Pre-Toddler Play

 As an avid Pinterest user, I have tons of toddler activities pinned. However, as the parent of a non-walking 14 month old, most of these activities are too advanced for him to enjoy. I've searched for some "pre-toddler activities" and most of them point to the same few blogs. So I thought I'd write my own. :)

 The first thing I realized is that I need to CHILL out! Sometimes perusing pinterest makes me feel as if I should be creating elaborate creative activities for Castiél when really, all he wants is time with ME! I also realized that most of the activities he enjoys are very simple.

Here is my list of pre-toddler activities and toys. Use it for ideas or (more likely) use it as reassurance that you are already doing okay.

1.  Sing songs. Our favorites are those with motions or clapping such as "If You're Happy and You Know It," "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider," "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes," " B-I-N-G-O," and the Sunday School favorite "Deep and Wide." 


2.  Read books. This is probably Castiel's favorite activity! He has his favorites that we read over and over and he has his favorites that he enjoys looking at alone. I have some books that I put in his crib for him to play with that I don't mind him destroying as he plays. 

 

3.  Look in a mirror. Babies are fascinated by mirrors. Castiél loves making faces at himself in the mirror. Luckily, we have mirrored, sliding closet doors in his room and he often sits in front of them and watches himself playing with his toys.

4.  Stacking cups. I wrote about my love for Ikea toys here, and that is where we got our stacking cups. Castiel has played with them for a while now, and he is just beginning to get the concept of stacking them. At less than $5 these have probably been the best toy for the money. 


5.  Blocks. I realize that blocks are labeled ages 3+, but Castiél loves his blocks. We got a plastic bin of blocks from Big Lots and he likes taking the lid off and on as much as he enjoys playing with the blocks. I think he likes them because they fit in his hand and he can carry them around. The first way we played with them is I built a block tower and he knocked it down (we played this same game with the stacking cups). We then graduated to taking the blocks out of the bin and putting them back in the bin. He now understands how to stack the blocks, but he can't quite make his hands do it. 


6.  Electronic toys. I know some people are anti-electronic toys, but Castiél has a few he loves. The Fisher Price Remote Control has been a life saver in the car, and he has enjoyed his Leap Frog learning table since Christmas. His most recent favorite is the Leap Frog Laptop. I think these toys help him learn cause and effect. He already knows which buttons play songs, and that he has to keep pushing that button to get this favorite song. 

7.  Instruments. My husband and I are both musical, so we naturally encourage any musical play. Castiél has the B Drum set from Target which he enjoys, but he mostly likes to bang on the piano. He likes to sit on someone's lap so he can really get the most "bang" going. We are considering purchasing a toy piano for him soon. 



8.  Swing. He still enjoys his indoor baby swing, and we bought an outdoor swing to put on the porch at his grandparents. 


9.  Bead Maze. This was another very affordable purchase from Ikea. At this point it doesn't hold his attention for very long, but he does play with it. 

10.  Water and Sand play. I did get this idea from pinterest, which was the idea to build a sand and water table. No building for us (at least not yet), but we have bought rubbermaid containers for sand and water. He enjoys the water, but the sand, not so much!



11.  "Sorting" Objects. Castiél actually created his own sorting activity. And by sorting, I mean moving objects from one container to another. At his Nana's house, he found a bowl of rocks that he moves one by one into a container of plastic lemons which is next to it. At our house, he found a basket of pine cones on the hearth that he moves into various plant containers that were sitting there waiting for spring. My suggestion? Leave out a basket of objects that you don't mind your little one playing with, and then put a container or two around it. Chances are he'll find it himself! 


12.  Chase a ball. Castiél wasn't interested in balls for a long time. His Nana and Grandpa got him a ball that lights up when it bounces, and that got his attention. He will throw it and chase it around the room. He will also throw other objects and chase them as well, it doesn't really have to be a ball. 

13.  Chase a pet. This is a current favorite off Castiél's (not the dogs). He isn't walking yet, but he gets to them pretty fast crawling. I'm interested to see how this game changes when he's on two feet!


14.  Play with a favorite object. For Castiél this is an empty lotion bottle. For whatever reason he loved to hold and play with this bottle when it was on the changing table and actually in use! So when it was empty, instead of throwing it away, I kept it in a little "discovery" bin in the kitchen. 

15.  Scarf pulling game. I recently blogged about the scarf box I made. He not only pulls all the scarfs out, he also now tries to put them back in. Bonus: this cost me nothing to make!

Comments

Jenn said…
I also have a 14 month old who isn't quite walking yet, and have had the same frustration with toddler activities being too advanced. Good ideas! Thank you!

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