Toddler Learning Games – Free and Fun!

Ooh, I’ve got a treat in store for you this week. Drum roll. We’re having a special guest – and she’s bubbling over with ideas on how to keep your kids quiet over the holidays. Erm, I mean lovely toddler learning games…

Now here’s the thing. I’ve bitched about toddler groups. I’ve moaned about tantrums. So the heat is really on to keep this child of mine entertained. And seeing as his becoming a brain surgeon is pretty much my retirement plan, it needs to be educational as well as fun. I do like to multi-task.

So that’s why I’ve brought one of my lovely blogger friends, Nanny Maryanne, to the rescue. Her website is here if you can’t resist knowing more:

She’s here to help me, and of course you delightful bunch, with her invaluable Nanny advice on toddler learning games. She’s going to divulge some invaluable tips on easy games you can play at home without having to fork out for a bunch of stuff (and fill your house with more kiddie crap!).

Yep, how lucky are we. The advice of an actual professional Nanny without having to pay for a thing. Bloody hell, we’re getting dead fancy.

So without further faffing, I present to you the amazing, kind and gorgeous being that is Nanny M. I’m sure you will love her as much as I do.

Easy toddler learning games at home!

For the wonderful Anita, I hope you enjoy my guest post on your wonderful blog!

I know what it’s like, we all want to make sure our children’s minds and bodies are nourished and strengthened every day so they have the best start to life possible!

As a Nanny, I have tried and tested all of these games and recorded how fantastic they are for little ones and what area of their development they target!

Not to worry, these are super simple activities you can start right now, cutting out any fuss and keeping it easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Really and truly, the best way your little one will ever learn is through play!

And here are amazing home games you can try today!

Learning Games for Toddlers

Sensory toddler learning games

Sensory play will stimulate your child’s nerve endings and includes any activity which includes the touch/ sound/ sight/ smell and taste!

It really doesn’t have to be complicated too!

Have a little think of anything bubbly/ squishy/ hard/ soft/ light/ rough just lying around your house!

Perhaps you have some bubble bath or washing up liquid?

Make a bowl full of water and squeeze this in and let the fun begin! This will teach your little one simple concepts like volume, weight, hand to eye coordination and physical strength! Ask your little one what toys are going to sink and which are not!

Maybe soft towels?

Introduce the difference between textures. Actively touch and describe each hard/ soft texture and encourage your little one to tell you what they think!

Beads lying around?

Grab some string or old necklace chains and encourage your toddler to thread beads through! This is an awesome, fun activity for hand to eye coordination and is strengthening fine motor skills!

Kitchen foil?

Kids love anything shiny! Talk about the way it looks and what happens when we crumple it up. Roll in out into a snake shape and ask your child what the texture is like now!

Shaving foam?

Grab a bowl or bucket even and squirt some shaving foam out. Ask your kiddo what the texture feels like and the fun will just keep going from here!

Weird and wonderful food in the fridge? 

Have a taste test and blindfold your little one with a scarf or something soft. Really nourish their taste skills by only letting them rely on what they taste and not what they can see. This can be great fun for the whole family and try to focus heavily on asking your child what they are tasting. Is it sour? Sweet? Is it chewy or smooth?

Relax with classical music

Whether it’s your thing or not, I remember sitting for a little while with my own Mother when I was little. After a stressful day, she would pop on a CD and we would close our eyes and sometimes we’d talk sometimes we would sit in silence.

Use this or any kind of music without words and ask your child what do you think the music is trying to tell you? Is it a sad song or upbeat and happy? Can you picture a scene in your head which would match the music? What is it?

Toddler learning games


Not only is this super relaxing and lovely for both of you, but it will also really strengthen your child’s hearing skills and sensitivity to emotions. They will become more and more aware of feelings and how to regulate their own feelings by taking some cool down “me time”. I love doing this with children as their little worlds can get so busy and loud. By helping them step back sometimes and wind down, it will do wonders for their mood and sensory hearing skills!

