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10+ Ways to Play with Your Toddler by alexey ,  Apr 8, 2013
Your toddlers need two things - love and play!

And for children growing up in healthy, functional families - those two are a given. So let your little ones tag along while you work. Let them get in your way at times - even eat off the floor on occasion! It is not a big deal.
Set aside special times to play with your child, but even aside from these playtimes, try to make everything you do with your child fun. While you change your child's diaper, sing a silly song or give him a toy to play with. When you dress your child, play a quick game of peek-a-boo as you pull a shirt over his head. When you cook dinner, let your toddler serenade you with selections from his pots-and-pans percussion band. When you do the laundry, play a little basketball, letting him throw and slam-dunk clothes into the washing machine.

This does not mean you should leave your child entirely to his own devices. You can play a number of valuable roles that will help your toddler get the most out of his play:

  • Cheerleader Applaud your child every time he achieves his goal or masters a new skill.
  • Playmate Your toddler can't play certain games without a partner. You can roll the ball back to him or play "chase me," for example.
  • Research Assistant Bring your young scientist the things he needs for his experiments.
  • Expert Answer your child's questions about what he's playing with or show him how to do something if he asks.
  • Psychologist Help your child deal with the frustration of wanting to do more than he's physically capable of doing. Talk to him, encourage him, comfort him, and offer your help if he wants it.

Utah State University researchers found that a number of highly stimulating activities that parents engage in with their toddlers can have a positive impact on their kids' later academic performance.

Those activities include: encouraging and engaging in pretend play; presenting activities in an organized sequence of steps, elaborating on the pictures, words, and actions in a book or on unique attributes of objects, and relating play activity or book text to the child's experience, the university announced Tuesday.

Creative Play for Your Toddler: Steiner Waldorf Expertise and Toy Projects for 2 - 4s [Paperback]

By Kelly Bryant

Chances are your toddler doesn’t need much encouragement to get moving, but you can still mix things up. Find 10 activities to get them going.

Gonna Get You!

“We play a game of ‘I’m gonna get you!’ to get Alex running around. He loves it and usually initiates the game now. Over the past few months it has been fun to watch him learn how to try to ‘trick’ us by switching directions that he’s running at the last minute.” - Catherine G.

Dance Party

“We have a dance party almost every night. It gets all of my boys moving and they have so much fun making up moves. The older boys usually break dance but since my youngest, Peter, is too small for that he gets excited just trying to imitate and encourage his brothers.” - Julie Z.

Music Time

“Music Together classes always get my son, Gabe, moving in all sorts of silly ways. We love it because it doesn’t only get him moving and teach him different skills, but it also teaches an appreciation of music.” - Dawn A.

Interactive Games

“In our house the game Cranium Hullabaloo is a huge hit. It’s a great high-energy, interactive game that we can all play. My toddler doesn’t necessarily ‘get it’ but he tries anyway and does a lot of moving! It’s so much fun.” - Meri D.

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and ...

“We sing and do the motions for ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ which Arden thinks is so fun. Also, while we sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ I move his legs in a bicycle motion as the wheels.” - Tara R.

Bend It Like Beckham

“My husband is a sports fanatic so he taught our son how to kick a soccer ball as soon as he learned how to walk. Ben loves kicking the ball back and forth across our yard. He’s actually really good at it. I think he could be the next Beckham.” - Rainy L.

Splish and Splash

“Whenever we have access to a pool my daughter loves to splash in the water and go ‘swimming.’ She gets quite a workout kicking her legs and moving her arms, even though I’m holding her the entire time. I love it because she always sleeps well after pool time.” - Bonnie R.

Playgrounds and Parks

“Fortunately we live in an area that pretty much has a warm climate all year round so I can take my son to the park a lot. He loves figuring out how to climb up the different gyms on the playground. I also think he gets inspired by the bigger kids who are running around him. He works hard to move almost as fast as they do.” - Christine C.

Baby Stroller Strides

“It sounds so silly but my daughter likes to push her own stroller. She gets behind the basket that hangs at the bottom of the stroller and pushes it while I guide her using the handle up top. When we’re on a walk and she’s tired of sitting strapped into it, I take her out and let her push the stroller and walk a bit so she can get some energy out.” - Jen H.

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