One of the tried and true games for toddlers is duck-duck-goose. Have the kids sit in a circle. One child is “it” and goes around the circle, tapping the other children on the head. While they do this, they say “duck” each time they touch a head. When they get to the person of their choice, they say “goose!” The goose then chases the child around the circle, back to his or her spot. If the person who was it gets tagged, he or she must go to the center of the circle, the “pot” until someone else is tagged. The “goose” then becomes “it” and the process starts again. If the person who was it makes it to the goose’s spot without getting tagged, the goose takes the roll of being “it” and play begins again.
Another of the great games for toddlers is Simon says. Simon says helps children learn to follow directions. The leader gives a series of commands, but the child is only supposed to follow the command if the leader begins by saying “Simon Says.” If they do a command without the magic words, they are out. Kids have to learn to listen carefully while playing Simon says.
“Hide The Doll” is another of the fun games for kids. Choose a doll or other small toy, and hide it somewhere while all of the other kids close their eyes. Then the others look for the toy whoever finds it gets to hid it the next time. This is one of the best games for toddlers to teach attention and increase attention spans.
One of the best things about games for toddlers is that they do not have to be complicated. For example, give a toddler a bucket and some sand, and they will play for hours dumping and filling the bucket. You can do the same thing with coffee cans and small toys. Just check to make sure there are no sharp edges on the can. Peek a Boo is another great game for toddlers. It teaches cause and effect. The parent hides behind a barrier and then jumps out saying “Peek A Boo!” Do not be surprised to hear lots of laughing with this game!
Messy activities make great games for toddlers. Take a table outside and strip your toddler down to their onesie. Put some shaving cream on the table, and let them explore! This is a lot of fun for little fingers, and gives them the opportunity to explore textures they do not normally feel.
Put on some music and dance around the room with your toddler. This is one of the best and easiest games to play with a small child. Be creative! Choose different styles of music for this activity.
Whatever game you play with your toddler, make it fast-paced, and don’t expect your child to have a long attention span for the game. Toddlers learn through play, but they need a wide variety of activities to keep them engaged. Do not take it personally if your idea of a fun game is not theirs. They will enjoy it someday, just not today! Move on to the next thing! Don’t be afraid to make a mess. That is part of the fun of being a kid. Just have a clean pair of clothes and a bathtub nearby. Making a mess is most of the fun of playing!