Sweet little toddlers bring light and happiness into our lives. When we raise a toddler, we are blessed to relive our childhood but now with an opposite role.
Toddlers explore their world, get to know their surroundings, and start to talk, walk, and develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills.
It is challenging for young parents to avoid tech usage for their toddlers. Sometimes our sweet toddlers want to eat or sleep in front of the screens.
Excessive screen time affects toddlers’ development, hinders their exploring activities, and even causes changes in their behavior (screaming, aggression, sleeping, and eating disorder).
So, let’s focus on raising healthy and happy toddlers and discuss the best no-screen-time activities for toddlers.
Outdoor activities are essential for our sweet toddlers’ physical and mental development. They can explore nature, breathe fresh air, enjoy the rain, and play in the snow.
For example, toddlers develop their motor skills while playing games in the sand, making sand castles and forms.
Toddlers realize the diversity of animals, plants, flowers, and trees. If your toddler like to garden, their tiny little hands get dirty and messy while putting seeds in the soil.
Toddlers also want to swim or throw pebbles in the water. They are happy while making friends and developing their social and language skills.
One sunny day boosts the vitamin D crucial for our toddler’s bone growth and immune system. Lower stress and exposure to the sun make our toddlers fresh and focused.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts positively affect toddlers’ development. They use their imagination, try to create an idea and develop their emotional, cognitive, and decision-making skills.
Make your own atelier at home and allow your toddlers to paint and draw with colored pencils, brushes, and crayons.
Enjoy watching how they express their feelings and ideas, have fun, and explore colors and forms (don’t worry if they color your furniture, you can always buy a new one).
Introduce your toddlers to playdough and clay and watch a masterpiece unfold. Playdough stimulates the touch, sight, smell, attention, and sensors to create the figure.
Moreover, you can introduce collages and scrapbooks, which improve our toddler’s imagination, concentration, and design skills. Every child must have a scrapbook as a reminder of their childhood.
Lastly, give your toddlers suitable materials (colored paper, cardboard, cotton wool, foam sheets) for crafts and DIY projects, and wait to see their creations.
Music and Dance
Music stimulates toddlers’ brain growth and development. Dancing improves our toddler’s coordination, concentration, and self-expression. And, of course, it increases their joy.
Get your toddlers musical instrument toys to improve their memory, speech, language, and listening.
A fun musical game for toddlers is an old game named musical chairs. I bet this game brings back a lot of nostalgia and memories, right?
You can also organize dance and music parties with family and friends. Don’t forget to invite the toddlers too!
Sensory play encourages learning through exploring, curiosity, problem-solving, motor skills, and creativity. It stimulates toddlers’ senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing.
A great way to stimulate toddlers’ senses is by using sensory bins. Sensory bins and tables are containers filled with different materials like sand, water, water beads, shredded paper, dried pasta, buttons, scoops, and sponges.
Toddlers can explore these different textures and colors and improve their sensory skills. Sensory bags and bottles are similar to sensory bins and engage your toddler’s sensors too.
You can also allow toddlers to play with sponges, plastic cups, socks, pots and pans, toothbrushes, and other everyday objects. Lastly, allow your toddlers to play with food and explore different shapes, colors, textures, and smells.
Toddlers can use their imagination through pretend play and express their hopes, dreams, and emotions. They can pretend to be their favorite superhero, princess, or Lord of The Rings character (oh, wait, toddlers don’t usually watch those shows).
With the help of plastic kitchen supplies, vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients, your toddler can become a little Gordon Ramsey.
Furthermore, blocks are perfect for our future engineers and constructors. Toddlers can practice building their dream houses and creating their architectural masterpieces.
And let’s not forget dolls, action figures, and stuffed animals, which are perfect for our toddlers to develop empathy and communication skills. By communicating with toys, toddlers are getting ready for communication with people.
Educational Games and Activities
Educational games and apps let toddlers learn through play and show interest in education. These activities include alphabet and number games, matching and sorting, puzzles, STEM activities, experiments, great future scientists, or mathematics.
Physical activities are crucial for toddlers’ body and brain development. Also, playing outside can increase the amount of dopamine (the so-called happy hormone) in your toddler’s brain. So, include your toddlers in fitness, exercises, sports, stretching, and outdoor games to develop their physical activities.
Quiet Time Activities
Toddlers need to rest too. So reading and storytelling make our little ones calm and peaceful (if they manage to pay attention).
If your toddlers like to skip daily naps, you can do other quiet activities such as puzzles, drawing, coloring, and board games. On second thoughts, you might want to avoid board games. Toddlers can get pretty mad if they lose.
Socialization and Playdates
Toddlers must socialize and play with their peers, even if it means having teenie-meenie arguments sometimes. Socialization develops empathy, self-esteem, and independence and creates connections.
Make plans with your friends and their little toddlers, visit community events together, and have fun. After all, toddlers learn from hanging out with others their age.
Plan no-screen-time activities with your precious toddlers. Go to your nearest park, play ball, water your balcony flowers together, and dance in the rain.
Play with the sand by the lake, build your dream house with blocks, read your toddler’s favorite story, and nap together. Sounds perfect, right? Moments with toddlers are priceless therefore, cherish them dearly.
How much screen time is appropriate for toddlers?
For children younger than two years, recommendations are no screen time. For children from 2-4 years, only one hour of high-quality content with monitoring.
Are educational apps and games okay for toddlers?
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), avoiding screen time is best for toddlers. But for older toddlers, limited time on educational apps is okay.
How do I encourage my toddler to engage in no-screen-time activities?
Visit your nearest park with your toddler, arrange playdates with other toddlers, and that’ll do. Also, don’t forget to be a present parent.
How can I make sure my toddler is safe during outdoor activities?
Be with your toddler, check the area, bring water and snacks, play together with their toys, and monitor your toddler’s behavior.