If you’ve got busy toddlers, then you’ll know that they have an innate knack for blasting through almost any activity in seconds flat. You spend hours researching and setting up the perfect play invitation, and they finish in less than five minutes. That’s why you need this curated list of 100 quick and easy activities for toddlers.
All of these are super simple.
They’re all things you could think of yourself – and you probably have done at some point.
The beauty of having a list is that everything’s in one place.
If you tried everything here, you’d have over three months’ worth of daily play invitations and activities for toddlers!
You probably won’t want to try everything though. Some stuff will be too messy for your liking. Some of the activities will be things you’ve already done.
That’s okay. The idea of this list of activities for toddlers is to get you thinking about the kinds of things you can do with your kids, and to remind you that toddler play doesn’t have to be complicated, or take a long time to organise.
I’m separating the list into a few different categories, just to make it easy for you to scan through and find something that will work for you today, whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities for toddlers, messy play, or educational toddler activities.
Art & Crafts.
- I can remember loving bubble painting as a child, and my kids enjoy it just as much as I did.
- Make cardboard-tube binoculars for a fast and easy craft that little explorers will love.
- These lolly-stick wands are super cute.
- Ever tried making a paintbrush out of spaghetti? No, me either, but I’m going to!
- This tie-dye art project using baby wipes and washable markers is beautiful – the finished wipes would make beautiful bunting.
- There are all kinds of things in your playroom that you can use to make prints, this post shows you an awesome Duplo printing activity.
- I loved reading this, and finding that I’m not alone in looking at sponges in shops and thinking of art rather than cleaning!
- Super-simple circle-printing process art activities for toddlers.
- What’s more adorable than footprint art? Rainbow footprint art – go take a look!
- Would your little one rather play with cars than draw? Then you should definitely try out this drawing with cars activity…
- …and, if you loved drawing with cars, you have to try painting with them too.
- This process art activity using rubber bands looks like great fun!
- As does this recycled shapes art activity.
Physical Activities & Gross Motor Skills.
- Walk like an animal, and use this list of 15 different animal walks for inspiration.
- Try some yoga. Even if you’ve never done yoga with your children before, this post makes it easy.
- When faced with a child in a trajectory schema, what’s the best thing to do? Go with it! Provide plenty of directed throwing activities for toddlers like this awesome sticky spider web game.
- Anyone for (balloon) tennis?
- Another fun gross motor activity that uses balloons.
- Never mind the kids, I want to try making these giant human spirograph pictures!
- This looks like it has the potential to get seriously messy! Great fun though, and another excellent gross motor art activity.
- How about a kid-friendly dance party to burn off some rainy-day energy?
- Balancing is such an important skill for children to develop. It’s part of what helps them learn to run, jump, and play safely and without falling over. I love this simple balancing activity.
- The floor is often lava in our house, and it’s sometimes water too.
- Once your child has mastered a scooter, you can introduce them to the scooter slalom!
- Pushing big things around provides good proprioceptive input, and activities like this can be really easy to set up.
- Wheelbarrow walking with a twist!
- Lots of lovely simple activities for toddlers here to aid with letter familiarity. I especially like the letter scavenger hunt chart near the bottom.
- There are so many different ways you can use playdough to encourage early reading and writing skills. This post shows you how to make simple letter mazes to roll marbles along.
- Here is a link to a free Preschool Letter of the Week curriculum.
- If, like me, you’re always scribbling something down in a notebook or journal, then it’s likely that your children will enjoy having their own journals to work in as well. I love this simple idea for using a preschool journal with your kids.
- Fun activities based around one of my favourite children’s books. Also, if you haven’t seen this lovely version of Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt then I highly recommend it.
- Simple, printable, alphabet worksheets.
- Another fun way to use playdough to support early literacy is with these playdough mats.
- Easy reading activities for toddlers, using muffin tins.
- I really liked this super-simple sensory letter hunt.
- Icy letters, perfect for summertime letter play.
- Here’s a simple activity that combines literacy and gross motor development.
- Use stickers to help children learn to recognise their own names.
- Or fingerprints.
Maths & Numbers.
- How cute is this racing reindeer activity? You could make it with all kinds of different animals or vehicles – I can see racing rockets being a big hit in our house.
- Easy peasy printable fire truck printables to help your little ones count from one to ten.
- Some children just have an insatiable appetite for worksheets. (Mine just loves it when something comes out of the printer and it turns out to be for him, and not an older sibling’s homework). Here’s a set of free printable worksheets that don’t require much in the writing department, but still provide great number practice.
- Feed the hungry T-Rex and practice counting at the same time, or make any number of similar activities for toddlers for yourself, just using this one as a jumping-off point.
- What about making an easy number line, like this one that uses Post-it notes?
- If there’s one thing that speech therapy taught me, it’s that adding a fly swatter into the mix can make anything more fun for my boy! That’s how I knew that this Smack The Number game would be a big hit!
- Here’s a super-cute, super-easy measuring activity with free printables to help you out.
- This Duplo tower race game looks fun.
- Another kind of racing game to help develop counting skills.
- Post-it notes again, because they’re fascinating to most preschoolers. This time it’s an easy set-up number matching game.
- Try this simple Tetris-inspired math activity with your toddlers.
- This bingo game is good for helping children recognise numbers, and the printables make it really easy to set up.
- There are lots of ideas in this post, but the hole punch one is something we’ve used frequently here.
Outdoor Activities For Toddlers.
- Go out on a scavenger hunt.
- Make a tin foil river to play with.
- Make a mud kitchen and enjoy getting messy.
