8 easy activities that will help toddlers and babies bond

Kinderling News & Features

If you struggle to keep your toddler occupied with a baby in one arm - here are some great activity ideas that all three of you can enjoy together.

Entertaining a toddler and a baby all day can be tricky and exhausting with both being at different developmental stages. 

Play is the perfect way to help babies and toddlers develop new skills. One-year-olds enjoy sensory-based games that include pulling, touching, manipulating, shaking and crushing, whereas three-year-olds tend to participate in more purposeful play such as role playing and imaginative play.

So here are eight activities they can do together.

1. Finger painting

What you need:

  • Smock
  • Face washers
  • Empty egg carton

Recipe:

  • 1 cup cornflour
  • Cold water
  • Boiling water
  • Food colouring

Step 1. Mix cornflour and some cold water until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add boiling water to thicken.

Step 2. Have your toddler help tear apart an egg carton and place small amounts of the mixture in each section. Add food colouring to create different colours.

Benefits for toddler:

Learn how to draw shapes and objects and see how different colours can mix together.

Benefits for baby:

Practising pointing index finger. Babies use their sense of touch, smell, and taste. This is why it’s wise to use only edible products.

2. Craft: Make a mosaic window. 

What you need:

  • Coloured cardboard or paper
  • Contact
  • Cellophane – several different colours.
  • Safety scissors

Step 1. Cut the centre of the cardboard or paper out to make a frame.

Step 2. Place the frame on a piece of contact.

Step 3. Have your toddler cut out different shapes of cellophane.

Step 4. Have your baby ‘stick’ the cellophane to the contact.

Benefits for toddler:

Practise with safety scissors and cutting out different shapes.

Benefit for baby:

Feeling different textures such as the smoothness of the cellophane and the stickiness of the contact.

3. Making a book 

What you need:

  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Textas
  • Pencils
  • Tissue paper
  • Cellophane
  • Felt

Pick a familiar setting as a theme like a beach, park, or house. Ask your toddler to draw things that belong to that setting.

Benefits for toddler:

Practise pencil grip and using different art tools (textas, crayons, pencils) create a different result. Talking to your toddler about what belongs in each setting helps with sorting skills.

Benefits for baby:

Baby can scrunch (naturally) some paper as leaves or clouds or rocks for the toddler’s pictures. Baby will be able to feel the different textures and hear different sounds.

4. Reading the book

What you need:

Take the drawings and staple them together to make a book. Have your toddler tell you a story that you can write down keywords on the pages. Your toddler can then read this story to the baby.

Benefits for toddler and baby:

Early literacy skills including how to ‘read’ a book by turning pages, letter recognition, and using the pictures to help tell a story.read

5. Cooking: Choc chip muffins

What you need:

  • 1 packet of vanilla muffin mix
  • Chocolate chips
  • Soft foods for baby

Step 1. Your toddler can help mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl and your baby can have a separate mixing bowl and spoon with some soft food that is easily chewable.

Step 2. Spoon the muffin mixture into a muffin tray. Your toddler can help you make sure you have spooned the mixture out evenly.

Step 3. Then your toddler and baby and lick the bowl clean.

Benefits for toddler:

Early maths skills including measuring and determining; this helps the toddler to think about whether more or less is needed.

Benefits for baby:

Babies love to put things in bowls and take them out again and of course the taste and texture of the cake mix.

6. A picnic

Once the muffins are cooked you can have afternoon tea on a picnic rug.

What you need:

  • Tea set

Benefits for toddler:

Role-playing and imaginative play; illustrating how they see adults interact. Talking to the baby helps with speech development.

Benefits for baby:

Babies begin to imitate others and listening to conversations helps with speech development.

7. Cubby houses

What you need:

  • Blankets/sheets
  • Chairs
  • Books or pegs (to hold sheets in place)
  • Pillows and soft toys to furnish

Step 1. Have your toddler help you position the chairs around the room and throw the sheet over the top. Place the books on the seat of the chair to keep the sheet in place.

Step 2. Put the pillows and soft toys inside.

Benefits for toddler:

Early maths skills including the distance the chairs have to be apart and how heavy the books need to be to keep the sheet in place.

Benefits for baby:

Baby can play peek-a-boo and be enticed to crawl through spaces and over pillows to assist with gross motor skills.

8. Music

What you need:

  • Toy instruments OR
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Pots
  • Wooden spoons
  • Plastic bottle with rice inside
  • Radio/CD
  • Singing voice

No matter the age, all kids love to bash something, sing, dance and clap to the music.

Benefits toddler and baby:

Help build rhythm skills and listening skills and foster a love of music and movement.

This article originally appeared on Babyology.