20 Ideas for One-on-One Time with Your Toddler

How much one-on-one time does your toddler get?

Spending quality time with parents is critical for every child’s development, but it’s especially important in the toddler years. That’s because they’re laying the foundation for a self image that will last a lifetime, and parental praise goes a long way toward building that confidence.

There’s nothing like some alone time with mommy or daddy to help a toddler feel secure and loved.

It can sometimes be a challenge to think of new ways to spend that time together, though. I’ve listed 20 of my favorite one-on-one activities for you to try with your little one. Have fun …

after all, that’s what it’s all about!

1. Get on the carpet and play cars together! Toddlers love making roads and bridges to drive their cars on- help them think of creative ways to play!

2. Make that drive to preschool fun by letting your child pick out the music, then sing along together.

3. Take your camera and go on a photo scavenger hunt. Think: identifying shapes in street signs or taking photos of only things of one color. Your toddler will love seeing the pictures when you’re done.

4. Let your toddler help you make a salad or dessert.

5. Tell him to pick 3 of his favorite books and snuggle up together on the couch for a quiet moment.

6. Make oatmeal container drums and play to his heart’s content.

7. Talk to him about your plans for the upcoming week. We get used to asking our toddlers questions, but give her an opportunity to listen to you.

8. Go on a backyard bug hunt!

9. Build a block tower. Take turns stacking and see how high you can get it before it comes crashing down.

10. Get involved in your child’s imaginative play by pretending right alongside him.

11. Have a tea party lunch!

12. Get your toddler involved in housework, and better yet, make him his own cleaning caddy!

13. Make birthday cards for family and friends using stickers, crayons, and construction paper.

14. Set up an animal hospital with your child’s stuffed animals. Take turns tending to their boo boos.

15. Go to a high school sports activity together. He’ll love the sights and sounds.

16. Younger toddlers love making animal sounds. Older toddlers love pretending to be animals and having mom or dad guess which one they are.

17. Make your own play dough and use cookie cutters to make shapes.

18. Go on an evening walk together. Talk with your child about how nighttime is different from daytime. Allow him to ask questions.

19. Paint together with finger paints and use sponges to make simple stamps! Easy and fun.

20. For longer term fun, do a seasonal project: plant a garden, monitor the weather (use a sticker chart to track sunny days, cloudy days, rain, snow, etc.) or observe a bird’s nest.

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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