Easy at Home Activities for Toddlers
Toddlers will keep you on your toes and are absolutely into investigating everything! However, toddlers are also beginning to grasp the concept of imaginative play, enjoy picture books and sensory activities- which may buy you enough time for a quick cuppa!
These easy at home activities for toddlers are a mixture of indoor activities for toddlers as well several that are suitable for outdoor play on a blanket.
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Easy Ideas to Keep a Toddler Busy At Home
- Ice Play: Add some small toys to a balloon or old food tub, or even an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze overnight. You can add food colour to make the activity even more fun for toddlers or preschoolers as they dig their toys out. This also makes a great addition to your collection of outdoor gross motor activities for preschoolers.
- Cornflour and Water Sensory Game: An oldie but a goldie. Just add water to some cornflour in a plastic bowl. Add some scoops or spoons and even some food colouring to this tactile activity. The mixture is sticky to touch but easy to pour.
- Make a puppet out of a paper bag – just bring along your creativity with some pens or colouring pencils.
- Give them some post it notes or themed plasters/band-aids for them to stick around the house or on themselves.
- Use an old spice container and pipe cleaners for some fine motor skills. Little ones love to ‘post’ things through holes.
- Under supervision, give them an old wallet with pretend cards for them to play with.
- Pack a few piper cleaners and uncooked pasta shapes for them to thread and make a bracelet.
- Find an old empty tub or container, fill it with different coloured small pom pom balls. Put holes in the lid, and then your toddler can post them back through and practice their color knowledge too.
- Any old zips attached to a piece of material for them to play with.
- Triangular crayons so they don’t roll away from their highchair or the ground.
- Water Play: Other ideas for simple outdoor games for toddlers, has to involve water. Grab a bucket or large bowl, add some water toys or fishing toys and the kids can make as much mess as they like! Mine can do this for a while. Add some washing up liquid and the toys get a clean too!
- Citrus Fruit Water Play: Toddler enjoy putting things in their mouth, so how about combining this sensory activity with trying new flavours. All you need is a clean bowl and some cut up slices of fruit. e.g lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit. Little ones can splash around and taste with this game.
- Rescue Trapped Jelly Animals: This game takes a bit of preparation by putting some clean animal toys ( arge enough not to choke on!) and setting them in some jelly overnight. The next day, your toddler can ‘rescue’ them and nibble at the jelly stuck on their fingers. Finish off this outdoor activity by popping all of the animals into a bowl of water and watch them float and get cleaned at the same time – Plus sticky fingers have a good clean too!
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Day 3 of cheap travel toy ideas! As always LOADS more on the blog. . . This genius find was through a friend. Road masking tape and they have train track masking tape too! Perfect for play on the go and it doesn’t damage anything. Can use at the destination hotel room or anywhere to stop boredom in its tracks! ( sorry not sorry!😂🙈) #roadtape #toddlertoys #flyingwithkids #familytravelblog #travelblog #flyingwithababy #flyingwithbaby #travelwithkids #travelmum #traveltoys
- Kids washi tape. You can get rolls themed with dinosaurs, pirates, cars, fairytales and more. great for roll play and sticking on things as it is easily removable and mess free. You can even buy washi tape or masking tape which is marked out like a road. Just add a toy car and zoom!
- Another easy busy bag idea and great travel toy is pack some pre cut up card in half, but in various shapes, wavy line, in half, zig zag etc for an easy 2 part puzzle where it doesn’t matter if the pieces get lost.
- Cut shapes out of a cardboard box and give your child objects to post through.
- Lift the flap game – use old ‘close down lids’ from baby wipes and stick 8 to a piece of card. Under each open lid draw a picture, colour or number and then close. A quick and easy game of ‘lift the flap’ or ‘where is?’
- Finger puppets
- Playdoh – a firm favourite!
- This Montessori Busy Board is a great sensory toy with lots of zips, buttons and games to play which are all part of a bag. The bag had enough spaces for favorite books, coloring crayons, paper, snacks and even a water bottle too if yo are popping out!
A picture based scavenger hunt can work too for indoors and outdoors. See below for a free printable for an outdoor scavenger hunt for toddlers.
Threading Cheerios on a sweetie lace can be a great fine motor skill which combines snacking too – Other easy toddler snack ideas include:
- cheese crackers
- fruit squeeze pouch
- mini sausages
- rice cakes
- granola bars
- bread sticks
- vegetable muffins
- carrot sticks & hummous
- avocado on toast
There are some many amazingg educational apps out there. As toddlers mine really enjoyed apps such as Peekaboo Barn, ABC Toddler, Mouse Maze, Duplo, Duck Duck Moose.
Older toddlers may enjoy the free My Town series where they can immerse themselves into various places and role play – like the farm, an airplane, the vets etc. My youngest is absolutely captivated by them!
I also download the airlines app, as depending on the airline, you may need to have this downloaded before your flight in order to access any of the in flight entertainment.
You can also download episodes from Netflix or BBC iplayer. These may have a limited watch time once you have either downloaded or began to watch them.
For more educational toddler apps you may be interested in, I wrote a more detailed post on baby and toddler apps here.
More Ideas + Travel Toy Ideas for Toddlers
I list a lot more ideas in this specific toddler travel toy post, but here are 6 of my favourite travel toys for toddlers on airplanes or for on the go:
My Busy Books – these are very good value activity boxes with a story, 12 figurines and also contain a folded up play mat for role play. Whilst the play mat is too big for a plane or public transport, the figurines are still fun to play with and one of our favourite things to do with toddlers at home.
Buckle Toy Whale. My 1 year old LOVED this and it kept her so busy. So many people have sung its praises to me after purchasing it. The Buckle Toy Whale has several buckles to do up and a zip mouth.
The only issue is once they master the buckle, you may get asked a few times to unbuckle it, until they discover that skill too!
Nonetheless, it has easily occupied her for over 30 minutes. For more information and for other buckle toys, see here:
Mess free colouring books and pens. ‘Magic’ pens which only show the colour on the special colouring book and not on clothes, seats etc. For more information see here.
Farm in a Tin is one of my favourite activities for 2 year olds. This one has been SO popular with my daughter. The only downfall is that it does have small parts (especially the 3 ducks). However, it’s one of the most compact activities for toddlers.
It’s also been great for her to play with whilst away on holiday. Even at home it’s played with frequently. For more information and alternative ‘toys in a tin’ see here.
A Travel Busy Board
Another idea for younger children, is a travel busy board – where everything is in one place but there are plenty of activities for little hands plus it’s a bag as well! This Montessori Busy Board is a great sensory toy with lots of zips, buttons and games to play which are all part of a bag. The bag had enough spaces for favorite books, coloring crayons, paper, snacks and even a water bottle too!
The Imaginetics magnetic board opens up and creates a scene with characters and accessories that stick to the board! The photo above construction sites, but there are also dinosaurs, pirates, ballet, mermaids and lots of other choices for boys and girls.