Now that your baby is entering the world of the big kids, it's time to have some fun! Not that there wasn't a great deal of fun to be had watching your baby suck on her own feet, but now that she's starting to walk, talk and interact more, you can play too! Many games will spring up naturally between you and your little pal, but sometimes it helps to get an idea or two for new games to try.
1. Chase me!
This is the "Monopoly" of toddler games. You can play one-on-one or with a lot of friends, it can go on for a very long time, and depending on who you're playing with the rules might be slightly different. Basically, you either let your toddler get a little ways ahead of you, and then make a big deal about how you're going to catch him, or you can run away very slowly, shrieking about how scared you are that your toddler is going to get you. Whenever anyone gets "caught" kisses, hugs and tickling are the result.
2. Funny face.
This is a great one for a quiet Saturday when you just want to sit with your little jitter bug on the couch. How it works is, you hold her on your lap facing you. Then you poke your cheek and make your eyes cross as if there were a button in your cheek that made you cross your eyes. Then when she pokes your cheek you do it again. You can also touch your nose and stick out your tongue, pinch your chin and wiggle your eyebrows, or any other variation you might think of. This gets really fun when you bring in a mirror and watch your sweet little clown-bottom try some funny faces of her own.
3. Where did you go?
This is a good toddler game to play if you have missed the gym and need a workout. What you do is sit on the floor, and wait for your toddler to walk behind you. Then you make a big show of looking for him while purposefully missing where he is over and over. As your toddler tries harder and harder to show you where he is, you can actually pick him up to look under him. Then toss him onto your shoulder and lumber around the room turning quickly from side to side when you hear him laugh, saying "I know your around here somewhere, I can hear you laughing!" When you are out of breath, you can find your toddler again and tumble to the floor expressing to him how much you missed him and showering him with kisses and tickles.
4. 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... BLAST OFF!
This is also a good exercise game. This one is excellent for little climbers. In this game, you sit slightly forward on a chair, with a good sized space between you and the back of the chair. Then you encourage your little jaguar to climb up. As soon as she gets right behind you, reach back and get a good hold of her then start the count down. 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... BLAST OFF!! At which point you jump up and run around the room, giving your little astronaut a good bumpy piggy-back space ship ride, complete with the best sound effects you can produce. Dump her in a pile of pillows and cushions, or carefully on the couch, then return to your chair. Try to act like you don't know why she is laughing and climbing up behind you again until she gets all the way up, then repeat the flight around the room.
5. Wrong words.
This is one of my son's favorites. When he brings me a book that I have read a hundred times and I need to spice it up a little for my own sanity, this game comes in real handy. It's pretty simple, You start reading the book, but when you come to certain pivotal moments in the storyline, you say the wrong word instead of the one on the page. Most likely your little smarty pants will correct you on your "mistake". If he doesn't, you can pretend to try to correct yourself, substituting sillier and sillier words for the one you got wrong until your toddler either corrects you or turns the page. Then you can continue to make mistakes on the next page. If my son isn't enjoying the game when I substitute funny words, I will often change my strategy to substituting funny sounds. Sounds which toddlers find particularly funny are squishy sounds, ding-dong's, woo-woo-woo's and "stinky" sounds.
It is amazing how quickly playing a game with your toddler can transform a dull or frustrating afternoon into a fun and special bonding time for you both. It can seem like it would be hard to shift gears from grouchy and grumpy into giggles and grins, but it happens very easily when I hear my little guy laugh. I hope you find these tips helpful. Please forward them to any parents of toddlers you know who might also like them, and as always, questions and comments are welcome. Happy parenting!
By: Naomi Tripi