Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Please use discretion with these activities, especially if your child puts things in their mouth. Always be right next to your child.
If you have a toddler, you KNOW that they constantly keep you on your toes! You already have your hands full and coming up with ideas for keeping them busy is not exactly at the top of your list. What if I told you that I have 20 easy ways for keeping toddlers busy?! These ideas are easy to set up and use supplies you probably already have in your home!
1. Color Matching Game
This game using colorful pom poms is perfect for toddlers! You will need to introduce this game to them before just letting them play independently. My toddler plays this game ALL the time. Check out this post for more details.
2. Playdough Playdough is great. I like to put it on a tray or cutting board to contain the mess. I love playdough because kids can be creative and it also builds strength in their hands for fine motor skills. We use homemade playdough, and we especially love our jello playdough. You can find the recipe here.
3. Pipe Cleaners and Colander
Have your toddler stick pipe cleaners in the holes of a colander. This is excellent for practicing fine motor skills!
4. Shape Sorter
I made our own shape sorter using soft shapes from Michaels and an oatmeal container. We get this activity out frequently and keeps my little one occupied for a long time! For more details, see this post.
5. Contact Paper Art Place a piece of clear contact paper on the table. Tape the sides down. Then give your toddler materials to stick on there. Check out this post for details.
6. Paint in Bags Place paint in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, then tape them to a window. Let your toddler move the paint around in the bag using their fingers. (FYI: This activity usually goes pretty quick for my toddler.)
7. Pack ‘n Play
Set up a pack ‘n play and put books and stuffed animals inside. Let them play quietly. This may take some training for them play independently (and quietly!), but if you work with them starting out for just a few minutes playing in there per day, they can work their way up to 20+ minutes.
8. Chunky Puzzles Gather some easy puzzles for your toddler to complete. We use Melissa and Doug Puzzles and they are easy enough for my toddler to do on his own.
9. Pom Poms Through a Tube
I love this activity! Just take a paper towel tube and tape it to the wall. Then have your toddler drop pom pomsthrough it into a bowl. It sounds so simple, but my toddler really loves it! And the best part is how quiet this activity is.
10. Race Cars on Tape
Create a race track using masking tape on the floor. Then let your little one play quietly with cars on the track.
11. Fabric Scrap Box
Cut up pieces of fabric and place them in an empty wipes container. Have your toddler pull the scraps out and then put them back in. This is great for practicing fine motor skills. For more on this, see this post.
12. Magnets on Fridge
Simply have your toddler stick magnets on the fridge. We use alphabet letters and magnetic pom poms. I really like these foam alphabet letters.
13. Cotton Balls
Let your child play with cotton balls. They can sort them in an ice cube tray. This is also a very quiet activity. They can also have fun tearing the cotton balls a part, which can get messy!
14. Corner for Toys
Tape off a section of the floor for them to sit in. Also tape a spot where you place a bucket of toys. Have them stay in the taped off section for play time. This may take some training, so start off trying this for a few minutes at a time.
15. Bubble Wrap
Have your toddler pop bubble wrap. This one can get noisy, but if you need a quick activity for your toddler to do, this would be great! Just please make sure you watch them because this can be a choking hazard.
Using cubes or blocks, have them build a tower. These unifix cubes would be great to use. We use this Discovery Toys Pegboard to build towers.
This is a simple activity, but have them color. Sometimes we get our window markers and I let them color on the windows.
18. Pipe Cleaners in a Tube
This is just like #9, but use pipe cleaners to put through a paper towel tube. My toddler actually came up with this activity. He loves it!
19. Pipe Cleaner Sprinkles
This activity is simply cutting up pipe cleaners (into 2 inch pieces) and have your toddler poke them through the holes in a parmesan container. This is awesome for working on fine motor skills!
20. Sensory Balloon Animals
We made sensory balloon bugs a while back and they are a huge hit. When I want my toddler to play quietly, I get these out and let him play with them. To learn more about them, see this post. Once again, please use discretion with this activity. If your child puts a lot of objects in their mouth, this may not be a good activity for them.
Want more toddler ideas? My new book has over 200 ideas for toddlers! The book will be available on March 27th, but you can preorder it today! Order it on Amazon right here.
Check out some of my favorite resources for toddlers!
