Following Directions
Toddler Games

Follow Directions Games Has 2 Sections:

If this is your first time here, please read the introduction. It is necessary! If you have been here before, jump down to the games and download your copies!

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Introduction


The best way to work on following directions with toddlers is to weave practice into play. 

Many directions contain tricky "direction" words (i.e., under, before, after) and are more than one step (i.e., first, second, next) and this can make following directions difficult. Toddlers are too young to be taught these words directly. Instead, it is better to practice these concepts during fun games. 

For example, let’s say you are playing blocks with your child. You say “knock your stack over first and then knock my stack over.” If your child knocks your stack over first say…. “Opps, you did mine first. Let’s try again.” Carry out the direction WITH your child as you knock down your stack FIRST while emphasizing the word “first.” 

Below there are three different activities. Read through the games and pick one your child may like to play. 

What’s Included:

  • Activities to develop following direction skills
  • Easily printable handouts
  • Space provided to make notes, ask questions, etc...

Recommended Use:

  • Pick an activity and print it out. 
  • Place the activity in a frequented spot to help remind yourself to try it out for a few days. 
  • Jot down some notes on what seems to work and what does not.

Following Directions: Games


1. Follow Me

How To Play: 

Follow Me is quite simple. One person is the leader and the rest of the players are the followers. The leader performs different actions and the followers must follow. If a follower doesn't imitate an action, he or she is out. The last person standing wins the game and then is the leader.

Variations For Language Practice

  1. To practice directions with your child, the leader must say a direction out loud and perform the action at the same time. For example, the leader says “first jump and then spin” while he jumps and spins. The followers have to perform the same action. By pairing the action with the words, your child has a visual to help learn what the directions mean. Once your child is able to follow directions at this level. Move on to number 2.
  2. The leader simply says a direction but does not do it! In this version, the child has to follow the direction by solely hearing it. 

Tips:

  • Have fun! Depending on your child, you may not want to have a “winner.” Instead, just be silly and having fun imitating each other.
  • Start with one step directions and move up to 2 step directions.
  • Add some time concepts such as first and next for good practice.
  • Make sure your directions contain age appropriate vocabulary.
  • Take turns with your child being the leader. It will be good expressive language practice to have your child give directions.

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2. Treasure Hunt

Needed Materials:

Small Treasure (i.e., candy, ball, stickers, figurine)

What You Need: 

Small Treasure (i.e., candy, ball, stickers, figurine)

How To Play:

The "hider" hides an agreed upon treasure somewhere in the house. Once hidden, the "hider" gives directions to the "seeker(s)" to help find the treasure. 

When giving your child directions to find a treasure, add some "silly directions" into the mix that have nothing to do with finding the treasure but that are good listening practice. For example, you might tell your child "touch your nose and jump up and down. Walk to the couch and sit on it. Next, stand up and touch the front door. Now, spin around and then look under the doormat. You found the stickers!" 

Tips:

  • Have fun! Remember that is playtime!
  • Start with one step directions and move up to 2 step directions.
  • Add some time concepts such as first and next for good practice.
  • Make sure your directions contain age appropriate vocabulary.
  • Take turns with your child being the hider. It will be good expressive language practice to have your child give clues!

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3. Clean Up

What You Need:  

A Messy House (should not be difficult with a toddler in the house!)

How To Play:

While cleaning, take turns with your child being the parent. The person who is being the parent gives the other players directions on what to clean up next. When you, the parent, are being the parent, start with one step directions such as "pick up the train." When your child is ready, start giving 2 step directions such as "pick up a train and put it in the bucket." This is quite a functional game.

Tips:

  • Have fun!
  • Start with one step directions and move up to 2 step directions.
  • Add some time concepts such as first and next for good practice.
  • Make sure your directions contain age appropriate vocabulary.
  • Take turns with your child being the parent. It will be good expressive language practice to have your child give directions!

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› Following Directions Games