Top 7 Learning Activities for Tots

10 August 2012

Your toddler loves to play – and luckily there are tons of fun learning activities that you can try that will teach important developmental skills. The best part? It’s likely you and your little one will be having far too much fun to even notice that’s she’s learning!

1) Toys for tots

Your little one may still enjoy many of her older toys, but don’t be surprised if she starts using them in more sophisticated ways, such as stacking blocks into a tower instead of just banging them together. 

More top toddler toys include:

– Shape sorters;
– Simple puzzles;
– Push- or pull-toys (think doll stroller – yes, boys love ’em too – or the classic corn popper);
– Ride-on toys (without pedals or motors); and
– Manipulatives like interlocking blocks or train tracks.

2) Playing pretend

Little ones love to be just like Mummy or Daddy, so fun learning games for toddlers include anything that will help them play that way. Supply kiddie versions of household items and let them go to town.


– Toy gadgets such as telephones and remote controls for button-pushing (or use the real thing, with batteries removed);
– Housekeeping items, such as a play kitchen with food, a sturdy tea set, a toddler-sized vacuum or mop;
– Baby dolls and stuffed animals;
– Big cardboard boxes (to become houses, shops, trains, planes, or who knows what); and
– Dress-ups such as hats, scarves, sunglasses, and capes.

3) Fun with science

Babies are fascinated by cause and effect (like dropping their spoon from their high chair … over and over), but toddlers are old enough for more sophisticated experiments. Try growing seeds together or scooping and measuring with different containers and utensils (you can use water, sand, or uncooked rice – but supervise closely to avoid unauthorised taste-testing). 

More thought-provoking pastimes: Rolling, floating, or weighing different objects, or taking a good old-fashioned nature walk (a great way to build both observation skills and vocabulary).

4) Field trip

Who doesn’t love a good day out with the kids?! Exposure to different places helps toddlers learn new concepts and vocabulary (and gets Mum out of the house as well). To make excursions as toddler-friendly as possible, keep ’em short, time ’em right (when your tot is well-rested and well-fed), and don’t have big expectations; if she wants to spend the entire zoo visit at the monkey house, so be it. 

How about a visit to the Aquaria KLCC? Exposing kids to different places helps toddlers learn new concepts and vocabulary.

More worthwhile destinations (full of fun learning activities) include:

– The library;
– Parks and playgrounds;
– Aquariums and museums;
– Farmer’s markets and community gardens; and
– Hardware stores and construction sites (from a safe distance, of course!).

5) Get creative

Let your toddler’s artsy flag fly! Sure, these kinds of toddler games are messy, but a little preparation (newspapers on the floor, a smock over the clothes) limits the downside, and the benefits to her fine-motor skills and budding creativity are absolutely worth it. 

Stock your shelves with chunky crayons, squishy finger-paints, and colourful clay (all in washable, non-toxic versions), and you’ll soon have a collection of masterpieces to save (and share with Grandma!).

6) Rhythm and music

Let creativity extend to music and dance, too. Toddlers love to experiment with simple rhythm instruments (tambourines, drums, maracas, and so on) and to shake their stuff at junior-sized dance parties. Crank up the tunes, Mum (kiddie music not required), and most definitely join in – this fun learning activity isn’t just for kids!

7) Story time

Don’t forget to read, read, read – at bedtime or any time. And, you can add some extra learning games to this brain-boosting toddler activity. Your little one is ready to move beyond one-word, one-picture-per-page board books and listen to simple stories and rhymes. 

She’s also ready to make reading a two-way street: Ask “I wonder” questions (“I wonder what will happen next?”) for her to ponder and answer, let her fill in missing words (“… said the cat in the __”), have her point to pictures and colours, and offer touch-and-feel or lift-the-flap books for extra excitement (but save these for on-your-lap time since they’re easily ripped or ruined by overly enthusiastic pre-readers). 

Taken from ParenThot, thestar online,