The toddler years are a time of huge development and growth and you can help your child reach maximum potential by playing suitable toddler games and organizing activities that will stimulate and entertain.
Once a child gets onto their feet and becomes mobile, a wonderful world of new excitement and experience opens up.
The time between 12 and 24 months of age is when the individual personalities of children start to emerge.
Battles of will, first attempts at making sentences and absolute delight at the wonder of the world around them are all aspects of this time in your child’s life. It might not always be easy, but it sure is going to be fun!
Don’t think that you have to devise toddler games and activities to keep your child amused all day, every day. A child needs time to explore their world for themselves; they need to learn to play alone; they need to make their own fun and entertainment.
The activities you organize will be short-lived, with quick results â€“ a toddler has a short attention span. Some games will be spontaneous, prompted by the moment.
Children thrive on routine and it helps them be settled and confident. Establish a workable routine for your toddler, but be prepared for flexibility. Some days, things just seem to go in another direction, and that’s OK too.
As well as prepared toddler games, have regular activities outside the home, preferably involving other children. You might attend a Playgroup on Tuesdays and have swimming lessons on Thursdays, for example.
Toddlers enjoy exploring the world they live in and they will start to repeat words for everyday objects. Toddler games that focus on the parts of the body; learning concepts such as up and down, out and in, front and back etc are able to be grasped and enjoyed.
They enjoy repeating the names of their toys, siblings, parents, grandparents and friends. Large muscle development is important so encourage your toddler to run, climb, jump and play on playground equipment.
Rhymes and singing games are popular toddler games. There are some wonderful children’s CDs available with simple songs that your toddler will enjoy. Sing with your child and teach them the actions that go with action games and songs.
Fine motor skills, manual dexterity and manipulation are developed in this time. Toddler games that involve building things are important. Wooden blocks of different shapes are an inexpensive toy that will last for years, and are great for a variety of games.
Of course, when you build something up, you then have to knock it down; this is often more fun than the building! Nesting cups are another toddler game that will give hours of enjoyment; the child learns the concepts of varying size and shape.
You will start to see the early signs of creativity at this age, so provide crayons, paints, play dough and colored shapes for sticking. Try not to control the creative process in these creative toddler gamesâ€“ there is no right or wrong, it is about exploring and having fun, so just let them go.
As a parent, your role is to encourage and praise all efforts, to provide the basics for exploration and inspiration, to organize simple toddler games and to have fun together. This is an amazing stage of baby development â€“ enjoy it!