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Joyful Play with Toddlers

by Sandi Dexter

illustrated by Karen Pew

Detailed Contents

About This Book

How Toddlers Learn

Toddlers are explorers
Safety comes first

Living with an Explorer

Look for good behavior
Avoid problems
Set reasonable limits
Acknowledge feelings
Reduce power struggles
Regain calm

Boxes and Boxes of Boxes

Over and under, In and out
Fill and dump
Pretend games with boxes


Picture cubes
Block games

Cans and Lids

Nesting cans
Can cone
Too big, Too little, Just right
Frozen juice can lids
Matching coins


Single circle puzzle
Simple picture puzzle
Photo puzzle


How to choose a book for a toddler
“My book!”
Busy books


Mirror mimic game
Happy, sad, scared, and mad faces

Sock Toys


Fun in the Kitchen

Kitchen toys
Cooking up some fun [the best ever recipe for playdough]
Poke, pat, and pound
Playdough pancake
Kooky cookies
Kitchen wizards
Porcupine playdough

Water, Water Everywhere

Ocean blue

Make-Believe Story Boxes

Creation crate
Camping kit
Cleaning day
Let’s play house

Scarf Magic

Dancing scarves
Magic land
Amazing scarves
Scarf costumes

Singing and Dancing

Personal songs
“I See It!” songs
Radio, records, compact discs, tapes
May I have this dance?
Dancing props
Mirror dancing

Kitchen Band

Rubber band banjo
Silly shakers
More instruments

Art of Creation

Creative ways with watercolor
Free or inexpensive art materials
Paste for toddlers

Let’s Play Ball

Roll the ball to me
Ball in the box
Throwing “snowballs”
Feeding the animals
Funny-face ball toss
Pop bottle bowling

Active Games for Indoors

Riding on an airplane
Bouncing baby
Tons of bubbles
Animal pretend
Ladder stepping
Over the mountain

Nature’s Playground

Bird watching
Listen to the sounds
Yard “work”
Walking in the rain
Buckets of fun

Cooking with a Toddler Chef

Gifts for Toddlers

Playdough packages
Paper dolls
Tape supply
Time and attention
Penny jar
Contact paper fun

Play Group Planning

How to avoid problems

Get Acquainted Games

A necklace for Mom (or other important person)
A house for us all
Skyscraper sandwich
Billions of bubbles
Toddler chorus

Teddy Bear Tea Party

Teddy bear beds
Teddy bear headbands
Cinnamon bear playdough
Beary nice necklaces
Teddy bear chefs
All-together time

I Love a Parade

Face painting
Newspaper hats
Fabulous floats
Ice cream and confetti
All-together time

Magical Fantasy Day

Magic wands
Royal crowns
Build a castle
Magic playdough
Royal dining
All-together time

Delightful Dinosaurs

Dinosaur hats
Cardboard carnivores
Dinosaur eggs
Spiky dinosaurs
Dinosaur habitat
Dinosaur lunch
All-together time


Link to book description

Useful for 1–3 years
128 pages
$11.95 paperback
$18.95 library

Inside the Book Inside the Book

Book Description

See the Seattle Sun article profiling the author.

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Last updated June 17, 2014