Educational Games and Fun and Activities for Toddlers

What is the key to being successful in choosing games for children from 1 to 2 years old? First of all, knowing how to adapt each game to the child’s age and the evolutionary phase in which it is. A one-year-old is very different from a five-year-old. Their abilities are different, both physically, intellectually and socially. But also their tastes are different. We offer you a complete guide, which will be useful for parents, babysitters and babysitters. 

Growing up is a job in itself! Slowly, the child takes over the world around him. Observe, try to do things alone, make mistakes, imitate, learn … Parents have the responsibility to create a safe and stimulating environment, in which the child can experience and develop all his abilities. It is up to them, the caregiver or the babysitter at home, to propose activities that are appropriate to their physical strength, and that in turn stimulate their mind and body. They must be attractive activities for the child, always within a safe environment.

Games for children from 1 to 2 years old: why they matter

As we have previously commented, through the game the children:

  • they develop their motor skills, when they jump, run, color;
  • they acquire different abilities, when they sing rhyming songs, they order the cubes of a tower from large to small, they pose the first riddles;
  • They learn social rules by imitating someone else (maybe mom or dad).

In this post you will find extensive information and advice on games for children from 1 to 2 years old. As a list of activities is not enough, it is advisable to start evaluating the child’s abilities. In fact, if you propose games that are too easy, you will not stimulate them to grow and learn. On the other hand, if the activities and games are too complex, the child may feel frustrated; and then you will be bored. So once that situation occurs, it will be up to you to manage stress in front of a disgruntled and capricious child.

What children from 1 to 2 years old know how to do

Any parent or babysitter who starts working at home knows that children ages 1 to 2 can be challenging. You face a small human being who begins to affirm his individuality. He begins to pronounce his first words, knows how to communicate what he wants and increasingly likes to do things without help. 

At this stage, children are very active. It is perfectly capable of moving the entire house from one side to the other. In addition, his desire to explore and discover leads him to get everywhere: boxes, cabinets, baskets … Therefore, try to be careful and never lose sight of him!

Here is an outline to help you learn more about the baby and how to be a perfect babysitter for him. This is information that will help you to properly choose the best games for children from 1 to 2 years old.

Physical abilities

  • Drink from the glass without help;
  • walks well (1 and a half years), runs well (from 2 years);
  • he is physically very active, he is always busy doing something;
  • dresses alone, or at least tries (with the help of an adult);
  • eat alone, with hands (1 year) or with a spoon (2 years);
  • wash and dry hands alone;
  • Climb the stairs, although you must be helped for security reasons (about a year and a half);
  • go down the stairs, always with “help” (2 years);
  • knows how to insert parts and turn door knobs (2 years);
  • he kicks and knows how to catch a ball (2 and a half years old).

Social skills

  • Use language to say what you want;
  • you have a strong desire for independence;
  • he is proud when he manages to do something alone;
  • on the contrary, she gets angry and frustrated when she can’t do what she wants;
  • mostly interacts with adults (from 1 ½ years old) but quickly learns to play cooperatively with other children (after 2 ½ years);
  • imitates the gestures of adults;
  • begins to show affection for people;
  • you have your favorite teddy bear.

Intellectual skills

  • He recognizes and calls by name the people he loves, he knows how to name his favorite objects;
  • interested in how things work, especially things that can move (like little cars);
  • combines objects with each other;
  • has fun searching and finding hidden objects;
  • can distinguish and group things according to their shape and color;
  • identifies objects and figures;
  • begins to make the first doodles;
  • interested in the physical qualities of things like shape, color, size, or consistency
  • he is learning to speak, and around the age of two he knows about fifty words.

Activities for children from 1 to 2 years old, what works and what doesn’t

Play with you

The child at this age still does not know how to relate to his peers, so he prefers adults. Therefore, it is useless to propose, in the park or at home, play sessions with other children. You better play with him. 

On the other hand, playing with children also allows you to control them more easily. As we have seen, at this age they tend to move from here to there, so you will check if there are risks to their safety. Furthermore, the game allows you to give a good role model : be kind, balanced, calm. You must take into account that the child is in the full imitation stage. When you think of games for children from 1 to 2 years old, remember this!

