11 Stimulating Activities for Toddlers | Mind, Body & Soul

It’s a tough job being a parent. The days are long and the challenges keep coming at you from all angles.

Thinking of ideas to not only entertain your little one but stimulate them as well is a challenge.

But once you have some fun ideas, it’s also an amazing opportunity to engage with your child and stimulate their mind, body, and soul!

We’ve compiled a list of 11 activities that will stimulate toddlers’ curiosity, creativity, and sense of adventure!

How Can I Stimulate My 2 Year Old’s Brain?

The answer, with sensory activities!

1) Sneaky spaghetti worms have hidden some toys! Your toddler will have to dig through each bowl, find the hidden toy and save them from the spaghetti worms!

To color the spaghetti, divide it into 4-8 bowls and add the chosen food coloring. You’ll need 3-5 drops per bowl. Stir gently to make sure the color is evenly dispersed before getting started. Add more drops of food coloring for a deeper color.

Next, find some plastic toys to hide in each bowl. These can be Lego men, cars, or plastic bricks. Basically, something your child will want to rescue and that will also withstand food coloring.

This kind of sensory play is the perfect opportunity for toddlers to explore language and use descriptive words. For example, they can describe what they are experiencing with words such as slippery, slimy, soft, squishy, and sticky!

2) Another sensory activity involves shaving foam and ice cubes. Gather 10 pebbles and write numbers 1-10 on each one. Choose bright colors to help differentiate the numbers and stimulate your child.

Next, place each pebble in an ice cube tray and fill it with water. Once frozen, add them to a large tray and cover them in foam. Have an empty tray or plate next to the foam tray and write the numbers 1-10 on it.

Ask your toddler to dig through the foam and find the frozen number pebbles. Once they find one, they should match it with the number on the empty tray or plate. The aim of the game is to do it as quickly as possible before the ice melts. This encourages their counting skills and is a great activity for toddlers. 

If foam is too messy for you, swap with some cotton balls for a less messy, but still fun activity! 

Although this needs some planning, pre-planned activities are fun and ice and foam are a great sensory experience. 

Tip, if you want cloud-free ice, boil filtered water for the ice cube tray.

Brain Development Activities for 2 Year Olds

3) Puzzles are a great way to stimulate your child’s brain. You can get very simple jigsaws with big bright pieces which children will enjoy. Before they can begin the picture puzzle, children will need to think rationally about what the image should show and how to piece together their pieces.

They will also need to look at shapes and angles, and they will have an opportunity to practice their motor skills as they pick up and put down the pieces in the right places. Try to choose puzzles that aren’t too hard or that have some well-known characters on them.

This is one of my childrens favorite indoor activities and is great for hand-eye coordination. 

4) Reading books is an important aspect of stimulation, and is a simple activity you can do at home. This can be a great way to help your child unwind at nap time or bedtime, and it’s a very important part of parenting.

By the time your child is two, they will probably have started developing interests in particular things; dinosaurs, cars, trucks, animals, etc Choose books on subjects that excite them so you know they will be engaged.

Accompany books with sound effects to really help with your toddlers listening skills! 

You can read books to your child long before they can read for themselves. Get them to connect the words with the pictures, and encourage them to look at the pages when you’re reading so that they start to familiarize themselves with the letters and words.

If your child is showing a lot of interest, you might want to pause occasionally and ask them to read a word for you. Choose simple words that match the images in the book to boost their chances of success. If they enjoy it, get them to try some harder words.

This will turn reading into a more engaging activity and encourage your child to think about the words and improve their language skills.

Reading is a one of those simple everyday activities that is easy and stimulating for your child.

Toddler Development Activities

5) When choosing toys, pick ones that are interactive and teach your child about cause and effect. For example, building blocks help children learn how stacking bricks work — by using the blocks, they can start testing their own skills in strategizing what moves to make next.

They will practice their motor skills and rational thinking as they look at what makes towers fall over and how to make taller towers.

Make sure you help them out and show them how to line the blocks up more neatly to create a stable tower.

6) Role play. Encourage your child’s acting talents by playing different scenarios out with them. Ask them what they would do if they were a king or a queen, and get them to think about the responsibilities of different jobs.

You should aim to take an active role in these games, challenging your child’s imagination. Come up with problems for them to solve and talk to them about the solutions they offer. Be encouraging, but talk to them about any issues you can see with their ideas, as this will help with their critical thinking skills.

You can further boost your toddler’s engagement in role play by making costumes to wear while playing. This doesn’t have to be complicated – a simple paper headband with something to represent the character will do.

Once you’ve had them try a role for a while, encourage them to swap with you so they try out different personas and spend time thinking about different people’s perspectives. This is a great way to build empathy.

7) Search-and-find games are a great development activity that can be done very easily. All you need are some flashcards of objects in your home.

You can either snap a picture of each thing and print it out (or just show your child the picture on your phone), or draw the objects on plain paper. Consider writing the object’s name underneath.

Ask your child to find the object and bring it to you. There are no limits on this game, but it’s best to choose objects your child can safely handle. This is a good way to get your child thinking about what objects look like, where they go, and what their names are.

It’s also perfect for a slightly more energetic activity if your child is not in the mood for sitting still.

8) Matching games are also excellent for development. You can very easily make one by dividing a piece of paper in half and then drawing some simple pairs on either side. You might, for example, draw a dog on one side at the top and a bone on the other at the bottom.

Next, give your toddler a pencil and ask them to draw lines between the pairs.

The great thing about this activity is that you can throw in some challenges, and give your toddler a few easy ones to get them going. It’s very easy to scale the difficulty up or down. You can also write the occasional word in to vary the challenge a bit.

If your child struggles with a pair or doesn’t understand the connection, make sure you spend some time teaching them. For example, they might not be able to work out the sun connecting to the moon. Talk to them about how the sun goes down at night and we can see the moon.

Activities For Gifted Toddlers

You might be wondering “how do you know if your toddler is intelligent?” It can be hard to know, but one of the major signs is good focus and problem-solving skills. They are also likely to enjoy their own company and be very curious about new things.

9) Create a flipbook. If your child is gifted and interested in how things work, they will love trying to understand a flipbook. You will probably have to help quite a bit to get it working, but something simple like a stick man picking a flower will delight most toddlers.

They can even have a go themselves once they have started to understand how it works.

What To Teach Toddlers At Home

10) Alphabet letters are a great one to start your toddler off with at home. There are lots of ways to use the alphabet at home, but one fun one is to write both the capital and lowercase letter yourself, and ask your child to copy it alongside.

Alternatively, draw the letter using dotted lines, and get your child to draw over the top in a different color. This encourages fine motor activity and will ensure they think about the shape of the letter carefully.

11) Teach your child a little responsibility about cleaning up after themselves. This can easily be turned into a game. Again, there are lots of options, but a simple one is to make a 10-minute tidy up before bedtime game.

Encourage them to help you put all their toys away safely before bed. Tell them that stuffed animals must be tucked in and cars or dolls or books returned to their box or shelf for safekeeping. This will promote responsibility and also encourage your child to think about where their things belong.

Conclusion

There are lots of games and activities you can do with your toddler to keep them entertained at home and to promote growth and brain development.

Children’s brains are developing rapidly, so it is important to provide them with a variety of activities that stimulate their mind, body and soul.

A simple sensory activity can be messy but they can also help children develop skills such as motor control and coordination.

Brain development does not have to be complex either! There are many simple ways you can introduce brain development games into your day-to-day routine at home.

Remember to have fun!

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