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Playtime Activities Tip Sheet

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

For curious, young minds, playing is learning. Playtime is fundamental to your child’s early development, helping hone her cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Opportunities to play are everywhere! Here are a few ideas to integrate play into your daily routine with your toddler. For a downloadable PDF, click here.


sun

While getting ready in the morning, let your child explore your closet (or theirs!). 

Playing dress up, or even exploring the different colors and textures of the fabrics in your closet, can be exciting.

 

fork and knife

Involve your toddler in meal preparation. 

Give your child kid-friendly pots, pans, and other kitchen props so he can play chef while you make dinner. Describe spices and vegetables to your child and encourage him to smell, touch, and even taste the ingredients you’re using.

 

duck

Sing a song about toes, fingers, and noses during bath time.

It can be repetitive and simple, like “wash your toes, wash your nose.” Couple singing with a game where your child pours water on the body parts mentioned in the song.

 

book

Turn reading time into playtime.

Have your child look at the pictures and tell the story. Act out the stories together as you read aloud or have her retell the story using her favorite toys.

 

 hat

Go on a scavenger hunt while out on a walk.

Help your child look for birds, benches, trees, bushes, and other common outdoor features. Encourage your child to explore the texture of leaves, rocks, and gravel. Describe the shapes and colors of the things you see.

 

 binoculars

Play a game of “I-Spy” while shopping together.

Choose a color and/or shape and challenge your child to point out as many objects that fall into that category as he can. Build your child’s vocabulary by describing any unfamiliar or new objects that he encounters.

 

imagine 

Every moment together is an opportunity for role play—all it takes is imagination. 

While waiting at the doctor’s office, your child can play the doctor and you can introduce yourself as the patient. Pretend you have a stomachache or a headache and ask your child for a cure. You can encourage your child’s role play in many other settings like restaurants, grocery stores, and subways.

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