Whether it’s a beautiful day for doing outdoor activities, or a cool rainy day to spend some indoor quality time, there are endless fun activities you can do to keep your toddler busy and make lasting memories.
1. Leaf Printing
Leaves can make beautiful art and also get you and your kiddo outside in the fresh air.
For this activity you need paints of your color choice, a sponge brush or paint brush, card stock or background paper that you will display your art on, and some leaves. A rolling pin or heavy book is useful for pressing the leaf prints. You may also use twine and a hole punch if you’d like to hang your art to display on the wall.
Step One-Go outside and collect some big beautiful leaves. The softer leaves work much better than the crunchy leaves because they tend to fall apart less.
Step Two- Clear your art space and pour 1 to 4 paint colors on a paper plate. You may dip your sponge or brush in each color and then paint your leaf , or lightly swirl the colors for a beautiful effect and softly brush them onto your leaf
Step Three- Place your painted leaf carefully between two pieces of paper or card stock and use a rolling pin or heavy book to press the 2 pieces of paper together to make the leaf print.
Step Four-Carefully separate the 2 pieces of card stock or paper and observe your beautiful design.
You may repeat these steps as many times as you’d like, cut the card stock to the size you like and use a hole punch and twine or ribbon to display your art.
2. The Shape and Color Game
This is an exciting time for your kiddos to be learning shapes and colors! Ask them to put their skills to use and walk around the house to find things for you according to color and/or shapes. For example, tell them to find you something round or something blue. This will keep them busy and learning at the same time. If you want to get really creative, you can even cut circles and squares and triangles etc. out of different colors of felt and hide them around the house and have them find them.
3. Driveway Chalk
This one can get messy so definitely put some old play clothes on your child and maybe on yourself too. Gather some sidewalk chalk, go outside, and get busy making a masterpiece. You can even gather things to trace and teach your child some fine motor skills while you’re doing this activity. Pick up sticks, toys, tools etc. and teach them how to trace objects. This can be a great activity to do with your kids when they have a play date with friends too.
4. Fort Building
This classic toddler activity is tried and true. Gather blankets, pillows, sheets, stuffed animals, play mats, and anything else you can find to build the best fort possible. Use dining room chairs, the back of a couch, the footboard of the bed, a trunk or chest, and all of the soft household items you can find to build a perfect hideout for you and your child spend some time in. Don’t worry about the mess, it will get cleaned up eventually and your child will be happy and occupied in their new little secret space!
5. Kitchen Floor Tile Game
This is a great one when your child is learning how to count. You can start on one square clear across the kitchen floor and encourage them as they count their numbers in order, advance one square with each number, and make their way to the refrigerator or other appliance that is clear across the kitchen. This will teach them to count in chronological order. If they mess up they have to return to the first square. If they get to the refrigerator and have counted in order then they get a prize.
This is also extremely fun to play as the kids get older and begin simple addition, especially if they have a sibling. Use age-appropriate math problems to give them as they stand on their squares. Every time the child gets the math problem correct, they advance the square. The first one who makes it across the kitchen floor to the refrigerator or other appliance that is clear across the kitchen wins the game and gets a prize. Maybe the prize consists taking away one of their chores, or giving them extra electrical device time? What ever works to encourage them to play and learn at the same time. This one is a favorite in my house and my kids always pick to take a chore away if they win.
6. Pattern Play
This is a great way to teach your toddler how to follow a pattern. Gather supplies such as different colored pillows, bottle caps, socks, straws, pipe cleaners, buttons, or anything else that is the same type of item in different colors. Teach them to make a pattern with the colors such as one blue then two reds, or Red blue red blue, or big big small big small, or small small big big. Etc.
7. Paper Plate Caterpillar
For this activity you will need scissors, paper plates, construction paper, a sharpie and/or magic markers,glue, and pipe cleaners.
Step One-clear paper plates together and a line only overlapping the edges to form the body of your caterpillar. At one end of the body glue the last paper plate slightly on another angle to make the head of the caterpillar.
Step Two- cut caterpillar legs out the construction paper. They could be black, green, or red possibly? 2 to 3 inches long and 1-2 inches wide tends to be a decent length to cut. You can be creative and make as many legs as you’d like for your caterpillar. Glue them on to the bottom of the paper plates after cutting them out to your liking.
Step Three- you can either get googly eyes at the craft store to put on the face of your caterpillar or draw an eye on your caterpillar with the sharpie marker or your choice of colored markers. Once you place your eye, continue with drawing a nose and mouth, or just a mouth perhaps if you wish?
Step Four- choose the color pipe cleaners that you’d like to make the antennas out of. Curl the tops of them. You can attempt to glue these to the paper plate head or you can take a pair of scissors, or a hole bunch and punch a hole in the top of the paper plate and then put the antennae pipe cleaner through the hole (twisting it to make it tight so it doesn’t fall over).
For an added touch, you can decorate your caterpillar with different colored markers, or glue Polka Dots or stripes made out of different colored construction paper to it to personalize your design.
8. Sponge Paint Trees
For this activity you all need is a pair of scissors, your preferred size and color of the q, sponges, Qqa qq qplate, and brown construction paper.
Step One- Cut out the design of your tree trunk on your brown construction paper and glue it to your background paper.
Step Two- Cut a sponge into pieces that are approximately 1 to 2 inches in length,height, and width. (Essentially make small cubes out of your sponge).
Step Three- on the paper plate, pour small separate lareas of each color paint. Dip different sponges into the different paint colors and then touch the sponge to the end of the tree branch where you want to place the colored sponge leaves.
Allow your beautiful masterpiece to dry before displaying.
9. Body Tracing
For this activity you will need pencils, colored markers, paint, or crayons. You will also need a roll of art paper or multiple pieces of large paper or poster board taped together.
Step One- You can lie down on the floor and have your older toddler trace you, or you can have your toddler lie down on the floor and you can trace them.
Step Two- use markers or colored pencils to have your toddler draw or paint all over their body tracing and create a beautiful masterpiece while learning fine motor skills at the same time.
Step Three- display your art!