Short of time, but trying to avoid sticking on yet another episode of Peppa Pig or getting the iPad out? Here are some fun ideas and games to play with your toddler this summer, indoors or outdoors – whatever the weather.
Make a daisy chain
Help your little ones to make a chain of daisies – it's a great way to get them outside enjoying the garden in the summer, as well as being a brilliant way of bringing on their fine motor skills. You can even make them into headdresses and bracelets.
Hide and seek
A game that never gets old – count to 10 and then see if you can spot your toddler (probably behind the curtain). If you would rather keep an eye on them at all times – peek-a-boo will keep them giggling. As well as being fun, these sorts of games are proven to develop your child’s social and cognitive skills.
Draw shapes and patterns which your toddler can colour in with felt tip pens. They’ll love using the different colours and it’s a great way to get them to practice precision and hand to eye coordination.
Play dress up
Let your toddlers raid your wardrobe and see what characters they can come up with – a great way to indulge their imagination. If your little girl is desperate to try on your lippy, avoid the guaranteed mess by giving them a coloured lip balm to play around with.
Ok, we’re cheating here – but you may as well kill two birds with one stone! Let them have a go with the broom, put the toys away or help you with the laundry – and whistle while you work! Little ones love to copy adults and, in turn, it teaches traits like responsibility and organisation.
Make a fort
Convert your dining room table into a fort with sheets and cushions and let your little ones use their imagination by pretending you’re or on safari or defending your realm from invaders.
Simple, but effective – sorting and organising objects are great ways to keep your toddler entertained for 10 minutes, as well as developing their concentration and fine motor skills. Take two different bowls and see if your toddler can separate different coloured items or foods like veggies (you may even be able to get them to eat some – genius!).
Whether your little ones love Katy Perry’s Roar or Pharell Williams’s Happy, dancing is a great way to bond with your little ones. You can even get them to come up with a dance routine. It’s guaranteed to get them giggling (and ready for a lie down…)
Take your child’s plastic tea set outside in the sun and play ‘making a cup of tea’ – just like the adults! Let them pour some (cold!) water into each of the cups and pretend to sip. You can even bring your little one’s favourite teddies outside for company.
Toddlers love nothing more than filling containers, so give your toddler a little bucket and instructions to collect things like pine cones, shells or pebbles. They’ll love playing around with the different objects and textures – and it’s a great way of developing their cognitive skills.
‘Simon says…put your hands on your knees!’ A classic game, Simon Says is a great way to teach your little one the parts of the body. You’re guaranteed to keep them entertained with commands for them to follow – and they’ll be chuffed when they get them right.
Line up some skittles and see if your toddler can roll a ball into them. It’s a great way to hone their physical balance and ball skills.
Leaping lily pads
Pretend your living room is a giant pond and get your toddlers to hop like a frog around the makeshift lily pads without ‘falling in’ – ideal for encouraging their imagination.
Pretend you’re a band of pirates looking for hidden treasure and see if your toddlers can guess where it’s hidden with the clues you’ve left them using their problem-solving skills.
Little ones love ‘talking’ on the phone (and sometimes they get to your iPhone before you do!), so make a pretend phone and have a conversation – and aid their communication and social skills. You’ll love seeing them perfect their phone etiquette.
OK, so the weather here may not be rivaling the Mediterranean's climate any time soon, but we are set to get a fair few more sun-soaked days this summer. So, in an effort to make the most of them, we've scoured Pinterest for some of the most creative ways for your little one to stay cool while having fun – with barely any expense. Try these on grass to help avoid slip-induced accidents. *Warning: you will definitely get wet*
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