Can you think of a time in your childhood when you remember an amazing sound or smell or sight?

I know I can!

Children learn at their best when they get to engage their senses.  Ultimately, the more experiences a child has, the more neural pathways will form in their brain, making more and more connections. This in time means your child will actually know more and be able to step up on his learning.

Think of a sponge that is dry. Then think about putting it in water half way. Now think about completely immersing it in the water until it is soaked.  Children are just like this. Many children sadly stay as a dry sponge or one which has been dipped in the water, still leaving an incredible amount of space to be absorbed.

Physical toddler learning games

If your little one is full of beans or has trouble sleeping at night, this is just what you need!

Why is physical activity important? 

  • Physical games produce stronger bones 
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Better mood 
  • A lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of becoming overweight
  • They stimulate gross and fine motor skills 

Unfortunately, children are sitting more in today’s society than ever before. Lots of screen time very often produces crabby moody children so please try to limit this as much as possible!

Try these super easy and fun activities in your home!

  • Work on your child’s fine motor skills by cutting out circles from paper and then pop them around the house. Have your little one hop, jump and skip onto each circle. 
  • Have an ABC treasure hunt by asking your child to find things around the house beginning with A and so on. You can try this with colours and shapes too!
  • Create an obstacle course made out of pillows blankets and chairs. 
  • Get outside in the garden and make an obstacle course made out of sticks, leaves and anything you can find!
  • Go for a walk and pretend to be different animals. Can you hop like a bunny? Can you slither like a snake? Can you run like a cheetah? 
  • Keep up a balloon using different parts of your body. Hand/ leg/ even thumb!
  • Dance party! Need I say more?
  • Pretend you both are floating around the house in a bubble. Are you going slow or fast? You can use this too when your little one is upset. Talk about that feeling and then both pop the bubble to release the emotion. 

Toddler learning games

Speech and language toddler learning games

All interactions with people around children even before birth will determine how their language will develop. 

If a child were to grow up in a very angry environment with everybody shouting, the child will develop a language which is much the same. And if a child grows up in a loving nourishing environment the language will then reflect this!

There are lots of super simple games you can play at home with your little one which will stimulate his language development milestones. 

Toys and puppets

These are fab and allow your child to expand his imagination and conversation skills. Encourage your little one to talk about the character of his puppet and what he is doing. Ask lots of open-ended questions that will encourage your child in a conversation like “What is your puppets name”? “What does your puppet like to do”? 

Match letters with pictures 

Have pictures of super simple things which have short names such as Dog, Cat, Duck, Pig, Mum, Dad. Have pictures of these and their first letters (D for Dog) and have your kiddo match up each word with their letter. This is bringing the visual image of the word and the letter together.  


Little tunes are always a lovely way to bond and get your child to expand on rhymes, nouns, verbs and sequencing using a song. Sing anything which you know! Old McDonald, Simon says, Head shoulders knees and toes and twinkle twinkle!

Memory game

If you have cheap paper plates or paper lying around you can draw letters, shapes or animals depending on what you want your child to learn and let your child have a look before you turn them over and then take turns to remember what letter is where!

Interactive stories 

Start off by only using a few words and begin a story. Such as “One day, we went to the…” Have your child finish the sentence and add a little more and so on!

I spy with my little eye 

You can use this game with numbers, colours, shapes and letters! Have a go each by saying “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…”

Games to Help Toddlers Learn

Toddler learning games for little brains

There are tons of skills a child can learn when using his brain through activities such as: 

  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
  • Lateral and critical thinking 
  • Spatial awareness 
  • Comprehension
  • Analytical thinking 
  • Linguistic enhancement

Brain-boosting games at home!

  • Building blocks
  • Word hunt
  • Puzzles 
  • Mazes
  • Board games 
  • Simon says 
  • Hide and seek
  • Set out toys in order of size 
  • Introduce small words of a second language 

Games to Help Toddlers Learn

Toddler learning games linked to emotions

This has to be one of my favourite areas to focus on development. There are so many reasons why we must focus on children’s emotions and help them understand and regulate them!

