50 Activities that are Perfect for Toddlers

Share:

Activities for toddlers are the number one hardest thing for me to come up with to do.

They’re a hard age because they often want to put stuff in their mouths, as well as not understanding direction or having the attention span for most activities.

We have done quite a few though [both Henry and George] and I’ve found a few more to add to the list of ones we’d like to try. Simple is often best for the toddler age range.

I consider a toddler to be roughly of the age of 1 to 3. When they start moving [walking] until they’re able to learn and apply what they’ve learned to other situations.

Tips I have for doing activities with toddlers are just a few:

  • Allow your toddler to explore whatever it is that you give them.
  • Don’t do an activity with an intentional plan, it never works out with this age range.
  • Expect a toddler to be interested, leave it out for them to come back to later, or even the next day.
  • Plan for them to put it in their mouth if you have a mouther.

I also highly recommend the The Toddler’s Busy Book, by Trish Kuffner. It always has something in there that sparks an activity for us.

50 Activities just for your Toddler

So, with that in mind… 50 Fun Toddler Activities! Including sensory activities, art and craft ideas, material explorations, and other fun toddler activities. Specifically chosen just for toddlers.


Toddler Sensory Activities

Let your toddler explore a material with their fingers, nose, mouth… How does it feel? What does it taste like? These are wonderful ways to learn and very hands on.

Sensory Activities for Toddlers & Young Kids

  1. Soapy jars, fun to shake up and watch settle!
  2. This is a blast! And a way to get the kids to clean, with dish soap foam.
  3. Cook up some spaghetti [or even better, use leftovers], add some color to it to make spaghetti potion.
  4. slimy gel bag is a squishy sensory delight for toddlers!
  5. Just flour. Let your toddler explore flour freely.
  6. Add water to the flour and put in a baggy for some flour & water piping.
  7. Explore ice cubes!
  8. Jello! A sensory activity from Learning 4 Kids.
  9. Playing with and exploring pasta, from Teach Preschool.
  10. Oooo. Add water to paper, idea from Tinkerlab.
  11. Bubbles! Simple sensory activity at MamaSmiles.

Art & Crafts for Toddlers

This is the area I struggle with the most. Getting creative with toddlers. But it can be done if you’re a little creative too! Find some toddler proven strategies to arts and crafts with these activities!

Art & Crafts for Toddlers and Young Kids

  1. Make a simple egg carton train with pipe cleaners.
  2. Use a baggy and paint and add a dowel or toy of some sort and do some roller painting.
  3. Contact paper window decor. The best toddler art activity there is, I think!
  4. Using a toilet paper tube, stamp a heart!
  5. Use yogurt to paint.
  6. Make your own edible finger paint and create tape resist art. [Or use store-bought washable fingerpaints!]
  7. Foam shapes art on the window, a wonderful idea from Putti Prapancha.
  8. Sticker art is a perfect toddler art activity from The Artful Parent.
  9. Spray paint art using water and watercolors with squirt bottles, toddler will love this idea from Kiwi Crate Blog!
  10. Shaken ball art [from Toddler Approved] is fun for your toddler to get moving and create art in the process.

 


Free Play Material Exploration for Toddlers

The simplest of all the activities for toddlers. A material by itself. Let them play and explore with it. What will they come up to do with the object?

Toddler Free Play Exploration

  1. Explore ribbons, add a bottle to the mix for some fine motor practice.
  2. Pom poms are perfect for toddlers and they love putting them in other objects!
  3. Pipe cleaners are not only fun to touch, but you can stick them through small holes [such as a colander], too!
  4. Let your toddler play with a cardboard box. Easy enough.
  5. Corn kernels, just keep an eye that they don’t put them in their mouths, and they’ll haul them around or pour them into containers!
  6. Tissue paper can be thrown, scrunched up, or torn into small pieces!
  7. Give toddlers your fabric scraps to play with!
  8. Use your leftover baby food jars as busy toddler play! Screw and unscrew them, stick little objects inside for prizes!
  9. The good old pots and pans never get old to a toddler!
  10. Water never gets old for kids! Add color to it for added fun. Let them play with cups and spoons for hours!
  11. flashlight as a light table, idea from Growing a Jeweled Rose.
  12. Ripping magazines! From A Mom with a Lesson Plan.
  13. Stacking cups could be a great busy play activity for toddlers! Idea from The Imagination Tree.
  14. Stabbing foam plates [idea from Creative with Kids] could be lots and lots of fun with recyclables!

