Children's Health and Wellness

Toddler Play

What can I do to help encourage play for my child?

Each child is different and may enjoy different toys and activities. But the following are ideas that may work for your toddler.

What toddlers like to do

Keep in mind that a toddler likes:

  • Space to play and explore

  • Sandboxes, swings, and playgrounds

  • To imitate others by pretending to do adult tasks

  • To play in the water

What you can do as a parent

Tips for parents include:

  • Let your child help with chores.

  • Give your child a toy vacuum, pots and pans, and other housekeeping or work toys.

  • Read to your child.

  • Limit your child's TV access. This means no TV before age 2, no more than 1 to 2 hours per day after age 2 (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics).

Toys for your toddler

A toddler will enjoy:

  • Toys that can be pushed and pulled

  • Rocking horse

  • Toys that can be ridden safely

  • Balls

  • Playground equipment

  • Shovel and bucket

  • Music

  • Toys that can help with housework, such as brooms, a vacuum, and dishes

  • Dolls

  • Puzzles

Online Source: Toddlers (2-3 years of age), CDChttp://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/toddlers2.html
Online Source: Media and Children, American Academy of Pediatricshttps://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/pages/media-and-children.aspx
Online Source: Playing is How Toddlers Learn, CDChttps://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/fitness/Pages/Playing-is-How-Toddlers-Learn.aspx
Online Source: What Children are NOT Doing When Watching TV, American Academy of Pediatricshttps://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/What-Children-are-NOT-Doing-When-Watching-TV.aspx
Online Source: Why to Avoid TV Before Age 2, American Academy of Pediatricshttps://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Why-to-Avoid-TV-Before-Age-2.aspx
Online Source: Tips on Playing with Babies and Toddlers, ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Familieshttps://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1081-tips-on-playing-with-babies-and-toddlers
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Adler, Liora C., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2016
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