Toddlers are brimming with energy. And if that energy is not channelised well, we all know it can lead to a very messy house! But keeping toddlers entertained for long is a task in itself!
That’s why, we have come with a list of toddler activities that are super quick to set up and easy on your pocket. You don’t need a cupboard full of fancy toys and supplies or a day to plan them ahead!
Simple things from your pantry and your child’s playroom are often enough to keep your toddlers mindfully engaged and busy learning with these easy toddler activities.
Table of Contents:
Toddler Activities for 1 – 2 year olds
Activities for Toddlers 2 – 3 year olds
This is a significant development period characterised with much awaited milestones and a good set of toddler activities can definitely play a positive role.
These activities for toddlers work on a variety of skills – right from their motor skills, cognitive skills to their pre-writing skills and sensory development to bring fun early learning home and keep your tiny tots happy and growing!
Toddler Activities for 1-2 year olds
1. Bathing Figurines
Kids love pretend play and are always ready to do their part of the grown-up responsibilities. Make it fun with this easy toddler activity.
Simply pour in some soap into a large bin and drop your kiddo’s animal figurines or toy cars to turn it into a fun car wash activity for kids.
Give your kiddo an adult toothbrush to help them scrub off dirt from hard to reach places. Once they have given a nice bath to their toys, let them dry and clean them with a big towel.
Such a wonderful way to build their fine motor skills while teaching them a thing or two about personal hygiene!
2. Pom-Pom Sorting
What could be more fun than sorting soft, fuzzy pom poms on a hot sunny afternoon. A perfect indoor activity for kids, pom pom sorting is great for toddlers who are learning their colours and picking up sorting skills.
If your kid has already mastered colours, ask them to sort the pom poms according to size or give them a pair of tongs from your kitchen to transfer pom poms into a bowl to give their little fingers some fine motor practice.
3. Painting With Gravity
This is a lovely STEAM activity that is so much fun to do with kids. All you need is tempera paints in primary colours and a sheet of paper.
Add big drops of tempera colours (water colors) on the drawing sheet and let your kiddo turn the sheet up and down to watch gravity in action.
Such a simple activity and it always keeps a child busy for a good 15 minutes trying to make their own exquisite art!
4. Make Bubble Snakes
Nothing can beat the charm of blowing bubble snakes. One of the most loved toddler activities, blowing bubble snakes promises toddler fun like no other.
It is a perfect outdoor activity that can be done just as easily indoors on a rainy day.
Cut the top of a plastic bottle and cover the open end with an old sock. Secure it in place with an elastic band. That’s all…you are now ready to make the longest, biggest possible bubble snakes.
Quick Tip: To make the biggest and bounciest bubbles, try our recipe of homemade bubble solution. It is so convenient to make it that even your kids can make it and on the way pick up some math skills.
5. Sensory Bin
Sensory activities are a big hit with little kids and sensory bins work like a charm at keeping kids happily busy and entertained. With so many options, you can set up sensory bins for every day of the week.
Choose from water beads, coloured rice, fake snow or dry beans to set up a sensory bin for your kids to explore and play with.
6. DIY Car Track
Bring out the toy cars and let your kiddo race them on a DIY Car track made with masking tape or road tapes.
Make sure to include bends and turns to make racing on the car track exciting!
This is a great activity to introduce directions to toddlers. Make a simple map of the neighbourhood and let them explore directions while they zip their toy cars on the DIY car track.
Get those little fingers working with play dough. Play dough is a perfect finger gym for toddlers who are yet to master their fine motor skills. Plus, it is also great for boosting creativity.
And for those of you who have toddlers mouthing everything, here is an Edible Playdough Recipe that is quick, easy and makes long lasting, super soft play dough.
Related: Looking for Gluten-free recipe for your gluten sensitive kid? Try making Cloud Dough. It is super soft and does not dry our hands.
8. Sensory Bags
Sensory bags never fail to keep little kids busy. They are a perfect way to exercise little hands, improve hand-eye coordination and are a great quiet time activity.
With simple supplies you can make a sensory bag at home within 5 minutes. Choose from themes like shapes, nature, colour, ocean or even halloween themed to entertain your kids while you enjoy your cup of coffee.
