Toddler activities are a must when you have a sweet little toddler that is just itching to explore. If you don’t offer opportunities for exploration they will surely do their own (trust me, I know).
Which will usually lead to crayons on the wall, a stuffed animal in the toilet or flour sprinkled (heavily) across your brand new couch (enter sobs).
So, that’s why as a fellow toddler mom I wanted to come to you with some easy, indoor toddler activities that will provide some education and lots of fun.
All of these toddler activities can be done with materials that you probably have at home. But, if not, I’ve linked to them so you can stock up for all the toddler fun! Some affiliate links are included at absolutely no extra cost to you.
Easy & Indoor Toddler Activities
1. Button Sorting:
For this toddler activity you just cut a slit in the top of the colored lids. Then have your toddler match the correct button color and put it into the matching bowl.
This is a great way to work on colors and sorting and it’s super simple (right up my alley).
You can read more details here. Or if you don’t want to use bowls you can have them sort the buttons onto colored construction paper.
2. Tong Pom Poms into an Ice Cube Trey:
Instruct your toddler to simply pick up the pom poms one at a time using the tongs and place them in the ice cube trey.
This is great for working hand eye coordination, motor skills and may even give you a few seconds to drink your coffee while it’s still hot (fingers crossed).
Click here to check out ways to challenge older toddlers.
3. Card Slot Drop:
Just like in the Button Sorting, you’ll cut a slit in the lid of the oatmeal container. Then instruct your toddler to put the cards through the slit.
This is another really easy toddler activity that works their fine motor skills! Plus, you’ll love to see the little look of concentration on your toddler’s face.
4. Use Yogurt to Paint (add food dye for color):
Out of all the toddler activities this is one of my favorites because it’s all the fun of painting but none of the freaking out (because it’s just yogurt)!
You just add a few drops of food coloring to yogurt then mix. Put it in a small container. Then give your toddler a paintbrush or they can use their fingers. Whatever you’re most comfortable with.
I like to let my son paint on a plate so then I can just wash it off, but you can easily use paper if that’s what you prefer.
5. Paint Cars:
To paint the cars you can use the yogurt paint mentioned above or you can also use washable paint. Again, whatever you are most comfortable with because you matter too.
Put the toy cars in the bin and tell your toddler that they are in charge of changing the colors of the cars. You can take it a step further and talk about colors while you’re child paints the cars, so you’re also working on color recognition.
Giving your child a little freedom to be adventurous could detour them from painting other things. But, just in case make sure you have a talk with them about what is off limits to paint.
6. Car Wash with Toy Cars
This is a great follow-up activity to the Paint Cars activity we just talked about. Plus I’m a huge fan of any play that included soap. Hello type A personality!
You put the soap and water in one bin to create the bubble/cleaning solution. Then the cars in the other. Instruct your toddler to use the brush to get soap on it and then clean off the cars one at a time.
I recommend having towels on hand in case they get carried away with the cleaning.
7. Melting Ice with Dinosaurs
Again, basic but I love it so much! The night before put mini dinosaurs in an ice cube trey. Cover each of them with water and put in the freezer. The next morning you’ll have little dina-cycles.
Tell your toddler to use the squirter to unfreeze the dinosaurs. I usually demonstrate at least one time (plus it’s fun).
Squeezing the bottle is a great way to work on their hand strength. While also using hand, eye coordination to aim and hit the ice.
8. Melting Colored Ice:
Fill up your ice cube trey with water. Then use your food coloring to add a drop or two of color to each ice cube.
You can stick to one color at a time or make a rainbow ice cube trey.
Then put in the freezer (usually over night) so they can freeze.
Instruct your toddler to once again use the squeeze bottle to unleash the color.
If you want to focus on one color at a time I would only let them melt a certain color in the plastic bin. But, if you’re going for a mixed color lesson just let them go at at it.
Toddler activities like this are great to do when you’re teaching colors because it gets your toddler involved.
9. Cloud Dough:
Super easy!! Add eight cups of flour to your plastic bin. Then pour in one cup of baby oil. You can mix it together or have your toddler help you.
Pretty soon the two come together to create a cloud like dough. It’s a fun texture for your toddler to explore.
I add small toys like trucks, play cups, spoons(for digging) and whatever else my son would like to throw in.
