatiles! Little Man loves all of them, but especially likes the magnatiles! While building, he uses his fine motor skills to fit them together. He also talks about the shapes he uses and will say, “More triangles” etc. While building with blocks, you could measure how tall your toddler’s structure is and and compare it to other toys or them. You could also talk about what they are making and what they need to finish it. There are so many possibilities!
Play is so important! It is how little ones learn and develop. They get to practice taking turns and using their words with friends and family! So go ahead and pick ones of these activities to try with your toddler today!
Simply by Christine