9. Ice Painting
It’s no secret that toddlers love to paint. This time, make it more fun with ice painting. Simply freeze some coloured water (we used food coloring to make it taste safe) and freeze them in an ice-tray with popsicle sticks.
10. DIY Sand Play
Bring beach home by setting up a sandbox at home, indoors or outdoors, at any time of the year with this quick DIY Edible Sand recipe. It is a must try for kids who love sensory play and can never get enough of sensory activities!
11. Finger Painting
This is a classic toddler activity for all age groups. All you need is finger paint, whether store bought or DIY, and creative ideas to get this activity going. Easy-peasy and so much fun!
12. DIY Rattle
This is the simplest DIY musical instrument that even your toddler can help make it. Simply fill an empty plastic bottle with kidney beans and chickpeas to make this fun rattle and let your kiddo explore the science of sound.
13. Host a Dance Party
Let your toddler show off her dance moves and burn off that extra energy. Dancing is not only great for gross motor skills but also a soothing and calming activity.
14. Bubble Wrap Pop!
We bet you have done this as a child and still do it. There is something about popping bubble wrap that is just so relaxing.
So get that roll out and glue a big square of bubble wrap on a cardboard to make it handy for those little fingers to practice pincer grasp.
15. SandPaper Coloring
Let your child express their creativity and make an art on sand paper using crayons. The abrasive surface of the sand paper makes coloring on it an entirely different sensory experience. It is a simple yet a great idea to engage kids.
16. Smelling Bottles
Add another sensorial dimension to your toddler’s play routine by making your own smelling bottles.
Repurpose empty spice bottles or essential oil bottles into sensory smelling bottles and let your kids guess the smells and match them to their pictures or the spice itself.
Perfect way to bring play and learning together!
17. Shape Matching
Why not sneak learning into fun games and teach your tot critical thinking skills as well as early math skills.
These matching puzzles do require a little prep but once you have spent some time making them, you can reuse them many times to entertain your kids.
You can trace math shapes, numbers, letters and even your child’s favourite toys to make these DIY puzzles for toddlers exciting.
18. Animal Rescue
This is such a fun activity for little kids and super easy for busy mommies to set up. All you need is masking tape or washi tape and your child’s favourite animals.
19. Contact Paper Activities
Contact paper activities are a big hit with this age group. After all, which 1-year would not like to stick things on a sticky wall?
Just stick a big enough contact paper on the wall using painter’s tape in your child’s playroom to unleash the fun.
You can give prompts like “I see something fuzzy on sticky wall” and let your tot grasp a fuzzy toy to stick on the contact paper. Or just let them make their own art by tearing coloured tissue paper or construction paper and sticking it on the contact sheet.
20. Discovery Baskets
These baskets do a great job at promoting open-ended imaginative play. Easy to set up, they take hardly 5 minutes to get ready and offer hours of independent playtime for budding minds.
21. Fruit Transfer
How about getting your picky eater to eat some fruits (or cereals) while they play? Pour some bit-sized fruit into a bowl and ask your little one to transfer the fruit into an empty bowl.
Not only will your toddler have a tonne of practice while transferring fruit from one bowl to another but will also end up eating some of the fruit.
22. Touch and Feel Mystery Box
Repurpose a used wipe box by filling it with scraps of fabric with different textures, patterns and feel.
Include something silky, velvety or just plain old wash cloth to let your toddler explore different textures.
23. Colander Pipe Cleaner Activity
Another super easy toddler activity that allows mom’s much needed quiet time. All you need is pipe cleaners and a colander to get your toddler mindfully busy practising their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and observation skills.
24. Drop And Sort
Use empty toilet paper rolls and make a DIY drop and sort game for your tiny tot at home. It is a fun game that promotes a variety of skills like fine motor skills, color recognition and early numeracy to name a few.
25. Stacking Cups
Skip purchasing stacking toys instead reuse empty boxes from your pantry to help your kids make their very own stacking toy. You can even use soft blocks, chunky baby books and even paper cups to polish your tot’s stacking and nesting skills.