The Toddler JourneyMelissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity BoardMelissa & Doug 2053 Shapes Knob Wooden PuzzleMelissa & Doug Hide and Seek Farm Wooden Activity Board With Barnyard Animal MagnetsMelissa & Doug Puzzle Storage Rack – Wire Rack Holds 12 Puzzles(Puzzles Not Included)Play-Doh Modeling Compound 10-Pack Case of Colors (Amazon Exclusive), Non-Toxic, Assorted Colors, 2-Ounce CansCaydo 240 Pieces 1 Inch Pom Poms for Hobby Supplies and DIY Creative Crafts Decorations, Assorted ColorsMagnetic Letters and Numbers for Educating Kids in Fun -Educational Alphabet Refrigerator Magnets -82 PiecesDozen Plastic Toy Safari AnimalsDISCOVERY TOYS GIANT PEGBOARD #1562Crayola; Washable Window Markers; Art Tools; 8 Different Colors; Bright, Bold Colors; Works on All Glass SurfacesCreativity Street Chenille Stems/Pipe Cleaners 12 Inch x 6mm 100-Piece, Assorted ColorsSticker Activity ABC: Over 100 Stickers with Coloring Pages (Sticker Activity Fun)Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 3-pk, Animals, Alphabet, Numbers
Sabonete Artesanal says
Great ways to keep them busy, better than use a cellphone!! Nowadays the parents use the cellphone to entertain the kids with the cellphone, addicting them since they 1 year old!! Great post
Hi Angela I love your ideas and I have successfully tried the paint bag and pipe ideas with my 2.5 year old Son. One thing he can play at for couple of hours are lots of barley grains and an assortment of wares from the kitchen – I gave him a funnel, a deep measuring cup that fitted the funnel, a spoon, a small bowl, a large bowl, an empty plastic bottle and a tray. The idea is to vary the shapes and sizes. It’s amazing how interesting he found transferring barley grains from one spot to another in as many ways as he could imagine. I have also mentioned this post in one of my stories . It’s a brand new blog – I hope you will give it a read and leave me a comment, thanks! Connie
Kids Songs says
Children are naturally born creative. With doing this kind of stuff they will learn more. Keep it up and keep sharing.
Such an educational toy for kids!!
Thanks for sharing
estudar e aprender says
This is a very beatiful website
betty Wang says
An educational toy can help your toddler learn quickly and make the learning path smooth for him.Playing is learning & learning is playing.Thanks for your post.Nice one. Enjoyed reading it.
These are great tips, thanks for sharing with us. 🙂
Ahh, thats really good ideas! Lovin it! I’m going to use them immediately when I get home!
Really great list. Reached it by googling “toys to keep 2 year old busy.” There are many ideas I plan on hijacking, so thank you!
Another thing on my mind is that my family, with our 22 month old, will be going on a trip that will involve a 2.5 hour flight each way. Not a long flight, but wondered if you had any ideas on how to keep your toddler busy on the plane. Have you adapted any of these for flying?
Angela Thayer says
One thing that comes to mind is taking some masking tape and putting pieces on a tray. Have them pull up the tape. Toddlers LOVE this simple activity!
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So much fun activities! Can’t wait to try some of them. Thank you.
Michelle Pearson says
I have never thought that If I gave my child pipe cleaners he would play with them. I was sooooo surprised. The result was 1 hour wild games. Thank you for sharing your post! Keep posting!
Wow! There are so many great ideas here. Affordable, easy ones at that. Thank you for this list. It’s just what I needed and I’ll start using these ideas tomorrow. 🙂
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I work at home as a Licensed Family Child Care Provider and I always work to find ways to use “trash” and turn it into a meaningful learning activity for the children. I really like the Parmesan cheese container activity. My hubby used to comment on my trash stockpile, but after seeing some of the things I have created he now asks and brings things home before getting rid of it to see if it could be of use.
Great Ideas! I’m gonna have to try some of them soon. I need to keep my toddler from playing his tablet a lot and in to physical activities.
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Tumble Tastics says
I like the idea of the taped off areas! You could almost set up like a play station obstacle course
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Thank you so much for sharing this post. I could really use some ideas to keep my kids from wreaking havoc in the house. My twins are a handful, which is not so fun when I have my hands full.
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Amazing article. Thank you.
