Have a 2 or 3-year-old? – You need these unbeatable toddler activities! Having a toddler is a lot like having the cutest companion turn on you at a moment’s notice. Like you, I have had many wonderful and challenging times with my three toddlers. Parents ask me all the time, what are some fun activities for toddlers? How on earth do I entertain my toddler at home all day? Well, good news! Here are 40+ fun and easy toddler activities that helped bring us more joy. These ideas even allowed me to unload the dishwasher as they played. (a parenting win I know we can all relate to)
Top ten toddler activities
Toddlers and preschoolers love to move their bodies. And parents have busy schedules trying to juggle making doctor appointments, maintaining a household, and raising good humans. It is a lot! To make your toddler activity search a little easier, here are my top 10 toddler activities that you can start with today! Prep time for each activity is less than five minutes.
Here are ten activities to help entertain your toddler at home. Use the Startup Guide to get the most out of your day for you and your preschooler.
Toddler Drive and Drop
I know my toddler loves his race cars, and I know I have a reusable box. Together, they will buy me the time I am looking for and help him better understand concepts like gravity, force, and motion.
Feed the Sharks; a Toddler Counting Activity
Strengthen counting skills and improve number sense through play, which is exactly how we want children to learn.
Kitchen Match-Up; An Easy Toddler Activity
Invite your toddler to match kitchen items to help learn about spatial reasoning, problem-solving, building vocabulary, and using the environment to play.
Paint the Ice
Play should be child-led, so let them take the color-mixing activity wherever they want. After a while, the ice will begin to melt, and your preschooler has now moved on to water play.
Toddler Cutting Practice
This tape rescue is one of my favorite ideas of all time! For this cutting activity, I wanted to add in some imaginary play. I told my toddler and preschooler that the bears were captured and they needed his help. He was 100% up for the challenge!
Toddler Color Toy Sort
Welcome to the simplest preschool math activity that packs a powerful learning punch. Gather up the red, yellow, and blue toys to introduce sorting and classifying.
Bring Home the Bears; Toddler Sequencing
Dive into this colorful preschool prewriting and sequencing activity with our favorite bears. Why? Because learning the lines and curves of letters is just as noteworthy as writing the letters themselves!
Musical Scavenger Hunt
Calling all toddlers! This outdoor game for toddlers is for you! With sunny weather and school out for summer, I decided to break out the chalk and get everyone moving outside.
Improve Pencil Grip with Sticker Match
Sticker Match is also a risk-free way to improve pencil grip! So gather your toddler and preschooler, and let’s get these chubby little fingers moving.
Who has time to search for ideas?
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What makes a good toddler activity?
A good toddler activity is low-prep, engages a child’s interest, and uses supplies families are likely to already have in the home.
- Discovering new colors with paints
- Exploring how markers and crayons work
- Listening to new sounds
- Touching new textures
- Encourage dumping
- Grasping objects
- Moving and transporting objects
- Problem-solving and taking ownership of how the play progresses
- Small fine motor movements
- Stacking and watching what and when objects fall
- Twisting and rotating objects
Problem-Solving and Communication
- Having conversations
- Making predictions
- Sorting by size and color
I know, I know. This is a big list of toddler activity ideas! This is where I come in. I understand child development and how to take the big ideas and bring them into your home to help your toddler explore play.
If you want to get really in-depth on the subject, you can read Healthy Children’s article on Development in Two-Year-Olds.
RELATED: Looking for birthday themes? Here are adorable party ideas for a 2nd birthday party!
Indoor activities for toddler
These indoor activities for toddlers are low-prep ideas that keep kids busy. Set up to help your child play independently with activities. You will notice playtime increases a little longer over time.
- Bears on a Ladder (contains small parts) – create a tree with some ladders going up and ask your kids to place toy bears on each ladder step.
- Breakfast Invitations – check out this start-up guide for breakfast invitations and everyday toddler activities.
- Color Caves – draw out some caves using different colors and watch your kids place the same colored toys inside.
- Drive and Drop – Cut a box slot and watch your little ones drive and drop toy cars inside.
- Duplo Color Match – see if your child can match up different colors of Duplo. Easy!
- Fly in Your Shapes – draw out shapes, then ask your child to ‘fly’ mini airplanes made from popsicle sticks into the right one. Genius!
