This is often the most asked question I get from readers, especially newsletter subscribers when I ask them what they’re looking for help with.
Often as parents of young children, we have more than one child under the age of 4… And juggling them can be super tough when you want to do an activity.
How do I do it? First of all, before setting up any activities, I ask myself these three questions. And that usually gets me in the right direction for success.
But… what are some actual activities that you can do when you have more than one kid under the age of 4?
I’m here to save the day and came up with a list for you!
Activities to do that are great for any 1 to 4 year olds – no matter how many you have!
- Pom pom drop – just something simple to have set up that the kids will enjoy – no matter what the age!
- Sticky sensory art – all ages of kids will find this fun!
- Stick things in plastic bottles – its great fine motor practice for all kids. Little ones can do it and older kids will find it fun. You can make it more difficult for older kids by having them sort something into different bottles (color of buttons, or craft sticks, pipe cleaners, etc).
- Paint using trucks, or other toys!
- Throw newspapers in the house. Make it a game of basketball.
- Make a balance beam for the kids to walk along. Older kids could even make this themselves! What a challenge! Younger kids will typically fall off, but would be good gross motor practice!
- Set up a tub of water and bubbles. Let them have fun together!
- Paint with water. Whether its the sidewalk or a chalkboard!
- Set up a drawing area – cover the table!
- Make foam using dish soap.
- Play with flour!
- Make art using tape resist. Use edible finger paint for all ages.
- Spaghetti sensory.
- Play with baking soda and vinegar!
- Dumpster dive in a cardboard box.
- Erase lines of chalk with water. Younger kids will need shorter lines, where older kids can be longer and squigglier.
- Set out pillows to jump and walk along.
- Make a tape road.
- Wash toys with a tub of water.
- Make your own lava lamps – just fun for anyone to watch and put the tablets in!
- Set up a simple game of bowling.
- Play dough. Add things to it!
- Sand sensory art – Whether you actually do it for the 100th day of school or not – making sand art is fun for any outdoorsy kid! Bring it inside!
Learning activities can also be adapted for their skill — and be done together!
- Follow the ____ maze. Set up mazes side by side for each child. Do numbers and letters for preschoolers, or sight words for older kids (or even addition problems), and maybe simple shapes for younger preschoolers (and older toddlers), or just colors or stickers for toddlers.
- Make sensory bags. I did this with all three boys at the same time. A sensory bag for each. My oldest got math problems (or try sight words), my preschooler got sticker shapes to match (as well as writing numbers), and my youngest toddler got to squish it all around however he wanted!
- Rainbow toy hunt. The kids could hunt for toys together. Toddlers would just love to find any toy, even if they don’t know the colors and the older child can help them find where to put it.
- Find the ____ & swat it! Make a paper for each child – either take turns with the fly swatter or have one for each child. Ideas to put on the paper: Letters, numbers, shapes, colors, sight words, lowercase letters.
- Roll the ball, what shape does it land on? One that they can play together! Even if your toddler isn’t old enough to understand the shapes, it can just be about rolling it back and forth for them.
- Use blocks to learn shapes and colors – as long as the child is getting the concept of shapes and colors, this one the kids can build and sort together!
Without giving specific activities, some general suggestions I love to give (and do) are:
Do activities that are geared for the youngest child you have.
If you have a 4 and a 2 year old. Look for toddler activities to do for 2 year olds and your 4 year old will gladly join in. It’s often easier to add in learning elements to a simple activity. Also, this gives your older child more confidence because they’re not feeling pressured to ‘perform’ or anything like that. They can show their little brother or sister new things and feel good about themselves!
Here’s a great list of toddler activities to get you started.
Sensory activities are often great activities to try for multiple ages.
These activities are all about exploration and discovery. There’s no how-to or right or wrong way to do it. The only thing to watch out for is small things that the little one could put in their mouth.
Here’s a list of edible sensory activities if you have a child that puts things in their mouth.
Scavenger hunts can often be open-ended and all ages can join in.
Whether the youngest one is really hunting or just running along side their older sibling giggling. It’s all about having a good time. Often scavenger hunts can be split while you’re doing them for each age group too.
Here’s a list of many scavenger hunts for all ages!
I hope this list helps save the day a little bit… I know its tough to find things to do with young kids in general some days — let along when you have 2 or more kids to try to entertain.