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

  • 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: American Academy of Pediatrics. Media and Children
Online Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Toddlers (2 to 3 years of age)
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Playing is How Toddlers Learn
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental Milestones: 2 Year Olds
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Babies and Toddlers Should Learn from Play, Not Screens
Online Source: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. Tips for Choosing Toys for Toddlers
Online Editor: Metzger, Geri K
Online Editor: Wheeler, Brooke
Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 4/29/2014
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