- Create an area of your garden that’s just for the children. Some lovely, simple ideas here.
- Set up a pouring station.
- Try some of these games using sidewalk chalk – or, just draw with the chalk.
- Have a go at some of these messy summer art projects.
- Make fizzy foam paint and go crazy painting the patio.
- Find somewhere to build a den. Doing this in your own garden is awesome because it gives your children the opportunity to extend their play over longer periods of time. If you don’t have the space, find a local woodland to play in instead.
- Once you’ve made a full-sized den, maybe you’d also like to build somewhere for the faeries to live?
- Ice excavating is the perfect outdoor summer activity, and it will keep them busy for ages.
- GoFindIt is one of my favourite activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids too. We’ve got so much use out of it. When I forgot to pack it for our camping adventure last week, I was so pleased to find GoFindItToo in a shop near where we were staying! Once you’ve got the cards, there’s no preparation needed other than keeping them in your bag or pocket ready to be brought out at a moment’s notice.
- This Backyard Safari activity introduces children to using a map to help them find things.
Also take a look at this post featuring 16 easy and fun outdoor activities for kids.
Sensory Activities For Toddlers.
- This slimy eyes sensory bag is super-simple to put together, but plenty of fun for your toddler. There are lots of different variations in the post too, so you can switch things up really easily.
- There’s something magical about water play. I often think of Sark‘s words, “If they get crabby, put them in water.” There are lots of different ways to set up water play with your children, and this animal bathtime activity looks great fun. (Extra credit for playing with the animals in mud or oobleck first, so that they really need that bath!
- If you’re willing to take a bit of time to prepare, these rainbow-dyed oats are awesome for pouring and scooping play.
- What about this miniature penguin ice-skating rink?
- Here’s how to make taste-safe moon sand.
- Everyone should have at least one playdough recipe in their arsenal of rainy-day toddler activities.
- Super-soft stretchy slime.
- If you haven’t made oobleck yet, you should definitely give it a go … but be prepared to get seriously messy!
- If you’re making oobleck anyway, make extra and freeze it to play with another day. Frozen oobleck is a whole new sensory play experience.
- This giant, mess-free, sensory Christmas tree is the perfect festive activity, and I bet you can think of ways to adapt it for other occasions too.
- Here’s a simple sensory walk activity to set up using things you probably have around already.
- We’ve never used jelly for our sensory activities, but this makes me want to give it a try.
- These stress balls made with water beads are a great sensory toy you can make with your children.
STEM Activities For Toddlers & Preschoolers.
- I bet you remember doing this as a child?
- Make unicorn slime – easy measuring and mixing for your toddler to help with, and fun slime for supervised play. If you make different colours and let the kids have free rein, they’ll get to experience colour mixing as well.
- This preschool engineering activity is messy, but it’s a clean kind of messy.
- This simple balancing activity is proof that STEM activities for toddlers and preschoolers don’t need to be complicated.
- Simple play invitation to explore gravity. You’ll need to help little ones with the taping, but they’ll have lots of fun rolling marbles down.
- Start saving your empty egg cartons to do this.
- Make a super-simple zipline for your children to zoom soft toys down.
- This is a really simple building tool that’s easy to make and engaging even for older kids.
- I really like this simple idea for letting children learn to use hammer and nails safely.
- Straws, pasta, and playdough – simple materials, but brilliant fun for building and inventing.
- Simple science activity to make magical, colourful patterns.
- Do your children know how butter is made? This simple activity lets them make their own butter.
- And here’s how to make delicious homemade ice cream. (We first tried this method when we read about it in The River Cottage Family Cookbook. If you love cooking with your children, I really recommend this book).
Fine Motor Skills.
- Spaghetti snipping is one of those very easy activities for toddlers that seems to be far more fun than the sum of its parts!
- Let them develop their hand-eye coordination with this easy set-up pom-pom activity.
- Pool noodles make a great threading toy for little hands.
- Here’s a simple paper hair-cut activity to try.
- Playdough and buttons – a different twist on traditional threading activities.
- Set up a simple cutting station and provide a range of materials to snip.
- Using tongs to help develop hand muscle strength. (I love The OT Toolbox because every post goes into great detail about why a particular activity is important.
- Stickers are always fun. I especially love this simple Christmas lights art invitation.
- Easy fine motor and pattern-making activity using pompoms and test tubes.
- Simple building activities like this one are also great for developing fine motor skills.
- Playdough slicing is really simple to set up, but it’s likely to keep your child busy for a long time. It’s also fun to practise scissor skills on playdough.
- Sticking with the playdough theme, how about putting together a playdough cupcake kit.
- Or a playdough pizza parlour.
How To Get Started.
If you’ve scrolled down this far, you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed by now.
That’s okay, there are a LOT of ideas here.
For now, just pick a few things, three at the most.
Then set yourself a challenge to actually try these activities with your child. Gather the supplies ahead of time, and tell yourself you’re going to do the activities in the next seven days.
Giving yourself a deadline helps you stay accountable, even if we’re only talking about setting up an activity for your kids, and even if the only person you’re accountable to is yourself.
Some of these activities will be ones you return to over and over again. (In our house it’s anything with buttons, and anything that gets playdough stuck all over other things.) Some will be one-hit wonders, or they won’t even engage your child for five minutes.
That’s okay too. That’s why the majority of activities on the list are easy and inexpensive to set up. No-one wants to invest time and money in something their preschooler is going to flat out refuse to do!
I hope you’ll have fun trying these activities for toddlers. There are far too many activities for you to try in one go, so why not go ahead & pin this post to come back to later.