The Internet is a wonderful place to search for learning tools for toddlers and young children. There are some great toddler games that your child will love. Here are some great ways to find educational games for your youngsters (and their older siblings, as well):
- Determine your child's readiness. Before you search for online games for your toddler, ask yourself a few questions. Does your toddler have the attention span to play a short online game? Is your toddler able to work a computer mouse? You will be amazed at how quickly your child will learn how to use the computer mouse, but at first you may prefer to have him or her sit on your lap and you can work the mouse in the beginning. Young toddlers can become frustrated by the initial difficulty of pointing and clicking.
- Oldies but goodies. Although the Internet is still a relatively new concept, there are already some tried-and-true classic websites for kids. At Disney.com, you can search for games under the Playhouse Disney tab (it's called Preschool Time Online). Your toddlers will love playing games featuring Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Bear in the Big Blue House and other well-known Disney characters. Over at PBS Kids, your little ones will be enthralled by online games featuring all of their favorites from beloved PBS shows. These games include "Traffic Light" (found under the Mister Rogers tab), "The Letter of the Day Game" (under Cookie Monster's Corner) and "Puppy Letters" (under the Clifford the Big Red Dog icon).
- Games featuring popular television characters. While Disney and PBS websites offer games featuring longstanding characters, there are plenty of sites that feature newer characters that are just as recognizable to toddlers. The Noggin and Nick Jr. websites have fun games for toddlers like Noggin's "Scribblevision," and "Miffy and Friends Recipe Game." Over at Nick Jr., your toddler will love playing games featuring art and music with characters like The Wonder Pets and Dora the Explorer -- a favorite game is "Dora's Puppy Adventure."
- Educational online games. There are many websites available that feature educational games for toddlers. Starfall can teach your child about the letters and sounds of the alphabet. And sometimes you can find educational games in unexpected places; while Fisher-Price is known for their bestselling toys, their website also features online games like "Little People Animal Sounds Game" and "Click and Color." Click the "Family and Fun Time" link on the website's homepage for a full list of games.
- Just for fun. Your child can learn how to make and dress a virtual bear on the Ted and Floppy's Fun Page. The site is chock full of outfits and accessories for a bear, and your child can even pick out the bear's eye color, nose shape and more. Fun School is another fun site for toddlers -- it features games about animal homes and rhyming.
- Things to keep in mind. On a final note, keep in mind that not all online games are created equal. Some sites even charge a monthly membership fee in order for you to play the games (Playhouse Disney offers a free 7-day trial). Limit your child's online games to just a small block of time per day and don't use online games as a "babysitter" for your child while you do other things. Join in to play with your child and remember to have fun!
Now you can find fun online games for toddlers. Remember to play these games with your child so you can monitor the content and help him or her learn.