These fun indoor activities with toddlers boost their cognitive development as well as hand-eye coordination.
26. Sponge Water Transfer
It’s no secret kids love water! This easy outdoor activity for toddlers uses that fascination with water to build their gross motor skills.
Lay out two plastic bowls and a sponge. Show how to transfer water from one bowl to another by dipping the sponge in water and then squeezing it out. Such messy activities are always a big hit with young kids.
27. Water The Garden
Another water activity for toddlers that is super fun and perfect for a warm summer evening! Young children love to imitate their parents. This time let your little gardener imitate you while you show them how to water the garden.
28. Cardboard Box Tunnel
Transform an old cardboard box into a magical tunnel to keep your little children busy indoors on a lazy afternoon.
Activities for Toddlers 2-3 year olds
29. Mail Sorting
Children love pretend play and what could be better than teaching them about community helpers than by letting them be one of them!
Take some paper envelopes and use your kiddo’s stamping set to make different stamps on the envelopes. Now ask your little mail carriers to sort the mail according to the stamp patterns.
Such a fun way to teach patterns and sorting!
30. Lacing Board
Toddlers need a lot of practice to master fine motor control and thankfully there are a tonne of fun activities for toddlers that specifically target these skills and are super easy to make at home.
Simply take cardboard and make big holes into it to make your kids their very own DIY lacing toy. Let your kids thread a shoelace through the holes and give you some much-needed quiet time.
31. Make Slime
Skip the store bought slime and instead involve your kids in making slime at home. There are so many variations you can add to the original recipe to make your personalised slime.
Great for boosting creativity and STEM skills!
32. Pen Cap Sorting
Another education activity for toddlers that sneaks learning into play. Take a couple of coloured pens and take off their caps. Now ask your toddler to match the cap with its respective pen.
Such a nifty way to teach colours and build motor skills!
Quick Tip: Club these activities with Fun Conversation Starters for Kids to understand them better.
33. Blow Painting
Use a paper straw to blow water paints on a drawing sheet to let your toddler create their own modern art. This easy activity will keep your tots busy for a good time!
34. Make Ice Lanterns
Toddlers will love making (as well as melting) these beautiful ice lanterns that are almost magical. Place a fairy light in your ice lantern to transform your evening garden into a magical wonderland.
35. Sidewalk Chalk Spray
Nothing can be more fun than spending a summer evening with chalk spray and making your very own art on the sidewalk! Fun evening assured!
36. Puffy Painting
Make painting exciting with puffy paints. These paints will render a 3-D effect to your child’s artwork and is a great sensorial play.
These paints are easy to make and promise hours of creative exploration.
37. Cotton Balls Transfer
Use a kitchen tong and transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another to exercise your tot’s hand muscles.
38. Cotton Ball Painting
Clip cotton balls onto the clothespin, dip them in tempera paints and let your Picasso in making paint a one of a kind art with cotton ball painting.
39. Cracker Shapes
Create shapes with mini saltine crackers and let your child explore her creativity while learning all about shapes.
40. Explore Seeds
Soak some beans and chickpeas overnight and let your little genius explore them the next day. They will be amazed to see how the beans have grown in size and will have lots of fun taking off their seed coats.
Such a hands-on way to teach young children about plants and pique their curiosity!
41. Magic Painting
How about some magic painting to keep your kids entertained and jumping with awe? Simply make a drawing on a white paper using white crayon and let your kids colour the paper using water colours to reveal the magically appearing design.
42. Take A Virtual Field Trip
You don’t always have to step out of the house to visit the zoo or a field trip. Thanks to technology, you can take your tiny tots to a field trip from the comfort of your home.
43. Science Experiments
There are quite a many age-appropriate science experiments and activities that you can indulge your child in.
Though your young tot may not understand the science behind all of these, easy experiments for kids are a perfect way to build their curiosity, encourage exploration and hone critical thinking skills.
44. Play With Oobleck
Children love messy play and nothing beats Oobleck in this category. It is easy to make and super fun to play with!
