Try making every day a different colour. On Monday, your child can wear red and eat a red apple or beans. On Tuesday, they can eat yellow, eat a banana for breakfast or look for yellow cars on the street. It’s a fun way to teach your toddler all the colours.
Put hats, shirts, dresses, shoes, scarves, gloves and jewellery you don't need in a big 'dressing-up box'. Your child can try them on. Your old freebies will be more fun for your toddler than expensive dress-up clothes in the shops.
You could have a fashion show and take photos. Don't give your toddler any small pieces of jewellery in case they put them in their mouths. Watch them when they play to check that they don’t get tangled or hurt.
Make space for your child’s imagination to come alive with chairs, sheets and blankets. Suddenly, there’s a castle in your house or a tent in the jungle. They might invite you in or they might not.
Hide and seek
Hide and seek can liven up everyday routines and will help develop your child’s growing body and memory.
Scrunch up newspaper or magazine pages into small balls to make mini basketballs. See who can throw the furthest. If your toddler likes this, make it more difficult by putting a bin, hoop or bowl a couple of metres away. You can both take turns at throwing the ball into the ‘basket.’ Give your child experience of using their right and left hands.
This activity is good exercise. It also helps hand-and-eye coordination, balance and teaches your child about taking turns. Wash their hands when the game is over because newspaper will blacken their hands.
You can use empty plastic bottles and kitchen roll tubes as skittles – just line them up and knock them down. Put the skittles about a metre from where your toddler is standing. You can use a rolled up pair of socks as a ball and take turns rolling it at the skittles.
Count each skittle that falls down. If the game gets too easy, put the skittles on the other side of the room and try it again. As your toddler gets better at the game, they improve their hand-and-eye coordination.
Online learning games
There are online games to help you play, talk and read with your child. The games are easy to use. To play games and learn together, go to:
More useful links
- National Children's Bureau
- Early Years
- CBeebies Pre-school games
- The Incredible Years
- Autism NI
Information based on similar messages from Play Talk Read Scotland.