Toddlers LOVE to play. That’s how they explore the world and learn. Here are some stimulating activities that can be customized to fit any age and level.
Grab an old moving box and your craft supplies, time to unbox some creativity! If your child is younger, let them explore finger painting, or coloring the inside of the box. If your children are older, take it one step further and cut out fun shapes with paper or magazines. You can create a jungle habitat, the solar system, or just doodle around with craft paper, scissors, and glue.
This activity can get messy depending on what you’re working with, so make sure to protect your floors before opening the paint.
Children of all ages love balloons. Hang inflated balloons from the ceiling with twine (or party streamers) and tape. Make the balloons high enough so they can’t pull them down, and give them a wooden kitchen spoon or other age appropriate tool to use as a bat. They’ll have a blast playing with the hanging balloons, while also working on important motor skills like standing on tip-toes, jumping and hand eye coordination. You can also sit together and hit the balloon back and forth.
wet and dry Sensory bins
There’s no shortage of sensory bin ideas on the internet, and that’s for good reason. Sensory bins are a great way for children to explore different textures. Plus, there’s no limit to the type of bins you can create. Rotating out different materials is a great way to keep your toddler entertained on more than one occasion.
Wet bins are a great activity for warm days, and children love pouring things! Create a simple pouring station with various types of containers and water. For extra fun, drop some food coloring into the water, and add ice cubes. Kids will get a kick out of fishing out the ice cubes with a soup ladle.
Dry bins are equally as fun. It’s common to reach for dried foods like pasta, oats, rice or beans for these activities. But you can also let them explore the texture of nature, by using flowers, birdseed, sand, leaves and rocks. Other stimulating materials are recycled shredded paper, feathers, buttons, or puzzles. For added stimulation, grab a funnel, spoon, shovel, and some containers to let them pour materials into.
For an added twist, transform your bin into a scavenger hunt by hiding items within, and encouraging them to find them. Tape streamers across the top of the bin in multiple directions, creating an obstacle course for them to navigate. Or do a magnetic seek and find game with household magnets.
Tube drops and indoor croquet
Creating a tube drop is a fun way to up-cycle old paper towel and toilet paper rolls. Using painters’ tape, arrange the tubes on the wall in a way that allows objects to pass through one another. Then let your kids drop various items like pompoms and balls down the shoot.
Indoor croquet is a fun and fast activity to arrange. Simply tape paper in an arch on the floor, creating paper tunnels. Let your child roll, kick, or hit a ball through the tunnels. The whole living room can be transformed into a croquet course, complete with ramps and other fun challenges to overcome.
Younger children don’t have long attention spans, and their likes and dislikes can change by the minute! Don’t feel deflated if they don’t seem interested in the activity you put together. Simply try again in a couple days. Having a few DIY activities ready and on a rotation will keep the days fun, stimulating, and help you get the most out of your efforts.