A toddler on board will make you think of creative and fun ways on how to entertain him. At this day and age, giving a toddler an electronic device such as a cellphone, a tablet, or an ipad is very convenient. It can keep him entertained for hours. But some professionals on Child Development warned that it is not a good idea for a young child to play with gadgets for more than an hour. Having hands-on fun and creative activities is still the best to keep a child entertained.
The challenge is what activities will a Toddler like? I would like to share with you fun activities for ages 1-3 years which your child might enjoy too.
These are actual activities that I documented when my son was one to three-years old.
Activities for Toddlers
Activities for Toddlers Ages 1-3 years old
1. Use Pipe cleaners
Pipe cleaners comes in different colors. You can make a lot of shapes and art projects with it.
I bought pipe cleaners in a local bookstore and got a plastic container with holes in it. My toddler enjoyed putting each of those colored pipe cleaners inside the holes. It kept him pre-occupied for a good 10-12 minutes. This is good in developing fine motor skills, color discrimination, counting, sorting, and visual tracking.
Activities for a Toddler using pipe cleaners
2. Play the Peek-a-boo Game
Kids are very playful! The game of peek-a-boo can be played in many ways.
My son loves playing this game. His version is that he loves hiding behind the curtains and then he peeks and gives me a huge smile.
This game taps a child’s sense of humor and tickles his laughter. This game develops gross motor skills, visual tracking, social development, and object permanence.
Activities for Toddlers: Play the Peek-a-Boo game
3. Experiment With Masking Tapes
A simple masking tape can be so much fun! Grab a piece of tape and cut it into pieces. Ask your child to stick it on a mat.
This is good in developing fine motor skills and visual tracking.
Activities for Toddlers using Masking Tape
4. Make an Edible “Sandbox”
Edible Sandbox can be messy and fun! What is an edible sandbox? It is a “sandbox ” filled with Oatmeal instead of sand. You can also add other “treasures” in it for your toddler to dig in.
You will need a clean box, oatmeal, and other “treasures” such as different kinds of cookies or crackers cut into pieces. Your good old measuring spoon can be used to dig in this edible sandbox. My toddler had a great time digging and at the same time he started to try tasting the “oatmeal” and the crackers.
This is a good way to acquaint a child with different tastes and textures.
Activities for Toddlers: Make an Edible “Sandbox”
5. Play With Sensory Jars
Sensory jars are containers with different food textures in it. It stimulates the child’s different senses- sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch.
I made sensory jar activities using empty Gerber bottles and placed inside different food with different tastes and textures. Let the child shake the bottles first. How does it sound? Next, let him open the jars. How does the different food feel? How does it smell? And how does it taste? The activity was quite a success until my toddler threw one of the jars and it broke into pieces. My lesson: Use plastic containers instead of glass jars.
The next day we did the same activity again but this time I used plastic containers instead.
This activity introduces the child to different food tastes and textures. It also stimulates different senses.
Creative Activity for Toddlers: Sensory Jars
6. Enjoy Outdoor Walks
There is something energizing when we go outdoors and take the time to see Mother Nature.
Kids love the outdoors! My son was thrilled when we allowed him to explore the park on top of a hill. He touched the grass, he picked-up some leaves, and he got a pebble and lifted it up in the air. He even touched the soil and tasted it…yay!
This activity is quite an “adventure” for him. It got him acquainted with Mother Nature and he gets to breathe fresh clean air.
7. Introduce a Musical Instrument
Creating music can be a wonderful time for mother and child. Children are fascinated with music. Music is therapeutic. At the right age they could be taught to learn to play an instrument.
Learning a new instrument may help develop their cognitive skills. It also increases memory skills. Their brains will be trained to memorize, retrieve, and create music. It will also teach them about perseverance.
I introduced him to the keyboards and he was amazed that it produces music.
8. Read Books to Your Toddler
Reading books have so many benefits. It is a fun activity that helps children gain new language skills. It is a perfect way to enrich their vocabulary in order for them to communicate effectively. Reading books also strengthens their brain connections. It is a good bonding activity too.
Beading helps develop fine motor skills. It promotes different kinds of grasps; The 3 jaw Chuck grasp which is similar to the grasp to introduce writing skills and pincer grasp which strengthens small muscles.
Beading also teaches young children about line awareness and color sorting.
10. Play with Blocks
Toddlers love blocks, both the brick and the wooden kinds. Playing with blocks develops eye hand coordination. It also teaches about early math and engineering skills. Another benefit is that it helps develop fine motor skills as well.
Toddler Activity: Playing Blocks
11. Make a Cardboard House
My husband and I recycled a huge washing machine box and turned it into a cardboard house. Our son was ecstatic to see his new play house. Yes, we encourage him to do make-believe play. This will help him foster his creativity and imagination.
