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. Eryn says

    What a great list of activities. The golf tee’s and styrofoam is just brilliant. My son will be busy for hours with that one. Love your website.

  2. Amy says

    Love all of these! I have 18 month old twins and they will love to do all of these (and so will their big sister!).

  3. JV says

    Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to find activities for my 18 month old. By far, the best round up I have seen. :)

  4. Gramma RN says

    Some activities should be always ith adult supervision. The balloon idea, for example. A pooped balloon piece in the toddler’s mouth poses a real danger for choking. Have fun with your toddler, but with anything that could fit through a toilet paper tube, don’t take your eyes off the child.

  5. Gramma RN says

    Some activities should be always ith adult supervision. The balloon idea, for example. A popped balloon piece in the toddler’s mouth poses a real danger for choking. Have fun with your toddler, but with anything that could fit through a toilet paper tube, don’t take your eyes off the child.

    • Cyndi says

      Put a balloon in a stocking and if it pops the pieces will stay inside. :) *My son LOVES balloons so this is at least a once a month activity.

  6. Bethy says

    My two year old daughter absolutely loved to play in the dirt! I set out shovels and spoons and sticks and she practices digging differently with each tool. She draws in the sand with her fingers, uncovers hidden objects like rocks, discovered mud (ack!) and has even taste tested it. I say, they’re only little once!

  7. Pam says

    My grandson loves playing with a beachball. He’s 11 months old now but we’ve been playing with it for awhile. Big smiles and giggles!

  8. diaane says

    Some great ideas. BUT. shaving cream is pure soap or so the parmedics told my neighbor when they had to take her 2 year old in the ambulance because he got some in his eyes and was sensitive to it. his face swelled up .

    At a first aid class a parmedic told us that two of the hardest things to get out of a childs throat when they are choking is a GOLF TEE and PEN cap. great ideas but probably not for 1-3 year olds.

  9. Duncan Faber says

    We spice up all our indoor activities by having an audiobook play in the background. We have them on when the kids are playing, cooking, relaxing… whatever. There’s lots of great sites to get them, but we use this site a lot because all the stories are free and original. Here’s the link if anyone is interested. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/moral-stories-for-kids

Leave a Reply