These ten ideas for fun toddler activities when a dad has half an hour to spare can make fun memories, create a positive interaction and can help dads and their preschoolers connect with each other.
Get out the Play-Doh. Do you remember the fun you had as a child with Play-Doh or other similar substances? A couple of cans of Play-Doh and a few utensils could create many hours of fun. So grab your favorite colors and get started with some fun at the kitchen table. You can make an entire battlefield with tanks, create a western scene with horses and a stable, or just make lots of colorful worms. Let your imagination run wild with a story and then make the props to fit. If you don’t have some Play-Doh at home, you can make some with this easy recipe from About.com.
Head down to the playground. Toddlers love outdoor activities and they love using their gross motor skills to engage with others. Heading out to the backyard swingset or down to the neighborhood park and lead to a really fun 30 minutes. Swinging on swings, sliding down slides, or playing with other playground equipment will be fun for both you and your toddler.
Try Follow the Leader. Follow the Leader is another game we may remember from a fun childhood. In this game, either you or the child is “the leader” and the other follows their example. You can run around, skip, jump, hide, dance or do other fun large scale motions and let your son or daughter follow. And make sure that they get a turn being the “leader” and setting the pace. Follow the Leader can happen indoors or outdoors and it is fun in both settings.
Grab a ball. Toddlers love balls and enjoy rolling, throwing and trying to catch them. Make sure that the ball is soft and appropriately-sized for your child. You can sit on the floor and roll it back and forth, play underhanded catch, kick the ball back and forth and try bouncing it to the toddler. These kinds of activities can build coordination and fine motor skills while you are just having fun together.
Take a nature walk. Toddlers love spending time with their fathers, and taking a walk in the park or along a trail can be a lot of fun and educational too. You can help the toddler identify plants and trees, look for evidence of animals in the area, listen to sounds like birds or heavy equipment, touch different kinds of items, and generally build their awareness of the outdoors and how things work in the world of nature. Just keep talking and teaching as you walk.
Have a picnic. Toddlers and dads both enjoy eating, so having a meal or a snack in a different place can lead to some fun. Pack a picnic and eat in the back yard. Or you might consider laying out a tablecloth on the living room floor and eating a treat there. You can talk about how things taste and about their texture, helping your child learn more about her world along the way.
Wander the aisles at the library. If you have a library close by, a trip there can be an amazing half-hour excursion. Take a few minutes to wander through the aisles of books appropriate for your toddler’s age. Take one that seems to catch her attention and read it to her. If there are several books that strike her fancy, check out a few and bring them home for more reading fun together.
Grab an easy board game. Toddlers also love games and they are even beginning to experience the desire for competition. So find a great board gamethat is just right for your toddler. A few that come to mind include Chutes and Ladders, Zingo and Hi Ho Cherry-O. Any of these can be played in less than 30 minutes, will help you teach your child the value of both competition and good sportsmanship,and will allow you to have some fun moments together.
Be a sleeping monster. Another thing toddlers love is to be surprised, and playing the sleeping monster game is full of surprises for them. In this case, dad lays on the floor pretending to be a sleeping monster holding a small stuffed toy or a ball while the child tries to sneak up and take the toy before the monster can wake up. Occasionally, the monster wakes up, grabs the child and tickles, hugs or kisses her. At other times, the child can “just barely” escape and then the game starts over.
Open a bag of balloons. Dads and kids love balloons, and a fun 30 minute activity can involve balloons in different ways. You can blow up and tie off a balloon or two and then bounce them around, trying not to let them hit the floor. Or you might blow one up, then let it go and try to catch it as it flies around. Or you could blow up a balloon, tie it off and then rub it on your child’s hair to build up static electricity and then “stick” the balloon on a wall. A few creative ideas with balloons can easily fill a free half hour with fun!
This post was written by Wayne Parker. for the original post, go to: