Toddlers are busy busy busy and often into everything. The best way to keep a toddler out of mischief is to provide toddler-friendly activities that will keep little hands and minds busy. The premise of toddler play is this…PUT IN, DUMP OUT, AND DO IT AGAIN! Here are 10 activities for toddlers based on this premise.
1. Muffin Tin: Gather 12 balls and a muffin tin. Little ones will enjoy putting the balls into the muffin tin over and over again! Be sure to use larger balls that won’t pose a choking hazard to your child.
Get creative and find different objects to put in the muffin tin. You can turn this into a fine motor activity by providing your child with a small pair of tongs to pick up the items – in this case plastic bugs! If you child puts things in his/her mouth, be sure to supervise this activity.
2. Coffee Can: Collect frozen juice lids for your toddler to drop into an empty coffee can that has a slit cut in the lid. Fun Fun Fun!!! This is highly reinforcing because of the loud clanging noise the lids make as they land in the coffee can.
3. Clothespins in a Bottle: Provide your child with a clean,empty Gatorade or Juicy Juice plastic bottle and a handful of old-fashioned clothespins (not the kind with springs). Watch as your child practices fine motor skills by putting the pins in the bottle and then uses problem solving skills to figure out how to get them out so the activity can repeated again and again.
4. Egg Carton: Dig through your Easter supplies and find 12 colored plastic eggs. Encourage your child to put the eggs into an empty egg carton. If you want to get creative you can place small toys inside each of the eggs. Your child will have fun putting the eggs in and taking the eggs out of the carton. This becomes a fine motor task if your child takes the eggs apart and puts them back together again. This becomes a language activity if your child is labeling the objects placed inside the eggs and this encourages cognitive development when your child has to match the 2 halves of the eggs together by color. Again, be cautious of using small objects that can become a choking hazard.
5. Wipes Tub and Milk Jug Lids: Huggies wipes tubs are the BEST containers for little hands. Toddlers will enjoy putting milk jug lids through the rubber slit in the top of the wipes tub. *** These can be a choking hazard so this toy should be provided only with close adult supervision.
6. Pringles Can and Straws: Punch 5 holes in the lid of an empty Pringles can (now you have a good reason to snack on those yummy chips!). Show your toddler how to put drinking straws into the holes. This encourages fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination for your little learner.
7. Baby Basketball: Find a small basket or box and 10-12 ball pit balls. Show your child how much fun it is to put the balls into the basket, dump them out and do it again! You can encourage counting skills, color identification, color labeling, or just learning to say the word “ball” with this exciting activity.
8. Buckets of Blocks: Gather some wooden blocks and two small buckets or containers. Your child will enjoy dumping the blocks our or taking the blocks from one container and dropping them into the empty container. Show your child how to pour the blocks from one container to the next to encourage 2 handed play.
9. Memory Game Cards and Wipes Tub: This is a fabulous way to enhance your young child’s vocabulary development. The small, sturdy cards from the Classic Memory Game fit perfectly into a toddler’s small hands (and are difficult to destroy!). Your child will enjoy “mailing” the cards in the Huggies wipes tub while learning the words for common objects.
10. Scarves in a Tissue Box: This is SO much fun! Place several colorful scarves into an empty tissue box and watch as your toddler pulls them out one by one!
Remember…the premise of toddler play…PUT IN, DUMP OUT, and DO IT AGAIN!!!