Here are a few easy, new play ideas for your infant and toddler with simple infant toys, infant activities and free toddler games.
There's a tendency for new parents to want to get all types of toys for their new baby.
Before running to the toy store and loading up on new toys, there are dozens of ways your child can play for hours on end, learning and having a great time.
Infant Toys, Infant Activities: 3 to 6 months
- Infants explore objects with their hands, mouth and feet. Be sure to provide safe toys and clothes for handling, mouthing... and I'm not sure what to call footplay...perhaps feeting?
- I say, yes, do teach your infant to splash water. There is a lot to learn from watching, feeling and listening to water splashing.
- Infants will bat at a toy within their line of vision. So, hold up toys to entice them. Batting at an object and those first accidental grasps help your infant learn to reach with intent.
- Choose toys that are easy for fingers to hook into.
- Destruct paper goods and then crumple paper. You know, babies love that. (Perhaps you've accidentally left your cheque book within reach?) Offer supervised (remember that mouthing exploration) opportunities to crumple paper safely.
- Try putting a blanket close enough that your infant can pull it in.
Infant Toys, Infant Activities: Under 12 months
- Grasp strings: does your infant have toys with straps and strings securely attached to grasp and wind fingers (and toes) through?
- Play under furniture: toddlers learn about the size of their body by playing in, under and on furniture. You learn how tall you are by banging your head on what is above you. Be safe but don't restrict this important opportunity.
- Push that toy away: this is sometimes as much fun as pulling it in. Group some toys and push one away at a time.
- Destruct a block tower: key word here is destruct! While your young toddler may not be old enough to build a high tower he or she will certainly enjoy crashing one down. His or her giggles are worth your hard work building one up as high as you can.
- Pile and unpile flat objects like plastic lids.
- Kitchen cupboard play: give up and assign a kitchen cupboard to your kid. It'll go a long way to giving you time to cook healthy meals.
- Put things in: it doesn't have to be fancy. A few wooden blocks and a larger plastic container provide hours of fun by putting the block in and dumping it out. Or hide the block under the container.
- Dropping and throwing. Dropping objects is fun too. Offer lots of non-breakables for both.
Free Toddler Games: Under 18 months
- Nesting toys are the best. Or, as my friend Heidi puts it, her daughter plays with the nesting toy I gave her "ALL.THE.TIME."
- Placing and removing smaller nesting toys into larger ones teaches toddlers so much about the properties of toys. As well, the activity helps in developing grasp and release.
- Place a series of small objects or toys in a container and then close the lid: hours of fun!
- Small space to play in: didn't think your toddler would fit in there? Well, to him or her it is always worth a try. Try to provide child-friendly furniture that allows for that.
- Roll objects along a wall: this is an all-time favorite. You will be fascinated by it too!
As a new parent, you’re likely devouring books and articles on how best to raise your bundle of joy. If you haven’t yet read my free eBook: Enliven Your Child’s Days with Educational Activities and Parenting Best Practices, you can get your digital download here.