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55 Brain Development Activities For Your 2-Year-Old

brain-development-activities-for-2-year-olds blog post - a young boy stacking colorful blocks and playing with toy animals

Are you looking for brain development activities for 2-year-olds to do with your toddler?

 

This blog post will lay out several brain development activities for 2-year-olds that cover all areas of learning.

 

We’ll explore a diverse range of activities designed to stimulate your child’s cognitive growth, ignite their imagination, and pave the way for a future filled with curiosity and intelligence.

 

Your child’s second year is a time of awe and wonder, filled with remarkable growth and exploration.

 

It’s a period when their brains are like sponges, eagerly absorbing knowledge, and forming the foundation for a lifetime of learning.

 

As a parent, you hold the key to unlocking their immense potential.

 

Join us as we delve into early childhood development and go over fun, engaging, and educational brain development activities that will not only captivate your child’s interest but also lay the groundwork for their lifelong learning journey.

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link.

 

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Brain Development Activities blog post- Young girl stacking colored blocks

 

Lovevery

 

Have you ever heard of Lovevery? They are a Montessori based company that offers developmental growth through their specially designed, age appropriate play kits that encourage exploration, learning, and discovery.

 

It is a subscription service that deliver play kits to your door step every couple of months!

 

Lovevery toys and activities are highly regarded for their thoughtful design, developmental focus, safety, and educational value.

Lovevery Play Kit with brain development toys for 2 year olds

They provide children with opportunities for exploration and growth while giving parents the confidence that they are providing the best for their child’s development.

 

These toys promote learning and development using the same methods that I was trained to teach while being a preschool teacher, while giving examples of how to engage in brain development activities using their kits.

 

I cannot personally recommend Lovevery enough.

 

Related Article: Say Bye to Boredom: The Best Toddler Subscription Box Revealed

 

Now on to the activities!

 

From art and creativity, STEM exploration, gross and fine motor skills development, social-emotional growth, and language and literacy enrichment, we’ll cover it all.

 

These brain development activities will not only entertain your little one but also nurture their development.

 

So, get ready to embark on this enriching journey, and let’s explore brain-boosting activities that will leave your child’s eyes sparkling with wonder and their minds ready to embrace the world of knowledge.

 

Art and Creativity: Igniting Imagination

 

brain development activities for 2 year olds blog post- toddler girl holding paint brushes

 

Nurturing your child’s artistic side at the tender age of 2 sparks their creativity and self-expression. Engage in brain development activities like finger painting, coloring, and crafting with child-safe materials to foster their imaginative skills.

 

Coloring

Supplies Needed:

Paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils

How-to Guide:

Lay out some paper and offer your toddler different coloring tools. Watch as they show off their creativity and imagination through art! Scribbling and coloring allows your child to express artistically themselves.

 

Dot Markers

Supplies Needed:

Paper, dot markers

How-to Guide:

Dot markers are a great way to show off creativity. Supply some paper and dot markers for your child to enjoy!

 

Suncatchers

Supplies Needed:

Tissue paper, contact paper

How-to Guide:

Have your child rip up several sheets of different colored tissue paper (this is a fun activity in and of itself). Then, stick the ripped pieces onto the sticky side of contact paper. You can cut the contact paper out in different shapes, or I like to have a template that the children stick the tissue paper around. After the tissue paper has been applied, you can stick the contact paper to a window to reveal your homemade suncatcher!

 

Color Mix-Up

Supplies needed:

Shaving cream, storage bag, paint, tape

How-to guide:

Spray some shaving cream into a Ziploc bag. Have your child pick out a couple of paint colors and pour some into the bag. Properly seal the bag (you can use masking tape to ensure it is sealed) and watch your child squish the bag to make new colors! Alternatively, you can let your child squish and smear the shaving cream and paint on a table or other surface with their hands and fingers for a fun sensory activity.

 

 

Baby Animal Silhouettes

Supplies Needed:

Baby animal outline, painters tape, paper, paint

How-to Guide

Print out your child’s favorite baby animal outline and cut it out. Loop painter’s tape and stick it to the back of the animal, and then stick it to a piece of paper. Let your child paint the paper making sure to paint over the animal. When they are finished, carefully peel off the animal to reveal the animal’s silhouette!

