So, Dad, you want to play with your toddler but you think all the fun stuff is years away. Not so! In fact, you need to start building bonds and sharing experiences with your toddler as soon as possible.
As a dad, you may find that you need a little help in coming up with things you can do with your toddler. Here are some game and activity ideas to get started.
Father and Toddler Outdoor Games/Activities
Toddlers have a natural love for the outdoors. There are various outdoor activities that dads can enjoy with their little ones, such as the following:
Water play Activity – The possibilities for this one are practically endless, depending on the time of year! In warm weather, playing in the garden hose or sprinkler can be a blast. You can also use kids’ pools (no more than a few inches of water in the pool, though, and supervise at all times).
In cold weather, you can spread a tarp on the floor and set up a water station either on the tarp or on a table placed on the tarp. Various plastic containers filled with water, watering cans, and other toys are fun for toddlers.
Park Activity – Take your toddler for a stroll in a park, whether it’s a city park or the forest. Look at leaves, trees, and bugs. Toddlers love to learn about the world around them, and everything is new!
Playgrounds – Toddler playgrounds can take a whole afternoon. Bring a snack and drink, and have fun on the slides, swings, and other toddler-appropriate playground equipment.
Father and Toddler Indoor Games/Activities
You can certainly have fun indoors, too. Here are some indoor activity ideas for dads.
Read – Read to your toddler; you will not only enjoy it, but you’ll be contributing to your toddler’s reading readiness. You might make it into an outing – take your toddler to the library and check out some books, and then enjoy reading over a snack in the afternoon. While you’re at the library, don’t forget to make note of puppet shows and other activities they sponsor.
Games – There are lots of indoor games you can play with your toddler. You can keep it simple by just putting on music and dancing, or you can break out the alphabet blocks and build things. Mom might like a “clean up game” where you toss toys into bins. Toss a soft ball back and forth, or roll it down the hall to knock over bowling “pins” made from empty plastic water bottles.
Try patty-cake, follow the leader, or ring-a-round-a-rosy (yes, you can play that with two people!). Wooden puzzles with big pieces are fun for toddlers, too.
There’s no reason why fathers can’t get in on the toddler act. You don’t have to wait until they get older or bigger to have fun!