50 Activities that are Perfect for Toddlers

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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.

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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:

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Comments

  1. Jessica says

    I love the extra ideas, my favorite is mashed potatoes! Left over, homemade, or instant they all are awesome for kids to play with of all ages.

  2. says

    Thank you for painting on an easel instead of a flat table! Doing things on a slanted surface (like the desks of 1900′s) or an upright surface (like an easel) helps pull the hand into a grip that you want your child to use holding a marker, crayon, pencil. In this position the wrist muscles help which makes it easier for your child. Wonder if you could attach the styrofoam for hammering onto such a surface? Hm…..You have wonderful ideas!

  3. Jenna says

    These are really good ideas!!! You do have to be careful with some of these ideas and what age you do them with. If you do it with young toddlers you need to have a watchful eye because there are chocking hazards in some of these ideas. I have been a 2 year old teacher for many years now.

  4. Julie says

    Based on your criteria I have 3 toddlers. A one year old, a two year old and a three year old!! Thanks for some great ideas

  5. crystal@growingajeweledrose says

    I was just looking at traffic sources, an realized you linked me onto this. I somehow missed that the other times I looked through the list. Just wanted to thank you for including Growing A Jeweled Rose in such a fantastic round up!

  6. Melanie says

    Right now my daughter loves playing with plastic Easter eggs and an egg carton. I put a different coloured item in each egg (pom pom, pipe cleaner, scarp of material), and she’s just delighted every time she opens them up! This is how she learned her colours too!

    • Jamie says

      That’s brilliant! We did something similar with the baby food jars – just opening them up is a delight, but to find something in it is even better! Love that idea Melanie!

  7. Candice says

    Our favorite thing right now is flour but we mix in baby oil do it can be molded. Lots of fun but a mess afterward but it’s worth all the fun and smiles

  8. Cayla says

    Thanks for all the great ideas! I babysit an 18 month old and 2 1/2 year old at my house and have been in need of some toddler activities. I can’t wait to try these out!

  9. says

    I find myself returning again and again to this post to peruse the ideas. Especially on days where I am low energy and need something easy to do with Little A. Thanks for such a comprehensive post.

  10. April says

    Great ideas! Ive been through, what seems like, thousands of web sites to get ideas for my busy smart little 19 month old daughter. She is bored with practically everything that we own, have done or she has seen, so I am on the look out for some creative ideas to keep her little mind expanding. Thank you for this! It was/is very helpful!

  11. Sue Beth says

    Good list! one activity our kids liked was real paint brushes and water in a bucket or bowl and painting outside….anything…the house, the cement, the deck, the deck chairs….

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