If like me you have a 2 year age gap between your eldest child and your younger child it can be difficult to find games to keep everyone happy. But with our 8 Active Learning Toddler Games the Whole Family Won’t Mind Playing you can keep the peace and have fun along the way!
#1. Sound Bingo
This game helps with listening skills and teaches new sounds.
- Find images in magazines and cut them out and stick them to individual cards.
- Record the sounds so you can play them to the child (If you can’t record you could do the sounds yourself)
- Give each child 6 to 10 cards.
- Each child listens out for sounds from the objects on their cards and when they hear them they turn the card over.
- The first child to turn over all their cards is the winner.
#2. Number Plates
This games teaches number and letter recognition and simple counting skills.
- For younger children get them to spot number plates with their age or the initials of their name. Or get them to add up the smaller numbers using their fingers.
- For older children ask them to find number plates that add up to a certain amount, it could be their age or choose a higher number if they are good at counting. Or they could try and create words by re-ordering the letters on the number plates.
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#3. Rice and Peas
This games teaches weights and volumes, pouring skills and simple maths.
This game can be played by toddlers and older children equally well. You will need some rice, dried peas or seeds or different fruits, a weighing scales, cups, egg cups, bowls, measuring spoons and jugs.
- For younger children get them to fill an egg cup with rice, pour it onto the weighing scales and see how much it weighs and then fill the egg cup with the seeds or peas and see if it weighs the same or different. Or they could fill the bowl with rice or peas using the egg cup and see how many egg cups it takes to fill the bowl.
- For older children give them a list of different tasks and ask them to fill in the answers beside each one. You could get them to weigh 5 egg cups of rice and 5 egg cups of peas/seeds and see if they get a different answer or see how many peas it takes to fill an egg cup or how many grains of rice! Or how many spoons it take to fill a bowl with rice or peas/seeds.
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#4. Sorting Games
These games teach sorting, memory, recognising and general maths skills.
- Using a pack of playing cards, get your little one to sort them into suits and for children who have learned how to count, into ascending order too.
- Using 2 packs of identical playing cards, deal 4 to 12 cards, face up, to each player from pack one. Leave the 2nd pack in the centre of the table and players turn over the top card from the 2nd pack. When they get a card that matches one of theirs they take it and make a pair. The winner is the player who matches all their cards first.
- For older children use 2 packs of identical playing cards and turn them all over. Each player turns over 2 cards when it it their turn. If they find a match they take those out. The winner is the player who has the most pairs at the end of the game.
#5. Human Skittles and Other Fun Throwing Games
These games teach co-ordination and teamwork.
- For human skittles divide the children and adults, into 2 teams. The skittles stand a short distance from the throwers, with their backs to them. The throwers have to hit the skittles, who fall over dramatically. The players swop roles when all the skittles are down!
- For a 2 player game, give one player, the thrower, some balls and the other, the catcher, a bag with a large opening. Start the music, the thrower throws the balls and the catcher has to try and catch as many balls as possible before the music stops. Count how many made it into the bag and then swap over and do the same again.
- Another fun game involves placing bowls, buckets, jugs etc. placed at varying lengths away from the players who must see how many balls they can get into each one.
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#6. Traffic Lights
These games teaches patience, listening skills and coordination.
- One child is the traffic lights and must stand with their back to the rest of the children. When they shout “green” everyone creeps slowly toward the traffic lights, but when they shout “red” everyone must freeze. If you move you are out! The child who reaches the traffic lights first becomes the traffic light for the next game.
- Another fun game is to get the traffic light to give out instructions that the other players must follow. Green – run around, Red – stop, Amber – move in slow motion, Crash – everyone lies down, Bridge – everyone bends over into an arch. The player who does all the correct movements first becomes the traffic lights for the next game.
#7. Rope Games
These games improve co-ordination, listening skills and get kids active.
- Rope Snake: Lay a skipping rope on the ground and get the children to walk along the snakes back to the end. You could add extra ropes to create a circle. Leave a short distance between them so that they need to jump to the next rope and land on the snakes back.
- High Low: You will need at least 3 for this game. 2 players hold the rope high and the children must walk under it, place it low and they must jump over it. They can vary the heights so that sometimes the jump over is higher or they need to slide under on their tummies. To help the rope holders co-ordinate their moves they could shout under the bridge when they hold it high and over the fence when they hold it low. This will also indicate to the players what move is expected of them.
- Between the Lines: Lay 2 ropes side by side and the child must move along the ropes by placing a foot on each rope or by jumping from rope to rope. When they get to the end move the ropes apart and keep doing this until they can’t reach anymore.
#8. Relay Races
This game teaches teamwork, balance, coordination and gets kids active.
Use 4 or 5 different activities for each race. A child can play on their own or race against another child or they can be split into teams and take turns doing each activity. Some ideas for activities include:
- Running with a ball and placing it in a box or bowl or throwing it a short distance
- Bouncing on a trampoline 5 times
- Doing 5 star jumps
- Hopping, jumping or skipping a short distance
- Crawling through a tunnel, this can be made from an old cardboard box.
- Balancing an object on their head or on a spoon while walking/running a short distance
- Getting on some extra items of clothing, hats, scarves, jackets, socks etc.
- Throwing wet sponges into a basin
- Transferring water from one bucket to anther using a ladle or smaller bucket. These can be placed apart so the child has to run/walk between the 2 without spilling the water
- Getting in and out of hoop
- Jumping from one object to another along a path
- Becoming human wheelbarrows with one child holding the other and racing a short distance
- Sack races or 3 legged races
- Walking along a rope or plank
- Rolling along the ground
- Crawling on all fours or moving like a crab
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Have you played any of these games with your toddler and older children or do you have any fun games you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments box below.