You don’t really know how important indoor activities are until you run into a rainy, sick, wintery, or sweltering day. Then inevitable will happen. You’ll realize you are stuck inside all day with a very curious and energetic toddler.
Then sheer panic will set in because how many episodes of Paw Patrol can one watch?! Plus according to all the studies our children will be at a complete deficit if they’re in front of any sort of screen for any amount of time. These studies stress me! How about you?
But regardless, no worries. I got you covered mama. I’m going to tell you some easy and indoor activities for toddlers that they will love! I’ll also include some physical activities because Lord knows toddlers are super physical! Hello, jumping down multiple flights of stairs, anyone?!
And if you’re in need of some more in depth educational activities I wanted to share Learning Through Play with you. I came up with a month of activities that will engage your toddler while preparing them for preschool with indoor learning activities that can be done with minimal prep!
Check out Learning Through Play here!
Now, let’s get right into some indoor activities for toddlers!
How to Entertain a Toddler Indoors
In this post I’ll be answering this question and I have good news. It’s very possible and pretty simple.
Fortunately toddlers are pretty easily entertained. Give your toddler a cardboard box and tell me I’m wrong.
That’s part of the beauty of toddlers. They’re ability to have absolute joy over the little things in life. I admire that about them.
Activities for toddlers at home do not have to be difficult or complicated. They can most likely be done with materials you have in your own home. So, if you’re asking ,”How can I keep my toddler busy indoors?” I’m getting ready to give you over thirty toddler activities that are simple but provide fun and educational benefits.
Indoor Activities for Toddlers
I’m going to break indoor activities for toddlers down by age. Even though 2 and 3 year olds are fairly similar and some activities could overlap.
I wanted to give you ideas for both age groups because there are a few things that could be a tad too difficult for 2 year olds. But, if you think you’re toddler can handle both sets of activities, go for it!
Indoor Activities Good for 2 Year Olds
If you’re wondering, what can I do with my 2 year old on a rainy day? Wonder no more! Here are 10+ ideas for easy and inexpensive 2 year old activities.
Sensory Bin –
I have found that sensory bins are super easy and have a ton of educational benefits! They are one of my favorite fun activities for toddlers. I write more about that here.
But, in the mean time know that sensory bins can be done with most anything. I tend to use rice, oatmeal and occasionally whatever I can find in the cabinet. Then add in some toys of your choice and a pair of tongs. Now you have some serious imaginary play ready to go!
Cloud Dough –
This is super easy to make and provides a lot of sensory and fine motor benefits.
All you need is flour and baby oil. You can also replace the baby oil with vegetable oil if you’d like it to be edible. Read Toddler Sensory Play Flour Edition for the recipe and different flour play ideas.
- Baby Oil/Vegetable Oil
Washing Cars, Apples, Pumpkins, Etc. –
All you need is a plastic bin, dish soap and some sort of brush or sponge. Then ask your little one to clean the cars, apples or object of your choice. They love to be the ones in control of a job and they love to be helpers. Plus, I’m all about any play that includes soap and accidentally cleaning my kitchen floor.
Play-Doh Rolling or Decorating –
Play-Doh has so much potential. You can let your child simply play with it. But if you add in some rolling and decorating your doh can take on a whole new life!
We use plastic beads for the decorating and the rolling is also a great fine motor skill activity.
Related: Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers
Dot Sticker Color Match –
Another great way to work on colors and fine motor skills. Make little circles (or use dot markers) about the size of the dot sticker on paper with different colors to match the stickers.
The dot stickers in my materials list uses primary colors. Then ask your toddler to match the sticker to the correct dot. I like to use painters tape so I can safely tape the paper to the wall. It enables your child to stand up while they work. Something toddlers usually like to do. This activity takes a lot of hand-eye coordination, so it’s a great way to get your toddler to focus.
Popsicle Bath –
The biggest bang for your buck! Draw a bath (with bubbles is a bonus). Then give you toddler a popsicle while they are in the bath. Their minds will be blown to combine two awesome activities. And you may be able to brush your teeth and put on some make-up!
Shaving Cream Color –
I used shaving cream a lot when I was a teacher. It’s a fun way to introduce new concepts and get kids excited about learning.
You’ll simply put shaving cream in a plastic bin then add a few drops of food coloring. Of course, do one color at a time. This uses all of the senses while teaching your child colors which makes them more apt to remember.
Paint Pots –
You know how your child has been playing with your pots since they were old enough to drag or crawl themselves over to the cabinet? Let’s take that interest and up it.
Get out your pots and then tell you child that they are allowed to paint them with WASHABLE paint. Day. Made!
- Washable Paint
Ice Play –
This is a more recent discovery for us but it’s so much fun and you have options.
You can put water in the ice cube trey the night before and add food coloring into each cube. So, the next morning you have colored ice! Then ask your little one to use a squeeze bottle (full of hot water) to spray and melt the ice. Here is another variation of Ice Play that we have loved!
Stacking Cups –
Use Red Solo Cups for stacking. So cheap and so fun. Demonstrate for them how you can stack the cups to make a pyramid. Then let them decide how they would like to stack.
Toddlers definitely have minds of their own so who knows what you’ll end up with. But, it’ll definitely be entertaining!
Scissor Experiments –
As parents sometimes we can be freaked out by any object that offers the ability to cut. But, cutting can be done safely and in a way that benefits your child. While helping them to work on fine motor skills and independence.