I didn’t realize how much I loved Cloud Dough until we made it. Actually I found out there’s more you can do with flour than just Cloud Dough. You can ready more about the activities we did with Flour Sensory Play here.
10. Sidewalk Chalk
So stinking simple. Sidewalk chalk is usually an outdoor activity but if it’s raining or cold you can actually transform it into some indoor fun.
Lay out your construction paper and tell your toddler that they get to draw with sidewalk chalk while they are inside! If you make it a big deal, it’ll be a big deal and they’ll be excited. You get to control the tone of toddler activities.
I like to spell all of our names and have my son locate his. Or we’ll do shapes, colors, letters or number.
And then sometimes we just draw.
11. Popsicle Bath
Yes!!!! I heard this idea from a friend and my life has never been the same! You simply get your child’s bath ready, put them in it and then hand them a popsicle.
They will be mystified and overjoyed that they get to do two fun things at the same time.
And you can put on your make-up, fold laundry or just sit down!
12. Painting in a Box
You know at Christmas or Birthdays when your child is more excited about the box?! Me too, let’s use that!
The box will now become your child’s canvas. If the box is big enough you can place them in it, but if it’s not you can just place the box in front of them.
Give clear instructions that they are to decorate the inside of this box. I’m almost positive the challenge will be fully excepted!
13. Oatmeal Sensory Box
Sensory bins are so beneficial to our little ones and so easy to make! For this one you just add as much oatmeal as you feel comfortable with to your plastic bin.
Then add toys to the bin. I like to bury the toys at the bottom and have my son find them. If you want to extend this activity you could add letters or numbers to the bin and ask them to find a specific letter or number for you.
Or you can add water…I’ve not been that brave yet. You can read more about the water addition here.
14. Noodle Threading
Make a ball out of a small piece of Play-Doh then set it on the table. Insert a piece of Spaghetti into the ball and create a stabilizer for it using the Play-Doh.
So, when you’re done you basically just have a piece of Spaghetti standing up.
Then tell you toddler to string the beads onto the spaghetti. This is a major focus activity while also working on fine motor skills and hand, eye coordination.
15. Pumpkin Golf Tee Hammering:
This activity has been a big deal to us. My son loves building and all things construction. So for him to actually see the nail (golf tee) going into the thing (pumpkin) is a big deal.
I found my pumpkin at Publix because they just had the best looking ones. Then I pushed the Tees in so they were stabilized. Next I told my son that I was going to hammer the nails into the pumpkin. I only did one because he was raring to go after that.
Here are more things we did with pumpkins!
16. What’s Magnetic
Put some magnetic and non-magnetic objects into a plastic bin. Then tell your toddler to use the magic (magnetic) want to find the things that stick to it.
You can have them sort a pile of the objects that sticked (magnetic) and the ones that didn’t (non-magnetic).
17. Stacking Cups
The easiest of all the toddler activities. This one allows your child to use problem solving and their imagination.
You instruct them to simply use the cups and stack them. Then watch their little minds decide what they want to do.
If you want to go fancier than solo cups here are some actually Stacking Cups.
18. Pom Pom Color Sort
Get your cupcake pan and cut out circles from construction paper that are the same size as each spot in the trey.
Then tape the color to the trey. Next instruct your toddler to match each pom pom with the right color. Talk about the colors and their decision as your toddler is thinking.
You can also see some more Dollar Store color activities here.
19. Match Tops with Bottoms
Get out all the Rubbermaid. Then separate the containers and lids in two different stacks. Tell your child that you want them to find the lid that goes to each Rubbermaid.
Great learning activity for them and sanity saving activity for you!
20. “Read” to dog or stuffed animal
Even though toddlers can’t read yet (or if yours can my hats off to you). They can surely pretend. Plus it gives them a sense of ownership and confidence knowing that they are the one reading to someone.
You just provide the books and ask if they’ll ready to your dog or their favorite stuffed animal.
Have your camera ready because this will be the cutest photo op!
It’s amazing how excited toddlers get over the little things toddler activities provide. We could learn from them and their child like excitement!
Side note: If any of these toddler activities are intimidating to you or you feel uncomfortable with them because it’s not something you would normally do. I want to encourage you to at least try one.
Find the easiest, non messiest one (like cup stack) and let your toddler try it.
Once you see how excited they get and how much they’re personalities come out you’ll be hooked and want to try more!
Toddler activities can be fun for us too!
Go get ’em mama!