Kids games and play has been recorded since the most ancient civilisations. They form an integral part of our cultures and are one of the oldest ways of social interaction that humans and many animals have. When we look at the way toddlers play games, we see free play – where the imagination takes hold – and more formalised games with rules and goals for each child.
Not only is playtime important for childhood development and learning, it’s also at the heart of what it means to be a kid. It’s a chance for them to be free from any routine and just be allowed to have fun.
It’s very rare to find a toddler who loves to follow rules, so try to think of any boundaries set in a games or toddler activities as “suggestions”. The key is to provide some basic structure and then have fun with it. Your toddler is full of energy and curiosity, so a relaxed attitude is a good one to start with.
Here are some examples to get you going:
Toddler Games – Singing games with hand gestures are a favourite with toddlers. Anything they can remember and respond to will be a winner. Classics include: ‘Two little dickie birds’, ‘Brown bear, brown bear’, and ‘Incy, wincy spider’.
Toddler Play – Outdoor play is a great way for your toddler to be active and creative. Going to a local park or even taking a stroll in a garden is a good start. Introducing the idea of “let’s pretend” and taking a specific toy or prop with you can spark their imagination.
Group games – Playdates are an excellent opportunity for social interaction. Anything as simple as a game of pass the ball, musical statues, or follow the leader, will get them cooperating and having fun together.
Reading and singing are the perfect ways to introduce your toddler to play. Encourage them to be active and fearless, and you will see a child who is increasingly engaged, interactive and inventive.