11 Fun Activities for 2-Year-Olds

These indoor toddler activities will enhance the development of your 2-year-old.

Recognizing Colors, Objects, and People

Activities provided by Productive Parenting. To receive additional daily activities based on your child's age, visit ProductiveParenting.com.

Shades of Color

Craft with Her

Kathryn Gamble

Materials You Will Need: Colored construction paper

What to Do: Your child may be beginning to recognize colors. Hand your child a red piece of construction paper, naming the color. Point out items in your house that are different shades of red, describing them as lighter red or darker red. Repeat the activity using other bright colors (red, yellow, green, blue).
Variations: Get paint cards at the paint store to show shades of various colors. Use the words "pale yellow," "bright blue," etc.

Skills Learned: Classifying, concept development, visual discrimination

Starter Chopsticks

Materials You Will Need: 2 bowls, tongs, pompoms, starter chopsticks

What to Do: Practicing movement "left to right" prepares your child to read. Show your child how to pick up the pompoms in the bowl on the left with tongs and transfer the pompoms to the empty bowl on the right.

Variations: Try using starter chopsticks for this activity.

Skills Learned: Eye-hand coordination

Set the Table

Materials You Will Need: Fork, knife, spoon, vinyl place mat, napkin, basket.

What to Do: Children love to help their parents around the house at this age. Fill a basket with the items needed for a place setting. Draw an outline of a plate, fork, knife, and spoon on the place mat with a marker. Have your child take the basket to the table, then put the place mat on the table. Show your child how to match the objects to the outlines on the place mat. The napkin can be placed under the fork. Your child will be proud to have been so helpful. Complimenting your child builds self-esteem.

Skills Learned: Self concept, matching, social development

Dig for Hidden Treasure

Materials You Will Need: Plastic Container, 8 to10 small items, sand

What to Do: Place sand or cornmeal in a large, rectangular plastic container. Place several items of the same theme (small plastic animals, keys, or coins) in the sand. See how many items your child can find by moving his hands through the sand. You may also use a sifter to do this activity. Count the objects as your child finds them.

Skills Learned: Sensory development, tactile stimulation

Self Portrait

Materials You Will Need: Large sheet of paper, markers

What to Do: Children love to see themselves! Have your child lie down on a large piece of craft paper. Draw the outline of her body on the paper. Ask your child to draw the eyes, hair, nose, mouth, and ears. Hang the self-portrait in your child's playroom.

Variations: Have your child draw clothing on the portrait, including shoes, etc.

Skills Learned: Creative expression, body awareness

Activities to Improve Numbers and Vocabulary


Materials You Will Need: Five small, clear containers (all the same size), 15 pennies, tray, basket

What to Do: This activity will help your child begin to develop counting concepts. Place the five containers in front of your child. Put a penny in the first container and count "one." (Be sure your child hears each penny as it falls into the container.) Put two pennies in the second container. Continue until you put five pennies in the fifth container. Then let you child do it. Note: Your child may be interested only in putting the pennies in and out of the containers. This is a great hand-eye coordination activity.

Variations: Use the same-size Lego pieces.

Skills Learned: Counting concepts, eye-hand coordination, listening

Chalk Numbers

Materials You Will Need: Chalk

What to Do: If you're able to be outdoors, write the numerals one to seven on the driveway or sidewalk. Have your child locate and stand on the number you call out; for instance, "Stand on number five," "Sit on number seven," and so forth.

Variations: Use different-colored chalk to write a set of numerals in each color. Then say, "Stand on the blue number two," etc. Some chalk can even be used on carpeting indoors.

Skills Learned: Listening, counting concepts

My Home

Materials You Will Need: Photos

What to Do: This activity involves matching, a skill that is important for math and reading. Take a photo of each room in your home and separate photos of objects that belong in each of the rooms. Line up the photos of each room. Put the other photos in a stack. As your child selects an object photo, see if your child knows the room where it belongs. For example, ask your child to put the picture of the refrigerator next to the room where you can find the refrigerator.

Variations: Label each photo and create a book that shows the matching pairs.

Skills Learned: Language development, classifying, matching, visual discrimination

Preposition Play

What to Do: Language concepts are learned through play. Enjoy this language game with your child, as you say, "Sit AGAINST the wall," "Walk AROUND the chair," "Sit ON the chair," "Get OFF the chair," "Go OUT the door." "Come IN the door." Ask your child to tell you to do some actions.

Variations: Repeat the activity when you are with your child. This reinforces the concepts.

Skills Learned: Listening, language development

What's Inside?

Materials You Will Need: Paper bags, toys and household items, tape

What to Do: Your child's curiosity will be piqued with this fun activity. Collect a number of familiar items that your child uses: special toys, hairbrush, drinking cup, set of keys, shoe, ball. Place each item in a small bag and tape it closed. As you sit with your child, bring out one bag at a time and let your child feel the bag. Encourage your child to guess the content of each bag. When the correct guess is made, let your child open the bag.

Variations: Have your child hide items for you to find.

Skills Learned: Problem solving, tactile stimulation

Grocery Store

Materials You Will Need: Fruits and vegetables, play grocery cart

What to Do: Role-playing helps prepare children for the future. Download pictures of favorite fruits and vegetables. Show one of the pictures to your child saying, "I need some fruit. Will you go to the store and buy me some apples?" Have your child place the food in the grocery cart. Continue playing the game, using the word for the fruit or vegetable and naming the one you want. It is important to say, "Thank you" each time your child brings you the object. This is how children learn social skills.

Variations: Take photos of fruits and vegetables with your phone.

Skills Learned: Language development, concept development, social development

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

These activities originally appeared on Productive Parenting and are reprinted with permission. To receive additional daily activity suggestions based on your child's age, visit www.productiveparenting.com.

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