5 At Home Play Ideas For Every Toddler
You can’t go wrong with these at home play ideas for toddlers. Every toddler is different, but these indoor play ideas will please those with even the shortest attention spans! Keep your tot busy and help him or her to learn through play. From ball pits to forts, we’ve got ideas to please everyone!
1. Ball Pit Play
Every toddler loves a ball pit! They’re really common in public play areas, but ball pits are also available to enjoy at home. They’re a great way to entertain your toddler with minimal supervision — depending on the ball pit you choose!
Foam ball pits are often the safest choice as they’re sturdy and durable, while the foam material prevents tipping or any bumped heads! While we’d never recommend you leave your toddler unattended, ball pits are a great at home play idea that doesn’t require too much input from you.
Foam ball pits can be found in a range of different styles, but corner ball pits can be a great way to enjoy a ball pit at home without it getting in the way! It can be tucked into the corner of a room so doesn’t become the focal point of the space. They’re ideal for spaces you share with your toddler, like your living room.
Ball pit games
Ball pits are great spaces for your child to play on their own, especially for younger toddlers. However there are lots of ways to make them even more fun. Here are a couple of our ideas!
Colour sorting — This is best suited for older toddlers. Get a ball pit with different colour balls and get your toddler to sort them into different colours. It’s a great way to encourage them to learn different skills.
Catch — A simple game, but it really helps to improve your child’s motor skills and coordination.
As well as playing in the ball pit, there are countless games you can play with ball pit balls from skittles to filling up bowls and pouring them out again!
2. Scavenger Hunt
This one requires a little more input, but is a great way to play with your toddler at home and spend time together on a rainy day. It works best if you have a set of things that your child is already familiar with, such as 5 tower cup blocks, for example, or maybe a set of foam skittles — you can use whatever you already have in the house.
You’ll know your toddler’s attention span. If they can concentrate for a long time on this type of activity, then you can include more items in your set. If you know they struggle to stay focused, then start with a lower number.
Hide the items around the house and have your toddler search for them. If it’s a set they’re familiar with, it will be easier for them to recognise when they’ve got all of them!
Once they’ve done this successfully, you can swap around and have them hide things for you to find. It’s often good to cut down on the number of items your child is hiding for you. Short attention spans mean most toddlers prefer to hide one or two things for you to find - any more and the pressure might get a bit much. They might also forget where they put them!
Scavenger Hunt Variation
Instead of hiding a set of something, you could give you child a list of different items to find around the house. For example, something shiny, something that makes a noise, something smooth. This is a great way to not just engage the skills your child needs to look for things, but they also have to generate their own ideas and use their imagination to solve the problem. This is great for older toddlers.
3. A Playhouse
Playhouses, or ‘wendy houses’, have been used by children for decades! They’re an indoor play toy that every child loves. Children learn by using their imagination through play and it’s at toddler age that this really becomes apparent. If you’re not that keen on a full playhouse, an alternative at home play idea could be a teepee or pop-up tent. They can be folded away much more easily!
Particularly around the age they learn to talk, your toddler will show lots of copying behaviours in their play — these become easier to recognise as your tot gets better at expressing himself (or herself). This is important as it helps children to practise behaviours. A playhouse is the perfect environment for this. You child can engage their imagination and enjoy creative play that helps them to learn.
It’s not just imaginative play that can take place in a playhouse; there are loads of games that toddlers enjoy in a toy house or tent setting.
Hiding — Of course, playhouses make fantastic hiding places! If you’re playing a game of hide and seek, they’re the perfect place for your toddler to hide.
Quiet time — A playhouse or teepee is also a safe space where your toddler can have some alone time, which is important for their development and growth. Even loud children need a space in which they can be alone and play by themselves, especially as they get older.
There’s really not a more exciting at home play idea than building a fort! To a degree, this is one of the activities on our list that requires the most adult input, but is sure to excite and entertain every toddler.
Instead of investing in a more permanent playhouse, you can make a rudimentary tent or fort out of blankets and furniture. It’s up to you how creative you go. Most toddlers will likely appreciate a blanket thrown over two chairs as much as they’d enjoy a palace!
Forts are fun for toddlers for a number of reasons. The first is that it requires your attention and therefore is an activity that you can do together. Secondly, it engages the imagination. It can become a castle, a kitchen, a preschool classroom… whatever game your child wants to play! Once the fort is built, you can continue to play together, or give you child space to entertain themselves.
Instead of building a fort for your child, you could try doing it together. Seeing (and at least trying to help!) create something helps children learn about the way things work and develop their problem solving skills.
5. Creating a Band!
Every child likes being able to control and create noise so this makes for a really fun indoor play idea! Learning how to make different sounds helps your toddler understand different materials and how different types of noises are created.
Activities such as this can nurture and encourage a joy of music in your child that might stay with them as they grow older. Depending on the ‘musical instruments’ you bring into your band, it can also teach a child coordination and fine motor skills.
If you child really responds well to music, you could invest in musical instrument toys like toddler ‘pianos’, but we suggest making some basic instruments yourself to start with. Upside down pots with a wooden spoon can form drums. Elastic bands over an old margarine tub can be twanged for a guitar. You could create a microphone from a kitchen roll tube. The more you use your imagination, the more it teaches your child how to use theirs!
Try going for a band with just the two of you (or invite more of your family to join in!). Alternatively, you could play some music and your child can join in with their instruments.
These are just some of the best at home play ideas for toddlers, why not use these as a starting point to think of even more!
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