Toddlers games are essential. In a world where screens dominate, make sure your toddlers have time to enjoy good old fashioned games.
Life is so busy these days that parents and kids are forgetting how to play together. We moms have so much to do and have to get from A-to-B each day that the simple past time of sitting down on the ground to play with our young ones is way down on the priority list. I know, I have been there.
Life and homemaking can push out the simple act of playing a game. It’s amazing though that when we put aside our to-do-list we and get down to a young child’s level, how good we feel about connecting in this way. I hope that this e-zine will give you some practical ways to include playing games with your toddler or pre-schooler.
The predominant culture of today is one of technology and our toddlers have not escaped this. Computer games, Wii, Xbox and TV tend to form the basis of play for many children of all ages. This is neither recommended nor wise for any age and in particular for toddlers, who need to develop correctly through using all their senses while interacting with the world around them.
Toddlers games are so important. There are very few parents who do not have their children’s best interests at heart, yet many of them still see screen based entertainment as a good way to keep their children occupied.
Perhaps it is laziness on the parent’s side, or it can be that a toddler is insistently demanding it all the time. Either way, it is advisable to keep them away from screen-based entertainment for as long as possible, even into the teen years. The careful monitored used of computers for educational games along with a balanced lifestyle is fine. Another reason to encourage toddler games is that you are able to gauge where your child is with regards to their developmental milestones.
Toddlers games that require language will allow you to hear if they have the right vocabulary levels or sentence structure. While games that involve balancing and climbing will give you a good indicator of their gross motor skills for example. Further to this, when a parent enters the play world of a toddler they begin to relax and unwind as you connect with your child in their space, at their level instead of playing taxi and disciplinarian.
Perhaps at this point I should point out that playing a game is not the same as doing an activity or craft with your child. A game is a game – some ideas will follow. Lastly, playing games with your toddler allows them to take the lead and develop skills relating to decision-making.
I like to group games into imaginary play, educational play and free play. Imaginary play between a mom and child can be having a tea party, playing with Lego City, setting up tents in the lounge with sheets and blankets and visiting each other, dressing up…you get the idea.
Educational play is generally around puzzles, board games, fine and gross motor activities. Free play is dumping the to do list and going for an adventure to a natural spot or a river, a walk in the forest or making sandcastles on the beach. All these things store up great memories for mom and child.
You can even use games to help instruct your children. We used to have telephone conversations with one another on plastic telephones or we would answer the door and invite people in – obviously I was the person on the other side of the door and the children were instructed on stranger safety. These are lovely non-confrontational ways to teach your toddler phone and visitor etiquette.
If you don’t already have one, now is the time to gather items together for a dress up box. When our 18yr old was a toddler she loved Noddy. I made her a Noddy outfit by getting some cheap blue cotton shorts and a red cotton T-shirt. The necktie and hat needed to be made but it was easy enough with my rudimentary sewing skills. Another favourite for another child was Winnie the Pooh and we bought fun fur and made the cast of characters “headdresses”. Other items in the box were feather bowers, old shoes, jewellery and bags hunted from thrift shops.
I hope you are encouraged to have some fun with your toddlers!
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