From the second year of age, children are more independent and autonomous, they have a greater need to make their will prevail and they constantly learn new skills by imitating the behavior of adults and other older children. As parents we have the opportunity to encourage and support our children to experience new things, and offer them the necessary security for this process.
In this article we present 15 games and activities that will help children to strengthen their new skills at this stage of development.
This game requires a series of 3 or 4 photographs that have a sequence (for example on a birthday: 1.Arrival of guests, 2.Playing at the party, 3.The moment of the cake and 4.Farewell). Give the pictures in disarray to the child to observe, remind him of the event, and ask what happened first? Let the child choose the first photo and help him by reminding him of what happened, do the same with the other photos. You can also use correlative images from a magazine or economic book that the child has read several times.
These types of games help children to develop their ability to build sequences, which is a necessary skill to prepare to learn to read.
Choose a set of objects that fit or relate to each other such as a key and a lock, a pencil and paper, a soap and a towel, etc. (All objects must be safe for the child) and put them mixed together on a table. Show the child the objects to recognize them, then pick up an object and ask the child to find among the rest which one it might fit; if necessary we can give you clues. Continue the game until all pairs have been gathered. Later, the game can be complicated by using images instead of objects, thus expanding the number of possibilities.
Throwing bubbles for children to chase is a very fun activity for them. It is also important that the child tries to blow the bubbles, as the latter will be very helpful for the development of speech.
4. Jumping rabbit
From the age of 2, children begin to try to jump on two legs, but this skill still needs training. Invite the child to jump and jump with him, jumping first holding the position and then moving forward like rabbits, then difficulty can be added to the activity by jumping as they turn.
5. Step by step
For young children, a ladder is a very effective and fun training area. The simple act of going up and down the stairs is a difficult exercise for them. For older children it is a lot of fun to learn to jump up the stairs.
We must always accompany children while they play on the stairs and ensure their safety. When climbing or jumping, they should always be supported symmetrically, supporting each hand on one of our hands so that they have greater stability, it is not recommended that they only support each other with one hand.
6. Little birds
On your next walk, bring some bread or seeds and invite the child to feed the birds. Talk to him about how birds live and the importance of caring for them. At home you can also make a bird feeder and hang it in the window or on a nearby tree to observe with the child how many birds come to the feeder.
7. Object properties
Taking as an example objects and toys that are kept at home, show the child the difference between big and small, edible and inedible, hard and soft, cold and hot, dry and wet, etc. Then classify next to it the items that they can find at home such as furniture, pets, toys, food, etc. The child can also be asked to sort picture cards that are available.
8. The weather
Talk to the child about weather phenomena, the seasons, etc. Observe the current weather together and describe what you see. At home we can make a simple weather observation chart and after a walk suggest to the child to describe the current weather using the chart: Was it sunny or cloudy? Was it raining or snowing? Was there wind? Etc.
9. Knowing the animals
The child probably already knows some animals and can identify them in a picture; With this activity we can proceed to expand your knowledge of them by mentioning if they are domestic or wild animals, where they live, what they eat, how they move, etc. We can do it in a fun way by playing with the sounds of animals, creating stories, etc.
10. Find it
Play together with your child to find things with different properties. You can ask questions like:
- What object is large in this room? And which one is small?
- What object is hard? And which one is soft?
- What is the most fragrant thing in this room?
- What things are blue or red or yellow?
- In general, what object is fluffy, transparent, edible, etc.
This activity develops the child’s attention, expands his knowledge about the world around him and his vocabulary.
11. Recognizing sounds
Help the child to recognize the sounds around him. On the street they can pay attention to the sound of cars, or to the singing of birds. At home you can hear different sounds like a clock, a washing machine, etc., identify them and try to imitate them. Parents can also become a source of sounds by opening and closing doors, banging on wooden spoons, pouring water into a glass, etc.
Play with the child asking what sound do you hear now? Before sleeping this game can help the child to recognize and get used to the different sounds that could interfere with his sleep.
12. Helping at home
There are many activities around the house that the child can participate in while developing various skills, such as picking up spoons from the table, folding napkins, peeling a banana, opening a packet of butter, etc. It is advisable to request their help by asking politely «Help me, please» in this way the child will be happy to participate.
13. Find a pair
It is very helpful for children to classify different objects and look for similar characteristics. For this game we can use clothing items such as socks, mittens or gloves with similar designs and textures. Place all the mixed items on a surface and ask the child to find the pairs. This game can be played on a daily basis while getting dressed or while helping sort clothes with Mom.
You can make a pocket version for this game where you don’t use real objects but objects drawn on paper.
14. Guess what disappeared
3-4 different toys are needed for this game. Place the toys in front of the child, ask him to observe them carefully, and name the toys he sees. Then ask him to turn around saying, «The toys want to play hide and seek, please turn around.» When the child has turned around, we have to remove a toy and ask the child to guess which toy is the one that was hidden.
Little by little, you can make the game more complicated. When the child turns around, you can not only remove a toy, but also add a new one and mention, «Oh, our toys got a guest. Who is it?» and the child will also be able to guess which toy has been added.
15. In line
For this game you need 3 to 4 different toys, picture cards or any other element.
Mention to the child that they are in a hair salon, a bank, a hospital, or some other place. Arrange the toys with him as if they were sitting in a row. Ask the child to turn around and remove a toy. Then ask the child, «Who came out of line?» The child must name the missing toy and once he does, place the toy in its place in the row. You can also ask the child to turn around and exchange two toys, then we will ask the child: «Who has changed places?»