Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

15 things that thrill toddlers

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

Toddlers are always on the go and usually have short attention spans. They like being independent and their favorite word is often "NO!"

A lot has been written about "the terrible twos" but two year olds can be a lot of fun too. They get excited about little things that we adults take for granted.

Here are 15 things that nearly all toddlers love from this Grandma's bag of tricks. Try one of these ideas the next time your preschool child or grandchild needs a change of scenery.

Running anywhere and everywhere is something toddlers love. They love to run in the yard, down the hallway, on the sidewalk, in the driveway, and especially downhill.

Water is a toddler's friend. Whether it's running in the sprinkler, playing in the sink, splashing in the tub, pouring out a bucket of water, or playing in a wading pool, toddlers are always ready for water play.

Music soothes the soul and toddlers are no different than the rest of us. Kids' music, Christmas music, dance music, pop music, and country western music all make toddlers happy.

Dancing goes along with music for toddlers. They will spin and sway to the music and dance kid style. Sometimes they will even dance with Mom or Dad.

Bubbles are a favorite for toddlers. They like blowing bubbles and love for you to blow bubbles they can pop. A bubble machine or bubble mower will hold a toddler's attention for quite a while.

Boxes to sit in, push around, put things into, and climb in and out of are often more fun for toddlers than what came in the box. A copy paper box is the perfect size for toddlers.

Sand is something that toddlers really like. Whether playing in a sandbox or sand table or making sand crafts, most toddlers like the texture of sand. Sometimes they will just hold sand in their hands and let it sift through their fingers.

Swinging high in the air makes toddlers laugh with glee. Maybe it's the feel of the air rushing past their faces but swings and toddlers go together.

Sliding is something toddlers will do over and over and over again. They climb up, they slide down. At first, a toddler may be a little apprehensive about the slide but, once they get used to the slide, it's hard to get them back in the house.

Blocks to use for building will keep toddlers busy. Wooden blocks, big cardboard blocks, and legos are all great toddler toys. They like to build towers and knock them down again. Building with blocks is good for hand-eye coordination too.

Dandelions seem to fascinate toddlers. They love blowing dandelions and seeing the seeds fly through the air. Toddlers like other flowers too but dandelions are often their favorites.

Drawing with crayons, markers, chalk, or a pen will keep a toddler busy for a few minutes. Drawing with chalk on the sidewalk lasts even longer. This is a good time to draw a hopscotch court and teach your toddler to hop.

Painting is fun for toddlers and also builds fine motor skills. Fingerpainting is especially fun for most toddlers although some don't like their hands getting dirty. Some moms let their toddlers paint on the kitchen table with shaving cream.

Animals make toddlers very happy. Cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, farm animals, and zoo animals are all wonderful to toddlers. Monkeys and barking dogs are often toddlers' favorites.

Little toys that they can hold in their hand will keep toddlers busy for a long time. Action figures, little people, toy cars, and other little toys are just the right size for toddlers.

This post written by Erika Christakis

I am an early childhood educator whose professional life is rooted at the intersection of schools, families, and communities Currently a Lecturer at the Yale Child Study Center, my work focuses on curriculum development and training for early childhood teachers.

I really enjoy student life; before coming to Yale, I served for four years as Co-Master (with my husband, Nicholas Christakis) of one of Harvard’s 12 undergraduate residential “houses.” A graduate of Harvard College, I have a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University, a M.A. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University.

If you are interested in talking about education or young children, or just want to chat about non-linear career paths and popular culture, I can be reached at

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.