Summer is the time for fun and games. But, what if your toddler is bored of the usual games and is looking for something new? We've lined up some amazing, doable play-ideas that will fascinate your child, help you bond better with her and keep her off mischief.
Explore shapes with toy scissors
Young children love to draw! So why not make them the object of their sketch? Make your child lie down on a big chart sheet, and interest him in making silhouettes of his leg, arm or even his whole body. He can then spend time cutting the sheet with child-friendly scissors and giving shape to the silhouettes. In an activity like this, your child will learn a sense of self, hand-eye co-ordination and identification of body parts, and also articulate any questions he may have about the human anatomy.
It is never too early to teach the next generation to respect, nurture and protect nature. Encourage your child to paint using materials that she can collect from in and around your home. Leaves, flowers, stones—all of these can be used as a brush to create a beautiful painting. Like finger painting, nature painting offers hours of fun and joy. All it requires is sheets of paper, good quality poster paint and imagination. This kind of sensory play will help your child discover the world around them and also familiarise them with nature.
What you can do with ice
At this age, toddlers respond excitedly to all sensory stimulation. They will be especially intrigued by water in all its forms! Create a sea theme by filling up a tub with clean water mixed with blue food colours. Freeze water in different shaped cartons and containers to make ice of various shapes and put them all in the tub. Now, have a discussion with your toddler about how the ice looks, feels and behaves. You can also use this chance to make some ice lollies. Just pour your child’s favourite juice into ice trays, stick a toothpick, and freeze. Treat your child to an ice lolly every day this summer!
Pretend a picnic
A great way to get your child into the kitchen and get him to understand food and its preparation is to host a pretend picnic. Make a list of your toddler’s favourite foods. When you start cooking, get your child to sit down and watch what you are doing. Invite him to help you in whatever way he can. Baking cakes and making homemade sweets and chocolates are fascinating to children. Little girls, especially, love tea parties. So investing in a quality toy tea set is a good idea.
Fun with homemade play dough
While your two-year-old is playing chef in the previous activity, perhaps she can discover the wonders of homemade play dough! Heat two cups of water and pour in two cups of flour. Mix well, add two tablespoons of cream of tartar and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir over medium heat until the mixture reaches the consistency of a dough ball, pulling away from the sides. Stir in the desired food colouring. Voila! Let your child dip her hands into this, knead and squish and make fun shapes using cookie cutters.
Watch this easy video on how to make play dough.
Beading and sorting
Beads in all their forms can keep your toddler occupied for hours, as his lively brain will be stimulated by all the new colours and shapes. He will learn about numbers and calculation as you make him hunt for missing beads, or ask him to sort them into different boxes or containers. And, if you have a small cloth or jute string, you can make instant bracelets and anklets for your little girl. Adult supervision is a must in this activity, as small beads can pose a choking hazard.
Create a book character
Children love it when their favourite characters come alive. Whether it is Nemo from Finding Nemo or the caterpillar from the classic picture book, A Very Hungry Caterpillar, you can delight your baby by initiating her into paper craft. Teach your child to fold, bend and stick sheets of coloured paper together in order to make a replica of the charactars. This is also a good opportunity to introduce your child to toy scissors, by which she will learn hand-eye co-ordination.
Set up a grocery store
Children love pretending to be adults! Create a mock storefront in a window frame or an unused shelf. Fill it with some tins, pots, food items, a cash tray or even a small shopping trolley. You can then be the customer, and your toddler, the shopkeeper. And vice versa of course. Through this activity, simple basics of commerce, buying, selling and currency can be entertainingly explained to your toddler.
So you have a sports enthusiast at home? Gift him a home-made basketball court. Crunch up old newspapers into balls. Place a waste paper bin in the corner of a clutter-free space (make sure all breakable objects are stowed away safely!). Now see who can throw the balls the farthest, you or your child! Besides keeping him amused, this will also help to improve your toddler’s hand-eye coordination.
Make a bubble snake
What can give more joy to a toddler than the sight of rainbow-hued bubbles? Use a plastic bottle to help your child create a bubble snake. To make it, cut the bottom off of the plastic bottle. Cover the hole with a handkerchief or cotton sock. In a shallow bowl, mix a little water with liquid soap. Dip the sock-covered plastic bottle into this liquid soap mix and instruct your kid to blow. Watch as your toddler squeals in delight and makes long, slithery snake bubbles!