It’s hard to find indoor play activities for bored toddlers that don’t require a lot of time, money, and set-up or clean up. But with a little creative thinking and a few standard household items, you can come up with lots of fun play activities for toddlers.
A List of 15 Activities for Toddlers to Get You Started
Toddler Activity #1: Creative Craft Time
Keep an easy-to-reach craft box of odds and ends handy for creative craft time. Include ribbons, cards, paper, markers, scissors, glue or glue sticks, glitter, paint, rulers, cardboard pieces, etc. so the kids can help themselves and create a craft that is unstructured and entirely of their own imagination.
Toddler Activity #2: Dress-Up
Assemble a box of dress up clothes and simple items to use as props. Recycle old Halloween costumes and be sure to check out finds from the dollar store or thrift shop for castoffs.
Toddler Activity #3: Mud Pile
Make a dirt pile in the backyard and run a hose through it. The neighbors will not like it, but the kids will have a blast. Send them home if they have to use your bathroom though!
Toddler Activity #4: Indoor Sandbox
Make an indoor sandbox with a baby swimming pool or small sand table, and rice or puffed wheat or lentils as the sand. Add a few favorite sandbox toys and you have all the fun of an outdoor sandbox with less mess!
Toddler Activity #5: Basement Biking
Let the kids ride their bikes, scooters or ride-on toys in the basement. Don’t forget to wear proper protective gear and remove any crash hazards.
Toddler Activity #6: Playdough Shape Explorer
Get out the playdough (or make your own homemade playdough) and let the kids experiment with pressing in different shapes and items such as rings, straws, etc.
Toddler Activity #7: Bubble Bath Fun
Fill a baby bathtub or large bowl with soapy water and place in the bathtub and let them play. Add food colored ice cubes, spoons, and cups for pouring. Use a small stool as a play table in the bathtub and give them cups to pour from and in.
Toddler Activity #8: Jumping Game
Get a small indoor exercise trampoline to jump on or designate certain sofa cushions for jumping on and play the jumping game! Follow the leader!
Toddler Activity #9: Fort Building
Gather up pillows, blankets and old sheets for fort building and help them construct a little world of their very own. Once the fort is built, it’s time to move in – let them gather up their favorite toys to arrange inside their new fort!
Toddler Activity #10: Jumping Balls
Use jumping balls in the basement or hazard-free room to work off excess energy!
Toddler Activity #11: Bubble Blowing
Let them blow bubbles on the kitchen floor with a mild dish detergent mixed with water. The best part is you can use the excess soap to clean the floor after!
Toddler Activity #12: Chocolate Finger Painting
In the bathtub with no water, put your child in the tub dressed only with old underwear, and add a bowl of chocolate pudding. Allow finger painting on the walls, tub and themselves. Chocolate pudding has a wonderful, sensuous feeling and it’s much easier to clean-up than finger-painting. Just hose down the walls and the child with a little soap and the showerhead afterwards.
Toddler Activity #13: Indoor Picnic
Spread out a blanket or sheet on the floor, pack a picnic basket full of fun things to eat and have an indoor picnic! The perfect activity for cold or rainy days!
Toddler Activity #14: Car World
Take a basic car track set, put it together in a straight line and use pillows, boxes and other objects to create hills and valleys and let the kids see how far the cars will go through their imaginary car world!
Toddler Activity #15: Good Old-Fashioned Games
Don’t forget all those good old-fashioned games you played as a child. Teach them how to play “I Spy” or “Rock Paper Scissors”. Perfect for quiet time or when you end up stuck somewhere waiting.
Judy Arnall is an international Parenting Speaker, mom of 5, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” www.professionalparenting.ca