 

Painting with Nature

Supplies Needed:

Nature elements, paint paper

How-to Guide:

Go outside and collect grass, flowers, sticks, or rocks. Use these materials to paint on paper. Notice the different designs each material leaves on the paper.

 

Sensory Bottles

Supplies Needed:

Disposable plastic bottle, dirt, glitter, beads, small toys hot glue

How-to Guide:

Use any empty disposable water bottle for this activity (preferably something made from sturdier plastic). You can fill the bottles with all sorts of different materials: bug toys, dirt, water, oil, rice, glitter, marbles, sequins, beads, etc. Make sure to secure the lid of the bottle well by using hot glue.

 

Coffee Filter Butterflies

Supplies needed:

Washable markers, coffee filters, spray bottle, pipe cleaners

How-to guide:

Using washable markers, have your child color several coffee filters. (This activity specifically works if your child colors on two coffee filters that are layered on top of each other.) Lay the colored coffee filters on a washable surface. Using a spray bottle, mist them with water. The more the filters are sprayed, the more the design runs and bleeds; the choice is yours!

After the coffee filters are dry, accordion fold the filters back and forth. Stack two folded filters (either two identical filters that were colored together or two different filters) on top of each other. Fold a pipe cleaner in half, and put the filters in between the folded pipe cleaner, having the middle of the filters secured against the pipe cleaner. Twist the pipe cleaner and curl the two open ends to look like butterfly antennas. Fan out the accordion pipe cleaners to reveal your beautiful watercolor butterfly!

 

Butterfly Symmetry Painting

Supplies Needed:

Paper, marker, paint

How-to Guide:

Print out a butterfly outline on a piece of paper or draw one yourself. Carefully fold the paper in half along the butterfly’s body, making sure to have a wing on each side of the fold and in line with each other. Unfold the paper and have your child paint one side! After they have finished painting, fold the paper with the wet paint on the inside. Press the folded sides lightly together and then carefully unfold them to reveal your symmetrical painted butterfly! For a more comprehensive illustration, view my guide to make your symmetrical butterfly here!

 

Rainy Windows

Supplies Needed:

White paper, blue water color paint, straw

How-to Guide

Lay a white piece of paper on a flat surface. (You can draw a “window” outline on the paper to add effect if you would like). Carefully pour a little bit of blue water color paint onto the paper. Let your child use a straw to blow the paint in different directions to create the rainy look!

 

STEM Exploration: Hands-On Learning Adventures

 

brain development activities for 2 year olds blog post- two kids scooping sand with shovels

 

Introducing your little one to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts at an early age lays a strong foundation for learning. Simple activities like building with blocks, exploring magnets, and observing water play not only entertain but also cultivate a curiosity for understanding the world around them and make for great brain development activities for 2-year-olds.

 

Magnet Toys

Supplies Needed:

Magnetic toys (i.e. magnetic tiles, magnetic sticks, magnetic boards, magnetic letters, etc.)

How-to Guide:

Get out your magnetic toys for your child to explore. Try using magnetic tiles to build a house, or use a magnetic board to arrange magnets into different shapes on. There are so many fun ways to play with magnets that promote brain development and learning.

 

Water Exploration

Supplies Needed:

Sensory or water table, scoops, toys that float, funnel, spinner, etc., water

How-to Guide:

Fill up a sensory or water table with water and play materials. Engage with your child as they pour, scoop, spray, and play with the water! Watching how the water interacts with the different play materials encourages their curiosity and boosts their learning.

 

Scavenger Hunt

Supplies Needed:

The Great Outdoors

How-to Guide:

Make a list with your 2-year-old of things that you can find or see outside. Now go outside and hunt for those things! Take a picture of the object and cross them off your list.

 

Sink and Float

Supplies Needed:

Large container, water, different sized and weighted objects (foam ball, rock, plastic block, a spoon, baby doll, animal toy, etc.)

How-to Guide:

Fill up your sensory table, bath tub, or a large container with water. Have your child hypothesize with items will float and which items will sink. Place the different objects into the water to test out their theory!

