The Toddler Activity Page
Many of you have requested activity ideas for toddlers. Hopefully these activities will give you an idea about what these young children like to do. My philosophy on the learning of toddlers: A toddler learns through play. Play is a way to explore the environment and no play experience for a toddler (or preschooler) occurs without gaining some kind of knowledge, whether it be social, physical, emotional or intellectual. PLAY is Good!!! Many of the activities provided in the Activity Idea Place can be simplified for use with toddlers. So be sure to check them out.
1. Dump and Fill
Toddlers like to dump and fill just about anything. Be sure to supply the children with plenty of opportunities to dump and fill. Coffee cans and boxes make great items to be filled. You can have the children fill with toys, tops from baby food jars, and other toddler safe items.
2. Cause and effect
Toddlers will love to play games where they can see the cause and effect. A simple light switch can be a source of entertainment, (as well as the not so desirable toilet flushing), toys that respond by touch, like music books, and pop up toys, jack in the boxes and activity centers are great toys for this age.
Another great cause and effect game includes the use of a large mailing tube and a toddler safe ball. (A choke tester is a reliable way to test toddler toys for safety.) The child places a ball or any item that will fit in the mailing tube and it will come out the other end.
3. Ramp and Roll
Create a ramp with a large block or book. Then gather toys and show how the toys roll or slide down the ramp.
4. Peanut Butter Play Dough
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
Mix then knead the ingredients. Let your child mold and play with the dough... and when they are done.. They can eat it.
Mix 2 cups water with a little food coloring, add 6 cups of cornflour/cornstarch to make goop. A great outdoor summer activity. And it is edible, but doesn't taste very good.
Toddlers are amazed by bubbles. Bubbles can catch a toddlers attention for at least 15 minutes.
7. Sand and Water Play
A dish tub filled with sand or water can provide entertainment as well as a great learning experience. Ideas to add to water play: a drop of food coloring, turkey basters, funnels, cups, dish soap, boats, plastic toys, brushes and sponges, ice, cold or warm water, baby dolls or play dishes to wash, toddler safe balls, items that will sink or float.
8. A box
Add a large cardboard box to a toddlers environment Be sure the child does not stand ON the box. The children will have fun climbing in the box and hiding.
9. Peek a Boo
Even older toddlers still enjoy a game of Peek a Boo. Place your hands on your face and say "(child's name) where are you?" I usually encourage the older children to pull my hands away from my face. They really like to have control over the game. Let them put your hands over your face and pull them away.
10. Chocolate Pudding Finger Paint
Mix instant chocolate pudding according to the directions and paint on wax paper. Great for children who like to eat their art
11. Shaving Cream
Put a small mound of shaving cream on a tabletop, and allow your child to finger paint with it. To add some more fun, add a little food coloring, for some pastel colors.Supervision is required so the child does not get the shaving cream in their eyes... but anywhere else is easily cleaned with a damp towel. (The pic is my son, enjoying his shaving cream experience)
12. Bell in a Bottle
Place a bell in a pop bottle. Seal the top very tight with hot glue. Allow to dry. Let the children play with the bottle.
13. Ring around the Rosie
Play Ring around the Rosie with the children.
14. Jump Song
(child's name), (child's name),
Jump up and down, Jump up and down, Jump up and down,
(child's name), (child's name),
Jump up and down, now sit back down
replace "act like a clown" or "spin all around" for "jump up and down"
replace "child's name" with "everybody" or the name of your class, eg "Tot 2"
15. Sing a song
Some material you may use for art projects include:
Crayons, Pens, Colored Pencils, Markers, Paint, Lace, String, Holes from a hole Punch, Ribbon, Paper Doilies, Tissue Paper, Yarn, Torn Paper, Stickers, Sand, Old Puzzle Pieces, Colored Glue, Colored Tape, Chalk, Wet Chalk, Wrapping Paper, Stamps, Aluminum Foil, Confetti, Sponges, Colored Pasta, Colored Rice,
I am sure there are plenty more... I will add more as I think of them.
17. Marble Art
You need a container with a top. (the larger the better) Cut out pieces of paper to fit inside the top of the container Place a piece of paper in the top of the container, a small amount of water or paint will help it stick on the lid. Place a small amount of paint in the bottom of the container. Use a few different colors. Add four or so marbles. Place the lid on the bottom. Flip the container upside down. Have your child shake the container. When they are finished, open the container and take out the paper.
18. Paper Tear
This is especially helpful when toddler feel the need to tear books. A center should be provided with paper that they may tear.
19. Paint with Water
On a hot day, take out a small container of water and large and small brushes. Allow the children to paint with the water. (Supervise the children at all times.)
