There are those moments during the day when your busy two-year-old (and you) might appreciate a few calm, quiet and entertaining activities.
Both my kids stopped daytime sleeps by two years of age, but they still needed quiet time after lunch before tackling the rest of the day. This is when I would pull out a list of simple games and activities that would not only keep them quiet for hours on end but also keep their active two-year-old minds well and truly occupied.
While a two-year-old doesn’t need much to have fun, it can still be challenging to find new and exciting ideas. Here are six easy activities that your two-year-old will love and want to keep playing over and over again.
1. Threading large beads
Find a selection of large coloured beads that are easy to thread and pieces of thick string, cord or ribbon. Your two-year-old will spend hours threading beads to make necklaces or decorations. Or you can use pasta, which your two-year-old can paint and then thread instead of beads. My daughter also loved threading cards which you buy or make yourself, simply by drawing a picture on cardboard and then piercing it with holes. Give your child a piece of wool or cord so they can thread the card, in and out, like sewing around the picture.
2. Coloured water play
This is an outdoor activity but perfect for small spaces such as a deck, terrace or courtyard. Simply fill a bucket or tray with water and give your two-year-old cups or containers to fill up and pour water from one to the other. Add a few drops of food colouring to the water for that extra touch of excitement. Good for developing their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills – and just a lot of fun.
3. Time for tea
Set up a tea party, inside or out with toy cups and saucers, water and real snacks. Then encourage your child to invite her favourite toys and stuffed animals. My daughter would spend hours hosting tea parties for all her special toys. The perfect activity for developing your child’s imaginative play, hand-eye coordination and even language skills.
Playdough is a wonderful way to occupy your two-year-old as well as encourage her imagination and creativity. Choose play dough in a range of colours and find a collection of cooker cutters and other utensils to see what they come up with. She can make shapes, animals, people, whatever they like, and then add extra decorations such as googly eyes to bring their creations to life.
MORE Play and Activities
5. Chalk drawing
Another outdoor activity that will hold your two-year-old’s attention is chalk drawing. Grab a box of coloured chalk, the big chunky variety works well, and let your child draw on the garden path. There’s nothing like a big empty stretch of concrete to inspire all sorts of drawings and designs and help develop their hand-eye coordination. And, at the end, it all washes away. Perhaps create an indoor chalkboard by painting a surface with chalkboard paint. We put one in the kitchen, and when it’s not being covered in very important scribbles, I use it for the shopping list or daily schedule.
6. Box decorating
We have, what has become fondly known as the ‘box’ box. Basically, this is a huge storage container filled with all manner of boxes – shoe boxes, cereal boxes, egg cartons, boxes of all shapes and sizes. The ‘box’ box alone provided hours of entertainment; however, if I ever needed a quiet activity, my daughter would choose a box and decorate it with pens, paint or by sticking on cut pieces of paper, glitter or pictures from magazines. This will provide afternoons of entertainment for your two-year-old and at the end, she will have a special box to keep her treasures in. And since two-year-olds seem to need a constant supply of treasure boxes, this is an activity that never loses its appeal.