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Playing and Learning with Your 2 Year Old

Being two years old is an exciting period of development.  Playing and learning with your 2 year old is really important because ideas and concepts are really starting to pull together and you can almost see the connections being made.
So, capitalize on this time with your two year old and try to expose them to a variety of activities that strengthen their ever-developing fine motor skills, their concrete knowledge of cause and effect, and their love of just getting messy!

Transferring 

playing and learning with your 2 year old
At this age, tots love to work with new materials, such as ice cube trays, tongs, and tweezers.
M loves when I give her a bowl of tiny objects (soft pompoms, cereal pieces, small toys) and a transfer tool.
In our house, we love to transfer objects with:
-Tongs (party stores are great places to buy these!)
-Long handled spoons
-Tweezers (you can buy a cheapie pair at the dollar store or Lakeshore has THESE)
-Clothespins (great for pinching a pompom and transferring!)

Does it Fit?

playing and learning with your 2 year old
Oh my, there are so many advantages to this activity, with everything from size estimation to cause and effect!
Provide your tot with a bowl or basket of assorted objects (plastic spoons, small toys, cotton balls, puzzle pieces) and a toilet paper tube.  Ask your tot to guess which objects can fit through and which are too large.  Then, let her test it out!  With M, the objects would make their way through the tube a few times and then she’d find new ways to play, like story-telling or sorting or just exploring!

Magnet Play

playing and learning with your 2 year old
Since many two year olds have ceased to put everything in their mouth, it’s a great time to break out magnets and let them explore!
M has a basket of magnets and she has so much fun sorting, sifting, and playing.  We love magnet wands, magnetic balls, and magnetic disks (Lakeshore has some really neat magnetic learning tools!).

Flower Arranging

playing and learning with your 2 year old
I’ve done this activity with both girls and boys and it’s always a hit.  Grab a block of styrofoam from the Dollar Tree and also pick up a bunch of silk flowers.  Show your tot how to push the stem into the block and then let her go wild!
We also like to make flower arrangements by sticking flower stems into the lids of sugar shakers, salt shakers, or even parmesan cheese bottles!

Print Making

playing and learning with your 2 year old
We’ve all heard of making apple prints with paint, but what about print making with ordinary household objects?  M loves a good plate of paint and a bowl of found objects.  She can stamp and print to her heart’s delight!
Some objects that are fun (and build in shape knowledge!) are:
-Lids
-Styrofoam pieces (we used a cone leftover from a Christmas craft)
-Cups and bowls
-Plastic forks or spoons
-Tiny plastic animals (make footprints!)
Written by Jill
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3 Comments

  • Reply mlisan

    But how come my 2 1/2 year old doesn’t seem interested in doing these activities? I tried but the activities couldn’t hold her attention for long.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm
  • Reply Ashley

    I love love love this post. I’m always looking for things to do with my 2 yr old, and thanks for including some options that won’t wreck my entire house! 🙂

    August 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm
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