 

Snow Storm in a Jar

Supplies Needed:

Clear glass jar, water, white paint, baby oil, glitter, food coloring, Alka-Seltzer tablet

How-to Guide:

Fill a small jar or clear glass ¼ of the way with some water. Mix about a teaspoon of white paint into the water to resemble milk. Fill the rest of the jar with baby oil and let it all settle. You can add glitter and food coloring to the mixture if desired. Break up an Alka-Seltzer tablet into a few pieces and drop them into the jar one at a time. Enjoy your snowstorm!

 

Nature Walk

Supplies Needed:

The Great Outdoors

How-to Guide:

Go outside for a walk. Be observant of the temperature, the sun shadows, animals and bugs that can be seen, what kind of vegetation can be found, etc. Don’t forget to collect materials for the next activity!

 

Sticky sensory garden

Supplies Needed:

Nature elements, contact paper

How-to Guide:

Go outside and collect small nature elements such as flowers, grass, leaves, or sticks. Back inside, stick the collected nature elements to the sticky side of clear contact paper. After you have finished, attach the contact paper to a window to view your sensory garden!

 

Homemade Ice Cream

Supplies Needed:

Storage bags, half and half, sugar, vanilla, ice, salt

How-to Guide:

In a small storage bag, pour 1 cup of half and half, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Push all the air out and seal the bag. In a larger storage bag, combine 3 cups of ice and ⅓ cup of salt. Put the filled, smaller bag into the larger bag with ice and seal. Shake the bag vigorously for about 10 minutes or until you have an ice cream consistency. Enjoy!

 

Flower Dye

Supplies Needed:

White flowers, vase, water, food coloring

How-to Guide:

Pick out some white flowers and put them in a vase filled with water. Add some food coloring to the water. Over the next several days, watch the color creep up and dye the white flower petals.

 

Fizzy Moon Rocks

Supplies Needed:

Baking soda, water, glitter, food coloring, bowl, saran wrap, freezer, pipette, vinegar

How-to Guide:

Add a few scoops of baking soda into a bowl (the amount of baking soda varies on how many moon rocks you want to make). Combine water and your desired color in a separate bowl (glitter is a fun addition as well!). Add the colored water slowly to the baking soda to get a crumbly mixture that can make a snowball. Pack the mixture into balls to resemble moon rocks. Wrap in saran wrap to maintain the shape and place in the freezer for at least a half hour. Remove your moon rocks and place them in a large dish or container. Have your child use a pipette or something similar to squirt some vinegar onto the moon rock to make them fizz!

 

Miniature Gardening

Supplies Needed:

Shoe box, dirt, seeds, water

How-to Guide:

Poke a few holes in the bottom of a shoe box. Pour some dirt into the box. Add some seeds and water. Put the box on a window sill with plenty of sun. Keep watering every so often and watch your little garden grow! This teaches responsibility and nurturing skills while giving your child the satisfaction of accomplishing something!

 

Gross Motor Skills: Active Adventures

 

a toddler in a yellow rain coat walking up a fallen log holding his mom's hand

 

Encouraging physical movement is crucial for developing gross motor skills. Gross motor brain development activities such as playing with balls, hopping, or climbing on age-appropriate structures boost coordination and balance, laying the groundwork for physical dexterity.

 

Outdoor Play

Supplies Needed:

Balls, climber, chalk, bike, water table, kite, etc.

How-to Guide:

Go outside and play! Being outside is so beneficial for children. Open ended outdoor play stimulates their creativity, curiosity, and motor skills.

 

Related Article: A Preschool Teacher’s Guide To 40+ Toddler Outdoor Activities

 

Block Stacking

Supplies Needed:

Blocks

How-to Guide:

Stack blocks to build a tower! See how high you can build it, how long you can build it, how colorful you can build it, and how fast you can build it. Have fun knocking each tower over!

 

Construct a Fort

Supplies Needed:

Blankets, pillows, chairs, lights

How-to Guide:

What’s more magical than creating a cozy fortress of blankets and pillows? Building a blanket fort is not only a fantastic way to unleash your child’s creativity but also an opportunity for some quality bonding time. Let them decide where the entrance should be, and together, design a secret world where imaginative adventures unfold.

