If for whatever reason you’re at home, or it’s bad weather, then indoor games provide immediate fun for toddlers. It’s a tricky age group as they often have short attention spells and enjoy putting things in their mouths, so you need to be on your guard. However, there are many games that can be enjoyed, and hide and seek is a sure fire hit. Toddlers especially love to play this providing you keep the hiding places limited, such as behind the sofa or curtain.
How to entertain toddlers indoors
A simple creative game such as drawing, sticking or paining is huge fun, along with any sensory activity or craft ideas. It’s the best fun, and if you have a messy play corner, then it’s perfect and everyone will be happy making a lot of mess knowing it’s contained in one area. ‘Pooh Corner’, ‘Play messy’ and ‘Play now,’ are all names of real play areas encountered in kid’s childhoods and they’ve each had a special part in a young child’s lives. Pooh corner was where really messy play dough games happened, and located in an area close to the garden leading from the kitchen; a perfect location. The toddlers enjoyed their formative years there making all manner of creations. (Also read Infant development activities)
Singing and Dancing
Kids of all ages enjoy singing along to music and dancing. Toddlers particularly enjoy nursery rhymes and they soon pick up the words and actions. Playing ‘freeze’ when the music stops is fun, and there’s a lot of enjoyment in chanting ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round’ etc….or, ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill’… and these timeless nursery rhymes have been around since the 18thcentury when the publishing of children’s’ books began. The oldest children’s songs are lullabies enabling the child to fall asleep.
Dancing can take many forms, either in dancing to music or just enjoying swaying around and hopping or skipping into a dance action. Kids of all ages love to dance with scarves or tea towels floating them about and pretending to be fairies or whatever comes into their imagination at the time.
Playing with boxes and making dens
Toddlers love playing with boxes and often a large box enables them to make a den. At Christmastime it’s amusing to watch kids playing with boxes or containers as they provide endless amusement and as many parents know, the boxes are often more exciting than the contents.
This is a great indoor activity enjoyed by rolling up newspapers into balls and playing catch. Every child loves a ball game and this one is harmless and great fun, especially if they catch it. It’s good to have an adult playing and perhaps accidentally missing the catch enabling the child to be the winner.
Bath times and water games
Every child enjoys water, and toddlers enjoy bath time like no other. Toddlers should always be supervised while bathing and such games as sailing or sinking boats, or pouring water in and out of small containers is endless fun. This allows the child’s imagination to engage, and every child is mesmerised by water, especially when it can be played with.
Great times can be enjoyed under supervision at the kitchen sink, again with dispensing water from containers, or floating objects. Kids are always fascinated by water knowing that not only do you bath in it but use it every day in some form and even drink it. Bubbles too are great fun and can be safely enjoyed indoors.
Noisy games with musical instruments
Shake rattle and roll! Many kids enjoy bashing a drum or playing on a xylophone and if the child shows a musical tendency this should be encouraged. The noise can sometimes be tedious but you can usually get them interested in another game after a while to divert their attention.
Lego blocks have been around since 1932, and been a hit with children of all ages. Originally starting out as wooden blocks it became popular in the 1960’s and continues to amuse children today. Mighty constructions or very simple ones can be built, and Lego is a great way to allow the child’s creative skills.
(check a wide range of Best building blocks toys for toddlers article)
Toddlers love finding things and these can take various forms from finding toys, objects and not forgetting the annual Easter egg or bunny hunt. On your marks get set go…..is very popular and a timeless activity.
This is very similar to hide and seek and allows the toddler to build on the understanding that things are still there even if temporarily not visible. This game is great for ages 13 months onwards and all you need is a sheet, large towel, or blanket to hide under.
Make sure your toddler sees you first then cover up quickly asking, ‘Oh, where did mummy go, quickly let’s find Mummy?’ Gradually stick a hand out to reassure the child that you’re still there, and then gradually pop up like a jack in the box. The toddler will be very excited that they’ve found you, and always congratulate them with hugs and kisses.