Other Activities for Toddlers

Stuff for toddlers to do. More than exploring, and not arts or crafts but an activity with an intended purpose. But one that a toddler can definitely do and do well.

Fun Activities for Toddlers & Young Kids

  1. Chop up some pipe cleaners for sprinkles for fine motor practice or pretend play!
  2. Get the balloon out and play balloon badminton with your hands or with paddles.
  3. Leftover shipping packaging makes for a great bubble pop road.
  4. Hammer golf tees into Styrofoam for some great hand-eye coordination.
  5. Bust out your ABC Mat and make roads to drive along. [Don't have an ABC Mat? Get one! They can be used for all sort of activities and learning!]
  6. Go on a heart hunt, or any kind of hunt. Hide some like items around the house like you would Easter eggs!
  7. Pop a spaghetti noodle into some Play Dough and thread other noodles onto the spaghetti for some fine motor practice.
  8. Throw newspapers in the house.
  9. Roll down hills.
  10. Make a balance beam from boards inside or outside and practice walking along them.
  11. Stack up blocks with your toddler and let him try, or let him knock them down. [Have a builder? Make sure you have these top ten block toys!]
  12. Make doodles in the carpet with cookie cutters and other kitchen utensils.
  13. Set out random ingredients from your pantry and let your toddler stir and mix them up in their own concoctions.
  14. Make some golf ball chutes [at Sense of Wonder]!
  15. homemade lacing activity, from What do We Do All Day?, is an excellent toddler fine motor activity! You can also buy lacing cards too!

  

I gotta ask, what’s a material that your toddler loves to explore?

More fun toddler activities to dive into:

This post contains affiliate links.

From our partners

advertisement

Comments

  1. says

    That is an amazing list of activities!! Shaving cream was one thing that my daughter loved then and even now. But may not be apt for <2yrs.
    Thanks for including our 'Foam art on window'.

  2. Shannon says

    I have two little ones in this age range now and these ideas are fantastic. I love the sensory section, that is where I fall short so I will be implementing these. Thanks!

  3. Jessica says

    Shaving foam is definitely a great one! I usually keep it contained by giving each child their own oven tray to smoosh it around in and draw pictures with their fingers. Adding tools helps maintain interest aswell – pop sticks, craft matchsticks, paint brushes/old tooth brushes, rubber stamps, anything really. A little note: if you do a long session of this, a bit of moisturiser after the clean up helps those with dry or sensitive skin.
    Another one is egg cartons. Go on a nature walk or treasure hunt and collect little things then either play with them in an egg carton, putting them in and out and opening/closing the lid, or glue one thing in each hole.
    PS. I love the hammering golf tees idea! Can’t wait to try it out! The woodwork table was always may favourite thing at kindy so this is a great way for younger children to get the same thrill.

  4. Jode says

    Great list thanks Jamie! My twins are only young toddlers so we do a lot of messy play outside where i don’t need to stress! We do many of these ideas too but have found lots of inspiration through your list! They are definitely a harder age to plan successfully for!

  5. Leza says

    I love the golf tee idea. I will be doing many of these with my 2 year old twins. They love to “paint” the house. I give them water and paint brushes and the water changes the color of the bricks.

  6. says

    fabulous list, jamie! i love toddler activities, and find that following a child’s lead helps me come up with things that work well. thanks very much for including us with all these toddler super-stars.

  7. says

    It is amazing how such simple things can entertain and fascinate your little ones. I remember doing pots and pans, balloons and bubbles when my kids were younger.

    Surprisingly, those same items work with my older kids, too. Of course, they play with them differently now but my 11, 8 and 4 year olds still love muffin tins (we use these in various games such as catch the penny), balloons (we have assorted contests with these) and bubbles – well they’re just fun no matter what age.

  8. Denise Hardin says

    I loved your list. I have a small in-home day care with toddlers. I use a lot of your ideas, but have added some more of them. I wanted to give you one idea that my toddlers LOVE. I put food coloring, a little cooking oil, and fill with water a water bottle *plastic* and tape the lid around it. I sometimes put small things like little glittering glass balls, glitter, etc. in them for them to roll around and watch. Just a little idea

  9. Andrea says

    My kids love to play with ramps. I usually lean an extra table leaf on the couch and they slide everything they can down the ramp (especially themselves!)

    • says

      This sounds so tempting, I just don’t know if I can bring myself to let the kids use my table leaf! I may have to snag something at a garage sale just for this…. I know the kids would have a hay day with it!

Leave a Reply