Toddlers have the shortest attention span second only maybe to a goldfish; five minutes of an activity and they wander off to find something else to do which can make days at home seem like an endless stretch of trying to find things to keep them entertained and occupied.
Recently we have found that Amelia is less into her toys and more into exploring new skills; like throwing and climbing so I did a little research for some games and activities to play with her that are fun but also help her to develop motor skills and understanding.
No I don’t mean out on the courts although if you’re toddler can throw a basket then you’re financially set for life at this stage. I’m talking more small scale; throwing some balls into a basket or bin to practice their throwing and aiming skills.
You don’t even have to use proper balls if you’re worried about things getting broken, bean bags or soft juggling balls will do just as well. Anything you’re little one can hold and throw at the basket or bin or card box box. What ever you have lying around at home can be used for this game.
It’ll help your toddler learn to throw with aim and enough force to reach their target, teach them to collect their things when they’re finished and help them to understand cause and effect of throwing something in a controlled way.
We’ve tried this one with a toy box and juggling balls; it was amusing to say the least. Not a single ball in the box because Amelia’s idea of throwing is to launch the ball up over her head behind her and then spend ages looking around for it in front of her. It kept her busy for a while though and nothing got broken so that’s a win.
This might be one for outside if you’re toddlers are particularly boisterous but at this age (around 18 months) toddlers who are confident in walking are just starting to get the hang of running, albeit wobbly and staggering more like a drunken student, but running nonetheless.
Once they figure out they can move faster than walking, they’ll want to do it all the time and running away from you is a firm favourite. I mean, you’ve seen how quick they can move away from you when it’s bed time right.
Playing chase is a great way to burn off some excess energy too when you’ve been indoors for a little too long and catching them with a big tickling session with get them giggling all day long.
Colours & shape sorting
This one will require some thinking from your little one, you can use anything you have at home for this, as long as there are repetitive colours and shapes that they can sort into groups.
I’ve played this with Amelia using bottle tops; we’ve (tried) to separate them by colours into groups of blue, green, red, white or by size; big ones and small ones. It always starts off fairly successfully and then just ends up in a scatter of bottle tops all over the place and a bit of throwing but over time she will start to recognise the colours and shapes and it’ll become easier for her to put them together.
If you don’t have a stash of bottle tops you could try coloured wooden blocks, lego/duplo bricks, laundry pegs etc…
Find & collect
One of Amelia’s favourite things to do is to find things and bring them to you, thinks you didn’t even ask her for but she wants to show you that she found them. So we made a game of it; just by looking around the room I’ll ask her if she can find something and bring it to me.
Can she find her shoes, her bunny, the TV remote, the yellow brick, the blue car, you get the idea.
We don’t play it for too long because she gets frustrated when she doesn’t understand what I’m asking her for but you’d be amazed how much they do understand and how many general household items they know when you ask them to find them.
Hint – this can be a great way to find things they’ve previously hidden from you.
Don’t try this one unless you’re prepared for the noise but if you can handle it then it’s great fun. Again, you don’t have to go out and buy toy instruments, you can make them at home.
Dried pasta in a plastic bottle, a wooden spoon on a metal pan, even two building blocks can make brilliant noises and you’re toddler will be thrilled by all the different sounds they can make just by banging and shaking things.
These are some of my favourite activity ideas I found online and I’ve tried them in some fashion or another and we enjoy them. I hope these have given you a couple of ideas of things to try with your little one when you’re stuck at home.
Let me know some of your own favourite home activities; I’d love to give them a try.