Sunday, April 26, 2009

Games to play with your toddler (from

12 to 16 months

Coming to life

Pretend your child's favorite teddy or doll is real — make him walk, go to bed, or dance across the room. Include him in everyday activities — sitting him at the table for dinner, for example, and putting a bib on him. Talking about what you're doing will help your toddler with her language skills. Act out happy and sad times, too, so she can learn about feelings and emotions as she's developing her imagination.

Push me, pull you

If your toddler is pulling herself up and trying to walk, help her practice with a pushing and pulling game. Use a moveable object such as a child-size chair or plastic stacking box filled with soft toys. While she holds the edges for support you can hold the other side and keep it steady. Then slowly pull the box toward you to encourage her to step forward. Soon she'll start to push while you gently pull. This will build her confidence for the day she finally walks on her own.

Clap happy

By now your toddler can hold her hands open, but it may be a while before she claps independently. For now, clap them together for her, or let her hold your hands while you pat them together. Sit her facing you on the floor or on your lap, and sing clapping songs like patty-cake. These will boost her language skills as well as her hand-eye coordination.

Who's hiding here?

Just as she loved peek-a-boo as a baby, your toddler will love to play simple games of hide-and-seek. First thing in the morning take turns hiding under the bed sheets; at bath time, use a big towel. For extra fun and giggles you can gently prod her as she hides. "Hmm, is this a leg? Or is it an arm?" Games like this help teach your toddler that just because she can't see something, doesn't mean it isn't there. For a change, while she's wrapped up in the towel, carry her into another room. She'll be delighted when she pops her head out to discover she's in a new spot.

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