27 January 2020

Favorite Toddler Activities (For 2 Year Olds)

Toddlers are busy little creatures, full of energy. I've learned that Cyrus does best when times of free play are balanced with more structured activities and times when he is given a purpose to live up to. He is not yet two years old, so most of these activities are aimed at a very early "2 year old" stage...I know during these years kids change so fast.

A lot of my activities around this age have largely involved giving him new tools he doesn't know how to use yet and letting him figure out what to do with them. Here are what our favorite activities have been lately:


At first, he was using this little cardboard puzzle every single day, vehemently encouraging family members to come and assist him in puzzle building, because he definitely didn't know where each piece went, but he knew if he could get a big person to help him, they could come and build enough of the puzzle to the point where he could figure out the rest. He especially loved to build the puzzle with Grandma. The cardboard puzzle wasn't holding up well under Cyrus's use, however, but I found a set of little 12 piece wooden Melissa and Doug puzzles, and bought a set that featured animals because he loves animals...these have been working well. He still doesn't do a whole puzzle individually, but it's a good activity that he loves to do with a family member, and he has already learned the 'trick' of hiding the last piece by sitting on in, and then triumphantly bringing it out with a mischievous grin when his partner can't find the last piece of the puzzle. haha!


Of course, this is the most classic activity with toddlers. We've kept up our storytime routines with a couple storytime sessions throughout the day, but lately he has really begun to listen to longer stories and interact more and more with the books. He loves pointing out things he knows the word for on the pages. He gets emotional in responding to the tense drama of some of our little stories ("Bubble Trouble" is a highly dramatic book that we read about once a day....I wish I could record his responses to the different pages, they crack me up!) Angel has been bringing home library books from his school library about once a week sine last August and that's been a really fun addition to our storytime routine for me, the onc who has read the same books hundreds of times.


Cyrus's gift from us this Christmas was a glider bike, and during the first week or two I thought we had maybe planned a little too ambitiously, because it didn't really seem like he was getting the hang of it. I thought we might have to put it away for a few months, but then in the past week or so, he's been asking for his bike and getting it out and it seems like every day he's getting a little more confident and a little bit closer to really riding the bike the way it's meant to be used. For now, we just let him ride the bike in the apartment, or else take him out into the apartment's hallways (large, open-air hallways with a tiled floor) and let him ride his bike up and down the long hallway.

Matching Bears (Osos)

We have this cute set of cardboard bears that's intended to be a game of memory that we've been using in different ways over the past couple months. Since this photo was taken, we've actually started playing memory in the traditional way, taking turns turning over two bears, but just with 4 or 5 pairs of bears in the game at a time, and he's really starting to get it. I feel like everytime I think the first time that I introduced something a little too hard and I should slow down, but usually, if I just keep giving him a chance to figure it out, he gets it. So don't be afraid to introduce things that are too hard! The first time I got out these bears and showed him the idea of matching pairs that were the same, he didn't do it at all. But a week or two later, when we had them out again and I introduced the idea, he picked them up by pairs and matched every one. Who knew? Toddlers are pretty amazing with all the connections they can make. We usually use this game as Spanish practice, I can use different describing words for each pair, I try to narrate in Spanish because this one's pretty easy for me.

Blocks/Building Toys

We have wooden blocks and duplows and he is loving the classic build and destroy type of activities. He was actually given duplos for his first birthday, but only in the last month or so has he really started building with them on his own. He likes to build them on the rug in his room, and already I'm getting visions of a little boy building legos in his room for hours at a time, haha!


This is a great age for bubbles! At least as long as you're okay with them putting the bubble wand in their mouth once in a while. 


Okay, hear me out on this one. It's mostly because he loves figuring out new tools. I've been giving him a pair of child scissors and a piece of craft foam (because I think it's a little easier to hold and cut than paper), setting him in the high chair, and letting him work at it with scissors. I stay close and keep a close eye on him. He really enjoys working at it and figuring out how to hold the scissors...and chopping the foam into tiny bits.

Stick Collecting

Or rock, or leaf, or whatever the most interesting bit of nature is that day. He loves to go on walks and find interesting things to carry about and make piles of...


We do some 'drawing' every day. His most favorite utensils to draw with are pens and pencils, because he can sense that those are for big kids, not for him. haha! We're working on skills like "Only draw on paper." We also use chalk, watercolor paint, and crayons (but crayons are the least exciting...obviously...).

As we're entering the year with a two-year-old, I am adding a bit more structure to our days, and have certain priorities that I want to make sure to hit each day. It's not quite 'preschool' yet, but it's the beginning of it, and I made a video about what our focuses are for learning each day:

What are your favorite activities to do with toddlers?