In this article:
- I need ideas for easy activities to do with my toddler at home!
- Do toddlers get bored at home?
- What easy activities do toddlers like to do?
- Criteria for easy activities with toddlers
- Common supplies for toddler activities
- The big list of easy activities to do with toddlers
- Activities with balls
- Activities with water
- Activities with things from the kitchen
- Activities with recyclables
- Sorting, Transfer, Picking up Activities
- Sticky activities with stickers, masking tape, and contact paper
- Conclusion: Ready to do activities with your toddler?
I need ideas for easy activities to do with my toddler at home!
This is THE question I’ve heard time to time from moms who has toddler at home.
And this also the one popped in my mind sometimes too.
It’s usually when I need to tend to something else in a longer period or needing to focus (like preparing dinner, helping my older kids with homework, folding laundry, you name it), but my toddler suddenly transformed from a calm independent little human into a whiny stuck-on-my-leg creature.
I’m ready to pull my hair out.
So for myself, and other mamas out there (yes you!), here’s 20+ ideas your toddler can do at home with quick preparation and mostly so simple they can get busy by themselves!
Do toddlers get bored at home?
When I heard this, “How do I entertain my toddler at home every single day?”, I wonder is it really because they get bored easily thus need to be constantly entertained?
In fact, I doubt so.
It’s usually us, the parents, who get bored. Or because we’re rushing between things.
So what to do?
In short, give them new things.
It doesn’t matter if it’s literally new things they haven’t seen before, or it’s a new thing they haven’t seen for 2 days.
Better still, if it’s something they can play with a little longer with you just watch them without having to help.
What easy activities do toddlers like to do?
You might be surprised to realize that toddlers can be excited in doing simple things, with simple items.
I would say it’s either one of these.
1. Things that they can EXPLORE with their 5 senses.
Means they can touch it, feel different textures, move it (pull, push, slide, drop, pick), change its shape, see different size/colors, and so on.
2. Things they can do BY MOVING THEIR BODY from place to place.
Means this is when they can walk, run, jump, crawl, climb, and so on.
Criteria for easy activities with toddlers
When looking for ideas for toddler, I tend to pick those QUICK AND EASY activities.
Meaning, it doesn’t require me to gather too many supplies, or needs me to cut/glue/fold things beforehand.
- using common household items or common toys (it’s either I already have it, or it’s easy to buy)
- easy to find alternatives of materials
- needs only 5 things or less
- Quick or no prep, mostly just need to gather your supplies
- can be modified for older kids (to make it more challenging and exciting)
- Simple rules, that you can show them once and they can play by themselves
Common supplies for toddler activities
Don’t worry, you can be flexible and use what you have instead.
But here’s some supplies that we used again and again, and hence for some I like to keep extra at home.
No you don’t have to have ALL things I’ve mentioned here. This is just to give you ideas of what you can make use of.
1. Balls. Or any round things that can roll.
2. Building blocks.
3. Blank papers.
4. Containers in different sizes, with or without lid.
5. Big basket, big plastic tub, or aluminium tray.
6. Small stickers
7. Masking tape. Or washi tape.
8. Toilet paper rolls
9. Small toys (animals or characters), or other small items with different look. Think of colorful pompoms, craft sticks, foam alphabets or numbers, counting bears, etc.
10. Paint. Either washable paint, or make your own toddler-safe edible paint.
11. Sticky contact paper.
12. Empty tissue boxes.
I’ve rummaged the net for this huge list of simple ideas for toddler that you can try today.
The big list of easy activities to do with toddlers
Activities with balls
1. Balls game.
Gather balls in different colors and sizes into a basket or container. They can roll it, toss it, bounce it, kick it into a basket “goalie”, or just across the room.
Make sure you play it safe; no hard balls, no small balls that could be chocking hazard, and keep the breakables away.
Pit balls, beach balls, soft fabric balls, or textured balls work well. Balls are a fail-proof in our home, I also included this activity in my easy list for summer/school holiday too!
2. Indoor bowling.
Gather some beverage bottles or canned drink (empty bottles would be easier to topple), and play indoor bowling.
Oh, you can also use toilet paper rolls as your pins.
3. Balls ramp race
Simply use a flat item as the ramp (book, clipboard, mini whiteboard, cardboard), lean it on an angle. Then roll the balls!
You can use another box or basket to catch the rolling balls. Or you can make several ramps with different angle, and experiment which one would make the ball rolls faster.
4. Balls scavenger hunt
Simply hide your pit balls at different places of your house and set them off to hunt for the balls.
– Pick places that’s easy to reach for your child, can be seen a bit, but will still need them to move around the rooms. For younger child, just do it within the room, like behind a sofa, under the table, etc.
