Your toddler is keen to explore, experience and learn about the world. She does this through play and interactions with others. You can help your toddler learn and develop with our toddler play ideas and toddler games.
What to expect from toddler play
Your toddler wants time to look at and try everything he sees. He’ll stop to look at cracks in the cement, watch the lift doors open and shut, or observe the birds walking around. That’s why a walk to the shop can sometimes take an hour!
Your toddler also wants to see how things work. She’ll open and close drawers, turn containers upside down to check out their contents, put toast in the DVD player, and put all sorts of objects into all sorts of holes to see what happens.
By the time she’s three, ‘pretend’ games like dress ups and playing house are likely to be favourite activities. This type of imaginative and creative play also helps your toddler express and explore new emotions she might be feeling at this age, like frustration, sadness and anger.
At this age, your toddler is learning the power of words – especially the word ‘no’. He often won’t like it when you tell him ‘no’, especially when he’s busy playing and exploring. He can’t understand that you might just be trying to keep him safe. Sometimes you might find your ‘no’ coming straight back at you.
If you let your child take charge with toddler games whenever it’s safe and practical, it teaches her about making decisions and using her imagination. When your child is leading, you can ask questions about what she’s doing or wants to do – for example, ‘Oh, you’re riding your horse to the shops, are you?’
Toddlers are full of energy – they run, reach out and express their active imaginations. With all this activity going on, it’s a good idea to make your home safe for your child to play and explore in.
Repetition in play is extremely important for children, and your toddler will repeat things over and over. For example, he might spend ages putting things into containers, tipping them out, putting them back in, and then tipping them out again. This repetition is how your toddler masters skills and understands what to expect in certain situations.
Toddler play ideas and toddler games
Play is not only fun – it’s also how children learn. You’re still the best toy for your toddler to play with – and the best toddler games still have you playing a very important part.
Here are some tips for toddler play:
Speak to your paediatrician or General Practitioner (GP) if, by 18-24 months, your toddler isn’t interested in different kinds of play, exploring different objects and toys, or sharing toys when playing with you.
Video: Play and learning with toddlers (18-35 months)
Watch this video and learn tips on how to engage and play with your toddler.
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