Christine | Where The Smiles Have Been says
Wow, what an awesome list you have here! I used some of your ideas to throw together a quick activity for my son…..and it was a huge hit! I also wrote about it on my blog (and of course gave you some linky love). Thanks for the (p)inspiration!
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I know you mentioned a hazard waring but after reading your list I see most of the activities a choking or health hazard for all children
most of these items are too call or guide dangerous (paint in a bag) if digested
What a great post! These ideas are fantastic, thanks for sharing!
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A good tape to use for sticking on floors and walls is electrical tape. Comes in lots of colors and pulls up nicely. We tape out stuff on the floor like hop scotch with it. I have see packs at the dollar store that have five or so colors in very small rolls.
Those ideas were amazing. I’ll use some of them with my baby girl! Thanks! Gracias!
This is the best list of activities I’ve seen online!
Brilliant! I saw pipcleaners and pom poms at Dollar Tree. Now I know what to do with them. If I don’t keep my toddler busy, he’ll find something to do. Last week it involved markers and a freshly painted wall 🙁
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Sarah Barah says
Again, I keep coming back to this arena of ideas.
Last week we tried colored shaving cream
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Simple, easy,and great ideas! Thanks so much!
I make a dough and let my 3 yr old roll it out and give him cookie cutter to make different shape he plays for hrs doing this..gonna try some of the other …you can also use cooking dough
Laura @ The Experimental Home says
This is a fantastic list of toddler activities! I will be taping a paper towel roll to my wall tonight!!! I have seen lots of toddler activities on the interwebs, but they often take more time to put together than my little man would spend playing with them. But most of these are simple and right up his alley… THANKS!
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Thank you for these great Ideas. I have a granddaughter she is 4 year old and another one on it’s way in approx. 5 months. I am going to show my daughter this web site. Thank you again,
Port Orchard, WA
Really great Ideas !! I’m going to show my daughter this she’s has an 4 year old and going to have another baby in approx. 5 months Thank you !!
Sarah Barah says
I came across this through a shared post on facebook and glad I did because I was really inspired by these ideas and went right out the very next day to gather supplies and start creating activities for my 18month old.
This is the sensory bin we came up with
We also painted with colored shaving cream and the best part is I had older kids over that weekend who were just as into the activities as my little one.
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Kyle @ Aspired Living says
We have twin 3 year olds and during homeschool time we do stations. I am always looking for inexpensive ideas for new stations to keep them entertained and educated (I include motor skill development in education especially for one of them). This is an incredible resource you have here thank you for sharing! Kyle 😀
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I have been pulling my hair out trying to juggle my 20-month-old while schooling my older kids. What fabulous ideas–THANK you!
Bob Braxton says
with grandpa, favorite play is called “imagination”
I would advise against using dry beans. When I was a teenager, a mother was preparing beans for a meal. She dropped a bean on the floor. Her toddler picked it up, put it in his mouth and choked on it. Before she could get help for him, the bean swelled in his throat and he died. Very sad for our whole small town community.
We’ve done a few of these our favorite is the tube idea although we did alter it a bit. We taped it to a chair and used ping pong balls without a bowl. The ball fall through the tube and roll off, they get to chase it down and start again. They loved it.
Angela Thayer says
Great idea!! Glad they loved it!
Number 15 is not a choking hazard. Rather, it is a suffocation hazard.
Angela Thayer says
Thank you for pointing this out. My child does not play with this often, but when he does I am always with him and watching him. He does not put things in his mouth…but you never know.
My elderly mother-in-law uses long silcone tipped tongs to pick things up off the floor. My granddaughter saw her and decided to try to pick items up off the floor with tongs – it held her interest for quite a long time. You could pick up blocks, pompoms, ping pong balls etc. and drop them into a bowl.
Angela Thayer says
That is such a great idea! We will have to try that one.
Loved these! I wanted to add a playdoh recipe that’s edible for those kiddos that still try everything in their mouth… Cocowheats (powdered cream of wheat) plus a little water and tsp or so of olive oil till nice dough consistency.
Angela Thayer says
That sounds delightful! Thank you!
