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Fun Activities to Do with Toddlers

Tiffany Smith
April 16, 2007

Playing with blocks and dolls might not be your idea of a good time, but if you're caring for a toddler, you're going to have to learn to enjoy the simple things and activities.

Play is vitally important to a child's development. It is through play that he will learn basic motor skills, abstract thinking, social skills, language, math, good and bad, right and wrong.

If you don't remember how the smaller set has a blast, here are some reminders.

  • Make Believe. Your little charges have active imaginations. Piles of dirt are cities and towns; rocks are their residents. Name a gang of stuffed animals, and ask a child to tell you a story about them.
  • Music. Play with your own instruments, which can be pots and pans with a wooden spoon, or listen to CDs. You don't have to play kid-centric tunes, which can drive even the most patient soul batty. Opt for grownup musicians (who use kid-appropriate language!) children can sing along with: The Monkees, The Beach Boys, or Sheryl Crow, for instance.
  • Books. The classics, such as Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, still keep 'em captivated -- and giggling.
  • Puzzles. Young children can put a shape in the proper hole. As they get older, try basic picture puzzles.
  • Playgrounds. Many city-sponsored play areas have special sections for small children. Squat in the sandbox, bounce on a squishy surface, or take a ride down a slide.

Children need physical activity. Stroll around the yard and collect leaves, walk to the park for a picnic, or just run around. Check newspapers and the Internet for upcoming community events, such as fairs or story groups, or visit a museum or art gallery.

The bottom line

It's your job to keep a child mentally and physically stimulated. Plan a variety of activities, and never leave them languishing in front of the TV.

Fast fact

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education states that toddlers should spend at least 30 minutes a day participating in physical activities.

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