How to Play with Your Two Year Old
Mom's Parenting Tool Box

How to Play with Your Two-Year-Old

The “Terrible Twos” they call it. You are here but is this time really terrible? Those sweet growing babies will definitely have their moments of terror but I know you are doing the best you can! That’s why you are here reading this today. I want to give you some encouraging ideas to fill those 2-year-old attention cups with playful fun and learning. So you can stay connected and hopefully simplify those “terrible” times you have been warned about. How to Play with your two-year-old will help parents and family understand the perspective of the overwhelming world our independent twos are undertaking!

How to Play with Your Two Year Old

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Expectations for Two-Year-Olds

All adults have expectations- parents especially focus on them for our children. Expectations are great because they encourage goals! I encourage everyone to do some research when setting expectations so you can make sure the target you are aiming for is realistic. Things that your Two-Year-Old can accomplish physically, mentally and, socially are very different from adults and even from older children. They may even be different from what you experienced with an older sibling! Two-Year-Olds are far from independent but many of the things you are exposing them to know will help build toward playing independently!

In Preschool Educations Based Skills: Age 2-5, I Break down some of the learning milestones you can expect with your kids.

Here are some other popular and trusted resources specifically focused on 2-Year-Old Milestones.

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/child-at-2-milestones#1

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/checklists_2yr.pdf

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/development-24mos.html

Here is a quick general breakdown of some Milestones MOST 2-Year-Olds will be showing or working on.

Physically

  • Imitating
  • Running
  • Kicking a Ball
  • Stackign Blocks
  • Feeding Self
  • Scribbling

Mentally

  • Follows 2-3 Step Directions
  • Sorts Shapes and Colors
  • 2 Word Sentences
  • Points to Pictures when Named

Socially

  • Expresses Emotions
  • Repeats Words
  • Knows Family Names
  • Plays Alongside Others
  • Defiant

Being more aware of realistic expectations for Two-Year-Olds can make planning and playing easier and more fun.

Daily Schedules are a highly debated topic among parents. For your 2-year-old who becoming more defiant and independent, they are very helpful. Having a schedule, even very flexible and loose one, can help them know what to expect and feel more in control. How to Play with your two-year-old and having playtime at about the same time every day will help with the transition to and from activities and expectations. Check out my Stay at Home Mom Schedule post for ideas on creating a good schedule for you and your kids.

Why Is It Important to Take the Time to Play with Your Two-Year-Old?

Play is learning! The ultimate goal of parents is to create happy, healthy, independent, and caring kids. The first step to reach this goal is to Fill your Kids Attention Cups! Good attention from a parent creates a happy heart, ready to work on growing more independent.

Almost everything your two-year-old sees, and experiences can be a learning moment. You know Ben Franklin saying “Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I will learn.” Anything you have to do throughout your day can be considered play!

Its Playtime!

Here are some fun games, toys, and ideas to use when it’s Two-Year-Old Playtime. Check the milestone notes if you want to work on some of those more than others.

  • Follow the Leader. Use movements and words. Take turns following and being the follower.
  • Coloring and Drawing. Using markers is easier because they don’t require as much hand the strength to make the color as crayons. Blank paper will be more fun. These kiddos don’t need lines to stay inside yet!
  • Stacking Block Towers. Old school wooden blocks are fun. Mega block might stay together for taller building. Always be ready for that Two-Year-Old Hulk Smash!
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  • Sorting Objects. Use Sticker and Stamps with paper. Or blocks of different shapes and colors. Any toys or objects they you have can be used. Check out some of my sorting videos on YouTube.

Encourage Play with Siblings, Cousins, and Other Family

Some ideas for you to encourage others to play with your Two-Year-Old:

  1. Share those milestones! “Look what they can do.” Create a sense of pride for your Two-Year-Old and their playmate!
  2. Keep it simple- minimal and age appropriate expectations for All PLAYERS.
  3. Redirection or sharing a new toy, idea, or activitiy when something undesirable is happening. This is a great tool for older siblings to learn!

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