Jean Dey says
I used to tape bubble wrap to my floors and let the kids ride their little tricycles in the house in winter. We also closed the pocket door in our galley kitchen and played hockey with foam “sticks” and soft foam “pucks”. I painted one wall with chalkboard paint and let them write on just THAT wall, after my DD colored one wall with crayons. In our newer house, we rescued a huge chalkboard from a school demo and now have it for “school” use. In my kitchen, I painted chalkboards on the recessed squares of each door (24 in all) and now my nieces and nephews draw pictures on them when they come. We have colored chalk. Our house was the one all the kids hung out at.
DON’T try this on laminate wood flooring!! It takes the finish off when you remove the tape!!
Jasbir @jasbeeray says
I love your ideas. Some.are pretty easy to.make which makes me want to do it. It’s much better than giving my ipad with numbers song on it.
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I have looked everywhere for the foam shapes and haven’t found them anywhere. Our Michaels does not carry them and I can’t find them on line. Any ideas?
This was awesome! I run a couple of businesses that involves coming up with cool, creative ways to do science projects in after-school programs at elementary schools, but all 3 of my kids are 3 and younger, and I had a harder time coming up with activities for them. This was a huge help!
Love your suggestions……Putting them in the bank for a rainy day with the grandchildren!
These are some great ideas. I see only a few flaws. Using MAGNETS are Dangerous at this age! As we All know little ones stick things in their mouths. If Magnets are swallowed they Could make a hole in the little ones intestines n stomach area causing Death from Septic poisoning. Also, the pom-poms are a choking hazards. Please beware of these.
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I see I’m not the first but was also going to suggest using multiple paper towel tubes for a “marble track” on a cupboard or fridge door. I’ve also used colored plates or bowls to do color sorting of our letter magnets, play foods… and in the fall some Styrofoam gourds that I bought at the dollar store (they came in different colors). And for those with mouth-ers, I have a fingerpaint recipe that is made of food ingredients, so it is food safe… I’ll have to find that later though if anyone wants it. Or let them paint with yogurt. Obviously that requires a little more assistance and supervision, but I usually did it in the high chair. 🙂
Jennifer K says
The dish pan filled with rice– and hiding small toys in it or hiding toys to sort in it is also a really fun one!
Debra Eisenmann says
I run a day care and we do a preschool program. I am ALWAYS looking for exciting things for the toddlers to do. Thank you and I look forward to more ideas.
Angie, love your creative ideas! Here’s a quiet and simple one that will keep your toddler busy for quite a while when you need some uninterrupted time while preparing dinner, etc…Fill the kitchen sink halfway with water and provide plastic animals (dinosaurs are our favorite!), bubbles, rubber duckies, sponges or measuring cups and spoons for water play. Use a low or two step child stepstool to let little ones be able to reach the sink. This activity is always new if you rotate the toys. I can keep an eye on Lil Man while I prepare dinner or fold clothes nearby. Caution: don’t leave toddler unattended for obvious reasons, but if you’re looking for an activity to use while you in the room and busy, you’ll love it!
Angela Thayer says
That is a wonderful idea!! We actually just did a “car wash” with toy cars in the sink last week and it was a huge hit. Actually anything with water is fun for my boys! Thank you for taking the time to share this with me.
I love this list! I found it a few days ago and have already tried a few of the ideas! The jello playdough was a huge hit with my almost 2-year-old!
Instead of paint in the bags (for number 6) we used shaving cream and I taped the bag to a dark piece of construction paper on the table. Then we were able to draw pictures and “erase” them over and over again.
Thanks for the fantastic ideas!
I still don’t have kids but sure I will use some of your suggestions!
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Jes Ackerman says
These are great suggestions, and I can’t wait to try them out with my little ones. I am wondering, though, why you felt the need to label the car activity a “boy activity”? Even with your “disclaimer” that girls may like it too, I believe it’s unnecessary to label it a gendered activity. Children of both sexes enjoy all kinds of playthings, like cars, trucks, dolls and crafts, until the world around them starts labeling them boy or girl toys and they feel the need to fit into these labels. Let’s change the dialogue so our kids can feel free to be who they want without implied social contracts being thrust upon them.
Angela Thayer says
Thanks for your comment and insight. I agree with you and I don’t have a good reason for why I worded it that way! Of course, boys and girls can play with any type of toys. Since I only have boys, it’s easy for me to see what interests they gravitate to and label it a “boy” toy. You are right though…children of both sexes can enjoy playing with cars. Thank you again.
you can also glue the paper tube in a diagonal way, thus having the toddler put something in it on the left…and it rolls to the right. the change of direction will be fun for the kid too. and you can also glue another rol under it, so when the ball falls out the first tube, it will enter the second tube, maybe even getting a different direction again. this is magic for a kid.
