Best Activities and Games for Toddlers 2 - 3 Years Old

Best Activities and Games for Toddlers 2 - 3 Years Old

Updated on

Reviewed

Our articles are meticulously reviewed by qualified professionals specializing in child development, education, and health. Our reviewers ensure that our content is comprehensive, accurate, and reflects the most current, evidence-based research and best practices in the field. Before publication and during significant updates, our team rigorously evaluates each article to guarantee its relevance and usefulness for our audience. At Splashmate, we are dedicated to supporting the well-being and development of children, offering resources that parents and educators can depend on.

by
Tara Jones

Tara Jones is a renowned Child Development Professional with over 10 years of experience. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology, Tara has made significant contributions as an early childhood educator and a respected writer in the field. She is known for her innovative teaching methods and has been instrumental in integrating play-based learning into child development practices. Tara's workshops and publications are highly sought after for their practical insights and evidence-based approach. As a recognized authority on child development, her work continues to shape educational practices and support healthy child growth.

Key points

  • Engage toddlers in sensory play with activities like playdough, sand, or water to enhance sensory awareness and fine motor skills.
  • Foster creativity and fine motor skills through arts and crafts, including finger painting, coloring, and collage-making.
  • Use building toys such as blocks and puzzles to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial understanding.
  • Support language development through interactive storytelling, utilizing books with flaps, textures, or sounds.
  • Promote cognitive and motor skills with musical activities like singing, dancing, and playing basic instruments.

On this page:

Sensory Play

Fostering Creativity with Arts and Crafts

Building and Construction Games

Interactive Storytelling and Reading

Musical Activities for Cognitive Development

Conclusion

Further Readings

 

Toddlers between the ages of two and three are in a unique stage of rapid growth and development. This is a time when they are bursting with energy, curiosity, and a desire to explore the world around them. The right activities and games can play a crucial role in nurturing their development while ensuring they have a lot of fun along the way. In this article, we'll dive into some of the best activities and games specifically designed for toddlers aged 2-3 years, each aimed at enhancing their physical, cognitive, and social skills.

Sensory Play

Sensory Play

Sensory play is a fantastic way for toddlers to explore and learn about their environment. Activities like playing with playdough, sand, or water help develop their sensory awareness and fine motor skills. According to Zero to Three, sensory activities foster cognitive growth, language development, and fine and gross motor skills.

Fostering Creativity with Arts and Crafts

Fostering Creativity with Arts and Crafts

 

Arts and crafts are not just fun; they are instrumental in developing a child’s creativity and fine motor skills. Simple activities like finger painting, coloring with large crayons, or making collages with paper and glue can be incredibly beneficial. The Artful Parent provides numerous ideas for age-appropriate and engaging art activities for young children.

Building and Construction Games

Building and Construction Games

Toys like blocks, simple puzzles, and construction sets are perfect for this age group. They help in building fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as in understanding shapes, sizes, and spatial relationships. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) highlights the importance of block play in early childhood development.

Interactive Storytelling and Reading

Interactive Storytelling and Reading

Reading stories to toddlers is essential for language development. Interactive books with flaps, textures, or sounds make the experience even more engaging. Reading Rockets offers excellent tips on choosing books for toddlers and making reading an interactive experience.

Musical Activities for Cognitive Development

Musical Activities for Cognitive Development

 

Music and rhythm-based activities are excellent for cognitive and motor skills development. Simple activities like singing, dancing, or playing with basic instruments can provide a lot of enjoyment and learning.

Outdoor Play for Physical Growth

Outdoor Play for Physical Growth

Outdoor play is crucial for a toddler’s physical development. Activities like running, jumping, and playing with a ball help improve their gross motor skills, coordination, and balance. KidsHealth emphasizes the importance of physical activity for young children.

Role-Playing and Pretend Play

Role-Playing and Pretend Play

Pretend play is a significant part of a toddler's development. Engaging in role-playing games, like playing house or pretending to be different animals, helps in social and emotional development.

Learning Through Educational Apps and Games

Learning Through Educational Apps and Games

 

 

In today’s digital age, educational apps and games can be a valuable tool for learning. They can help in teaching shapes, colors, numbers, and more. It’s important to choose age-appropriate apps and limit screen time as recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics.

Conclusion

Remember, each child develops at their own pace, and the goal of these activities is not just to educate but to have fun and bond with your child. Enjoy this special time with your toddler, exploring and learning together.

Further Readings

For more information and ideas on activities for toddlers, websites like Child Development Institute and Bright Horizons provide a countless number of resources and information. They provide expert advice and creative ideas to keep your toddler engaged and learning and I strongly recommend using them as a credible source of information if you're interested in learning more.

