Make playtime with toddlers so much simpler with 50+ simply perfect toddler activities!
Activities for toddlers are the number one hardest thing for me to come up with to do.
For our purposes, toddlers are kids between ages 1 and 3, but it’s pretty fluid. This age group starts when kids start to walk and ends roughly when they can generalize new knowledge.
This is a hard age because they often want to put stuff in their mouths. Toddlers also have a tough time understanding direction with the extra fun of super-short attention spans.
After years of doing activities with and for toddlers, I’ve found that simplicity is best!
50+ Perfectly Simple Toddler Activities to Try at Home
I’ve started keeping track of some of my favorite toddler activities – both my own and ideas from other websites. And this is my giant master go-to list that every hands-on parent needs to keep handy.
4 Tips to Make Toddler Activities Easier
Before we dive right into my favorite 50+ toddler activities, I wanted to share some hard-earned tips I’ve picked up over the years.
- 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 (affiliate link), by Trish Kuffner and PLAY: Activities Plans for your Two-Year-Old. These two resources always have an activity idea that my kids love!
Simple Sensory Toddler Activities
Let your toddler explore materials with their fingers, nose, mouth…really, let them do what feels good!
How does it feel? What does it taste like?
These are wonderful ways to learn and very hands-on.
- Soapy jars, fun to shake up and watch settle!
- This is a blast! And a way to get the kids to clean, with dish soap foam.
- Cook up some spaghetti (or even better, use leftovers), add some color to it to make spaghetti potion.
- A slimy gel bag is a squishy sensory delight for toddlers!
- Just flour. Let your toddler explore flour freely.
- Add water to the flour and put in a baggy for some flour & water piping.
- Explore ice cubes!
- Jello! A sensory activity from Learning 4 Kids.
- Playing with and exploring pasta, from Teach Preschool.
- Oooo. Add water to paper, idea from Tinkerlab.
- Bubbles! Simple sensory activity at MamaSmiles.
- Spray basic shaving cream onto a baking sheet or a highchair tray, add a few drops of food coloring and swirl!
Easy Peasy Arts & 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!
- Make a simple egg carton train with pipe cleaners.
- Use a baggy and paint and add a dowel or toy of some sort and do some roller painting.
- Contact paper window decor. The best toddler art activity there is, I think!
- Using a toilet paper tube, stamp a heart!
- Use yogurt to paint.
- Make your own edible finger paint and create tape resist art. (Or use store-bought washable fingerpaints, affiliate link!)
- Foam shapes art on the window.
- Sticker art is a perfect toddler art activity from The Artful Parent.
- Spray paint art using water and watercolors with squirt bottles, toddlers will love this idea from Adventure in a Box!
- Shaken ball art (from Toddler Approved) is fun for your toddler to get moving and create art in the process.
- Create fruity art with fingerprints, with an idea from Penny Pinchin Mom!
- Turn potatoes into cool stamps, just like Glued to My Crafts!
Find many physical activities for toddlers to burn off some energy!
Free Play for Toddlers Made Easy
Free play is often the simplest of all the activities for toddlers!
It’s just a material by itself. Then, let them play and explore with it.
What will they come up to do with the object?
- Explore ribbons, add a bottle to the mix for some fine motor practice.
- Pom poms are perfect for toddlers and they love putting them in other objects!
- Pipe cleaners are not only fun to touch, but you can stick them through small holes (such as a colander), too!
- Let your toddler play with a cardboard box. Easy enough.
- 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!
- Tissue paper can be thrown, scrunched up, or torn into small pieces!
- Give toddlers your fabric scraps to play with!
- Use your leftover baby food jars as busy toddler play! Screw and unscrew them, stick little objects inside for prizes!
- The good old pots and pans never get old to a toddler!
- Water never gets old for kids! Add color to it for added fun. Let them play with cups and spoons for hours!
- Play with lights and mirrors for a free play science activity from My Mundane and Miraculous Life.
- Ripping magazines! From Confidence Meets Parenting.
- Stacking cups could be a great busy play activity for toddlers! Idea from The Imagination Tree.
- Stabbing foam plates, from Bounceback Parenting, could be lots and lots of fun with recyclables!
- Build a block city with taped up streets!
Other Activities for Toddlers
Sometimes you just need stuff for toddlers to do – more than exploring, arts and crafts, or an activity with an intended purpose.
Just an activity that a toddler can definitely do and do well.
- Chop up some pipe cleaners for sprinkles for fine motor practice or pretend play!
- Get the balloon out and play balloon badminton with your hands or with paddles.
- Leftover shipping packaging makes for a great bubble pop runway.
- Hammer golf tees into Styrofoam for some great hand-eye coordination.
- Bust out your ABC Mat and make roads to drive along – or a ton of other activities! Don’t have an ABC Mat? (affiliate link) Get one! They can be used for all sort of activities and learning!
- Go on a heart hunt or any kind of hunt. Hide some like items around the house like you would Easter eggs!
- Pop a spaghetti noodle into some Play Dough and thread other noodles onto the spaghetti for some fine motor practice.
- Throw newspapers in the house.
- Roll down hills.
- Make a balance beam from boards inside or outside and practice walking along them.
- 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!)
- Make doodles in the carpet with cookie cutters and other kitchen utensils.
- Set out random ingredients from your pantry and let your toddler stir and mix them up in their own concoctions.
- Make some pom pom drops!
- A homemade lacing activity, from What do We Do All Day?, is an excellent toddler fine motor activity! You can also buy lacing cards too!
My Go-To Toddler Activities Toys
These toddler toys make are versatile to use in many activities and worth having! These affiliate links are to products to help make the toddler years easier and more fun.