We use these scissors that are very safe. Then I ask my son to simply cut the paper and his eyes light up! If I want to make it even more challenging I’ll add a line on the paper and ask him to cut on the line. But, that’s pretty hard. Maybe something to save for 3 year olds. I’ll talk about indoor activities good for 3 year olds next.
Monster Truck Painting –
See more about this fun craft perfect for toddlers who love to play with cars and truck at The Salty Mamas blog!
Indoor Activities Good for 3 Year Olds
How to entertain a 3 year old indoors is a tricky question. One that may make you nervous or bring a cold sweat down your back. Just the thought of having a 3 year old inside all day!
I have some indoor activities for 3 year olds that will give you confidence and keep them learning and entertained.
These are great rainy day activities for toddler. But, I also like to do one or two in the morning or afternoon on our regularly scheduled days.
Color Hunt –
This activity is so easy and fun. You won’t need to do any set up. Just give you child some sort of container like a bucket or bag. Then instruct them to walk around the house collecting a certain color.
For example, “We are going to go on a color hunt around the house and see what we can find that is red and put it in your bag.” After they are done collecting all the red things dump them out and move on to another color.
If you want to extend this activity when they are finished collecting all the colored items. Mix the piled up and then sort the objects by color.
Chalk Art –
The beauty of indoor activities for toddlers is taking something they’ve done outside before and rocking their world by introducing a way to play inside.
Drawing with side walk chalk inside will equal toddler’s mind blown. This works best with black construction paper. Then tell your toddler that they are going to draw with their chalk. It’s a different texture than they’re used to with crayons. If you want to add another dimension to this you can get the chalk wet and it creates a new look for your child to enjoy.
- Side Walk Chalk
- Black Construction Paper
Letter Match –
By now your little one may or may not be recognizing letters.But either way this is a great activity to start working on the alphabet.
On a Post-It note write the letters you would like to work on. Then post them on your walls all around your house.
I would just start with a few letters so it doesn’t overwhelm them. Then use post it notes with the same letters (you’ve already written on there) and have your child stick the post it note on the matching letter.
Kindness Cards –
This set of Kindness Cards is full of different ways to do kind things for people. When you are stuck at home you can focus on the ones that can be done indoors. But, it’s a great way to get your kids thinking about others and what will make them smile.
Related: Teaching Children to Care
Sorting Colors –
You can do this sort with toys, Pom Poms or I really like to use these bears. Once you’ve chosen your objects put them in front of your child and tell them you are going to sort them into different colors.
A muffin tin is a great tool to use for separating your colors. But, if that isn’t big enough bowls will work great as well.
Scavenger Number Hunt –
Using post it notes place numbers around your house. Once again I would just do a few numbers at a time so you set your child up for success. Then give your child one matching post it note and ask them to go find the other numbers like the one you gave them.
Play-Doh Cutting –
This is an awesome activity to work on those developing fine motor skills. Start by asking them to flatten the Play-Doh out or roll it like a snake. Both are great ways to work on hand strength.
Then give them a pair of Play-Doh scissors (or I use his safety scissors) and ask your child to cut the Play-Doh. It’ll be super exciting for them to get to use the sacred scissors.
Name Hunt –
This is along the same lines as the Letter Match. You’ll use post-it notes and paper (I like to use this scroll paper).
Write your child’s name plus some other names on the paper. Maybe mommy, daddy, the dog or siblings. Use Painters Tape to stick it to the wall for easy toddler access. Then have them identify their name and put a matching post it on top of it.
Cutting/Folding Paper –
Another great fine motor skills activity and pre cursor for school activities. Because they’ll most likely be asked to fold and cut paper when they are in school.
This activity is simple but will probably be a bit of a challenge for them. I would use construction paper because it’s thicker than regular paper.
Then ask them to fold the paper in half. You will most likely need to show them how to do this first. After folding practice had ended. Then give them a pair of safety scissors and ask them to cut the paper. You can let them do this however they like. And don’t be surprised if they used both hands to hold the scissors.
Alphabet Hunt –
Pull out your oatmeal and plastic bin once again for a mixture of sensory/alphabet fun.
Use some plastic letter magnets or if you don’t have those you can write the alphabet on little pieces of paper. Then put your letters at the bottom of the plastic bin and pour oatmeal over it.
Now the letters are hidden and your child will need to find them. I like to have them use tongs as an added fine motor skill activity to search for the letters.
Glue Pasta Paint –
Using glue is another great way to work on fine motors skills while also working on skills your child will be using in school. Giving them the opportunity to practice ahead of time will set them up for success.
All you need to do is get some dried pasta. You can use whatever variation of pasta your creative juices desire. Then instruct your child to glue the pasta onto the paper. Once it’s all dry they can then go back and paint the pasta with your washable paint.
Indoor Physical Activities for Toddlers
Activities for toddlers at home often involve sitting down or concentration. That’s why I wanted to include some physical activities for toddlers so they can get all those wiggles out.
My son is more of a physical person. He loves to jump, run, kick and build. So, activities that can get my toddler moving are high on my priority list.
Materials for Indoor Activities for Toddlers
These are affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Just in case you don’t have them in your home.
Now that you have plenty of indoor activities for toddlers in your mom toolbox. You can face those days you are stuck inside with confidence.
Being stuck inside can actually be a blessing. It’ll force you to slow down and enjoy some one on one time with your toddler.
If you have any questions about these activities or ideas that you want to share I’d love it if you commented!
Go get ’em mama!