- Indoor Painting with Two-Year-Olds – who doesn’t love painting?! Check out how to start it indoors with your little one.
- Move and Learn Shapes – outline shapes with painter’s tape and ask your child to roll the ball to the right shape.
- Oball Push – gather some pompoms and an Oball, then watch your little one push the pompoms inside!
- Pick a Color – color some craft sticks and slot them in a cardboard box. Watch your kids pull them out and learn colors!
- Primary Color Hunt – scribble primary colors inside boxes on a sheet of paper, then see if they can sort the same color toys into the boxes.
- Primary Color Match (contains small parts) – use primary color stickers and ask your toddler to match up a colored toy with the same sticker!
- Seeing Two – write down the number 2 and have your toddler color it in.
- Shape People – draw out shapes, then give them some arms and legs. It makes it more fun! Put a number next to each shape person and see if your child can place the same number of stickers in the shapes.
- Size Sorting Box – cut different size holes to fit different size objects and see if your tiny toddler can match the right shape to the hole.
- Snowflake Crafts – make paper snowflakes with your kids – perfect for the holidays.
- Sticker Pairs – grab your stickers sheets, cut them up, then ask your kids to match up the same ones.
- Tape, Toddlers, and Toys – make different rows of squares using painter’s tape and place a sticky note nearby with the number of squares on it. See if they can place the right number of toys in the squares.
- The Best Toys for Two-Year-Olds – here’s a great list of toys for toddlers (tried and tested by me!).
- Toddler Sock Match – separate different pairs of socks into squares, then ask your little one to match them up. It’s a great activity to help them learn about laundry too…
- Toddler Tape Roads – make roads using painter’s tape and see if they can drive the cars along.
- Wash the Socks – makeshift a washing machine using a cardboard box with a slot in the top. See if they can post the socks inside.
Toddler Sensory Play
How do you encourage sensory activities for toddlers? Read: How to Introduce Sensory Play if you’re new to sensory toddler activities. It’s a great place to start.
Sensory play is important because engaging the senses stimulates the brain for new learning and builds upon existing knowledge. Read about sensory play’s importance in toddler activities.
- 15 Bubble Activities – activities for 2-year-olds need to include bubbles!
- Apple Scoop and Sort – a great one for the spooky season. Get your child to scoop the apples up and sort them according to color. Genius!
- Bubble Wrap Runway – bubble wrap play make incredible activities for toddlers and is so simple!
- Cloud Dough Kitchen – cloud dough and activities for toddlers go hand in hand. Make a batch and have fun!
- Construction Sensory Play – make some playdough, then add construction toys to encourage imagination and play!
- Cut the Playdough – learning how to hold scissors? Cutting play dough is a great way to introduce scissors and practice.
- DIY Sound Shaker – add beans or noodles to recyclable cans and shake for different sounds.
- Dry Noodle Sensory Play – noodles make great activities for 2-year-olds. Give them some dry noodles in a sensory bin, and they’re away!
- Filling Station – add some rice or sand to a sensory bin and watch your kid scoop in into containers.
- Finger Play Songs – draw family members on your fingertips and whip out the tunes!
- How to Introduce Sensory Play – sensory play activities for 2-year-olds can be daunting (I know!). So check out how to introduce it to your toddler.
- Nature Goop Sensory Play – using Goop in activities for 2-year-olds never gets old. Add a twist to your goopy fun with some nature accessories.
- Neon Water Play – add food coloring to squirt containers to strengthen small hands and explore colors.
- Outdoor Color Hunt – head outside to explore textures and hunt for colors in nature. A toddler activity favorite for sure!
- Playing with Gears – grab some magnetic gears for a little science experiment.
- Puzzle Find and Sort – pop some puzzle pieces in a sensory bin and ask your kid to match them to the right place.
- Rainbow Oobleck – whip up some oobleck and add different colors.
- Rainbow Rice – color some rice, add some pots, and you’re away!
- Rock Sensory Play – I found these small rocks at Target, and they make a fun sensory bin filler for all ages.
- Sand Sensory Play – sand in a tray with scoops and utensils.
- Scoop the Limes – pop some limes in a water tray and watch your little one scoop to their heart’s content.
- Shapes and Shaving Cream – stick blocks together with shaving cream or use whip cream as an alternative.
- Soap, Sponge, and Water – you can use water in so many ways when creating activities for 2-year-olds. Add in some soap and a sponge to create sudsy fun!
