I wanted to write a 2-3 specific bundle of games but I have no 2-3 year old to model them. So, what I did was set-up games that would suit a 2-3 year old and basically differentiated it so that J would be suitably challenged and stimulated. (Been a while since I differentiated!!) To identify where I would do things differently for a 2-3 year old, I have noted it in bold throughout the post. In the long run, whilst I have no children of my own in that age bracket, I am on the hunt for a suitable candidate!! As well as this post with six activities in, the Toddler Special earlier is also suitable for 2-3’s. So once, you’ve read this, have a little look!
Activity 1: Blue’s Play dough Clues
- A small Melissa and Doug tray
- Some wooden shapes
- Some small pieces of lego
- A magnifying glass
- Blue Play dough
To set up the game, I simple spread the blue play dough flat on one side of the tray. I then pressed in different shapes and parts of the lego for J to match. I added one or two extra pieces to trick J and told him, he had to sort the clues and find out who shouldn’t be there. HE LOVED IT, so definitely one for a pre-schooler too. For a 2-3, you don’t have to use the small Lego, Duplo would be fine or maybe just shapes. To mix it up a little, you could add tyre tracks of your child’s favourite vehicles, dinosaur footprints or any smallish object.
J loved using the magnifying glass for this and it wasn’t just for show! It did actually make the job easier for J as the prints were actually quite small. It really helped J look for the detail.
As J matched the various bits of Lego, he had to think about the number of indentations and shape etc. Again, this can be simplified for the 2-3’s by putting less objects to match in the tray.
The fine motor skills J needed to use for this activity are a great help for him on his eventual ability to write, do up his shoes/buttons, get dressed and so on.
Mission complete! J matched up the items with the prints and as he did so talked about, number, size, shape, position and so on! What an easy, yet valuable game.
Activity 2: Button Play dough
- A tray
- Play dough
- Buttons (all shapes, sizes and colour)
A simple activity to develop J’s hand muscles…
… finger power…
The possibilities are limitless with this activity and J managed to print the buttons and count the imprints, talk about shape and so on.
Activity 3: Cutting and Sticking My Favourites
- Child safety scissors
- A Monster’s University poster
- Cardboard with his name written on
I bought J his first pair of safety scissors on his second birthday! I remember my husband raising his eyebrows as if to say, ‘why are you giving him scissors?’ The reality is, scissor control is difficult to master, yet starting early and getting in lots of practise means J is now really quite good at cutting out! He loves it too. He would happily sit and cut up a piece of paper into tiny pieces for an hour easily! When J first started, we used to have to hold the paper for him quite taut so that he was able to make a snip. Now though, he does this independently. I wrote J’s name on the cardboard as J is learning to spell his name and therefore, any chance he can see it is an opportunity not to be missed. J made himself a name card for his door. For a 2-3 year old, I would just give them a piece of card as it is the skill of cutting they need to rehearse along with the skill of sticking.
J is super crazy about Monster’s University right now and therefore, giving him a free poster I had for him to cut out his favourite characters is only going to encourage him and engage him further. Adding what your child is interested in to any activity, is a sure way to engage them in most things.
All the cutting and sticking practise J has had since the age of two, means this is something that keeps in occupied, independent and he enjoys it!
Activity 4: Dancing
This is the MOST simple and yet one of the most fun activities we do! We do it most days and J and I both LOVE it! (So does Daddy but if I tell you, he’ll be cross!! Shhh! )
Not only is dance superb for gross motor skills and development it is also be excellent for listening skills.
We often listen to kid’s music that gives instructions about what move to do next. This particular one is CBeebies single released last year (or maybe the year before) called ‘Get up and Dance!’ It is a FAVOURITE of ours and includes lyrics like: ‘Clap your hands, stamp your feet, turn around and glide…’
We also have a bit of free style going on!! We also listen to music from the charts and J loves showing us his ‘skills’ as he calls them!
Love this one!! HAHAHA!
Activity 5: Save the Planet
- A roasting tray
- A basket
- Cotton wool balls
- Plastic child tweezers
- Wooden tongs
For this activity, I put some pompoms and cotton wool balls in a roasting tin. I told J that the ice aliens were taking over the Pompom planet and he has to rescue them with the tools!
J was in a world of imagination from the off and rescued and spoke to the pompoms as he did so! Obviously adding the story peeks J’s interest but the real purpose of this game is to exercise J’s fine motor skills. For the 2-3’s it is also a good opportunity to rehearse colour recognition and distinguish between the colourful pompoms and the white balls.
J added the lead ice alien to the mix and he told all of the aliens to ‘be nice and play nicely together!’ Bless him!
It ended happily as ALL of the aliens were put in the spaceship (basket) and flew off to another planet together! Aw, just like his Mum, he is a sucker for a happy ending!
Activity 6: Squeeze and Pour Water Play
- A bowl
- Three plastic cups
- Turkey baster
I have been wanting to buy a pipette for J for ages but have decided it will go into his Christmas Scientific Box I plan on putting together for him! So to introduce the concept of squeezing to suck up the water, I gave J a turkey baster to use! It was a hit!
It made bubbles… always popular with J!
The control and rehearsal of pouring, tipping and transferring water from one container to another is great for motor development!
I’m yet to find a child who doesn’t LOVE water play!
Remember to have a look at Toddler Play Special too!