Ask a Parent Activites for a Toddler

by Maxine Sprague, BEd.

Dear Maxine,
My daughter is a very active 17 month old. What activities other then reading and a trip to the zoo (which we do often) would be age appropriate?

Thanks for your question. Are you with your daughter full time? If so, it's great at this age to get together with other moms who are in a similar life stage.

If your daughter is past the stage of putting things in her mouth, she might also enjoy crayons and coloring books. Homemade playdough is fun as well. Make pretend cookies, mold animals, flowers, snowmen or anything else she comes up with. At this stage the focus should be more on free play and process rather than end result. It's the fun of doing together rather than how the project turns out in the end.

Make any outing a fun experience - nature walks, grocery shopping, paying bills, banking, driving, visiting greenhouses, farms, recycling centers etc. - by talking about what you see and pointing out little things that she might not have noticed. It's not so much what you do or where you go with her but your loving attitudes and caring concern for her that will help her grow into a young women who can meet life challenges with confidence and perseverance.

Do you have a public library nearby that offers programs to preschoolers? These are usually short, fun activities that are age appropriate. Do you belong to any mom's morning out groups? Many churches and communities have these and they are a great way to meet other moms and share the incredible challenges of parenting. Do you have family members close by that are willing to spend time with your daughter? The more caring people she has in her life, the more loved she will feel. Do you have elderly friends or a care home nearby where you could make friends with a lonely elderly person? All of these kinds of experiences are inexpensive and will give your daughter exposure to a range of age groups and activities.

Maxine Sprague, BEd. is a parent, educator, and author of three books including her latest, Super Easy Bag Lunches - Recipes and Hundreds of Other Happy Baggin' It Ideas.

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