What are your favorite quick and easy low-prep activities for toddlers?
Whenever I have littles running around I've discovered that I have very little on the spot brain power to think of any activity ideas. My mind goes blank in the craziness. Over the past year or so I've been working to compile a list of "go to" activities. These activities use materials I already have at the house and I can pull them out within a minute or two. They also require very little brain power on my end.
We all need those quick and easy low-prep activities that we can pull out at a moment's notice on a crazy afternoon... or on one of those days when everyone played musical beds all night long the night before and we are exhausted.
What sort of simple activities do toddlers love?
The best thing about toddlers is that they love, if not crave, repetition. So I'm not actually going to give you 100 ideas. Most likely, you'll only need a few. You could probably repeat some of these activities several times each week and no one would complain either.
Many of these ideas are on our "go to" list and some are suggestions from our Instagram community! We'd love to hear your suggestions as well!
Here are 25 easy low-prep activities for toddlers!
Add in dry noodles to a plastic tub and toss un some scoops or some other little toy animals (or bugs) like we did here.
This is a favorite activity we learned from Busy Toddler! We also do it outside in a baby pool during the summer.
3. Pom Pom Push
For this activity all you need is painter's tape, pom poms, and pool noodles!
4. Roll of paper and markers!
Dot markers are our favorite. We love to grab the giant craft paper rolls of white paper at Target. Then we roll out the paper, cut off a piece, and tape it down on the floor, table, or the wall. So much fun can happen with a roll of paper.
There are dozens of ways to play with a bathtub or plastic bin full of water! This post shares 10 different ways to make water play fun. The easiest is either adding scoops or adding foam letters.
We buy vinegar and baking soda in bulk solely for this fizzy drips activity. Once you try it a few times you will most likely do the same. Add some food coloring to the vinegar to make it extra awesome.
Did you know that reusable stickers can be used on windows and other places besides just sticker books? You can also use them on airplanes and in the car or even on baking sheets.
8. Kitchen sink full of soapy water and toys!
Brace yourself for some wet kids, but this is always a fun and popular activity! Kids can "wash" the toys using scrubbers too. Although in my mind this is similar to a sensory bin... my kids think this is extra fun because they are getting to be like me and use the big sink.
9. Painter's Tape Car Track
Make a car track using painter's tape. Pull out your Lego Duplo or wood blocks to make houses and create your own town.
10. Mixing Colors
Grab some ice trays and scoops or squeeze bottles filled with colored water. Squeeze the colored water into the ice trays and mix and play! It is so fun to see the different colors kids make.
It only takes a few minutes to tape paper tunnels to the floor and then you are ready to start rolling! These are also fun to use with cars and trains.
12. Glow bath!
Some of our followers swear by these! Glow sticks in the bath. So much fun!
13. Bean sensory bin
Grab your favorite construction vehicles or Lego bricks and your plastic bin, plus dried beans! You may also want to toss in some scoops or tweezers or anything else that you can grab with.
Grab some playdough, googly eyes, and any other favorite accessories for this simple open ended activity! Pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks are fun to add in too!
You can do this with any toys around your house, including your Lego duplo bricks. Tape some colored paper to the floor and you are ready to sort.
Draw the outline of your toys on paper. Then try and match them! We do this with EVERYTHING... including shoes and different shapes for holidays!
Baking soda + colored vinegar + ice! This activity can last all afternoon.
Days with Grey has an awesome garage toss game that can save the day if you are stuck indoors. All you need is painter's tape and a soft ball.
Hands On As We Grow has 5 different activities that you can do with just 6 lines of blue painter's tape.
22. Go on a hunt!
We hide toys and different objects around the house and then we hunt for them. We hide gold coins during March for St. Patrick's Day. We hide candy canes at Christmas. We hunt for bugs outside during the summer. We hunt for hearts around Valentine's Day. This activity never gets old!
When I really need a break, I fill up a big sensory bin with cereal and add in some scoops and toys and let my toddler snack and play while I catch up on dishes or relax.
Tape some cardboard tubes to the wall or to the side of a sensory bin. Let the kids have fun dropping the pom poms down the cardboard shoot. With older kids you can add marbles! This idea was originally shared by my friend Rachelle at Tinkerlab.
You can make monsters out of cardboard boxes, paper bags, or even plastic water bottles. Let little ones use their fingers to feed the monster letters, pom poms, toys, or anything else you have around.
There are dozens of other activities we could share with you, but we hope you enjoy this list of 25 simple easy to prep toddler activities!
These activities require very few materials or brain power from YOU and pack quite a punch and keep kids occupied and having fun!
Hopefully you can pick one of these to try when you need a quick idea for a busy day or a crazy afternoon while you are making dinner. Make sure to share any other favorites that you love!