Angela Thayer says
That is a wonderful idea! 🙂
Oh wow! What a great collection of ideas! My kiddo is still a bit too young for many of these, but I am going to try a few of these ASAP! While he plays, maybe mommy can get a little independent time, too!
Although your heart and mind are in this…some of these things look to me as chocking possibilities for the toddlers as there are small objects being used
Angela Thayer says
Thank you for you comment. Yes, some of these activities can be a choking hazard. Please don’t let your child do them if they put things in their mouth and please be with them while doing the activity. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable doing the activity, that’s ok! 🙂
Many of these suggestions are a choking hazard for kids who put everything in their mouths. Please don’t do any of these without fully supervising the entire time.
Awesome list! Off I go to try that neat paint in a bag idea!
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Thank you so much for these! I have to admit that, because I don’t have the mind of a preschool teacher, I was a bit skeptical of this list. But it was very creative, and I particularly loved the use of house hold items. I will be looking at the containers that I usually recycle a bit differently now! Blessings!
love your writing
Laura Kessler says
This is fantastic! My little boy is now making a ‘spider’ out of pipe cleaners and a colander as we speak!
Thanks for some great ideas, especially for a single dad with two crazy toddler boys. I found an awesome tv show that I thought I might share here. It’s got songs and games and a great message in every episode. My kids can just watch it for hours, even when it’s sunny outside! It’s got a big purple dinosaur in it that they just find hilarious – I think it’s called Barney or something. It’ll keep my boys entertained, even when I have to go out to McDonald’s for their dinner. Hope it helps someone as much as it’s helped me.
I really like these.kids would kove them and will be busy for quite some time.
Just started following you on Google +, Facebook and Pinterest, you have so many great kids activities and crafts, i love them all and cant wait to try some of them with my kids. Thank you for sharing will look forward to checking out some of your other great posts
Sheena @ http://thekeeperofcheerios.blogspot.com/
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This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you! My son just turned 2 last week and I live I’m Canada. I’ve been looking for new toddler friendly indoor activities as I also have a 3month old so going out in the snow isn’t always an option. He will love these! 🙂
I used shaving cream (Barbasol) on a counter for my daughter. She would play around with it for an hour or so. And, its easy to clean up. especially when it gets on clothes or carpet.
FI Pilgrim says
This is awesome, I’m sending my wife this link. 🙂 As parents of a 4 and a 2 year old, we always love creative ideas that aren’t multimedia oriented!
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I can’t wait to try these ideas with my 16-month old! Thank you so much for all your ideas. Sometimes it seems like he gets bored with the same-ole same-ole, so it will be great to see him learn through these activities! One thing he likes to do is to get all the pots and pans out and stack them inside each other and match up the lids. He also likes to match the lids on the tupperwares.
I just want to let anyone who is interested know that dollar tree has the foam cubes in the teaching supplies section.
Angela Thayer says
Awesome! I will have to check out my local Dollar Tree!
Another good idea, and I learned from grandkids…..have a big cardboard box cut windows, use the flaps for doors, give them crayons and let them colour inside and the outside of the box. Keeps them busy for a long time. Let them make it their own little home.
Angela Thayer says
That is such a fun idea! We did this once and the kids were busy for hours!
Amy Senter says
Cute ideas–love adding to my list!
I just found you on Pinterest. These are such great ideas, and what a great blog! Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try some of these ideas with my son.
These look like such fun. But how old is your toddler? Mine daughter is 2Y2M and I only think of two of these that she would do. She just puts everything in her mouth and any activity becomes about eating the inedible. She would just chew the pom poms and pipe cleaners to bits, take big bites out of the play-dough, chew the tips off the markers. Tape, she just picks off and chews up. I don’t even want to think of the bubble wrap… I try to ignore it and encourage her, but it becomes frustrating. What would you suggest?
