Sure, it’s great to get out and explore the world. But sometimes spending time with your toddler at home is just as much fun. You can focus on finding joy and making connections without any worries of an epic tantrum in Target! Here are 10 of our favorite toddler-friendly activities.
1. Make a Fort
Armchairs and sheets, blankets and tables, or that cardboard box that’s been sitting in the garage—use what’s most convenient! Your toddler will think the fort is awesome no matter what. And the best part is the fun you’ll have building it and peeking at each other.
2. Play With Water
Gather a collection of measuring cups, bowls, spoons, straws, and funnels, and prepare for some H2O-fueled fun at the kitchen table! Your toddler will stay busy and have a blast pouring and playing.
3. Build a Bean Box
You likely have a supply of dried beans in the pantry—and you can probably spare some for a fun sensory box! Add dried beans to a shallow container and let your child scoop, sift, and touch to his heart’s content. (Lay a sheet on the floor first to make cleanup easier.)
4. Fingerpaint With Food
Painting is so much fun. And you can take that fun up a notch by painting with chocolate pudding or yogurt! Bonus: You won’t be saying, “Get that paint out of your mouth!” every five minutes.
5. Make “Anything Goes” Art
Stickers. Pipe cleaners. Pompoms. Crayons. Glue. Resist the urge to discuss where the eyes go or what color cats are and let your toddler create a masterpiece without any rules! If you’re feeling brave, you could even sprinkle on some glitter.
6. Share Some Screen Time
Some parents scoff at screen time, but technology is a reality these days. Hook up your toddler with PBS Kids and watch her enjoy educational games featuring familiar characters.
7. Give Toys a Bath
Draw a nice warm bubble bath and wash those toys! Toddlers are used to being bathed, but they don’t always get to do the bathing! Help your little one scrub her favorite (water-resistant) toys and bundle them up in a nice warm towel afterward.
8. Sort Snacks
Get out a muffin tin and pour a bowl of mixed snacks—think cereals, crackers, raisins, and so on. Have your toddler sort them into different muffin cups before eating. This helps hone small motor skills and sorting ability!
9. Have a Dance Party
We all love it when toddlers dance, because—let’s face it—it’s pretty much the cutest thing in the world. But when’s the last time you danced with your kid? Turn up the tunes and bust out your best moves. Laughter guaranteed!
10. Let Your Toddler Choose!
When you’re 2 (or 3 or 4), so many choices are made for you. Ask your toddler what he or she really wants to do—and then do it! Exclaim with delight when you’re served plastic food for the 25th time. Read the same book over and over. Play dress up. It only takes a few minutes out of your day, but it can mean the world to your little one.
Got any ideas for fun and creative stay-at-home toddler activities? Let us know!