A rainy day with your 2-year-old doesn’t have to mean wild couch gymnastics and dinner at the emergency room cafeteria. Keeping your toddler occupied and engaged on rainy days takes a little more creativity, but it also lets you spend some quality learning time together.
This game is easy, lets you sit down, and can be repeated many times over. If you want to engage your toddler for more than a few seconds, keep up your enthusiastic voice so your 2-year-old stays interested. Set an empty ice cube tray in front of your tot and yourself along with a pile of colorful cotton puffs. Let her distribute the puffs into the ice cub tray by saying “One for me, one for you, two for me, two for you.” Help her if she gets stuck and encourage her to keep counting until she fills both of the trays.
Pretend that the floor is the ocean and try to navigate across the room by stepping on blankets, newspapers and stuffed animals. Ask your toddler to choose which items would make the best islands for walking across the floor. The goal is to walk from one side to the other without touching the floor or the carpet. Not only will this let your toddler practice her coordination, but it will also encourage her to think about spacial relationships in relation to her own movement.
Since she dirties more clothing than anyone else in the family, laundry sorting is a perfect game to encourage her categorization skills and color recognition. Dump all the laundry on the floor near the washer and ask her to help you make different piles of clothing based on the fabric color. In the beginning, pick up each item and ask her, “Is this light or dark?” or “Is this a bright color or a soft color?” and let her place the article in the correct pile. Eventually she’ll be able to do it herself and you can let her press the start button on the washer as a reward.
At some point during the rainy day, you’ll need to unload the dishwasher and prepare her food, which is the perfect time to play “I Spy.” Find unique items around the room with easily distinguishable characteristics. For example, a red fireman’s hat or a pink tutu are easier for a 2-year-old to identify than a story book or a mosaic. Give clues pertaining to shapes, colors and sounds. For example, “I spy with my little eye something that has the shape of a circle and is green.” Offer another clue if after a few moments your tot hasn’t correctly identified the frisbee. This simple game builds your toddler’s critical thinking skills by requiring her to infer a conclusion based on a limited set of characteristics.