By the time she reaches 18 months, your baby has turned into a bundle of energy. Now a toddler, she is rapidly learning about the world around her. Toddlers learn through exploration. Playing games with your toddler gives him a chance to explore new sounds, movements, colors and experiences. Games will help your one-and-a-half year old develop hand-eye coordination, interactive skills, teamwork and intelligence. Through play, your child can practice skills she is learning, such as color identification or speech, and develop problem-solving skills. Games for toddlers should be interactive and easy to understand.
Your child may one day earn millions as an artist, but for now simply doodling is a great way for him to practice fine motor control and learn how to identify colors. Purchase poster boards that cover a large surface area. Tape the boards to the floor. Show your child the paper and give him four or five crayons. Name each color as you hand it to him. Let him move around the canvas, drawing doodles, lines and squiggles as he goes. You can tape newspaper to the floor around the poster board to prevent crayon from getting astray. If you’re feeling really brave, try this activity with finger paints instead of crayons. Praise his work, hang it on the wall and show it to the rest of the family.
Ring Around the Rosy
"...Pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!" This nursery rhyme can help your toddler develop her motor skills and rhythm, while also teaching teamwork. You can play with just the two of you, or you can include other children and adults. Hold hands in a circle. Walk or skip around the circle as you sing the nursery rhyme. When you reach the end, let go of your toddler’s hands and fall to the ground (as you sing the word "down"). She will laugh at this and eagerly join in. Repeat the nursery rhyme several times. Be warned, your toddler probably has more energy than you and may want to keep playing long after you decide you’d rather stay on the floor and take a nap.
Do something that will catch your child’s attention. Make a face at him, use your hands to wiggle your ears, or stick out your tongue. He may stare at you in shock for a minute or two, but soon he will start laughing. Encourage him to join the game by copying what you are doing. If he needs some help, you can start by wiggling his ear for him or asking him if he can stick his tongue out. This game will help develop your child’s coordination because you are asking him to make his body do something on command. It can also help build his imagination. After you have gone through several motions, switch roles and start copying your child. Now he’s in charge, and has the chance to make up silly things for you both to try.
If your child has never seen bubbles before, now is the time to introduce them to her. By a year and a half, she is more stable on her feet and able to walk or even run. Buy a bottle of bubble solution, or make your own by combining 1 cup of water with 4 tablespoons of dish soap. Bend a hanger into a loop to make a bubble wand. Blow a few bubbles in front of your child and show her how to pop them with her finger. You can help your child with language skills, as well as cause and effect, by saying "pop" each time you pop a bubble. This game also helps develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Give your child a few chances to try making bubbles of her own, but be prepared to help her blow if she can’t get them to work right away.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images