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Once your child reaches the toddler stage, the way they play has become much more hands on. Usually, you can’t get them to keep their hands off anything. They’re more observant and eager to know what everything is around them, which is a great thing.

Taking advantage of all that energy and enthusiasm provides plenty of ways to teach your toddler new things, making every day games into learning activities to boost their vocabulary, creativity and problem-solving skills. If you’re looking for more options to keep an active toddler entertained without turning on the television or handing them an electronic device, we’ve rounded up eight games/learning activities we know they’ll love.

  1. Colors With Food — It’s never too early to introduce healthy, whole foods into your child’s life and they provide a way to teach colors, too. Have your toddler with you when you shop, unpack or prepare meals to practice identifying different colors with produce.
  2. Counting Groups — Use their existing toys or objects they handle regularly (shoes, clothing items, etc.) to make into groups and arrange them around the floor. Go from pile to pile to practice counting and identifying the objects.
  3. Memory Test — Pick five objects they’ve already identified like an apple, a sock or a small toy and arrange them on a tray. Turn the tray away from them and remove one object and help them figure out which one is missing.
  4. Pick a Shape — Make large shapes out of different colored paper (circle, triangle, square, etc.) and put them down on the floor. Hand them a toy or other small object and tell them to go and place it on a specific shape.
  5. Family Names — Use sidewalk chalk to write out their name outside and go over the letters together. You can then begin working through the names of you, your partner and other members of the family.
  6. I Spy — This classic game can be a way to test counting, names, color and shape recognition. Strategically place various objects around a room and send them on a mission to find it. This is also an opportunity to practice directions by guiding them left and right.
  7. Building With Boxes — Use old boxes to build a fort, castle or spaceship to encourage them to use their imagination. They’ll also be testing their knowledge of colors as they decorate it. Work on developing a story for the space and then christen their new fortress with their name.
  8. Nature Scavenger Hunt — Go on an adventure in a local park and make a list of objects to find like a rock, pinecone and leaves. Teach them to identify other items like trees or grass. They also learn to better appreciate the great outdoors.

Learning can be fun and these games will also get your toddler moving to burn off some energy for better naps and sleeping through the night. Try these activities with your children and they’ll be even more prepared to enter school when it’s time. Invite other kids to join for a proactive playdate and take it to the next level for even more fun and education.  For games to play with babies, please see our earlier post on Games To Make Early Mommyhood Fun.

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