Play Activities for Toddlers

Emma Davies
Stay at Home Mom

As a parent of a toddler, you know fine well how they get really antsy and need constant entertainment. Since the summer vacation is approaching, you’ll need an arsenal of fun activities to keep them engaged and busy with creativity.

It would be great if you had your days planned and knew beforehand which activities you are going to present to your kid, but sometimes this isn’t happening. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do easily, with what you already have that don’t need lengthy preparation. For even busier days, there are already set-up kitchen activity tables that can prove to be so helpful.

Need some quick ideas?

1.Sensory box

This one is a great play for a younger toddler who is just coming to know the world, but also for an older one who can use tools. The goal is to help them know different shapes, textures, sizes, so keep in mind that variety is the key here. You don’t need to buy anything special for it, you can use stuff that already are in your house.  Sensory bins were the most wonderful tool I had in my life when my kids were toddlers. Here are some things that you can use, straight from your pantry, kitchen or refrigerator:

    1. Flour
    2. Rice
    3. Uncooked pasta
    4. Different types of beans
    5. Water
    6. Ice
    7. Sponges

For starters, I strongly recommend that all small items should be deposited in sealable bags, because they present a high choking hazard for toddlers. You might have these bags in your kitchen already and use them to freeze or deposit foods. You can use a tray or a box and just throw a bunch of stuff in there, letting your toddler analyze and experiment with the different sizes and textures that he finds. Once they can master their fine motor skills, you can add a bunch of tools for measurement and ask them to move the materials from one side to another.

2.Finger painting

One of the first plays for them to get in touch with their artsy part is finger painting. Make sure to find some child friendly colors because sometimes, they will try to taste them as they draw, it’s one of their ways to familiarize with the environment.

3.Sorting games

You can use anything, from plastic or wooden cutlery to pieces of paper and sort it by shape, color, type. I suggest you give them some containers so they can place them as they categorize.

4.Cardboard box fort

I think we all ordered things online, especially lately, so you’re probably left with many cardboard boxes. Don’t send them all to recycling just yet, keep a bigger one and cut a door into it, use it as a box fort for your children. This can keep them entertained for days.

5.Play Dough

You can easily make it at home with flour, vegetable oil, salt and water (you can add food coloring to get which colors your kid prefers) or you can just buy it. Either way, it’s another amazing sensory play, it develops fine motor skills, and it focuses their mind in a creative way.

6.Toilet paper trails

Sounds super funny, am I right? And it’s just as easy as it sounds. All you have to do is roll out some toilet paper and then tell your kids to try and walk just one. This game will improve their focus and their balance.

7.Painting in the bathtub

So, you want them to be able to paint, but you don’t want them to mess up their clothes, table or hands really badly and get all crusty? I got you, put them in the bathtub! That way they’ll get to do 2 things at once: paint and get washed up. It’ll also be easier for you to get it cleaned up.

8.Car wash (little cars washed in the sink or in a tray)

Just put some water and soap in a tray, give them some cars and place a towel next to it, so they can dry it after they finish.

9.Dolls’ bath (this can also be done in a sink or in a tray)

Same as the previous, only this time you add a toy comb, so they can also comb their hair before they dry it out.

How about some great toys or set-ups?

10.Water table for kids

Now that the summer is almost here, and the weather is getting warmer is the perfect timing to get your kids a water table. There is something about children and water play that you cannot ignore, they just love playing with the water anytime. Have you ever seen a kid jumping up and down in a rain puddle? Then you know what I’m talking about. This one is a safe and equipped place for water play that aims to keep your child’s interest for more than just half an hour and that helps his sensory exploration. It is great for outdoor play, but I wouldn’t be quick to exclude it from ideas for indoor playing, either. If you do try it indoors, make sure you put it on a surface that doesn’t get altered when wet or simply place it in the bathroom, where you can easily wipe the floor afterwards. 

11.Kids activity table

You are definitely going to buy a little table with little chairs for your child’s playing room/space, so why not buy a multifunctional one? It can also serve as a place to store their drawing, painting, coloring tools or their toys. Some of them can also expand, so if you have limited space, but also want a bigger table for when you do activities, it would be a good choice.

12.Playing with kinetic sand

If you’re bound to stay indoors and they want to play with sand, but you cannot bring the sandpit inside, you can grant their wish with kinetic sand. It’s a great sensory play, perfect for toddlers.

13.Outdoor sand pit

Warm sunny days ask for a day at the seaside. But it’s the middle of the week and you have to work. Some of us have to work from home, so get a sand pit, place it in your yard and let them play as if they were at the beach.

14.Kids learning table

A great space for them to develop new skills, to practice spending time at a table for when they’ll start going to a kindergarten.

15.Play tent with crawl tunnel

Other than the fact it’s a very funny play, it improves their motor skills, and it gives them a nice nook for reading or for when you’re playing hide and seek.

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