This cardboard house is made from a Washing Machine Box.
Card Board House For Our Toddler
12. Water Play Can Keep a Child Entertained
Yes, kids enjoy water play. It is a sensory activity wherein they learn the concepts of cold, hot, float, sink, swim, and kick.
They learn about cause and effect. Activities such as pouring and kicking is so cool for them. It is a fun learning activity. Just make sure that this is an adult-supervised activity.
13. Experiment with Lock and Key
Figuring out the right key for the right lock can be so fun for kids. It teaches them about cause and effect. Plus it also gives them a sense of accomplishment when they get to open the right lock. It can keep them busy for some time. It helps develop their fine motor skills and problem solving skills at the same time.
Activities For Toddlers: Playing With Lock and Key
14. Make Alphabet Roads
I recycled a huge box from the grocery store, got a marker and masking tape and turned it into an “Alphabet Road” wherein the cars of my Toddler can pass through.
This is a great way to introduce him to letter and sound relationships. Whenever the cars pass through a letter road, introduce the sound of the letter. For example, when the cars pass through the “A” road, teach the sound of the letter “Aa”.
15. Go Numbers Fishing
Refrigerator magnets can be a good fishing activity to introduce numbers. Make your child fish a number and ask your child to identify the numbers he is able to fish. I used a pencil, yarn, and a paper clip as a DIY fishing rod.
This activity also develops fine motor skills.
16. Visit a Zoo
Going to the zoo is an educational activity . It exposes your child to different kinds of animals. Ask your child to name the animal and mimic its sound.
17. Play Dough and Alphabet Mats Can Be Fun
Playing with play-dough can be calming. It also enhances fine motor skills. This activity is good for his prewriting skills.
Number Mats can enhance creativity and it is also perfect in introducing pre-reading skills such as letter-sound recognition.
18. Make Creative Art Using Washi Tapes
Kids love washi tapes. Give your child different kinds of washing tapes, a blunt scissors, and a clean sheet of paper. Watch him create his work of art. I am sure it is going to be a masterpiece.
19. Entertain Your Tot With Number Mats
Number mats are a great way to introduce numbers and counting.
20. Solve Jigsaw Puzzles
Solving jigsaw puzzles helps strengthen brain connections among young learners. It also improves memory. Another benefit is that it improves visual-spatial skills.
Solving puzzles force the brain to look for different solutions which leads to better cognitive abilities.
It is a good investment to buy wooden puzzles of different kinds.
21. Try Dominoes
This picture domino teaches the child about different kinds of animals. It teaches the concept of sorting and logical reasoning.
22. Get Your Child Involved in Household Chores
We can start to teach kids simple household chores at an early age. These chores teach them life skills at a later age. It may also helps them feel empowered. The challenge is that instead of making the chore easier, the task becomes “messier” because there’s a child on board. But this is a great teaching opportunity for them.
23. Play at the Outdoor Playground/ Park With Other Children
Kids are drawn to play outside. They love to run, hop, jump given the opportunity that they be given a space to do this. Kids are drawn to parks and playgrounds. Outdoor play strenghtens their fine motor and gross motor skills. It also improves their social skills when they interact with other kids.
24. Create Artworks Using Non-toxic Poster Paints
Fun with poster paint enhances a child’s imagination. We used tissue cardboard rolls and turned the edge into a heart shape. This can be a great Valentine Day activity.
Teach your child how to paint using non-toxic and water-based poster paints. You can use paintbrushes, veggie shapes, tissue roll boxes to create a new masterpiece.
25. Muffin Pans and Balls
Our good old muffin pans in the kitchen can be fun for toddlers. Give him objects where he could shoot it inside the muffin pans. In our activity, we used colored balls. This is a good opportunity to teach colors.
26. Paper, Pens and Crayons
Toddlers three-years old and up begin to get excited with crayons, pens, pencils and paper. This is the time that they start to doodle random things. Give them writing materials and they will surely love to use them.
Give your tot writing materials and he will surely create something with it.
Activities for Toddlers
27. Make “A Book of Colors” Series
Collate pieces of bond paper and turn it into a “book”. Each week introduce a new color. For example, your target color for the week is “blue”, help your child look for pictures in the magazine that is colored blue. Cut and paste those pictures in the book with an adult’s supervision.
The next week, make another book of color.
28. Sand Play on the Beach Can Be Fun For Tots
A young child may become uneasy if it is his first time to walk on sand or hold sand on his hands. The texture may be unfamiliar with him but once he gets the hang of it, he will begin to enjoy sandplay.
Sandplay is a great activity for a toddler
What other activities does your Toddler enjoy?
Activities for Toddlers: Supervised Sandplay
Please share them with me.