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Supplied by Toptots which offers practical, developmental, and educational activities via an interactive program for mom and baby/toddler. Find branches offering classes throughout South Africa

Imitation is the ability to watch what someone else is doing and then replicate their actions. It is an important aspect of social interaction – babies learn to communicate by imitating their mothers. Here are  great imitation activities and games you can play with your kids anywhere, anytime.

Imitating your daily routine

Enourage your children  to copy your actions as you perform daily tasks such as

  • turning off the lights,
  • filling the dog’s bowl with water,
  • wiping down the kitchen counters.

Little toddlers love being able to help so make this part of your everyday routine.

Clapping games

Remember  Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, bakers man, bake me a cake as fast as you can ? This is a simple rhyme with easy clapping motions. With your child sitting down and facing you, begin by singing the rhyme and clapping along. Clap your own hands together and then use both hands to clap your child’s hands then back to your own clap. Use a simple  1,2,1,2 pattern.  Once they master this pattern, you can move on to harder sequences such as clapping your hands together and then do a criss cross motion when clapping your child’s hands.

Try to play this game as often as possible. Also great for eye-hand coordination.

Animal walks

Practice animal walks with your child that not only practices imitation skills but also works on your child’s gross motor skills, balance and flexibility. – such as

Flying like a bird and flapping your arms as you “fly” around the room.

  • Hop like a bunny
  • Gallop like a horse
  • Leap like a frog
  • Slither like a snake
  • Stomp like an elephant
  • Crawl like a cat

Action Songs

Action songs get your child moving, works on developing their muscles ( fine and gross muscles) , promotes listening skills  and shows them how to follow directions and learn basic concepts.  Examples of action songs that work on all these aspects are –

  • The wheels on the bus,
  • I’m a little teapot ,
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Old Mac Donald had a farm where the child learns to imitate the different animal sounds.

Clapping child

For Older Kids

Play Simon Says   

This is a nice game to play with a group of children and the objective is to see who stays in the game the longest which also works on those all-important listening skills!

With this game you get to take turns.  One person is designated as “Simon” and they must stand in front of everyone and then get the others to copy their movements.  Your child must only follow commands preceded by the phrase “Simon says…”  So for example “Simon Says… tap your head” .  If “Simon” simply says “rub your tummy” and a child follows the command, then they are out of the game.

Follow my leader

This is another traditional game that promotes imitation.   A leader is chosen and the children line up behind the leader.  The leader then moves around the room and the children must copy the leader’s actions. Begin with simple actions such as sitting down or putting your hands on your head.  You can also make the game a little more challenging by putting up obstacles, so the children have to climb over a pile of pillows or crawl under a table. Change the leaders so that everybody has a chance to lead.

These games are all fun and bound to create lots of giggles and the bonus is that  you are helping your child to learn new things at the same time.

Happy playing!

Click here to find a list of other companies that offer Parent- Baby/ Toddler classes throughout Gauteng and here for the KZN area.

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