Bringing up a toddler means many things, but when it comes to good playtime it primarily means embracing movement. Toddlers love to move, they have the energy and need for action. Frequent runs around the park and playground are one way of exhausting their energy (and they are certainly effective) but it’s helpful to bring variety to our routines and have a set of activities for our toddlers to do at home and outside.
I was looking for a book that would give me ideas on how to play with my two-year-old and would help me with activities for a group of small children. My son is our first child and sometimes we haven’t been very successful at choosing games and entertainments that he would have enjoyed. Once I felt really out of depth while running a community event for toddlers in my neighbourhood. It’s not as easy to get them organised and interested as some may think.
When I found 101 Ways to Play With a 2-year-old I was really really happy and astonished at how easy play with toddlers can and should be. The book offers what it promises in its title (101 activities). Each activity is presented on a separate page and is beautifully illustrated with a drawing that make you immediately imagine yourself and the toddler at play. They are also marked with a difficulty level so you may want to start with the very easy ones and try other ones later as you child progresses towards being a three-year-old. But in all honesty, I wish I had this book even before my toddler was two as really some of these games are fabulous to try even before they pass their second birthday.
Another very strong side of the book is that it doesn’t demand any additional toy purchases or having fancy things around. Everything that is used in the book for good playtime you probably have already at home (a piece of string, shoes, crayons) or you will be able to find in your local park (stones, leaves). I read the book when I have a free minute here and there and I look for opportunities to use the ideas as our week unfolds. It’s all really nice and simple. This morning, for example, while waiting for our eggs to boil, we were making different shapes and patterns out of a piece of string, naming them and having fun together. An easy and lovely distraction prior to the meal.
Title: Angevin, D.; Jackle, A., Langowski, M., Lucky, B., and Torrent, B. (2014) 101 Ways to Play with a 2-year-old. New York: Nanook Books.