6 Indoor Games for Toddlers: Help Them Meet Developmental Milestones

Creative games for toddlers to play indoors can help foster developmental growth

Yuck! It’s raining, and you’re stuck indoors (or you’re like me and live in Central California, and it’s 105 degrees with no shade trees in your yard).

Your children are running around like madmen and constantly arguing because they don’t know what to do with themselves (even though there are 50 different toys to choose from).

I’ve done some searching for you to find some fun games you can play with your kids when you’re stuck inside.

1. Bubble Popping

Yes, it seems so simple, and it might not be as fun for parents as it is for the kids, but we love bubbles over here.

You can buy tubes of bubbles for a dollar and keep stocked up on them because it’s never-ending excitement.

If you don’t want to sit there and blow bubble after bubble until you’re ready to pass out from a lack of oxygen, consider getting one of those little battery-operated bubble blowers.

Development Skills

  • Fine motor skills
  • Cause and effect
  • Play with Purpose

2. Magic Socks

Kids love magic! Anything magic, or magical, and they are interested and never want to quit. Magical socks is an idea from my favorite show, “Gilmore Girls.” Children’s imaginations are much more exciting than mine, so it’s fun to see “where” we will go and what we’ll do when we get there.

Gather your child(ren) and grab a fun pair of socks. Slipper socks are a good option because they are pretty long and have fun designs on them.

Ask your child where they want to “go” and follow them on the adventure! Ask questions while “traveling,” such as what are we doing here or who do you think might want to meet us here?

It’s a more involved (and fun) version of Follow the Leader. I’m not the only one who likes this idea (or who watches Gilmore Girls), it was listed on Rainforest Learning Center’s webpage as well!!

Development

  • Language
  • Emotional skills

3. Freeze Dance

Kids like to dance. There I said it. The music comes on, and their little bodies wiggle away (on or offbeat, doesn’t matter – it happens). A great way to use music for play is to turn on some music from your phone, Alexa, a CD player.

And when you turn off the music, everyone has to freeze! If you have something to get done, like make dinner or throw a load of laundry in the washer, and can’t sit there and press the pause button every so often, you can load up on songs that will give the prompts for you.

Development

  • Locomotor movement
  • Cognitive development

4. Dress-up

Even as adults, it’s fun to get dressed up! If we like it, our kids will want to do it as well. Whether you have a “dress-up closet” for your little ones where they keep their superhero capes and princess dresses, or you let them raid your closet so they can wear your old dresses.

Give them options or free range of your wardrobe or pull out their dress-up clothes. You can add a bonus to this and give them a little make-up or face paint to “finish” their outfits (you don’t have to do this, I know it can be messy, but that’s part of the fun!)

Development

  • Gross Motor
  • Speech and Language
  • Social and Emotional

5. Draw What I Draw

I’ve seen a few other blogs where they do this in more of a “Simon Says” fashion, but for those little ones learning to write letters and small words, it’s helpful if you draw (or write) something so they can copy it.

We have a large dry erase board and markers and make a list of things we want to draw or spell. Start with the picture of the word, for example, “cat.”

Next, draw a circle for the face and wait for your little one to draw their circle (it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, and at this age, it likely won’t be). Then, draw two triangle ears and wait for your little one to draw theirs.

Do the same for the two circles for the eyes, and so on. The kids learn how to draw and can practice their handwriting, plus it becomes a parent and me project!

This is a great bonding opportunity to have with your child.

Development

  • Fine Motor
  • Speech and Language

6. Musical Chairs

As kids, we played this game, and as parents, we play a version of it now called “Cake Walk.” Well, I do, and my favorite part is the cake. Who doesn’t like to walk around a circle and win a delicious cake? Right?! I digress.

I’ve already given you the Freeze Dance option above, but you can’t go wrong with a classic game like musical chairs. In case you haven’t played this game before, don’t worry, it’s easy to set up and for the kids to play.

Development

  • Gross Movement
  • Cognitive Development

Games For Development

Each of the above games can help with your child’s development and be a fun way to add play into your rainy day/hot day agenda.

For more information on child development skills and a handy checklist, check out the CDC Milestone Chart. Children learn from play, observance, and imitation.

Feel free to join them and let your inner child out for the day.