20. Play Basketball
Supply the children with a large ball and a laundry basket. Show the children how to put the ball in the basket. Try the same with bean bags or small pillows.
21. Bean Bag Fun
Play with bean bags, toss them in a basket, up in the air, balance them on your head or the back of your hand, toss them to a friend.
22. Roll the Ball
Roll a ball back and forth.
Play some music and dance with your child.
24. Make an instrument
Use a pot or pan and a spoon, an empty coffee tin with lid, or two pot tops for cymbals.
25. Go for a Nature Walk
Point out trees, grass, bugs, rocks... etc.
26. Play in a mirror
Make silly faces into a mirror. Toddlers love to look at themselves. For added fun, place a mirror on the floor and let the toddler walk on it.
27. Roll around
Roll around on the floor or down a gentle hill outside.
28. Make a play house
Drape a blanket over a table for a fun place to play.
29. Feed the Birds
Help your child crumble old bread for the birds to eat.
30. Fingerprint fun
Have your child press one finger onto a non toxic ink pad and then press onto a piece of paper. Repeat.
31. Read a Book
32. Name it
Point to something and name it for your child. Or say what color it is or describe it. Encourage your child to point out objects for you to name.
33. Mimic Me
Repeat your child's vocal sounds. Make simple sounds for your child to mimic.
34. Do a Simple Puzzle
There are Puzzles with just two pieces for toddlers.
35. Play with a Puppet
Children like to have a puppet talk and play with them. have the puppet tell a story.
36. Box Train
Attach a short piece of yarn to a small box to make a train for your toddlers stuffed animals.
37. Beach Ball Bat
Hang a beach ball from the ceiling just within the child's reach. Allow the children to bat at the ball.
Make shakers by stapling two paper plates together with beans inside, (the children may decorate these) or placing beans, beads, or other objects in a sealed bottle.
39. Masking Tape
Allow the children to play with a small piece of masking tape. Supervision is required.
40. What sound does a ? make?
Ask you child what sounds does a car make... a cow, a dog....etc
41. Where is your___?
Ask you child "where is your nose?" eyes, head... etc
42. Crunch Autumn Leaves
43. Try to Catch Snowflakes on your Tongue
44. Build with Blocks
45. Knock down a 3 or 4 block tower
46. Pretend to talk on a play phone
47. Have a picnic.
48. Play with a streamer in the wind
49. Record your voice
Record your child's voice and play it back for them.
50. Blow a Dandelion
51. Use sidewalk chalk
52. Play dress up
53. Dance with a scarf
54. Play Hide and Seek
55. Pretend to have a Tea Party. Invite a favorite stuffed animal.
56. Pretend to eat like Cookie Monster.
The toddlers seem to really like this a lot. I ask them for a cookie or ice cream and they pretend to give one to me and I make a lot of noise while pretending to eat it.
57. Pretend to be asleep.
Let the children wake you up, pretend to be surprised. Snoring adds a lot more fun to this game.
58. Up and away
Lie on your back and lift the child above you for an airplane ride.
59. Leg exercises
Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Ask a child to sit on your feet on place them on your feet, facing you. Lift your legs slowly so they are parallel to the ground. If the child holds on you can Lift them upside down.
60. Pretend to be a ____!
Pretend to be a dog, cat, dinosaur, baby....
Box Wagon fun: create a wagon from a box and a piece of yarn. Show the child how to pull the box around. You can even give a favorite teddy or doll a ride around the room.
Play Peek A Boo
Sing a Song
Jump up and Down
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
You are my Sunshine
and many more
Here is my favorite site for songs: Kiddiddles.com
Recite a poem like:
Pees Porridge hot
This Little Piggy
Work on color recognition. If you have colored blocks, tell your child the color of each block.
count your blocks
build a tower with your blocks then knock them down
build a road and then walk on it
hop over your block
take two blocks and clap them together
sort the blocks
put the blocks away or in a bucket
Here is a list of my favorite toddler books.
Collecting and Sorting
Go to the park on a nice fall day and have your child collect leaves, twigs and other items in a small bag. When you get home you can sort these items or have your child glue them to a piece of paper for a fall collage.
By age two most children have a really good sense of two items. Some may be able to grasp three. So work on counting to two and three. How many books do we have out? How many trucks do you have? Lets count the step from here to there. There are many opportunities for you to count with your child every day. Here are two crackers. Use two hands when you drink from your cup.
Where's the Bear?
Hide a teddy bear or favorite toy under a small blanket and ask your child where the item is. Pull off the blanket to reveal the toy. Repeat.
Bingo Dabbers make for great art tools. They now make non-toxic Dabbers for toddler and young children.
check out some of the cool ideas for fingerprint art.
More Toddler Activities