Playgrounds offer a magical opportunity for toddlers to combine their imaginations with the fun equipment around them. Children this age are learning to master many skills. From walking to talking, toddlers approach every day as an adventure even when they’re not at the park. Add in fun playground activities, and your toddler will have lots to get excited about!
Playing games isn’t just for fun though. Children develop creativity, problem-solving, and social skills through imaginative play. Mastering pieces of playground equipment helps them develop fine motor and function skills. Consider trying these toddler games the next time you take your child to the park.
1. Simon Says
Simon Says tests kids’ comprehension skills. Toddlers are the perfect age to play this simple game, which requires them to listen for the words “Simon Says” before they launch into the activities you suggest. Keep things simple by choosing a more isolated area of the playground, such as near the button loop course. You can ask your children to touch their toes, stand on one foot, or even balance on the button loops.
Concentrate on choosing simple, achievable tasks that they’ll feel good about accomplishing. Have more than one kid? Keep track of who listens the best, and allow them to become Simon in the next round.
2. Let’s Go Camping
Toddler playgrounds provide an excellent chance to stretch your child’s imagination through role-playing games. Pretend you’re going on a camping trip. Ask your toddler what items you’ll need to bring, and hunt around the area to find reasonable representations of these items. For example, if your toddler says you need to bring a flashlight, use a thick stick to represent one.
Designate the space beneath a slide or under a canopy as your “campsite.” Bring all your camping items there, then have fun using them in creative ways. Encourage your child to push the game further by asking questions that make them think, such as:
- How do you cook food if you’re at a campsite?
- How do you clean up your dishes at a campsite?
- What’s the best dessert to cook at a campsite?
3. I Spy
I Spy is a classic game to play with kids outside, and you can give it a new twist when you play with a group of toddlers. Tell them what color the item you spy is, and let them lead you around the park as they guess. Tell them they’re getting “hotter” or “colder” as you approach and move away from the object you spied. They’ll love figuring out what the answer is!
4. Freeze Dance
Pull out your smartphone and find a kids’ music station. Move off to the side of the playground and have a dance party, only don’t dance the entire time. Encourage the kids to show you their most creative moves while the music plays. Turn the music off, and have anyone who’s still moving sit down. Keep playing until you have only one player left, and declare them the winner of freeze dance.
5. Alphabet Game
Outdoor games for preschoolers that encourage alphabet comprehension make a great activity as you wind down from playtime at the park. Start with the letter A, and find something on the playground that begins with A, then B, then C. Help your child sound out words and linger on a letter if they seem to have trouble thinking of something. Give them prompts, but for the most part, let them figure out the choices.
6. Rainbow Game
The best outdoor games for kids teach them something as they play. Many toddler playgrounds feature bright colors, so try a game where you have to identify all the colors of the rainbow in order. You can use your phone to look up an image of a rainbow if you aren’t sure. Have your child identify the item with the color you’re looking for, such as red or yellow. Also have them describe how you play on that piece of equipment.
7. Ring Around the Rosie
Toddlers lack the balance or comprehension to play more complicated outdoor playground games. Instead, try something physically challenging where you stay in one place. Ring Around the Rosie is a perfect way to circle around and get silly while also keeping your toddler in your sight. Try changing the words slightly to make them laugh, such as “pocket full of Cheerios” or “Ashes, ashes, we all stand still.”
8. Follow the Leader
This game can be a great way to help toddlers learn the skills of understanding and following directions. Have them follow you up, under, over and through the various playground equipment — just be sure you are in an age-appropriate section. You can also have them hop like a frog, walk silly, raise their arms in the air, clap their hands and more as you walk in between or around the various playground obstacles.
9. Counting and Resting
Toddlers tire out during a trip to the playground, but they also get so excited that you may have difficulty convincing them to slow down. Take a break together and play a game that will be so much fun, they forget they’re resting. Challenge them to count to 10 and find representations of every number. So, for example, for “one” you could count one slide. For two, two swings. For three, three kids playing on the equipment, and so on. You can always count to more than 10 if your toddler enjoys the game.
Enjoy Fun Children’s Playground Games With Your Kids Year-Round
No matter what time of year it is, you can experience quality time with your child at the playground. Does your school or community need new playground equipment? Playworld offers high-quality choices at affordable prices, including inclusive playground design resources. We have planning and design services available as well as financing assistance. Contact us today to request a quote.