Toddlers are so curious and always on the go. Their play provides many natural opportunities for moving and learning. Simply giving your toddler the name of something she is carrying helps them learn. It can be as easy as “Look at that red ball in your hands!” Some of my favorite active ideas for learning are below.
Math Concepts for Toddlers
Basic math concepts, such as shapes, sorting, colors, even number recognition, can be easily incorporated into your play – in fact, you are probably already doing many of these activities!
Using painter’s tape, make a tape shape game.
Using familiar objects is popular with toddlers – try using them in a sorting game!
Play with non-standard measurements, such as the cat in the hat’s hat!
Spatial concepts can be explored using puzzles – try a block puzzle piece scavenger hunt or making your own puzzle on the floor using blocks and painter’s tape, letting your toddler fill up the shape!
Language Concepts for Toddlers
With my toddler, sometimes it’s the sillier the better. And many of the ways we work on language development – from rhyming to classifying the objects around us – are downright silly!
Outdoor play provides so many language opportunities – one of my favorite speech pathologist shares 6 ways to make the most of the outdoors!
Rhyming can be especially fun – we like to take rhyming nature walks!
Toddler Twister, adding a pile of colorful toys to the classic game, and matching colors.
Block basketball, naming (and tossing!) different colors of soft blocks, is a game I feel sure my toddler would love!
Science Concepts & Experimentation for Toddlers
There are endless ways to play with a simple tube – and a gravity experiment using toy cars is one that is sure to delight!
Mixing and making bubbles is always a fun experiment (really for any age!).
You could also try making, and even painting with, rainbow bubble water!
Create a nature wristband from painter’s tape and go on a nature walk.
Learn about gravity with a simple ball experiment.
Work on classification and play the Label Game using your toddler’s favorite toys.
Create rainbow water (and combine play with fine and large motor skills – plus make pretty water!).
Reading Concepts for Toddlers
Our favorite activity to encourage reading is to read together – everything and often! We’ve also worked in some play with letter recognition. My toddler has started to take an interest in the letters used by his older brother to form words, so I’m going with it!
Build a book fort to add some adventure to your reading.
We love acting out scenes from our favorite books. For instance, reading Good Night Gorilla, we will walk around bidding our stuffed animals goodnight, and then help them sneak out of their cages. Check out this great list of toddler books for inspiration.
Let your toddler put out chalk flames and work on letter recognition with pretend firehoses!
Ride (or walk or run) through the ABC’s with your toddler using sidewalk chalk outside.
Or climb through an ABC spiderweb – you can even turn it into a scavenger hunt.
Use brightly colored tape to put letters onto large blocks to build with letters.
Go on a name scavenger hunt.
Mark-Making for Toddlers
Take a chalk walk for some outdoor mark-making.
Turn your driveway into a canvas for your toddler with scented sidewalk paint – adding a fun sensory element to mark-making. And the recipe is easy!
Move & Learn with Preschoolers and K-2nd grade
Hands On: As We Grow is sharing move and learn activities for preschoolers. Her post is packed with ideas for working on preschool skills – letters, body part recognition, shapes and colors, and more!
Coffee Cups and Crayons is sharing move and learn activities for kindergarten through second grade, full of ideas for being active while learning math and reading!
Each of us will be sharing new fun ways to move & learn next week, so stop by to check it out!
Looking for baby and toddler play ideas? Check out Zero to Two: the book of play, an e-book I co-authored! It’s includes 25 step-by-step tutorials with pictures, as well as links to over 50 more ways to play with babies and toddlers – all for $8.99.