 

Red Light, Green Light

Supplies Needed:

Your running feet

How-to Guide:

To play red light green light, one friend, or the caller, stands at the end of a room or area while the rest of the group is a the other end. The caller will turn their back to the group and call “green light!”. The group will race to try to get the caller. The caller can turn back around when ever they choose and yell, “red light!”. The group must stop running and freeze in place. If the caller catches anyone from the group moving, they can point them out, and that individual must return to the starting point. Continue on with the game as the caller turns back around to yell “green light”. The game is over when a member of the group finally reaches the caller.

 

Obstacle Course

Supplies Needed:

Cushions, chairs, tables, couches, tape

How-to Guide:

Create a mini obstacle course outside! Use blocks, trees, blankets and furniture to create challenges like crawling under tables, jumping over “lava” (blankets), and balancing on a line of tape. This activity not only entertains but also helps with their motor skills and problem-solving abilities.

 

Bunny Hops

Supplies Needed:

Dice

How-to Guide

Let your child roll a die. Have them hop like a bunny the number of times the die says. You can turn this into a game by choosing a starting and ending point. “First one that hops to the sofa wins!”

 

Water Play

Supplies Needed:

Sensory table, water table, hose, sprinkler, scoops, toys, water

How-to Guide

Use a sensory table, splash pad, or hose and sprinkler to create some water fun. Have fun in the sun with water! Turn on the sprinklers, fill up the kiddie pool, get out the water toys, and enjoy being outside. Add some scoops, measuring cups, or toys to the sensory table to add to the exploration!

 

Shape Jump

Supplies Needed:

Masking tape

How-to Guide:

Use masking tape to tape large shapes on the ground. Have your child identify the shapes while they are jumping from shape to shape!

 

Fine Motor Skills: Precision Playtime

 

brain development activities for 2 year olds blog post- a toddler stacking colorful wooden blocks

 

Engage your 2-year-old in brain development activities that refine their fine motor skills. Puzzles, threading beads, and playing with playdough are excellent choices to improve hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

 

Copy Cat Drawing

Supplies Needed:

Paper, drawing utensil

How-to Guide:

Draw something onto a piece of paper. It can be a squiggly line or a puppy, the choice is yours! Now have your toddler copy what you have drawn on their paper. You can draw something and then have your child copy it step by step, or you can complete your drawing and then have them recreate it!

 

Pattern Block Building

Supplies Needed:

Colored blocks

How-to Guide:

Create a pattern using your colored blocks. As you layout or stack the blocks, help your child repeat the same color sequence over and over.

 

Shape Sorters

Supplies Needed:

Shape sorter, shaped toys

How-to Guide:

Have your 2-year-old sort out shapes into a shape sorter. This is a great way to develop fine motor skills, not to mention focus and concentration skills.

 

Bug Matching

Supplies Needed:

Bug Matching Cards

How-to Guide:

These Bug Matching Cards are a great way to do some brain exercises and have a fun learning experience! Download your free Bug Matching Cards here.

 

Playdough

Supplies needed:

Flour, salt, oil, cream of tartar, hot water, food coloring

How-to guide:

Have your child help you measure out 3 cups of flour, 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of salt, 3-4 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 3 cups of hot water, and your favorite food coloring. Mix together and enjoy playing with your own homemade playdough!

 

Puzzle Playtime

Supplies Needed:

Puzzles

How-to Guide:

Puzzles are a fantastic way to stimulate your toddler’s problem-solving skills. Choose age-appropriate puzzles with large, colorful pieces. Working on puzzles together provides a sense of accomplishment as they complete each one.

 

Pompom Poppers

Supplies Needed:

Disposable cup, balloon, ping pong ball

How-to Guide:

Start by cutting the bottom off of a disposable cup. Tie a knot at the neck of a balloon, then trim off the top third of the balloon. Put the balloon onto the bottom of the cup. Now place a pom pom or ping pong ball into the cup. Pull back on the knotted balloon, lightly pull back, and release to pop the ball out of the cup!