One thing children love to do is dress up and imitate other people – these will be their first social learning experiments . Play moms and dads; or doctors, it allows them to have fun imitating adults. If you also involve your favorite teddy bear in these interpretation games, you will delight the little ones. The bear can be the patient of the hospital or the veterinary clinic! Remember that at this age the child likes to show affection, encourage him to comfort the teddy bear after the injection. You will have achieved a double objective: to stimulate empathy and teach him that when he goes to the doctor he has nothing to worry about.

Enjoy the nature 

If you have the energy to play a more dynamic game, why not hide and seek (in a simplified and safe version, of course)? Kids this age like to go everywhere and hide, remember?

The games for children from 1 to 2 years old are mainly physical: in this phase children are experimenting with many skills. But you need to play it safe. Unleash your imagination and help them jump from a chair, “climb” up your legs to reach your arms, roll on the mat, grab your arms, and swing. Rediscover  traditional games for children , such as the bandana game or the elastic band.

… and then calm down

If the time has come to calm down a bit, reading is ideal . Children this age love to listen to stories and look at the pictures in books with you. Pointing things out is your way of relating and putting your new skill into practice. Recognize things and name them, remember? Better still if the book is tactile, if it is made of different materials and with windows to open and close, in various shapes and colors. The little one will be fascinated (and calm) for an almost endless time.

By the way, games for children from 1 to 2 years old should also be manipulation games . On the kitchen table it will be enough to put water and flour, a little salt or modeling clay. Even during the meal, for the little ones, it will be a fun occasion if you let them eat with their hands, as they like.

For children around the age of two, a good game is also to transfer legumes or flour from one container to another, using the spoon. And if you help them make the left-to-right movement (the opposite for left-handed children), you will also help them develop the skills they will use later in school to write.

Play alone

Remember that the child, from the first year to 2 years, is experimenting with his own autonomy. He loves to do almost everything alone. So leave room for experimentation – always with you in the background supervising! -, you can experiment with its capabilities (and its limits). It is a great way to unleash your curiosity and ability to explore. How objects work and move, their shape and size …

Here you will find a series of objects to use successfully in games for children from 1 to 2 years old. But use your imagination to enrich the list!

  • Large building blocks;
  • stack cubes;
  • toys that reproduce everyday objects such as telephones, plastic keys, hammers;
  • toys that reproduce moving objects or means of transport (carts, cars, planes, trucks and cranes);
  • large, soft and colorful balls;
  • dolls, teddy bears;
  • rocking horses;
  • simple puzzles, big piece puzzles, better if they are in color and with different textures;
  • bucket and shovel;
  • musical instruments such as drums and xylophones.

Games to Play at Home

The Montessori method proposes a multitude of ideas without having to buy anything. Games for children from 1 to 2 years old, fun and able to stimulate their natural abilities. If you are particularly interested in this methodology, you can take a look at our article on Montessori activities at home . You will find great ideas for your little one, to make games with everyday household objects.

A classic is the treasure box , a wicker basket full of objects of different shape, color, texture and even flavor is all you need. They are objects that we use in our daily lives and, of course, they should not pose any danger: wooden spoons, plastic cups, keys, boxes … In this way, children can “fish” an object, recognize it, explore it, manipulate it and put it in your mouth. And once you have finished playing, it will also be fun for your child to help put everything in order. Something similar can be done with fabrics: a box full of fabrics of different colors and texture.

At home, you can find thousands of ideas to reinterpret the classic game of fitting pieces . In fact, it is not necessary to buy expensive wooden toys with colored shapes to insert them in the right place. A strainer into which the child can insert the uncooked spaghetti is more than enough. Another option is a large piggy bank (with the bottom part that can be opened). In the piggy bank you can put coins and then extract them, it will be a great activity to develop your fine motor skills.

Attention to safety!

The first thing to think about, especially if you are a babysitter and want to know how to be a perfect babysitter is safety. In terms of toys, this means that, together with the child’s parents, you need to make sure that:

  • There are no toys at home with sharp or pointed parts that can separate or break;
  • no electric toys (it’s too early);
  • no toy is excessively noisy;
  • cars or pulling objects do not have too long laces, which pose a risk to the child’s neck. 

Finally, when caring for a 1 or 2 year old, simply because, as we have seen, it is in a phase of great experimentation, you should ask the family to provide a safe environment . When you have a talk with the family about safety, you must take several factors into account: check that the electrical outlets have been covered, put the medicines out of the reach of the child, have locks for the low shelves where there are detergents or dangerous objects.