Give and take. You hand your child an object; she hands it back, eager for her turn with it. In time your child will initiate the exchange—it's a skill she'll need to develop in order to play any game at all. Why? All games involve taking turns, and social exchanges involve this simple interaction as well. Play along, even though you'll tire of the game far sooner than your child will.
Dropsy. You know how this game works—and you know it pleases your child: She drops food on the floor, you pick it up. (Repeat, oh, 34 times.) If you don't want to play dropsy with food, allow your child to drop a toy, then pick it up for her. The silver lining? She'll finally master that following-items-out-of-sight skill, and soon, you'll drop a toy and your child will pick it up. Someday, she'll even put it away in the toy basket. By playing dropsy, your toddler learns that every object—macaroni, block, or spoon—falls when dropped. It's a precursory understanding of gravity!
Point and name. Your child points to an object, and you name it. Your child points to the next object, and you name that, too. It's her way of absorbing information while interacting with her favorite person (that'd be you). Your child will eventually point and ask (about a dozen times an hour), "What's that?" (When she's older, your child will point and want to know not only an object's name but its function and purpose: "Why, Mommy?")
A final note on toddler games: These fun interactions will become the norm over the next few weeks and months. Your child will begin to initiate them herself, calling for your attention, crawling to the curtain, and then hiding behind it, eager for you to play hide and seek. If you're cooking dinner or working at your computer, you may not be up for it. But when you can, drop these tasks or at least multitask and play along: Your child needs this positive social exchange. Besides, if you don't play hide and seek, your child may find the cat and play pull the cat's tail. And that game will certainly get your attention!
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here: