I’m sharing 13 learning activities you can do with your toddler at home. With many people spending more and more time at home, I wanted to put together some ideas for activities you can do with your toddler that will foster skills like fine and gross motor skills, cognitive thinking, hand/eye coordination, receptive language, and more. These activities are great for 1 and 2-year-olds but I also included ideas for how to make these great for 3 and 4-year-olds as well!
Timestamps for each activity
- 1:46 Matching Game
- 2:53 Mud Pies + DIY Edible Mud Recipe
- 4:48 Animal Bath
- 5:03 Color Theory
- 5:47 Floor Color Match
- 6:01 Tunnel Ball Pass
- 6:48 Simon Says
- 7:14 Flash Cards
- 7:49 Doll Imitation
- 8:32 DIY Kinetic Sand
- 9:45 Water Pour
- 10:31 Painter’s Tape Pull
- 11:02 Shape Toss
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Water is literally one of the best toddler activities ever. The options are endless. I love letting my little one practice pouring and he loves it, too. It’s great for concentration and hand-eye coordination. You can do this at a water table outside, in the bathtub, or even in the kitchen sink. We have this little play sink, it came with our Lovevery Play Kit subscription, and is perfect for this activity.
Shapes Bean Bag Toss
Create some shapes on the floor with painter’s tape and encourage your little one to throw bean bags in the shapes. If you don’t own bean bags you can just create some with an old sock and rice or beans. Start with just 2 shapes if this is a new concept for your little one. Once they catch on, add other shapes. If they don’t want to throw the bean bag, you can call out the shape and they can run to stand in it.
Painter’s Tape Peel
Painter’s tape is one of my favorite toddler toys you never knew existed. It has been entertaining my little guy since he was about a year old. The process of peeling the tape is a great fine motor activity and helps strengthen their hands. You can place some tape on their highchair, a small table, the wall, the windows… really the options are endless here.
Matching Color Sort
If you haven’t introduced the concept of “colors” yet, then I love this activity to get them started. Cut large squares of construction paper in different colors and then some smaller ones in the same colors. I laminate mine with these laminating sheets so they last longer, but it’s not necessary. Then, have your child match the small squares to the big ones. It’s a great way to introduce colors at first since we all know colors come in so many shades and variations. It helps them understand the idea of “same colors.” Once they’ve mastered it, try introducing a few new objects in the same color.
Big Color Sort
This next activity is a color sorting game that also gets your kids up and moving. Using painter’s tape place colored construction paper on the floor and then offer a basket of toys/objects with those colors. Have them sort the objects by color.
Moon Sand DIY
Kinetic sand (moon sand) is a fun sensory activity. You can give them trucks, cars, or toy animals to play with. Or, just offer some spoons and bowls. For older kids hid letters inside to find or offer tweezer to pull out toys to make it a fine motor activity. The possibilities are endless.
DIY Moon Sand
- 2-1/2 cups fine play sand
- 1-1/2 cups cornstarch
- 1/2 cup of oil (olive, vegetable, coconut, etc)
Mix the sand and cornstarch together.
Add in your oil and mix with your hands.
Edible Moon Sand
For those kids who still put everything in their mouth you can also make moon sand with almond flour and coconut oil. Just add the oil until it becomes the desired consistency. .
Imitation with a Doll
A great activity to do is to use a doll or stuffed animal to help model pretend play and initiate conversation. Hand over a doll or plush toy, and encourage your child to hold, talk, dress, and or feed it. Talk to the doll the way you would talk to a child and encourage them to do the same. This not only helps their language but also helps with creativity and imagination.
Simple packs of flashcards with common objects are pretty easy to come by – sometimes you can even find them at the Dollar Tree. Or, download my free set here. And you can do so many different activities with them like:
- Ask them to find the one you say,
- Ask them to tell you the one you point to
- Hide them around the house and say “can you find the…”
- Match them to the actual objects around the house
- Use cues like “warmer” and “colder” to guide your child to find them
I think we all know Simon Says as a fun game, but it’s actually great for learning direction following and receptive language. Depending on your little one’s age you can do it as Simon Says the traditional method where they only do it if you say “Simon says.” But, if your little one is too young for that concept just do it as a “repeat what I’m doing” game.
Tunnel Ball Pass
For this activity, you need a tunnel (like this) as well as a ball. You’re going to take turns passing the ball through the tunnel by putting the ball inside and lifting your end of the tunnel. This might take some modeling and a little trial and error, but it’s a great activity for understanding cause/effect as well as gross motor skills and teamwork. My son LOVES it.
Letting your little one wash toy animals is a great activity they LOVE. Offer some cleaning tools like a toothbrush, washcloth, and eye dropper with some soapy water (either in a water table or low Tupperware bin) and let them clean the animals. Model how to wash using each tool. Also, use it as an opportunity to talk about the different animal names and the sounds they make.
Personally, I’m not totally against letting my kid get dirty and play in real mud, but I know some parents are a little more hesitant especially for kids who are still at the age where everything is going in their mouth. So, this is an easy, DIY, taste-safe mud you can make. Offer it with some pots and pans and items from nature so they can make their own Mud Pies. You can also use it to play with toy animals or trains/cars/trucks.
- 2 cups cocoa powder
- 1-2 cups water
- 1-2 cups coconut flour*
*you can also use baby oatmeal or almond flour. If using regular flour, cook it on a baking sheet for 5 minutes at 350 degrees first.
Mix cocoa powder with water to get a mud-like color
To thicken it, add coconut flour or almond flour or even baby oatmeal until mud is thick enough to play.
Matching is a great activity for kids that builds memory and cognitive skills as well as direction following. The options are honestly endless when it comes to matching, you can match socks, match your stuffed animals to animals in books. We have a matching game from our Lovevery Play Kit that’s animal figurines with animal tokens.