Angela Thayer says
Hi there! My toddler is now 2 years, 3 months. He stopped putting things into his mouth at age 1, so that’s why I feel comfortable doing these activities with him. I definitely do not recommend doing these if your child puts objects into her mouth. I think some children take longer to stop putting things into their mouths. I’m sorry this post probably wasn’t helpful to you! I am not aware of anything you can do to help stop this behavior, I just think it takes time. Both my kids did not do this for very long, so I’m not very helpful! I’m so glad you are a wise mama and know that she is not ready for playing with cotton balls, play dough, bubble wrap, etc…but I can see how that would be frustrating! I’m sure she will outgrow this stage soon!
My son put a bunch in his mouth for awhile. Do I did the parmesan container with hard straws, he chewed them up but I felt safe that he could not swallow them.
Nancy Wilson says
My granddaughter is 14 mos old, and puts everything in her mouth too. I am going to buy different colored jello and let her finger paint with it on wax paper or paper plate.
Angela Thayer says
My lil guy is 17 months old and he still puts everything in his mouth, too! It is very frustrating. I did the Pom Pom in the tube with him and he really enjoyed it. I just made sure I didn’t leave his side and I demonstrated several times what to do. I gave him Popsicle sticks to put in the Parmesan container. My container opens on both sides, one with holes the other without. Again I stayed right by him and he loved this!! Another fun thing he loves is putting ball pit balls in a muffin tin.
Angela Thayer says
Those are good ideas! Yes, its hard when kiddos still put objects in their mouths. I am sure that will pass soon! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Maybe instead of pom poms You could use cheerios, and drop marshmellows into containers and raisens in muffin tins that way it wont matter if they eat them.
Try a latches board! Nothing that they can choke on but great for developing fine motor skills and brain development. I know Melissa and Doug makes a really nice one!
Instead of pom poms in the paper towel tube taped to the wall, try the wooden alphabet blocks with a bowl underneath. It might be noisier but she can’t eat the blocks, just gnaw on them a little. ;3 (You have to make sure that the paper towel tube hasn’t been flattened in any way, though, or the blocks won’t fit. Although, you could give her a wooden spoon to hit them through with the handle if they do.) Popsicle sticks or even baby spoons and forks would work too. Most toddlers will love dropping anything that fits through the tube down it. ;3 Just find an item of the right size that you don’t mind her chewing on. Or, if tape is a problem, you can do the shape sorter can, just use hard objects to sort like the wood blocks or the metal lids to freezer orange juice. A coffee can will give you a wider base too, for the bigger objects. My kid LOVES the noise it makes when she plunks things in. (For her, it’s about the noise.)
I just found this list and have done many, but always love new ideas and reminders. As a reply to those whose kids put things in their mouth (if they do still), a sensory bin with food safe items is good. I have an under the bed storage tub that I keep in the kitchen. You can use cornmeal which acts like sand but it’s okay if they put it in their mouth (and it won’t scratch their eyes if they get it in there), or cereal, or bread crumbs. Cups, scoops, etc for pouring, spoons, etc. Safe for those who put things in their mouth, and exciting and engaging!
Great list! We love the paper towels with Pom-poms. We even tried something new: take three or more tubes and tape them in a zig-zag on the wall (it helps if you cut one end of each on a diagonal to catch the Pom). My little one really loves it when there is a gap so she can see them fall from one tube to the next.
I am way past this stage with my own children and don’t have any prospects on grandchildren, but I am a teacher and always appreciate other’s efforts at instilling the love of learning in children. I especially like the paper towel tube ideas. As your little ones grow out of the initial activity, consider taping three or four tubes covered in colored paper and use colored pompoms. Have your child match the colored pompom with the same colored tube. A couple of different skills will be practiced with this one..
Not so much to occupy them but o take pics with that uncooperative, older infant/young toddler, put a small rolled piece if scotch tape on their hand. As they pic at it and try and figure out how to remove it, you will get some really great inquisitive expressions… Certainly beats a crying or angry one!
I just so your fantastic list of activities for young ones.I can not wait to start play with my son.My one of favourites is sorting shapes but I can not find anywhere small cubes or something similar.Do you know maybe where I can look at them I did try Michaels but they have been sold long time ago?Thank you you are awesome
Susan Gilbert-Collins says
A wonderful list – thanks so much!! And I was looking for new ways to use empty paper towel rolls.
I absolutely love your blog! I quit my job to babysit my 1 year old granddaughter, Marleigh, when my daughter went back to work. No “job” is better than the time I have with her! I want to teach her as much as I can during our time together and I want learning to be fun. Thank you for your wonderful ideas!
