101 fun things to do with toddlers

Jan. 7, 2020
101 fun things to do with toddlers

Ready for a roundup of some favorite (yet simple) things to do with toddlers? These activities focus on age-appropriate skills and interests for little ones. The key is letting the children lead the play while you watch and follow.

Here are 101 things to do with toddlers, including specific suggestions provided by Dr. Amanda Gummer, an expert on child play and the founder of Fundamentally Children, and Dr. Scott Carroll, a child psychiatrist.

1. Make colored rice.

2. Play doctor.

3. Make maracas to shake as you dance.

4. Play "stepping stones" with pillows.

5. Finger-paint.

6. Jump in a leaf pile.

7. Make a smiley face with cut-up vegetables.

8. Cook dinner together.

9. Play store.

10. Make slime.

11. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk.

12. Make a painted-rock paperweight.

13. Trace with flour.

14. Watch an anthill.

15. Sort laundry.

16. Play toy musical instruments.

17. Play parachute games with a bed sheet.

18. Roll down a hill.

19. Collect rocks.

20. Blow bubbles for your toddler to catch.

21. Make a pretend car wash.

22. Paint with water.

23. Let them lead a grocery shopping trip for that night’s dinner.

24. Prepare pretend meals.

25. Go on a nature walk.

26. Visit grandparents and other relatives.

27. Play "I Spy."

28. Walk on a masking tape tightrope on the floor.

29. Have a pots and pans symphony.

30. Visit a pet store.

31. Do a simple puzzle.

32. Play balloon catch.

33. Put out food for the birds.

34. Play with puppets.

35. Play hide and seek.

36. Splash in the puddles with rain boots.

37. Let your child push blender buttons to make a milkshake.

38. Crawl through a tunnel made of two blanket-covered chairs.

39. Play with flashlights.

40. Have a color scavenger hunt.

41. Explore the house with magnets to see what they stick to.

42. Play with balloons and static electricity.

43. Let your child feel an item and guess what it is.

44. Pretend to fly an airplane together.

45. Play a simplified version of Simon Says.

46. Use food containers as stacking blocks.

47. Make a craft stick frame and decorate it with stickers.

48. Practice somersaults.

49. Use lots of bubble bath at bath time.

50. Play with edible clay.

51. Draw with a dry-erase or a magnetic drawing board.

52. Play post office.

53. Thread shoelaces through homemade lacing cards.

54. String beads on yarn to make jewelry.

55. Finger-paint with pudding and whipped cream.

56. Practice filling and dumping with dry cereal.

57. Set up a bowling alley with plastic bottles and a tennis ball.

58. Sort old buttons into different categories.

59. Poke pipe cleaners through a colander.

60. Paint on paper with old sponges.

61. Make a big bowl of soap bubbles to play with.

62. Experiment to see whether common objects float or sink.

63. Build and stack with laundry baskets.

64. Make a construction site with trucks and play dough.

65. Create patterns with blocks.

66. Add food coloring to yogurt and let your toddler "paint" the high-chair tray.

67. Play Hot and Cold.

68. Bang sticks on a sturdy tree or metal gatepost.

69. Put on music and have a dance party.

70. Throw a blanket over a table to make a fort.

71. Practice cutting with a plastic knife and banana slices.

72. Sponge-paint a placemat for future use.

73. Act like different animals.

74. Run barefoot through the grass.

75. Play Ring Around the Rosie.

76. Wrap old toys in newspaper and let your child unwrap them.

77. Count how many blocks you can stack before your tower falls.

78. Challenge your toddler to climb a mountain of pillows.

79. Find circle, square and triangle objects around the house.

80. Sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."

81. Toss balls into a laundry basket.

82. Make mud pies outside.

83. Play Follow the Leader.

84. Decorate paper masks for your toddler to wear.

85. Play in a kiddie pool.

86. Jump or dance on bubble wrap.

87. Make a foil-covered tag board crown for your little king or queen.

88. Paint with cotton swabs.

89. Dip coffee filters into bowls of colored water.

90. Have a pretend phone conversation.

91. Play dress-up with old clothes.

92. Put a dry bean in a wet paper towel and watch it grow over time.

93. Have a picnic inside on an old sheet.

94. Paint toddler handprints on a pillowcase and give it as a gift.

95. Bathe a doll in the bathtub.

96. Cut play dough with old cookie cutters.

97. Decorate a beach ball with foam shapes.

98. Pour colored sand or glitter onto your child's glue designs.

99. Go outside and push a small wagon together.

100. Give piggyback rides.

101. Glue cotton balls on paper to make snow people.

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