Toddlers and 10 minutes: what can you do?
You may not have much time, but a simple game can bring a toddler’s day alive. Start playing yourself, drawing, painting, building, and then they’ll do it too
THEY ARE EASY TO PLEASE
Young children love doing anything with you, whether it is reading a story, chatting, or watching their favourite TV show with them. Mostly they just want your time and attention. Make space for them and give your relationship a boost.
TIP - SMART PRAISE
If they show you something they have done, give them loads of praise and pick up on the specific things they've done well - e.g. I like that big green squiggle, rather than a really general comment like "you're the best artist in the world!". They are not asking you whether it’s good, because, in the child’s eye, everything they do is good - it’s the best they can do.
Be mindful of checking your understanding before you assume – for example, if you say, “That’s a wonderful picture of a car,” when actually it’s a ship, you could knock their confidence. Instead, ask them ‘Tell me about your drawing’ – let them tell you about what they have created, and then go from there.
TEN IDEAS FOR TEN MINUTES WITH TODDLERS
- Hide ‘n’ seek: Obviously, don’t find them too quickly! Even if there are only a few good hiding places, they’ll try them again and again. Finding is hug time, naturally.
- Chalk boards: Get a mini one, a few pieces of chalk and a duster. You can play with them for hours.
- Scribble and draw: They're learning how to manage a pen. So, let them try different types of felt pens, pencils and crayons.
- Treasure baskets: Fill a basket with household items such as wooden spoons, toothbrushes, containers, a clean flannel, etc. then sit with your child as you watch them explore the different textures, shapes, and so forth.
- Sensory play: Why not fill your bath with some different coloured jelly, strip them down to their nappy/pants and let them play? Or get some different herbs and explore with them the different smells and tastes. Or get a bubble machine and watch their delight as they watch, stretch and chase around the bubbles?
- Read together. Reading helps your little one develop their understanding and use of language, and they will love listening to you read, and telling them the names of some of the things they can see on the pages.
- Have a mini disco! Why not pop on some music and have a little dance? It's good exercise and your little one will think it is great fun to watch their daddy dance around the room! It’s also a great chance to revisit some of your favourite tunes (as long as they are appropriate for small ears!)
- Get outside! A change of scene, fresh air and a chance to expel some energy is always a good one! Go on a mini treasure hunt in your garden or the nearest green space. Go leaf hunting (how many different coloured leaves can you find?), or bug hunting, or bird spotting, or make mud pies. Plant some flowers or vegetables and tend them together – children love to water the plants!
- Get creative! Why not get some play dough, or even make your own edible play dough? Children love mixing up the colours and making different shapes and feeling the sensation of the dough in their hands – a great little activity to do together at the kitchen table!
- Water play – this is easiest done outside, but there are ways to make it an indoor activity too, even if it means making the bath a play area for ten minutes! Squirty toys, different containers and cups, watering cans (big and small), sprinklers, bubbles – these all make for lots of fun! Just make sure that you are ready to get changed after getting soaked too!
Do you have any other ideas of some fun ten minute activities?
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