45. Shaving Cream Pre-Writing Skills
Spread a generous amount of shaving cream onto a tray and let your kids practise pre-writing skills with shaving foam. Prompt them to draw shapes, patterns, lines and even letters & numbers.
Such an easy and fun tactile activity for little hands!
46. Tongue Twisters
Work your kiddo’s speech skills with these fun and easy tongue twisters for kids. Practising speech and pronunciation cannot get more fun than this.
47. DIY Bowling Game
Set up a bowling game by arranging empty bottles or cardboard tubes and using a soft big ball or a beach ball to knock them off.
48. Laundry Fishing
We absolutely love this idea of using a laundry basket for a boat to fish letters (or numbers!). Just the perfect, fun way to keep toddlers busy and learning!
49. Pasta Necklace
Kids within this age group need a tonne of practice to strengthen their finger muscles. This classic toddler activity does just that and is extremely easy and simple to set up.
50. Tape Walk
Let your kids burn off their energy while they practise their balance trying to walk straight on the making tape.
Just the right indoor activity for kids to keep them busy while you catch a breather!
51. Pool Noodle Mix Match
This is such a fun idea to get your child’s creative juices flowing. We absolutely love this open-ended independent play activity.
52. Play Games
Why not play games with your tiny tot and boost those social skills these little children need. With so many good options, we are certain you will find many games that will interest your child.
53. Pom-Pom Race
Such fun activities always get kids excited. Quick and easy to set up, they are perfect for busy parents who wish to engage their children indoors and without too much fuss.
All you need is a pom-pom, some playdough and a straw. Roll the playdough into a long tube and make a spiral with it on a flat surface.
Next, place the pom-pom at the outer end of the spiral and let your kiddo blow it all the way to the center for a fun racing game.
54. Cardboard Tubes and Clothespin Activity
This is a hands-on activity to work on your toddler’s pincer grip and pre-writing skills. Use the empty cardboard tubes or toilet paper rolls and let your kiddo put a clothespin on them.
55. Pipe Cleaner Fishing Game
Cut pipe cleaners into half to make small colourful fishes and place them in a water bowl for your kiddo to fish out with help of a tong or a single chopstick.
56. Ice Soup
Kids love water play and no list of toddler activities can be complete without this fun water play activity for kids. Perfect outdoor activity for summers, this one promises a lot of fun!
57. Penny Spinners
Engage kids in this fun STEAM activity to keep them engrossed! Simply cut a circle out of a cardboard and let your toddler colour it to make it interesting. We divided ours into 3 parts and used primary colours to fill the parts.
Next, make a slit at the centre and fix a penny halfway through it. TA-da! Your penny spinners are ready!
58. Rolling Pin Rainbow
Squirt rainbow water paints into a zip-lock bag and seal it. Fix the bag on the table counter using tape to prevent it from moving. Now, let your kiddo run the rolling pin over the bag to make a bright and beautiful rainbow.
Related: Rainbows are fascinating! Explore cool rainbow facts and delve into the world of rainbow animals and be amazed!
59. Fizzing Ice
Freeze baking soda, coloured with dry food coloring, in an ice tray. Pop the closed frozen baking soda ice cubes on a tray and let your toddler drop vinegar onto the cubes using a pipette to watch the ice fizz!
Related: Love these fizzing activities? Check out Baking Soda Experiments for Kids for more bubbling fun!
60. Number Hopping!
Movement based learning offers great benefits for kids. This activity easily blends learning with movement making it fun for kids. Perfect for older toddlers who are learning number recognition.
Using chalk, draw a few circles and write down numbers within them. Call out a number and let your child hop onto that number on a single leg. Or splash a water balloon!
Related: Check out more fun math activities for young kids to gamify learning.
61. Ice Cube Discovery
Freeze a couple of ice cubes with loose parts like pom-poms, small toys and chunky beads. Pour warm water into spray bottles and let your toddler spray it on the ice to discover what is binding inside it.
All of the above toddler activities can be done at home with minimal cost and effort. They are quick, easy to set-up and do not need you to rush to the market for supplies!
So next time you’re wondering how to keep your tiny tot entertained and busy learning, try one of these activities.
Note: It is advised all toddler activities be done under supervision.
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