Back to blog

At Splashmate, we are dedicated to supporting the well-being and development of children, offering resources that parents and educators can depend on. Read more about our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Robinson, L. R., Danielson, M. L., Claussen, A. H., Visser, S. N., Scott, K. G., Beckwith, L., Katz, L. F., Smith, D. C. (2019). The Legacy for Children™ Randomized Control Trial: Effects on Cognition Through Third Grade for Young Children Experiencing Poverty. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 40(4), 275–284. doi:10.1097/DBP.0000000000000655. Read the article
  2. Cree, R. A., Bitsko, R. H., Robinson, L. R., Holbrook, J. R., Danielson, M. L., Smith, C., Kaminski, J. W., Kenney, M. K., Peacock, G. (2018). Health Care, Family, and Community Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders and Poverty among Children Aged 2–8 years — United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(5), 1377-1383. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6705a1. Read the article
  3. Sharapova, S. R., Phillips, E., Sirocco, K., Kaminski, J. W., Leeb, R. T., Rolle, I. (2018). Effects of Prenatal Marijuana Exposure on Neuropsychological Outcomes in Children Aged 1-11 Years: A Systematic Review. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 32(6), 512-532. doi:10.1111/ppe.12514. Read the article
  4. Haarbauer-Krupa, J., Lee, A. H., Bitsko, R. H., Zhang, X., Kresnow-Sedacca, M. J. (2018). Prevalence of Parent-Reported Traumatic Brain Injury in Children and Associated Health Conditions. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(11), 1078-1086. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.2743. Read the article
  5. Hartwig, S. A., Robinson, L. R., Comeau, D. L., Claussen, A. H., Perou, R. (2017). Maternal Perceptions of Parenting Following an Evidence-based Parenting Program: A Qualitative Study of Legacy for Children™. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(4), 499-513. doi:10.1002/imhj.21642. Read the article
  6. Morris, A. S., Robinson, L. R., Hays-Grudo, J., Claussen, A. H., Hartwig, S. A., Treat, A. E. (2017). Targeting Parenting in Early Childhood: A Public Health Approach to Improve Outcomes for Children Living in Poverty. Child Development, 88(2), 388–399. doi:10.1111/cdev.12743. Read the article
  7. Beasley, L. O., Silovsky, J. F., Espeleta, H. C., Robinson, L. R., Hartwig, S. A., Morris, A. S., Esparza, I. (2017). A Qualitative Study of Cultural Congruency of Legacy for Children™ for Spanish-speaking Mothers. Children and Youth Services Review, 79, 299-308. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.024. Read the article
  8. Holbrook, J. R., Bitsko, R. H., Danielson, M. L., Visser, S. N. (2017). Interpreting the Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Children: Tribulation and Triangulation. Health Promotion Practice, 18(1), 5-7. doi:10.1177/1524839916670873. Read the article
  9. Bitsko, R. H., Holbrook, J. R., Kaminski, J. W., Robinson, L. R., Ghandour, R. M., Smith, C., Peacock, G. (2016). Health-care, Family, and Community Factors associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood – United States, 2011-2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(9), 221–226. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6509a1. Read the article
  10. CDC. (2013). Mental Health Surveillance Among Children, United States 2005–2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62(Suppl; May 16, 2013):1-35. Read the article
  11. Katsantonis, I., McLellan, R. (2023). The role of parent–child interactions in the association between mental health and prosocial behavior: Evidence from early childhood to late adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development. doi:10.1177/01650254231202444. Read the article
See Our Editorial Process
Meet Our Review Board
  • How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    On this page: Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers Choosing Safe Materials for Your Sensory Bottle Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Glitter Sensory Bottle Further Readings   Creating a glitter...

    How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    On this page: Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers Choosing Safe Materials for Your Sensory Bottle Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Glitter Sensory Bottle Further Readings   Creating a glitter...

  • Sensory play

    Exploring Sensory Play: Creative Ideas for Babies

    On this page: Touch and Feel Boxes Homemade Edible Paint Water Play Sound Bottles Texture Balloons Further Readings   Sensory play is a fun and important part of a baby's...

    Exploring Sensory Play: Creative Ideas for Babies

    On this page: Touch and Feel Boxes Homemade Edible Paint Water Play Sound Bottles Texture Balloons Further Readings   Sensory play is a fun and important part of a baby's...

  • Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning Through Play

    Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning ...

    On this page: Sensory Bins: Exploring Textures and Shapes Musical Fun: Encouraging Rhythm and Movement Building Blocks: Enhancing Cognitive and Motor Skills Story Time: Fostering Language and Imagination Art and...

    Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning ...

    On this page: Sensory Bins: Exploring Textures and Shapes Musical Fun: Encouraging Rhythm and Movement Building Blocks: Enhancing Cognitive and Motor Skills Story Time: Fostering Language and Imagination Art and...

1 of 3