You’ve probably heard this saying a thousand times, “Kids are like sponges they absorb everything” —which is accurate, especially for toddlers. Kids are always absorbing new things and their primary mode of learning: Playtime.
It begins by playing side-by-side (also called the parallel play), then they grow into a more interactive stage, engaging with new information from their playmates and absorbing it. So with the right games, you can help boost your kids’ cognitive, physical, and emotional skills.
This game is a classic that teaches kids how to follow instructions. It can be played one on one or with a group of kids. The rules are simple: You are Simon and what you say goes.
For example, call out commands such as “Simon says touch your toes” and the kids are required to follow them. They key phrase here is “Simon says”—if you call out a command like “Jump up” without using Simon says, they will be eliminated.
Be sure to toss in some funny commands, too. You can do a silly dance, wiggle your ears, hop like a frog and many more. This game is excellent for teaching toddlers the names of their body parts.
You can try this game by hiding their favorite toy. Have them search the room. If they’re wandering away, say “cold” and as he gets closer say “warm, warmer, hot!” If they get frustrated, hold your kid’s hand while they look for it.
This game can sharpen your kid’s emotional skills. They will learn patience, perseverance, and the idea that just because you can’t see something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
This game is perfect for younger toddlers because you can teach them sharing. You can set out a pile of toys or crayons and ask them to distribute it while saying this phrase “One for you, one for me.” Make sure that you each have your container to hold your growing collections.
It’s more of a song rather than a game, but it is another classic that will help your kid follow and learn the name of their body parts.
This song, “Hokey-Pokey” is a simple one with instructional lyrics:
You put your left foot (you can substitute for any body part) in,
You put your left foot out,
You put your left foot in, and you shake it all about!
You do the Hokey Pokey
(Raise hands, wiggle fingers, move arms—you can do whatever, really)
And you turn yourself around
(Turn around in a full circle)
That’s what it’s all about!
(Clap with each syllable)
This game is best with a group of kids. All you have to do is spread out a large bed sheet (or a parachute if you have one!) and have your kids hold an edge tightly with both of their hands.
By working together, you can slowly raise it overhead and say “Up, up, up!” then lower it down by saying “Down, down, down!” When you call “Under, under, under!” everyone can let go of the sheet and go under quickly.
This game helps kids develop their exceptional motor skills while teaching them to wait and listen.
Send your kids on a scavenger hunt! Let them look for objects around your house based on your commands such as “Find me something round” or “Find me something red.”
Or you could ask them to choose from a bunch of random objects and ask them questions like “Which one is blue?” or “Which one is larger?” This game can enhance their logic and problem-solving skills.
Teach your kids problem-solving skills by hiding from them Or, you ask them to hide instead! This way your kids will think of ways or place where they can hide and let their imagination come alive. You could also ask them to hide an object in a sneaky spot of their choice.
Promote your kid’s motor skills, balance, and coordination with a fun, safe obstacle course. If your space allows, you can set up a small course in your living room or outside to get your kid jumping, running around, rolling, over or under objects or markers.
Puzzles are great for toddlers because they cover all bases: Physical (making the pieces fit), cognitive (solving the puzzle) and emotional skills (learning how to be patient). Building a puzzle can also boost your children’s memory, teach them about different shapes and sizes—and help them set (and meet) simple goals.
There are a whole lot of different kinds of puzzles, some are designed to help them learn numbers, colors, or the alphabet, and others are made with sounds for different animals and still others that help them learn shapes. Almost all puzzles usually have a guide that recommends them for certain age groups. This is one of the best games to play with kids indoors
You can place a series of blocks with the same color in front of your kids, making sure to add one block that’s different in color. Once your child has had the chance to look at all of the blocks, ask which is the odd one out, and you can start again.
You can make this game even harder by using flashcards of plants or shapes, then ask again which ones are similar and which are the ones who are different. This game teaches your kids to recognize how things differ.
After playing with your kids and teaching them sharing, problem-solving skills, and even their emotional skills, there’s one more thing that you should teach them: cleaning. You should take time to show them how to be helping by cleaning up, just doing little things at first, like picking up their toys and putting them away and throwing garbage in a trash can, Then later teach them to make their beds and put away their clothes. Teaching children takes time, so consider letting the professionals do the cleaning for you and hire a trusted house cleaning service so you can take extra time to play with your children.