Natural Free Toddler Games
Natural free toddler games are fantastic for those times when you can’t, or don’t want to carry a cart load of toys along with your toddler.
The trick is to find things that are already in your environment and use them to entertain your toddler. Nature holds so much scope for learning, especially for a toddler! Most young children love running though a meadow, exploring a forest or finding shells on a beach. Here’s some things to do with toddlers using nature.
Take a trip outside and collect natural stuff like shells, pebbles, driftwood, fir cones, fallen leaves and conkers.
At home turn the natural materials she collected into supervised free games for children:
- Put them into a treasure basket and you have a wonderful free toddler game! Let your toddler just explore the items.
- Use lighter objects and let him stick them to used envelopes (they’re sturdier than paper).
- Show her how to place small fir cones, leaves and conkers inside used envelopes too. This will strengthen the muscles in her hand so she’ll be ready to learn to write later.
- Playing sorting and matching games is a terrific preschool math activities.
- Encourage his memory skills by hiding an object under one of two or three cups, then swap them and have him guess where it is.
Try Heuristic Play
Heuristic (hewr-iss-tisk) play enables children to discover and learn things for themselves. It works so well because toddlers learn best from doing and experimenting with their environment. And it is a very enjoyable free toddler game too.
Examples of heuristic play objects:
- Natural objects: shells, pebbles, driftwood, pine cones, fallen leaves, conkers, natural sponges, corks.
- Wooden objects: clothes pegs, large curtain rings, wooden egg cups, spoons, rolling pin, sanded down wooden off-cuts.
- Metal objects: Lengths of metal chain, different sizes of spoons, metal beakers, brass curtain rings, bunches of keys, metal bowls, tea strainers, whisks, empty tins, bells, muffin tins.
- Leather, textile, rubber objects: coloured ribbons, leather or suede baby shoes, flannels, empty leather purses, rubber gloves, rubber doorstops, leather glasses cases.
- Paper objects: paper bags, cardboard tubes, egg boxes, the insides of rolls of sticky tape, pieces of greaseproof paper, small cardboard boxes, pieces of wrapping paper. (Remember to take the sticky tape off so he doesn’t swallow it.)
Keep these items in separate containers for each category.
At a time when your toddler is alert and awake, create a space free of furniture and toys. Place about three categories of items in piles dotted around the room or garden. Find a few small bags, tins, boxes and baskets. You can dot them around the area or place them in another pile.
Invite your toddler to play with the objects.
Sit back and relax. 😉 Enjoy the show. Only interact for safety reasons, unless he invites you into his play, of course. After about 45 minutes or when he’s had enough, tidy up together, putting the categories of objects into separate boxes or bags. This sorting practice is another free toddler game and she will certainly consider it a game too!
I hope both you and your little one enjoy these natural free toddler games!
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