It’s important for babies and toddlers to play, as it helps them learn vital new skills. If you’re stuck for ideas as to how to play with your baby or toddler, here are some tried and tested play ideas that they may enjoy.
Play helps babies and toddlers learn new skills, gain knowledge, explore their abilities and develop in many ways. During this age group, they’re undergoing heaps of growth and development and playing can aid this significantly. In fact, engaging your baby or toddler in age appropriate play can do wonders for their early childhood education and learning ability and give them a good foundation for future learning.
You may well find that your baby or toddler develops favourite play activities, which they want to do time and time again. But when you feel you could get sick of singing the same song or building a tower yet again, it’s likely that they may also eventually tire of the activity and move on to developing another favourite.
As much as you may be keen to play with your baby or toddler, there will no doubt be days when you’re lacking in inspiration or want to come up with some new ideas of things that will stimulate them. So below you’ll find some possibilities that you could try.
Baby Play Ideas
Babies thrive on simple and repetitive play ideas so, although you may invest in some toys for your baby, as lot of activities can be fun, entertaining and stimulating for a baby without spending a lot of money.
- Babies love songs, especially with repetitive words (when they’re older, they can join in too).
- Books are great for children and can getting them into books from a young age is beneficial. Books for babies are often brightly coloured, have touch-and-feel aspects or may be interactive. You can read them stories and engage their attention with the colour and pictures.
- Hand and finger puppets are lots of fun and you can create your own stories to entertain your baby. Use funny voices or accents for an extra degree of entertainment!
- Rattles and other toys that make noises are lots of fun for babies.
- Baby play mats, which have rattles, scrunchy noises or other playful aspects included help gain a baby’s attention.
Toddler Play Ideas
When they’re able to start toddling, or perhaps shuffling at first, children are on the move and active. At this age, it’s good to introduce more physical play ideas, as these will help them improve their motor skills, balance and coordination.
- Making towers of building blocks is great fun, but develops key skills too. Children will probably love the part where they get to knock things down too!
- Many toddlers love dressing up boxes and acting out play themes.
- Drawing, colouring and other art and craft activities are loved by many toddlers, plus it can help their fine motor skills.
- Playing with a ball – either playing catch or kicking it around.
- Walking and running around outside or playing in a children’s playground.
- For some outdoor activities, older toddlers can help in the garden, by watering plants or planting seeds.
- Singing songs is loved by toddlers too and adding actions adds an extra element.
For other ideas, see what types of activities are offered by mother and baby groups or playschools, or ask other parents what their children enjoy.