You’re in a room full of timid toddlers with just budding social skills and now you have to get them comfortable with each other. Feeling challenged yet? If you’re worried about your group of tiny tots warming up to each other, don’t panic. There are plenty of activities you can use to help them break the ice.
Introduce a group of toddlers with some circle time giggling. Have your little group stand or sit in a circle with you. Start the game by having the first toddler to your right ask you, “What are you doing?” Now you reply with a silly answer like “I am rubbing my tummy.” Now have everyone in the group copy your action and watch the giggles start. Turn to the toddler on your left and ask, “What are you doing?” Encourage the little guy to provide his own silly answer.
As each toddler responds to the question as you work around the circle, everyone has to copy the actions. By the time you get around the circle, everyone will be full of giggles and comfortable with the group.
Friendly Handprint Mural
Encourage some easy first interactions with some finger painting fun. (This activity is best for older toddlers and a few friends or family members to help supervise.) Tape together six to eight pieces of poster board. Provide each toddler with a shallow bowl of finger paint. Have him dip his hand in the paint and make a hand print on the giant mural paper. Encourage the group to keep adding hand prints to the paper until it’s all filled up. Now it’s time to hang the mural of “friendly hand prints” for everyone to see.
Start off your toddler play date with a few treasure hunts. Before your group of tots arrives, take some pictures of a big bunch of simple items, such as toys, pretend play food or stuffed animals. Hide these simple items around the play area. Now you’ll need to organize the picture clues. Divide the playgroup into teams of two to three toddlers, provide each team with three picture cards and have the teams search for their treasure.
When everyone has found their treasure, divide the playgroup into different teams of two or three toddlers, give them each a new batch of three picture cards and send them on their way again. Continue until all of the toddlers have had a chance to work together so everyone gets acquainted.
What toddler doesn’t love to use his ever-growing imagination? Bring your toddler group together with a little time for imaginative play. As the munchkins arrive, send them into a playroom full of costumes and pretend play centers (like tool benches, kitchens and dressing tables) and give them some time to enjoy playing beside one another. As they get comfortable in the playroom, it won’t be long before they’re sharing tea time and construction work together