Toddlers love spending time with Mom and Dad. They enjoy activities that engage all their senses as well as their bodies. If they can explore, wiggle, jump or do something that makes them curious, they love it. Young attention spans are short, so keep that in mind when planning play time and activities with your toddler. However, there ARE things toddlers and preschoolers will do for a long time if you let them. Here are five fun ways to play with your toddler.
1. BUBBLE FUN
Bubbles simply fascinate toddlers. You can blow them by the hour, and your child will squeal with delight. Talk about colors and size when you blow bubbles. Big bubble, small bubble. Count the bubbles. Turn playtime into learning fun whenever you can. Creative Kids at Home offers this recipe: mix two tablespoons of dish soap with one cup of water.
2. BUILDING FUN
Blocks are another classic toy kids love. Stackable wooden blocks, or large interlocking plastic blcosk, they all stack up to fun. Make a castle or a tunnel for cars to go through. Build a house or a fort. One thing you can do that your toddler will love is building a tower to knock over. Tots love doing this.
3. COOKING FUN
You might think this age is too young to help in the kitchen, but that's not the case. Toddlers love doing anything Mommy and Daddy (or grandparents) do, and that includes cooking. They can stir pudding or cake mix, sprinkle chocolate chips into cookie dough or place baby carrots on a dish. Let them spread their own jam on toast with a plastic butter knife.
4. READING FUN
Board books are great for little people. They won't sti still for long, but reading to your toddler is a wonderful way to nurture a love for books. This is the age you teach them to treasure books and not trea them or write in them. Don't worry if they don't listen to the whole story. Simply point out various things to them in the books and talk about them. Say things like, "See the cow? What does the cow say?"
5. WATER FUN
Kids of all ages love to play in the water. You can keep a toddler entertained for hours by them his a dishpan full of water and small plastic kitchen items like measuring spoons or plastic toys. Even action figures like to go for a swim now and then! Throw in a small cloth, and they are all set. If the weather is too cold to allow for outside play, then use a plastic tub — always with you present. Set it right in the kitchen. These are just a few things you and your toddler can do together. It's about quality time, and it doesn't take much to please toddlers. They simply want to be with you no matter what you're doing. — Belinda J. Mooney is a freelance writer.