How My Toddler Plays

I have been blessed with a second child who can entertain herself. At two, she likes to know that I’m nearby, and she comes and goes with requests (her baby doll is hungry and would like a snack) or asks me to watch her do something, but overall she is happy interacting with her environment and her toys on her own for good stretches of time.

As my older child was not like this at all during her toddler years, I can’t tell you the secret, if there is one. Their personalities are completely different and that’s probably part of it. And I imagine being a younger sibling and having to share attention plays a (not insignificant) role as well. I am fascinated by the differences between them and also have a crazy desire to go back in time and watch myself as a toddler. How did I play? What captured my attention? By the time I was two, I had a baby sister and we lived on a farm. Would my mom remember how I played if I asked? Perhaps. And what about my husband? What I wouldn’t give to see his two-year-old self! I bet he was a character even then.

Here are some photos of my two year old at play. They span a few days, but you know how busy toddlers are. They could be from one day. Easily.

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  • My toddler loves games and game pieces! 1 of 14
    My toddler loves games and game pieces!
    She doesn't play most of the games (the proper way), but likes to arrange the pieces.
  • Tea party 2 of 14
    Tea party
    She uses her little, tin tea set to eat snacks and feed her doll and animal friends.
  • Carrying things around 3 of 14
    Carrying things around
    She just loves to carry little things around the house in baskets and bags.
  • The little piano 4 of 14
    The little piano
    Playing with the keyboard is an everyday thing for her. She jabs at the keys to make music or turns on a song to dance to.
  • The dress up box 5 of 14
    The dress up box
    I don't know if she'd be into dressing up yet if it weren't for her big sister who is very much into it.
  • Dressing up 6 of 14
    Dressing up
    She likes to dress up in wings and anything else that fits.
  • Sitting in boxes 7 of 14
    Sitting in boxes
    She also likes to climb into the dress-up box (as well as any other box we might have).
  • Creating art 8 of 14
    Creating art
    Of course. She draws all day long and also really loves collage (I think it's the combination of the glue squeeze bottle and the small, fun items she often gets to collage with).
  • Exploring 9 of 14
    Exploring
    Especially anything that might have been placed out of her reach. She's always pushing chairs over to counters or shelves in order to see what exciting things might be up high.
  • Sorting and organizing 10 of 14
    Sorting and organizing
    These are muffin tin liners and rubber bands. Who knew they had such great entertainment value?!
  • Pushing things around in the stroller 11 of 14
    Pushing things around in the stroller
    This is a view of the storage area under the doll stroller. She needs things in the storage space more than she needs a baby in the seat.
  • Hiding 12 of 14
    Hiding
    She loves to hide! Behind curtains, in closets, behind chairs, in cupboards. Of course she usually announces it loud and clear at the same time, "I'm hiding!"
  • Gathering bits of nature 13 of 14
    Gathering bits of nature
    Leaves, twigs, acorns, rocks—it's all fair game. And usually mommy gets to carry it.
  • Running! 14 of 14
    Running!
    Running. Jumping. Dancing. Moving.

How does your toddler play? What is your toddler into? I would love to hear!

 

Read more of Jean’s writing at The Artful Parent.
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For more about how my toddler plays, see her list of ten favorite toys.

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