Is there anyone harder to keep entertained than a two-year-old? Just a single two-year-old seems to contain more energy than three sets of parents. If you’re pulling your hair out trying to keep your adorable little demon from climbing up the walls, sliding down the stairs, or drawing eyebrows on the dog, we’ve got you covered. These super fun and simple games for toddlers will keep them busy, burn up all that extra energy, and bring on all those sweet giggles.
Toddlers are strange and tiny humans. Although they may seem like everlasting balls of energy, luckily, there’s an off switch. Most of the time, it comes in the form of a game (or nap). Little kids are suckers for cool and engaging activities. So, if you’re looking for some ideas, you’ve hit the mother load, Mama.
1. Simon Says
Simon Says is kind of the ultimate game to play when you’re having a sick day — kiddos can have tons of fun and you don’t have to leave the couch. Bonus: This also helps teach your toddler listening skills.
2. Hot or Cold?
Is your sweetie looking for their lovey and you know exactly what it is? Teach them how to play Hot and Cold and help them find their stuff “on their own.” Remember: “Warmer” and “hot” means they’re getting closer to their item and “cooler” and “cold” means they’ve moved farther away.
3. Puzzles for Toddlers
Want to teach your babe patience and hand-eye coordination? Puzzles are a great way to do this! Not all kids click with puzzles, so start with one or two options with different levels of difficulty. Want to cut down costs? Ask your Mom friends if they have any puzzle lovers and offer to do an exchange.
4. Which Doesn’t Belong?
Toss a Barbie in the dino bin. Put one clementine wedge in with their apple slices. Or simply line up a bunch of blue toys and sneak in something purple. As this gets easier, find a way to make it more challenging, again. (For instance: Sneak in one jungle animal amid a bunch of farm animals.)
If you don’t have one of those super cool parachutes, a large sheet will work. There are a million games you can play with a parachute and most of them encourage listening skills.
6. One For You, One For Me
Remember when your baby used to share her bink with you? Now it’s like pulling teeth to even steal a goldfish from her lunch. Teach her the art of sharing (and the principle of division) by having her divvy up similar items, like her crayons, blocks, or Fruit Loops. Start with, “I’d like to color, too” or “I’m super hungry. Will you share your snack?”
7. Move and Groove Dance Game
Similar to story dice or the dice you keep in your bedroom, the Think Fun Move and Groove Dice is accompanied by various flashcards that match up to the colors on the sides of the dice. The flashcards give commands like, “Disco Dance” or “Skip around the room.”
8. Sock Toss
Used balled-up socks and toss them into the laundry basket. This is a great game for strengthening hand-eye coordination. If your kiddo is ready, let them help you match up the family’s socks, first, so that they’re helping with chores and still having fun.
9. DIY Balance Beam
Got painters’ tape? Of course you do! Stick down lines of tape to the floor for your toddler to practice walking on. Start by going in straight lines, then add zig-zags or loops.
10. Hide and Seek
You played this. Your mom played this. The Waltons played this. If you don’t feel like hiding yourself, consider hiding a favorite toy or just letting your kiddo be the constant hider.
11. Where’s Bear
This game of nesting blocks is like a more contained version of hide-and-seek. Each block is another room the bear could be hiding in — But where will you find him this time? The Where’s Bear kit comes with directions for five different ways to utilize the toy.
12. Hokey Pokey
“You put your right arm in. You put your right arm out.” This simple song and dance can help your toddler learn their right and left. They also burn a lot of energy when they “shake it all about.”
13. Floor Is Lava
Your two-year-old probably isn’t ready for the intense version of Floor Is Lava that entails jumping from the couch to the ottoman. However, using some hand towels or throw pillows to make a path on the floor is a good start. Keep things close together and avoid slick surfaces.
14. Scavenger Hunt
Need a few seconds of peace to text your partner? “Can you find me something soft, square, and red?” (The throw pillow on your bed.) “Do you know where you can find something yellow that squeaks? (The dog’s school bus toy.) Send your toddler on mini scavenger hunts. Just make sure to offer lots of praise when they return with the item — even if it’s not the red square item you were thinking of.
15. First Orchard
Just an overly simplistic version of “Orchard,” but such a great game to play. Your littles will feel like a big kid because they’re playing a board game. First Orchard also teaches teamwork, colors, and counting.
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