It has been such a delight to speak with Janice and to feature her guest post! I love this post and while we already include some of these games in our daily/weekly routine, others I had not thought of yet. I can see lots of fun in store for Abby, especially right now during these cold winter days when we’re stuck inside. I hope you enjoy this fantastic guest post!
Best Games for Toddlers
For toddlers, play is serious work! This is how children develop gross and fine motor skills, learn language, begin to grasp the concepts of sharing and teamwork, and get great exercise to burn off some of that boundless energy. Providing toys and games, and the opportunity to experiment with and use them, is one of the most important jobs for any parent. Luckily, because of children’s limitless imaginations, virtually any game or toy can become a terrific learning experience. What are some must-haves for playtime?
First, consider the age of your child. Very young toddlers can play games like peek-a-boo, very easy hide-and-seek (she can watch you hide, for instance, or you can both hide in the same place), rolly ball, and other games that are suitable for their level of coordination and development. As your toddler begins to grow, incorporate more imagination and challenge with these great games:
- Tea party. For boys and girls, tea parties are a great way to learn socialization and language skills, as well as easy concepts, such as water flows down and not up. As your child pours and hands out “tea,” it strengthens motor skills. Choose a chunky plastic tea set so your child can handle it without fear of breaking.
- Catch me if you can. If there’s one thing toddlers love, it is being chased. Pretend to be a roaring lion or a dancing unicorn to spice things up. This is a great way to develop muscles – your child’s and yours – and increase stamina. Best of all, you don’t need any equipment other than your feet.
- Time to dance! Play snippets of your toddlers’ favorite upbeat tunes. As she dances, she will learn more about rhythm. You can also do a dance move and then have her copy it, and vice versa to learn about taking turns.
- Hi-Ho Cherry-O. If your child is ready for board games, try this. The object is to be the first to get 10 cherries in your basket. You spin the arrow, which instructs you to pick one, two, three, or four cherries for your basket. But if you land on the bird or dog, you have to take two cherries from your basket and return them to the tree. Worse, you could have to spill your bucket and start over. No reading is required, and Hi-Ho Cherry-O helps you teach counting (from 1 to 10).
- Candy Land. Another “first” board game, this classic has a tale attached. “Once upon a time, King Kandy, the Imperial Head Bonbon and Grand Jujube of Candy Land disappeared.” Kids then have to help find the King by moving their game pieces across the colored path through places like Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountain. Your child draws a card, looks at the color, and then moves to the nearest square of that color on the board. It requires no reading and very little counting – just a big sweet tooth!
- UNO Moo. Toddlers will love this modified version of the classic game. Instead of matching numbers, as in the original, you match 3D animal figures or colors. This great 3D update comes with 1 Play-and-Store Barn, 28 animal and farmer pieces, 4 haystack partitions (to hide your “cards”), and instructions. This is a game that won’t drive parents crazy, which is always a bonus!
- Video or computer games. When chosen carefully, these games can be fun and educational. We live in a computer-driven world, and video and computer games can give your child a leg-up on learning these important skills. If you monitor your children’s games and time spent, these can be a great tool. Some great choices include:
- Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
- Sesame Street: Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure
- LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game
- Nickelodeon Fit
- Jump Start Pet Rescue
- Winnie the Pooh Rumbly Tumbly
Anytime is playtime for toddlers. Give them the tools they need to grow a strong, healthy body and mind – and play with them! You might find you reap some important benefits yourself.
About the Author
JaniceS7 is an event consultant with over 10 years of experience in the industry. As a regular blog contributor at http://www.baby-gifts-gift-baskets.com, she shares her baby shower planning tips, parenting advice and newborn gift ideas.