- Sticky Nature Hunt – bring toddlers outside to find nature and stick it on contact paper.
- Strawberry Sensory Bin – tastes safe and fun!
- Trucks and Oats – tip dry oats into a sensory bin, add some scoop trucks, and off they go!
Seasonal Toddler Activities
- Easter Egg Water Bin – bring the plastic eggs to soapy water for a sudsy sensory bin.
- Fall Bubble Foam – make foam in a bin and add some leaves so your tiny toddler can learn about fall.
- Fall Tree Handprint Craft – there are so many ways of using handprints in activities for 2-year-olds. Make a hand-print tree to celebrate fall.
- Halloween Water Play – Halloween activities for 2-year-olds are always fun. Go wild with your imagination and make green soapy water with Halloween extras.
- Sticky Pumpkin – outline a pumpkin on some sticky paper, tear up tissue paper and voila! You have yourself a sticky pumpkin.
Toddler painting ideas
You are about to dive into painting with your little one and need to be reassured it won’t stain your new table. Am I right?
Start here by reading Tips and Tricks; Painting with Your Toddler. You will see how to begin art projects in your toddler activities line-up in a controlled area that we can wash away with no trouble.
- 20+ Startup Supplies for Toddler Art – want to create amazing activities for 2-year-olds but don’t know where to start? Take a look at my startup list.
- How to Paint with your 2-Year-Old– painting activities for 2-year-olds often look like they’re more hassle than worth it. I promise you, they’re not!
- No-Fuss Outdoor Painting– need a quick clean-up? Then try painting outdoor activities for 2-year-olds.
- The Best Ways to Store Your Child’s Art – have a stack of your kid’s artwork but nowhere to put it? Take a look at safe ways to keep it!
RELATED: Enjoy painting with your child? Here are 40 easy painting activities for kids.
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Painting Play Activities
- Bath Tub Art – where better to use paint than in the bathtub?! It makes a super quick clean-up when you’re short on time.
- Block Painting – use blocks in your activities for 2-year-olds to explore textures and shapes.
- Bounce Paint – cover the bouncy balls with string and add primary colors for color mixing.
- Fireworks Painting – these activities for 2-year-olds are bound to go out with a bang! Cut the ends of cardboard tubes into strips to create fireworks.
- Freezer Bag Art Painting – cover some marbles in paint, then place them on some paper in a freezer bag. Simple!
- Giant Cardboard Doughnuts – learning activities for 2-year-olds can be silly! Make huge doughnuts from cardboard with different colors and textures.
- Heart Sponge Painting – ease into painting activities with sponges and one color.
- Holiday Fingerprint – this makes a great holiday gift for your toddler.
- Let’s Paint Elmer – retell a classic picture book by painting Elmer the Elephant.
- Paint the Ice – clean out the freezer because it is time to paint the ice.
- Paint the Shredded Paper – like messy play? Then this is the painting activity for you.
- Painting in a Ziploc Bag – watch your little one’s fascination as they try painting a Ziploc bag.
- Painting with Carrots – carrots are cheap and easy to use!
- Painting with Rocks – gather rocks and come inside to paint them for a double win.
- Painting with Trucks – grab some paint and trucks, and let’s go!
- Sponge Paint – add sponges to painting activities for extra texture.
- Squirt Paint Color Mix – add some paint to your squeeze bottles to strengthen small hands and explore mixing two colors simultaneously.
- Watercolor Painting – like a little less mess when painting with toddlers? These are the BEST watercolor paints.
Phew! You are now ready to tackle the day with your toddler! Challenge accepted. You’ve got this.
RELATED: Let’s get reading! Here are the best toddler books for toddlers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Keeping a toddler entertained for the day is not an easy task. One minute they are content, and the next, they pull on your pants for another snack. Creating a predictable schedule that benefits you and your toddler will help you better enjoy your days.
Toddler activities are best enjoyed when learning through exploration. Stack block, scoop water, fill buckets, dump the rice in a sensory bin, grasp new objects, listen to new sounds, push wagons, pull open drawers, twist bottle caps, swing on swings, climb up hills outside, throw balls, pretend to play store, construct with blocks or Duplos.
Save time to play. Toddlers enjoy sensory play. Use this list of 40 sensory bins at home to inspire more play.