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The Best Toddler Games To Keep Your Child Happy
Last updated: 25 Oct 2023
While a child's body takes years to develop, there’s one part that’s firing on full cylinders early on: their brain. Even though the brain takes time to develop like the rest of the human body, it can be quite active in toddlers, which means you need to give your child the attention and fun they deserve in order to keep them interested and satisfied. This is easier said than done. Instead of tiring yourself out trying to keep your child entertained, try giving them some fun in the form of games.
While digital video games and videos are the go-to for many parents these days, other parents may prefer simpler methods. Physical toddler games are interactive and can also be educational depending on the type of game. With our guide to the most interesting toddler games of 2023, your child will have fun any time of the day. Let’s take a look!
Looking for a fun, educational way to keep your child entertained? This guide will cover everything you need to know about toddler games.
What To Know About Toddlers and Games
Toddlers are surprisingly active for how young they are. While they may not be able to form coherent words or read books, they have developed a decent amount of control over their muscles and coordination. They can also interact more easily, which means that they can begin to try out games.
Games are interesting in the sense that they provide both a form of action and interaction for your child. When children are young they’re often on the hunt for something interesting to keep them occupied. For reference, a two-year-old has an attention span of around four minutes or so. That’s not a lot of time for a single task, so while you may be able to keep them occupied on a single thing for a minute or two, it will eventually wear off and they’ll want to try something new.
That’s where games come into play. Unlike something such as watching a video or listening to music, games can be interacted with. Your toddler will be touching, pressing, or moving an object, and a reaction will occur because of it. If your child hits a mole in a whack a mole game, the mole will retract and your child will hear a little noise to indicate that they’ve hit it. This sort of interaction keeps your child interested. They will be more invested in the game than something that doesn’t react to what they do.
Games are a great way to keep your toddler entertained. While many parents let their kids watch videos online, you might consider giving your child an interactive game instead. They’ll feel more interested as they can interact with the game and they’ll have more fun than watching a video.
Reasons To Get Games for Your Toddler
It will keep them occupied
Toddler games are a great way to occupy your little one. The fact of the matter is even the most loving parents need some time to themselves, and this means you’ll have to find some way to entertain your toddler without you having to directly engage with them. Depending on the child, this can be a challenge as different children have different needs. Toddler games are a surefire way to keep your child entertained.
Because a game can go so many different ways, no two play sessions will be the same. This makes things less boring for your child, who may end up playing the game until they’ve become bored of it. There are some games that require two or more players. For these games, you may need to join them so they can have more fun, but there are also plenty of solo games that let your child have some fun on their own.
It will teach them valuable lessons
Toddlers can pick up on things fairly quickly and you can use this to your advantage. Kids can learn things even if they’re not in an environment for learning. This can apply to games, too. If your child plays games that have some form of lesson in them, they’ll end up learning it the more they play that game. While your little one may not be directly learning concepts and ideas, the game will instill these concepts and ideas in their brains subconsciously.
For example, consider the concept of counting. It may take two or more years for your child to be able to count, but toddlers can learn the rules of counting at around 18 months. While they may not be able to communicate their knowledge just yet, they’ll have the idea firmly planted in their mind. If you play enough counting games with your child, by the time they’re able to speak they may be quicker to learn how to count verbally.
It’s a fun way to bond with your child
Family bonding is crucial when raising a child. Because of this, you’ll want to spend as much time with them as possible, but this may not be easy to do if you’re swamped with work and household chores. With the little time you have with your toddler, you need to make it count. Toddler games are a perfect way to do this as games create situations where bonding is inevitable.
Imagine you’re playing a matching game with your child. They may struggle for a while, but as you help them remember the cards, you’re both interacting with the elements of the game and with each other. With your help, they’ll be able to finish it. This sort of interactivity between you and your child is perfect for family bonding as you’re not just having fun with them, but you’re also teaching them how to remember images and count in the process.
Things To Consider When Buying Toddler Games
There are many different types of games for toddlers, and the type of game you play directly affects what your child learns from said game. You can break down the type of games that your child can play into two categories: educational and non-educational.
Educational games are great for teaching concepts to children in a way that isn’t boring or repetitive. By integrating lessons and exercises into a game-like format, your child will enjoy the experience without realizing that they’re actually learning. You’ll want your child to play as many of these games as possible, but it isn’t always that simple. Some children may get bored of a game simply due to its nature or style.
You may think that these games don’t offer as much merit as educational games, but that’s not necessarily the case. Simply having fun pressing or throwing things isn’t bad. In fact, these games develop essential hand-eye coordination skills in your child. Plus, they help your child have a bit of fun. Many non-educational games can be incredibly fun to play with your child.
