Have a 2 or 3 year old? – You need these toddler activities! Having a toddler is a lot like having the cutest companion turn on you at a moment’s notice.
Try and help them brush their teeth? Nope. Sucking on the bristles is way more effective. Maybe they no longer take naps?! GASP! Like you, I have had joy and challenging times with my toddlers.
These 40 fun and easy toddler activities for 2-year-olds helped bring more joy to our days. They’ve even allowed me to unload the dishwasher as they play. In this article, I’ll give you a bunch of ideas for your toddler to explore textures, motor skills, problem-solving, and communication – all with play!
Activities for 2-Year-Olds Need to Encourage
- 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!
25+ Indoor Activities for 2-Year-Olds
- 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 color toys inside.
- Drive and Drop – cut a slot in a box and watch your little ones drive and drop toy cars inside.
- Duplo Color Match – see if your child can match up different color 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.
- Kitchen Match Up – draw outlines of kitchen utensils and have your kids match them up!
- 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 out 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.
25+ Ideas for Toddler Activities and Sensory Play
How do you encourage sensory activities for 2-year-olds? Let’s begin by learning what a buffer zone is and how to redirect your opinionated toddler back to the sensory bin. 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 the importance of sensory play and how it’s essential in toddler activities.
A lot of these make great summer activities for 2-year-olds. Let’s dive into finding the best way to play! Here are my favorite sensory play fun activities for 2-year-olds.
Any Time of the Year Toddler Sensory 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 2-year-olds, and they’re so simple!
- Cloud Dough Kitchen – cloud dough and activities for 2-year-olds 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!
- Giant Water Beads – water beads are my go-to with activities for 2-year-olds, because they are so versatile!
- 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 – found these small rocks at Target and they make a fun sensory bin filler for all ages.
- Sand Sensory Play – sand in tray with scoops and utensils. What more could you ask for!
- 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 – taste safe and fun!
- Trucks and Oats – tip dry oats into a sensory bin, add some scoop trucks and off they go!
Seasonal Toddler Activities and Sensory Play
- Easter Egg Water Bin – bring out the plastic eggs and add them 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’s so many ways of using hand prints 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.
Painting Play with Two and Three Year Olds
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 Two-Year-Old. 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.
RELATED: Here are 40 easy painting activities for kids.
Basics for Toddler Painting Play
- 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. I promise you; they’re not!
- No-Fuss Outdoor Painting– need a quick clean-up? Then try painting outdoor activities for 2-year-old.
- 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!
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Painting Play Activities
- Bath Tub Art – where better to use paint than in the bath tub?! 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 from 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, grab some 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 at a time.
- Watercolor Painting – like a little less mess when painting with toddlers? These are the BEST watercolor paints.
RELATED: Let’s get reading! Here are the best toddler books for toddlers.
These Top Toddler Activities for Two-Year-Olds Are Simple and Effective
Phew! You are now ready to tackle the day with your toddler! Challenge accepted. You’ve got this.
Need More Toddler Activity Lists? I’ve Got Your Back
- 35+ Brilliant Color Activities
- 50+ Fine Motor Skills Activities
- 40 Indoor Games
- 30+ Preschool Scavenger Hunts
- Primary Color Toy Sort
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Frequently Asked Questions
Keeping a two-year-old 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.
Toddlers 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.