Check out my at home, easy emotion games!

Balloon anger

Anger is going to be felt by your child and this is okay! But to teach them to release this feeling this game is great for just that. Have your child tell you what is making them feel this way and blow up the balloon. Talk about this emotion and let them know it’s all in the balloon now and we are going to let it all go. Release the balloon and show your child this emotion isn’t in them anymore. 

Calm yoga

All children need a break from busy, loud lives! This will benefit you both and is a great activity to do before bedtime to calm down. 

Emotion cards 

Have simple coloured cards or any household items lying around. Perhaps use green as a good feeling, Amber, and a Red for anger and upset. When your child feels a certain way the can be encouraged to pick this item up and talk to you why they choose this colour. 

Mirror emotions 

Grab a mirror around the house and encourage your child to show you different emotions through the mirror and what his face might look like. Throw in a few silly faces too so that it is kept light. Experiment with different emotions such as Happy/ Sad/ Surprised/ Anger/ Shocked and so on. See how far you can take it! 

Very often children will react quickly to things yet struggle to know which language to use to describe their feelings.  By really getting into each emotion, a child will be able to identify what he is feeling and when! 

I just want to say a massive thank you to the wonderful Anita for having me write a guest post for her wonderful blog and I can’t recommend her work highly enough!

Nanny M x 


Whoop whoop! Now wasn’t that impressive. I can just imagine Nanny M like a modern day Mary Poppins, floating around the house like a bubble or hopping through the park like a fluffy little bunny! She’s the cutest.

There’s a lot of info to take on board, so feel free to Pin this for later, or share it in whichever way you fancy. My social share buttons are at your service.

Over to You

So come on, share the fun. Have you played any of these toddler learning games before? Have you learned anything new? Maybe you’ve got some extra ideas to throw into the pot. Gawd knows, we need all the help we can get to keep these kids entertained.  Let us know in the comments box, because we’d love to hear from you.

And as always, I’d be  OVER THE MOON if you’d scroll down/across and stick your email address in the Subscribe box, to sign up for further posts. Promise I won’t inundate you!

Thanks for reading and take care. xx

Give Me More!

If you want to read more from Nanny M, these are also brilliant:

And if you’re interested in checking out my guest post on Nanny M’s blog, which is my early pregnancy loss story with lots of self-care advice, please hop on over and take a look.

As always, if you want to know more about me, check out my About Me Page.


Credit for Featured Image: Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash


28 Replies to “Toddler Learning Games – Free and Fun!”

    1. Yes, you’re reminding me of my nan’s old button tin! The stuff of dreams to a little magpie child like me. 😂 xx

    1. Ooh, nice. Thanks for the extra tip! A bit like frog spawn, but without the baby frogs…🐸😂 xx

      1. Some great ideas! My 4 year old could definitely do with some calming yoga and classical music right now….!!

  1. wow so much in one post!! My three can entertain themselves for hours with bubbles and washing up liquid and the play often goes through several phases. It is so fun to watch them play and learn with it!

  2. What a lovely list of ideas. When our grandsons were little we’d go and collect leaves and twigs from outside and grab some rice and lentils from the kitchen and make collages.

    1. Fun! I remember making lots of pictures with painted bits of dry pasta shapes when I was small. Who needs expensive toys! Xx

  3. Wow there are loads of ideas here. What I’ve always found is that you can make games out of the simplest things and that little ones don’t care about expensive toys. We have had fun with shaving foam too and made some lovely snowman pictures for relatives at Christmas time.

  4. Such a lot of great ideas here. We’ll definitely be dipping into lots of these.
    When my son started showing interest in letters, we used a lot of Sensory play to practice letter formation. Wet sand, washing up liquid and shaving foam were all firm favourites.

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