24 Exciting Turn Taking Activities for Toddlers

As toddlers navigate their way through the world, they encounter numerous situations that require them to understand and practice turn-taking.

Whether it’s sharing toys with friends, waiting for their turn on a swing, or participating in group activities, learning to take turns is a crucial skill that sets the foundation for social interactions and cooperation later in life.

To help you create a delightful and educational environment for your little ones, we’ve compiled a list of Exciting Turn Taking Activities for Toddlers that will keep them entertained while fostering essential skills.

Engaging toddlers in turn-taking activities not only enhance their social skills but also nurtures their patience, empathy, and communication abilities.

“Musical Chairs Marathon”:

Gather a group of toddlers and set up a circle of chairs, one less than the number of participants. Play some lively music and encourage the children to walk or dance around the chairs. When the music stops, they must quickly find a seat. The child left standing can either join in cheering for their friends or take on the role of the music controller for the next round. This game not only promotes turn-taking but also improves listening skills and coordination.

“Picnic Party Sharing”:

Organize a pretend picnic by laying out a blanket and providing each toddler with a small basket or plate. Ask them to bring one of their favorite toys or snacks to share with others. Encourage the children to take turns selecting items from their baskets and offering them to their friends. This activity teaches the concept of sharing and waiting for their turn, fostering empathy and social interaction among toddlers.

Related: 20 Best No Spend Weekend Activities With Family

“Story Circle”:

Gather the toddlers in a circle and start a story by saying a few lines. Then, pass the storytelling responsibility to the child sitting next to you, who adds a few more lines to continue the story. This activity encourages turn-taking, imagination, and language development. As the story progresses, the toddlers eagerly wait for their turn to contribute, creating an engaging and collaborative storytelling experience.

“Building Block Relay”:

Divide the toddlers into teams and provide each team with a set of building blocks. Set up two designated areas, one for building and one for stacking the finished structures. Each child takes turns picking a block from their team’s pile and adding it to the structure. Once a structure is complete, the next child takes a turn stacking blocks from their team’s pile on top. This game enhances teamwork, patience, and fine motor skills as the toddlers work together and wait for their turns to contribute to the evolving tower.

Related: 20 Fun Indoor Ball Activities for Preschoolers

“Obstacle Course Adventure”:

Create a simple obstacle course using pillows, tunnels, stepping stones, and other safe objects. Encourage the toddlers to navigate the course one at a time, waiting for their turn patiently. You can also incorporate turn-taking elements by assigning different roles or tasks to each child, such as being the “leader” for a specific part of the course or cheering on their friends. This activity enhances gross motor skills, patience, and cooperation while providing an exciting and dynamic play experience.

“Role-Play Tea Party”:

Set up a pretend tea party area with teacups, saucers, and a teapot. Each toddler takes turns being the host or hostess, pouring tea for their friends. Encourage them to use polite phrases like “May I have some tea, please?” and “Thank you.” This activity promotes turn-taking, role-play, and social etiquette in a fun and imaginative way.

“Collaborative Art Project”:

Provide a large piece of paper or a whiteboard and art supplies such as markers or crayons. Each toddler takes turns adding their own drawings or coloring to create a collaborative masterpiece. They can choose to continue someone else’s drawing or start a new element. This activity encourages creativity, communication, and sharing ideas while respecting each other’s contributions.

“Simon Says”:

Play a classic game of “Simon Says” with the toddlers. Take turns being the leader and giving commands for the others to follow. For example, “Simon says touch your nose” or “Simon says hop on one foot.” This game helps develop listening skills, follow instructions, and wait for their turn to be the leader.

“Puppet Theater”:

Set up a small puppet theater using a table or a cardboard box. Provide a variety of puppets and encourage the toddlers to take turns putting on a puppet show. They can create their own stories or act out familiar tales. This activity promotes turn-taking, storytelling, and imaginative play while allowing the children to express themselves creatively.

“Pass the Parcel”:

Wrap a small gift or treat with multiple layers of wrapping paper. Gather the toddlers in a circle and play some music while they pass the parcel around. When the music stops, the child holding the parcel removes one layer of wrapping. Continue until the final layer is removed, and the gift is revealed. This game teaches the concept of taking turns and adds an element of excitement as the toddlers eagerly anticipate the surprise inside.

“Beanbag Toss”:

Set up a beanbag toss game using a target board or buckets. Each toddler takes turns throwing the beanbag and trying to land it in the designated target. Encourage them to cheer for their friends’ successful throws and patiently wait for their own turn. This activity enhances hand-eye coordination, patience, and friendly competition.

“Restaurant Role-Play”:

Create a restaurant scenario with a pretend menu, order pad, and play food. Assign roles such as the chef, waiter/waitress, and customers. The toddlers take turns being the customers and ordering their favorite dishes while others play the role of the staff, taking orders and serving food. This activity promotes turn-taking, imaginative play, and social interaction while introducing basic restaurant etiquette.

“Shape Sorting Circle”:

Prepare a circle made of colored construction paper with various shapes cut out in different colors. Each toddler takes turns placing the corresponding shape in its matching color slot on the circle. This activity encourages turn-taking, shape recognition, and problem-solving skills as they navigate the circle together.

“Memory Game”:

Create a simple memory game using picture cards or objects. Arrange them face-down in a grid formation. Each toddler takes turns flipping over two cards to find a matching pair. If they succeed, they keep the pair and continue playing. If not, the cards are turned back over, and the next child takes their turn. This game promotes turn-taking, memory skills, and concentration.

“Nature Exploration”:

Source: lovevery.com

Take the toddlers on a nature walk in a safe outdoor environment. Provide each child with a small container or bag to collect natural treasures like leaves, flowers, or stones. Encourage them to take turns sharing their findings with the group and discussing the different items they discovered. This activity fosters turn-taking, observational skills, and appreciation for the natural world.

“Dress-Up Relay”:

Source: netmums.com

Set up a dress-up relay race where toddlers take turns dressing up in different costumes and accessories. Divide them into teams and provide a pile of dress-up items at one end of the room. When the race starts, the first child from each team runs to the dress-up pile, puts on an item, and runs back to tag the next teammate. This activity encourages turn-taking, teamwork, and gross motor skills while adding a playful element of imagination.

“Cooking Together”:

Choose a simple recipe that toddlers can help prepare, such as making fruit skewers or assembling mini sandwiches. Each child takes turns adding ingredients or participating in simple tasks like stirring or arranging. This activity promotes turn-taking, cooperation, and fine motor skills while introducing them to the joy of cooking and sharing.

“Obstacle Course Simon Says”:

Combine the elements of an obstacle course with the game of “Simon Says.” Set up an obstacle course with various challenges like crawling under a tunnel, jumping over hurdles, and balancing on a beam. The leader, acting as “Simon,” gives commands for the toddlers to follow, such as “Simon says crawl under the tunnel.” The toddlers must complete the action only when “Simon says” is used. This activity encourages turn-taking, listening skills, and physical coordination.

“Puzzle Race”:

Provide each toddler with a simple puzzle, preferably with large pieces. When the race starts, they take turns grabbing one piece at a time and fitting it into the puzzle. The next child takes their turn once the previous piece has been successfully placed. This activity promotes turn-taking, problem-solving, and fine motor skills while adding an element of friendly competition.

“Team Building Tower”:

Divide the toddlers into teams and give each team a set of building blocks or stacking toys. Set a timer and have each team member take turns adding one block at a time to build a tower. The next team member can only add their block once the previous one is securely placed. The goal is to build the tallest tower before the time runs out. This activity encourages turn-taking, teamwork, and spatial awareness while fostering a sense of collaboration and achievement.

Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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