What magnet set did you get your little guy. I want to buy a fun one!
Angela Thayer says
We have this one from Melissa and Doug: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Wooden-Vehicle-Magnets/dp/B00ARV3CKM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1383620745&sr=8-2&keywords=melissa+and+doug+magnets
Hope that helps!
Angela Thayer says
Oops I just realized I posted the wrong magnets! I just used alphabet magnets from the dollar store.
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these are really good ideas, it’s not even 8:00 am and I think I need to get some of them going for my little guy. Thanks, hopefully it will be a smoother Monday:)
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Thank you for these ideas. I’m a new mom and used to dealing with older kids. When it comes to my 16 month old, I’m tearing my hair out and he’s attached to me like glue so I can’t get ANYTHING done. These ideas are great. I ran immediately to do the cotton ball one. He played with the ice cube try for a bit and also started to pull the cotton balls apart.
Searched for the 3D shapes at Micheals and Hobby lobby with no luck and I’m so bummed!
Angela Thayer says
Ahh I am so sorry! I was there today and I did not see them either! Maybe they only have them when it is Back to School time. If I find any, I will stock up and sell them-haha! 🙂 Here are similar ones on Amazon: Soft Foam Geometric Shapes
What about making the shapes from the play dough? Play with the play dough, leave it out to harden, use the hard pieces like blocks? You could also use various colors of hardened play dough for the color sorter activity too.
You can cut inexpensive sponges into shapes as well.
Try the $1 section at Target……I have found them there several times.
My mom cut slots for milk bottle caps in the oatmeal container and it was fantastic.
Lisa @ moneyhipmamas.com says
Awesome ideas! Just added pipe cleaners to my dollar store shopping list. Such a good idea to hang on to containers like Parmesan cheese. My little guy lives for all things that open and close.
Lisa @ moneyhipmamas.com recently posted…Arguing About Money? Two Things That Could Save Your Marriage
So many fun engaging ideas for toddlers! I have several favorites!!
Thanks for sharing your creativity & linking up to TGIF!
I featured your post today on TGIF here (http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2013/08/tgif-linky-party-91.html) I hope you’ll pop over and link up again later today.
Have a great weekend,
Kathryn Lang says
For the record, bubble wrap works for them at ALL ages, My teens fight over the bubble wrap and even the hubby has to step on it when he walks by. I never thought about making my own shape sorter – loved that idea. Thanks for sharing.
Angela Thayer says
HAHA I love it! Glad to know that works for all ages!
Susen Kuchta says
My daughter is 3 but she still had fun with the paper towel roll and dropping Pom-poms through. I also gave her cotton balls and she was all curious when they got stuck in the tube. I gave her a basting brush to push the cotton balls down and she loved it! Thanks for this idea and all other 19!!
Susen at dabblingmommy
Angela Thayer says
So fun to hear that, Susen! I’m so glad it is helpful 😉
I think a fun variation on this would be to either use multiple tubes, or one tube cut in pieces if multiple tubes would be too tall, and tape them at different heights and angles so the balls go through one and fall into another.
We really need to try the “paint in bags” idea. I love that you taped the bags to the window! I think my kids would love it. Lots of great ideas here!
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Using these paint bags on a light table would also be great. You can also create similar sensory type bags using clear hair gel and food coloring.
My daughter is 2Y3M and got a kick out of smearing the paint around in the bag. Then we noticed that you can write letters of the alphabet in the paint with your finger, smear it away, and do it again! It was a fun twist for an older toddler and a parent (or older sibling) to do together.
Thank you! My little guy is 15 months & while he’s not quite ready for some of these, this is super helpful! I’m especially searching for ideas for him to do while I’m fixing dinner.
Agreed. Same here. Everything goes into the mouth. So this would actually be more work for me!! Great ideas for the future.
kathryn thayer says
You are amazing, Ang, the way you create learning moments so economically and brilliantly. I love the cottonballs in the ice cube tray activity. Your Fellas are so blessed:)
WOnderful list.. we have tried many of these when DD was younger. Believe me she still goes back to some of these time an again!
-Reshama @ StackingBooks.com
Beth S says
Thank you for this wonderful list! We are just about to start preschool with my oldest. I plan to let my 2 year old, do some of the activities, but having a back up is great!