– Let them know exactly how many balls they need to find. Or maybe state the number based on the color.
– Give them clues if needed. Like “I see one ball around the TV.”
Activities with water
You know the risk. So my tips are:
– get a big tub or container to contain all in
– don’t fill up the water until near the rim
– put down a wide towel or shower curtain underneath
You’ll need a big container and smaller containers/pitcher, and water. Add some plastic funnels and food coloring for extra fun!
Gather some small floating toys (like foam alphabets), strainer, and fill a tub with water. Ask them to pick the toys from the water using the strainer.
Get a tub or container filled with water, dishwashing gel, and whisk. Just whisk away and have fun!!
This could be a simple science activities too for the bigger sibling.
Hand them a small brush, 2 tubs of water (one with some dishwashing liquid and another for clean rinse), and toys. Easy!
Or, just do a foam party with toys and soapy water!
Yesterday I took out the baby bath tub in the bathroom floor, asked my two elder girls to collect some plastic toys, then fill the tub with warm water. Add some soap, strainers, plastic funnel, some empty bottles, and they got busy for more than half an hour!
PS: I put some towel underneath my toddler’s feet to protect him from wet slippery floor.
Activities with things from the kitchen
Stacking for beginners! Perfect for toddlers.
Get those disposable cups and let your toddler try to stack them.
Activities with recyclables
If you still have some bubble wrap from your packages, tape them down on the floor and let the kids have fun!
Use any cardboard box or facial tissue box, with ribbons, strip of fabric, yarn, or pipe cleaners. Perfect for young toddlers!
3. Art stamps with toilet paper rolls
Gather some kitchen towel rolls or toilet paper rolls, papers, and some paints. Use the rolls as the stamp, and watch your child creates their own art.
Try using a piece of colored paper and one color paint will make an interesting art too!
4. Get creative with cardboard box
Ride on it, pull it, push it, fill it with balls, you name it! If you’re a crafty type, you can also invite your toddler to decorate the box into a fancy car, or airplane. Have several boxes? Make a box train like this!
Sorting, Transfer, Picking up Activities
1. Play with the laundry basket.
They can sit in it, pulled across the room, or just pretending to be sailing on a boat.
They pull out things inside out, or put things into it. This can be riot with toddlers! (If you’re brave enough, let them play with your laundry piles!)
Get out some small toys (fish toys, or other animal toys, or even building blocks will do), some kitchen tongs, and your laundry basket. Let them pick up the toys with the tong, practicing their fine motor skill too!
Or you can replace the buttons with pompoms or colored blocks if you’re worried about choking hazard. Supervision required.
Sticky activities with stickers, masking tape, and contact paper
If your tots love stickers, they’ll love this simple activity! You’ll need long butcher paper (or, improvise and tape some copy papers together), and, well, stickers!
2. Masking tape animal rescue
Get a masking tape and bring out some small animal toys (or you can just use any small items).
Then simply tape down each animal toy with the masking tape. And let your toddler try to pick them off the surface.
I use a tray as my play area, but you can use your high chair, on the table or even on the floor.
The benefit of having a contained space, like tray or plastic container, is you can move it to different room, or keep it intact for using it on another day.
This is pure genius!! You just need some painter’s tape, or masking tape, and some crumpled old newspaper. Or basically anything light that will stick to the tape.
Use a piece of sticky contact paper, and cut up some colorful tissue papers.
The tricky part (a bit) is when you try to attach the contact paper on the window. Since it’s usually in rolls, it would keep rolling itself when you peeled the paper backing at one go.
So I think it would be easier to tape down the contact paper on the 4 corners, instead of along the edges.
Try to peel a small area of one corner first, tape it down to the window, with the sticky side facing you.
Then slowly peel of the paper backing along one edge, until it reach the 2nd corner. Then tape that corner down to the window.
Continue with the other 2 corners. And then the fun begin!
Other than tissue papers, you can also use colored construction papers, pompoms, buttons, yarns, or literally almost anything small and light!
Related Content on Easy Activities for Kids
Check out another list of simple activities for kids at home, including some easy art projects.
Or check my 30 summer activities list (or seriously can be anytime, it just included some easy backyard activities too for kids to have fun!)
Conclusion: Ready to do activities with your toddler?
Don’t overthink it, keep it simple, and lower your expectations.
Basically toddlers will be interested in a LOT of things, but they may not necessarily want to play with certain thing you offer at that time. (Like, they may prefer to attack your laundry piles instead of playing pompoms drop that you prepared).
And it’s OK. You can keep your pompoms and try them on another day.
(Well OK, then you may want to just give him some pieces of laundry ON A SEPARATE BASKET while mommy still need to keep the rest folded neatly! Lol)