When it comes to toddler games, there are two different sizes to consider: the size of the entire game and the size of the individual parts. The whole size matters when you’re considering the space you’ll need for the game. If it’s a board game, you’ll need a flat surface to place the game on. If you don’t have space on the table, you may need to put the game on the floor.
For part size, you’ll want to make sure each individual piece isn’t too small for toddlers to play with. Toddlers are still at an age where they’ll put just about anything in their mouths, and the last thing you want is for them to end up swallowing a game piece by accident. You should find games that use larger parts to keep this from happening. Always choose an age-appropriate game for your toddler.
Toddlers can be pretty destructive even if they don’t mean to be. It’s in their nature to move things around and toss them. This means that they can damage their games if left unsupervised. Fortunately, the overall quality of toddler games has gone up in recent years. These games can handle a bit of roughness and everyday wear and tear.
It doesn’t hurt to be a little extra careful. Put the games away when your toddler isn’t using them and be sure to keep an eye on your toddler when they are using the games.
The NASHRIO Magnetic Wooden Fishing Game is the perfect way to teach your child their letters and numbers. Featuring a simple concept that can bring your little one hours of fun, this wooden fishing game contains a total of 36 colored fish that connect to an accompanying fishing rod with the help of magnets. Each fish is labeled with a letter or number, which means you can do some pretty fun memory exercises with this unique fishing game.
Let’s say that you’ve taught your child the letters and numbers and you want to test how much they know. You can tell them to fish for specific letters and numbers on the board to see if they recognize what you’re asking them to do. This game is a fun way to gauge their memory, and the feeling of reeling in the fish with the fishing rod can be quite satisfying. We’ve chosen this game as the best overall toddler game as it helps your little one learn important key concepts and is fun to play.
While playing a game with just your toddler sounds fun, you can make things more enjoyable with three or more players. If you have multiple children or you want to include your child’s friend, the Game Zone Honey Bee Tree Game is a great multiplayer game. The goal of the game is to pull out leaves from the bee nest without dropping bees on your side of the tree. At the end of the game, the one with the fewest bees on their side wins. It’s an interesting little game that rewards planning and critical thinking.
Because this game works so well with more than two players, you can entertain more children at once. Many toddler games are designed for just one or two players. While that’s fine if you only need to entertain your child, it can be an issue if you want to entertain two or more children. This game is geared toward such situations. You can let your kids have fun on their own with this toy while you make their lunch or clean up the house.
Mathematics is a topic that not everyone is a fan of. Unless you were born with an aptitude for it, calculating numbers can seem either boring or challenging, even at its simplest. The Hasbro Hi Ho! Cherry-O game makes math fun and approachable. It teaches your child that learning how to do math doesn’t have to be frustrating or challenging. Thanks to this classic board game, they can learn math in a fun and practical way.
This fairly old game has been modernized for your children. The game is both simple and intuitive, requiring you and your child to do some basic math to enjoy the game. Fortunately, the game itself is fun. Your child will love racking their brains as they try to solve the problems presented to them. Keep in mind that you’ll need to teach your child the basics of math before they’re able to have fun with this game.
Memory and matching games are always fun to play, even as an adult. The concept itself is straightforward, but you can easily get lost if you’re not tracking the cards right. While memory games can make even the smartest of professionals feel like children, actual children will have a blast as they try to remember the pictures and images that they peek at throughout the course of the game.
The cards contain images of all sorts of animal and plant life. Earth is full of interesting creatures and this memory game captures this in fun, cartoon-like detail. There’s a little bit of everything in this game, including tigers, owls, and chameleons for animal lovers, and cacti, cherries, and flowers for plant lovers. This game is also a great way to introduce your child to their natural surroundings if you want them to learn more about life and the science behind it.
Toddlers can have fun while learning, but there’s nothing wrong with just having fun. The LURLIN Whack a Mole toy is a great toy if you want something that your kid can play around with and have fun without thinking too much. Rattling your child’s brain all the time with educational content can be a bit overwhelming. Games like this can slow down the pace and keep things fun and light. Plus, this game helps develop your child’s hand-eye coordination.
The game has two sides where you can compete with your toddler in a high-stakes game. Each side has a counter to show just how many moles you’ve whacked. You can teach your child how to count with this game by letting them count off every mole they’ve whacked. So, while it may seem like a mindless game on the surface, you can make it educational if you’d like.
A: As long as the game does not include any small parts, your toddler should have no problem playing with the game. Check the age range that the manufacturer includes on each game before giving it to your child to play with.
Q: Should I supervise my child when they play toddler games?
Yes. Children should be supervised at all times when playing games as they may begin chewing on the game pieces or throwing the game around.
Q: Can toddlers play games?
A: Yes, toddlers can play simple games, such as memory games, given enough practice and instruction. You may need to play with them to teach them the rules initially.
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