 

Frozen Toy Rescue

Supplies Needed:

Muffin tin, water, small toys, freezer

How-to Guide:

Fill a muffin tin with water and drop in a small toy into each cup. Put in the freezer. After it has frozen, take out the tin from the freezer and remove the frozen toys. Let your child chip away the ice to save the toys!

 

Salt Dough Bug Fossils

Supplies Needed:

Salt, flour, warm water, circle cookie cutters, small bug toys, baking paper, oven

How-to Guide:

Make the salt dough by combining ½ cup of salt and 1 cup of flour. Add in ½ cup of warm water and mix until it is a dough-like consistency. Roll out the dough to be about an inch thick. Use a circle cookie cutter to cut out circles in the dough. You could also just have your child roll some dough into a ball and flatten it with their hands.

Press a small bug toy into the dough, making sure you rock the toy in different directions so that the imprint is clear. Place baking paper onto a cookie sheet and place your fossils on top. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Thicker fossils will take longer to dry. You may want to flip the fossils every so often to help them dry out more evenly. Feel free to decorate or paint your fossils after they have cooled!

 

Painted Rice

Supplies Needed:

Gallon storage bag, rice, paint

How-to Guide

Pour some rice into a Ziploc bag. Have your child pick out a couple of different colors of paint to squirt into the bag, along with the rice. After sealing the bag (you can reinforce the opening with masking tape if needed) let your child squish the rice and paint to create different colors! Afterwards, use your finger and draw different shapes, letters, or pictures in the rice.

 

Sensory Rice

Supplies Needed:

Pre-made painted rice, bin, scoops, toys

How-to Guide

Open the bag of colored rice that your child made and let it dry. After the rice is thoroughly dried, pour out the rice into a bin. Let your child enjoy running their hands through the colored rice that they made. Add small toys, blocks, and cars, and let your child dig around for the objects.

 

Sticky Spider Webs

Supplies Needed:

Painters tape, bug toys, sticks, leaves

How-to Guide:

Use painter’s tape to make a large spiderweb on the wall or floor, sticky side out. Now stick different bug toys, sticks, leaves, etc to the sticky side of the tape. Let your child have fun retrieving the stuck objects!

 

Bubble Play

Supplies Needed:

Dish soap, water, whisk, food coloring

How-to Guide

Mix dish soap and water to create lots of bubbles! Give your child a whisk to make more bubbles!  Add some food coloring to make different colors!

 

Social-Emotional Growth: Building Bonds and Empathy

 

brain development activities for 2 year olds blog post- two young kids playing with a toy train

 

Teaching empathy and social skills at a young age is vital. Encourage turn-taking during play, engage in pretend play activities, and talk about emotions to help your child understand and express feelings, fostering healthy social interactions. These social-emotional brain development activities for 2-year-olds are a great way to build bonds and empathy.

 

Hide and Seek

Supplies Needed:

A few friends

How-to Guide:

While friend will be the seeker and will count to 20. Everyone else will run and hide. The seeker will move about and look for all of their friends who are hiding!

 

Pretend Play

Supplies Needed:

Dress ups, baby dolls, play kitchen, toy cars, building blocks

How-to Guide:

Use different materials to engage in pretend play! Encourage imagination with your child and their friends to promote social interaction.

 

Blowing Bubbles

Supplies Needed:

Bubbles

How-to Guide:

Help your child blow bubbles. Get a variety of bubbles and bubble wands for added fun!

 

Mirror Play

Supplies Needed:

A mirror

How-to Guide:

Stand in front of a mirror with your child. Make silly faces, point to and name different body part, and use uplifting language when talking about your toddler and their body. This is a great way to build self love and confidence.

 

Rain Sticks

Supplies Needed:

Aluminum foil, wooden spoon, paper towel roll, decorated paper, tape, rice

How-to Guide:

You will start by crumpling and rolling some aluminum foil around a wooden spoon. Take the coiled aluminum foil and insert it into a toilet paper or paper towel roll. You can have your child color and decorate a piece of paper that you can wrap around the toilet paper roll, or directly decorate the roll. Make sure to seal the bottom of the roll with some of the decorated paper and some tape. Add your desired amount of rice or dry beans to the roll. Seal the top and you are all done!

