Toddlerwise Activities

When I had two toddlers at one time, I started scouring the internet for things to do at home.  I wanted things I could do with them, and things they could do independently.  They weren’t ready for taking turn games at that time, but later they were able to handle that, so then I needed some more low-risk activities.  I had three boys in a row, so most of the activities are geared towards boys!!  Substitute as necessary for girls.  Here are some ideas:

For parent and child interaction

  • Storytime
  • felt board math or stories
  • sand/salt tray (writing practice)
  • crafts/puppets with bags, popsicle sticks
  • sorting, counting coins; using a bank or change separator
  • cooking together (pizzas or muffins are easy, or toast with designs in raisins on top)
  • phonics or reading games
  • making cards to family/friends
  • homemade play-doh (Koolaid for coloring)
  • clean-up time
  • Finger-painting
  • Making a video or tape recording
  • drawing lessons
  • identify the object (by noise, feel, taste, etc.)  Use a bag or shoebox filled with rice, beans, sand, or whatever.
  • I Spy
  • “Hotter/Colder” games (locating a hidden object)
  • “I’m thinking of an animal that has…”  Or use a different theme.
  • Simon Says
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Tracing, cut-outs, rubbings, connect the dots, Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Tangrams/Copy the configuration (with blocks)
  • Guess what I’m drawing (Pictionary)
  • “Let’s do something nice for [family member].”
  • Field Trip

For independent play, possible with one child (some need moderate supervision)

  • Legos (large, medium, or small legos)
  • Puzzles (try taking away the picture when they become too easy, or mix two puzzles together for a real challenge)
  • Dominoes, modified for one player
  • Memory game, modified for one player
  • Stringing beads (different pasta shapes work well too)
  • Sewing cards
  • Blocks
  • Action figure set (Bob the Builder, Dora/Diego, Little People, whatever)
  • Free drawing
  • Play-doh (add cookie cutters, a roller, and play-doh scissors)
  • coloring books (probably needs supervision)
  • mosaics (Melissa & Doug make a good one)
  • Tool sets–hammers, pegs, screws, bench, etc
  • race cars or trucks, train sets w/tracks
  • Sink/water table time (supervision necessary)
  • Bath time
  • Drawing with chalk on the driveway
  • whiteboard/chalkboard
  • Magna-Doddle, etch-a-sketch
  • pasting with glue-stick (get a tub of foam shapes from the craft store)
  • Sandbox
  • Farm/barn with animals (try adding fence pieces, which most kids love to work)
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Tinker toys
  • Bubbles (in the bath tub is great for clean-up reasons)

More than one child:

  • Candyland
  • Dominoes
  • Memory game
  • Hopscotch
  • Sandbox
  • Tag, ball-play
  • Hide and Seek
  • Chef (plastic food/kitchen station)
  • Make believe: detectives, explorer, fireman, policeman, teacher, dogs/lions, Dragon-warriors, mommy and Daddy… (make hats, telescopes, shields, etc. as necessary)
  • Following the Leader
  • Telephone games, Whisper down the lane

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