Keeping your toddler entertained and stimulated can often feel daunting as a parent. Finding suitable fun and educational activities can be challenging with their high energy levels and short attention spans. However, with a bit of creativity and planning, there are plenty of activities that you can do with your toddler, regardless of the season or weather.
Coming up with new toddler activities doesn't need to be complicated or expensive, as many can be done with items you already have at home. Here are the 15 best toddler activities for any season, plus a few bonuses.
Indoor Activities for Cold and Rainy Days
On days when it's hard to get outside, it's essential to find activities that'll keep your toddler (and mom) from getting too stir-crazy. Try these five creative, fun, and easy ideas.
1. Build a Fort
Use blankets, pillows, and chairs to create a cozy fort for your little one. Add some extra magic with twinkling string lights or soft music. This activity is guaranteed to encourage imaginative play.
For additional fun, try doing activities inside the fort, such as reading books, coloring, playing with toys, or even having a picnic.
2. Create an Indoor Obstacle Course
Gather cushions, pillows, and other soft objects to create an indoor obstacle course for your toddler to navigate through. It can be as simple or elaborate as your imagination allows. This activity will help develop their gross motor skills while providing fun, laughter, and excitement.
Alternatively, try popular games like “The Floor Is Lava.” Encourage your toddler to jump from one cushion to another without touching the floor. There are videos and songs on YouTube with catchy Lava songs to turn it into an extra silly event.
3. Make Sensory Bins
Fill a bin or container with different materials such as rice, pasta, corn, beans, water beads, or sand. If you'd like, you can use food dye to add a rainbow of colors to your materials (rice is the best option). Then, add toys or objects for your toddler to discover and play with.
Sensory bins are a great way to stimulate your child's senses while keeping them entertained.
4. Have a Dance Party
Dancing is an excellent activity to get your toddler moving, especially when they can't go outside. Turn up the music, let them dance, and sing loudly to their favorite songs. You can even make it more exciting by having a themed dance party with costumes and props.
Another fun way to up the ante is to start a dance freeze party where they must stop dancing every time you pause the music.
5. Try a New Craft
What toddler doesn't love crafting (and making a mess)? There are tons of great options to try at home that don't require much prep, such as:
- Painting, such as finger painting, painting rocks, watercolors, spongy puff paint, etc.
- Designing masks or puppets with paper bags, plates, or construction paper
- Making and playing with play dough
- Create collages with different materials like cotton balls, tissue paper, buttons, or yarn
- Make macaroni necklaces or other fun jewelry with materials around the house
- Making cards for their favorite people, whether for an upcoming holiday or just because
If you're unsure what craft to do with your toddler, simply get out some basic supplies (markers, glue, construction paper) and let your little one lead the way with their imagination.
Outdoor Activities for Nicer Days
When the weather is nice, getting your toddler outside to enjoy fresh air and physical activity is crucial. However, remember the weather doesn't have to be perfect to get outside as long as you dress accordingly and go prepared. Here are five outdoor activities that toddlers will love.
6. Go on a Nature Walk
Take your toddler for a walk around the neighborhood or to a nearby park. Encourage them to collect leaves, rocks, or other natural items along the way. This activity will get them moving and help them learn about their surroundings. Just remember to be patient and let them explore the outdoors at their own pace, even if it feels obnoxiously slow sometimes.
You can also use their collection for a future rainy-day project, so keep them somewhere safe until then.
7. Have a Picnic
Pack snacks and a blanket, and head to a local park for a picnic with your little one. Try some new fun foods or pack their favorites. You can even let them choose and help pack the lunch items. It's fun to have a meal outside and enjoy quality time together.
8. Play in the Sprinkler
On hot summer days, playing in the sprinkler is an excellent way for toddlers to cool off and have some water playtime. If you don't have an ideal space for a sprinkler, you can try a water table (great for balconies even), a baby pool, or hook up a fun sprayer to the hose. Remember always to supervise your child when they're near water.
9. Sidewalk Chalk Fun
Let your toddler unleash their creativity with some sidewalk chalk. They can draw pictures, practice writing letters or numbers, or play games like hopscotch. You can also help them create an immersive obstacle course with designated spots for jumping, skipping, and spinning with chalk outlines.
10. Plant a Garden
Get your toddler involved in gardening by letting them help you plant flowers or vegetables in the yard. You can designate a corner of the yard, build garden boxes, or even get started with a large pot on the concrete. If you don’t have a yard, you can look for a community garden in your city or start with your windowsill. It's an excellent opportunity for them to learn about nature, get their hands dirty, and be responsible while having fun.
Classic Toddler Activities for Year-Round Fun
Some toddler activities never go out of style, no matter the time of the year. Here are five ideas that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
11. Bake Together
Baking is a fun and tasty activity to do with toddlers. Let them help you measure ingredients, mix, and decorate. No special cooking utensils are needed; most kids are happy using real kitchen tools. You can make anything from cookies to pizza; your child will love participating.
12. Have a Movie Night
Pick a family-friendly movie, pop some popcorn, prepare a snack, and cuddle up for a movie night with your toddler. Even better, let them pick. It's an excellent way to relax and enjoy some quality time together.
You can set up a projector and blankets outside for a movie under the stars in the summer.
13. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Let your toddler be a detective for the day. Make a list of items for your toddler to find around the house or backyard. It's a fun and interactive way for them to explore their surroundings. They'll feel accomplished and proud of their detective skills when they find all the items on their list.
14. Have a Game Night
Choose simple games toddlers can play, such as memory matching, a puzzle, or board games with large pieces. Other toddler favorites include Spot It, Candy Land, and Chutes and Ladders. You get silly and play games like I Spy or Would You Rather? It's an excellent way to develop their cognitive and social skills while having fun.
15. Visit a Local Museum or Zoo
Many museums and zoos offer unique programs or exhibits for young children. Alternatively, many cities have children's museums with interactive exhibits encouraging exploration and learning. Finding a local museum or zoo is an excellent way to get out of the house and have a fun learning experience with your toddler.
If your toddler loves it enough, consider getting an annual pass that makes these visits even more affordable throughout the year.
Bonus Creative and Educational Activities
If you're looking for more fun and educational activities, here are a few bonus ideas for your toddler.
- Make homemade instruments and have a jam session
- Build a busy board together that they can then play with
- Do YouTube science experiments with household items (e.g., baking soda volcanoes)
- Create your own games, such as bottle bowling or bean bag toss
- Visit your local library for toddler story time and check out new books to read
- Pull out Lego or Duplo blocks and build a city or castle together
- Ignight your toddler’s inner creative writer and help them write their own short story
Choosing Your Next Toddler Activity
With so many options, deciding what activity to do next with your toddler can be overwhelming. They may get bored fast because their attention spans are short at this age, and that's okay. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right one for your little one.
- Consider your child's interests and abilities.
- Think about the time you have available and plan accordingly.
- Use materials or supplies you already have at home to save money.
- Mix up indoor and outdoor activities to keep things interesting.
- Keep it simple.
- Have fun, and don't worry about perfection. The most important thing is spending quality time with your child. They will probably change their mind ten times anyway, no matter what you guys choose.
These 15 activities are just a few examples of the fun and engaging things you can do with your toddler at home. No matter what season it is, there's always something new to try that will keep your little one entertained and help them learn and grow. So get creative, have fun, and enjoy making memories with your toddler.