 

Texture Exploration

Supplies needed:

Various textured materials (e.g., soft fabrics, sandpaper, feathers)

How-to guide:

Set up a sensory station for hands-on exploration. Collect different materials with varying textures and place them in a box. Let your toddler dig around and explore the different textures!

 

Mud Kitchen Fun

Supplies Needed:

Water, dirt, kitchen tools

How-to Guide:

Mix some water and dirt together to create some mud! Let your child get messy and play in the mud! Add scoops, cups, bowls, funnels, toys for different ways to play!

 

Language and Literacy: Word Worlds Unveiled

 

young girl reading a book on a bed

 

Reading, storytelling, and conversing with your child regularly are fundamental for language development and make great brain development activities. Use engaging books, introduce new words, and encourage your child to express themselves, aiding in vocabulary expansion and communication skills.

 

Talk With Your Child

Supplies Needed:

Your voice

How-to Guide:

The best way to promote language development is to talk to your child! Talk, talk, talk! Narrate your toddlers life, narrate what you are doing, narrate whats going on inside your head. Just talk. Have conversations with your child, even if they end up being very one sided. Use a normal conversation structure when talking with your child, so they learn proper communication skills.

 

Song Time

Supplies Needed:

Engaging Songs

How-to Guide:

What better way to promote language development than through singing songs! I have found that movement songs (i.e.” The Wheels On The Bus” or “I’m Bringing Home A Baby Bumblebee”) are the most exciting and engaging for toddlers.

 

Caterpillar Name Craft

Supplies Needed:

Colored paper, marker, scissors, glue

How-to Guide:

Use a cup to trace out circles to amount the number of letters in your child’s name, plus one more circle (For Thomas you would need six circles for the name plus one more circle to make seven circles). I like to let the kids pick out different colors for each circle. Slightly overlap one circle edge with another and glue it in place. Glue the remaining circles together the same way to form a line, it doesn’t have to be straight! Draw a caterpillar’s face on one of the end circles. Following the caterpillar’s face, spell out your child’s name on the remaining circles, putting one letter on each circle. You can color and decorate your name caterpillar and add some legs and antennae! For a more comprehensive illustration, view my guide to make your caterpillar name here!

 

Retell Stories

Supplies Needed:

Book

How-to Guide:

After you have read a book or watched a show with your child, have them retell the story of what happened.

 

Storytime

Supplies Needed:

Books, blankets, pillows

How-to Guide:

Grab a stack of your toddler’s favorite books and create a cozy reading nook. Reading together not only strengthens your bond but also enhances your child’s language skills and imagination. Let them choose the books, and watch their faces light up as you dive into captivating stories.

 

Name Art

Supplies Needed:

Paper, painters tape, paint

How-to Guide:

Have your child select their favorite colored piece of paper. Using painter’s tape, apply strips to the paper that spell out your child’s name. Let your child paint the paper, being sure to cover up all the tape. Carefully remove the tape to reveal your child’s name!

 

Board Games

Supplies Needed:

Board Games

How-to Guide:

Pull out some of your child’s favorite board games and spend some fun quality time together!

 

Related Article: 25+ Fun and Educational Board Games for Two-Year-Olds

 

These brain development activities for 2-year-olds not only entertain your little one but also play a pivotal role in their development.

 

Make these activities a part of your routine, ensuring a balance across all developmental areas.

 

Remember, every child is unique, so adapt these brain development activities to suit your child’s pace and interests.

 

Investing time and effort in these brain-boosting activities is a gift you give your child. The knowledge and skills they develop today will be the building blocks of their future successes.

 

You may also like:

Say Bye to Boredom: The Best Toddler Subscription Box Revealed

25+ Fun and Educational Board Games for Two-Year-Olds

50 Engaging Toddler Indoor Activities

The Best Montessori Toys For Two Year Olds

 

55 Brain Development Activities For 2-Year-Olds

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Tess Moulton

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Hello! I’m Tess, a preschool teacher turned mom, and I love discovering and creating fun ways to keep kids engaged and learning! Welcome!

Tess Moulton

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