Sunday, September 7, 2014

10 Quick & Easy Toddler Activities

This post contains Affiliate Links.

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. My oldest son started 1st grade, I got a stomach bug and was knocked out for three days, I went on a quick weekend trip away (without kids), I did some teacher development for my daughter's preschool teachers, I helped with parent orientation at preschool, I hosted a neighborhood BBQ for 150 people, and I managed to organize all of the clothes and toys in my house and do a lot of de-cluttering. We also did our usual stuff like laundry and errands. I am exhausted! I am sure that many of you can relate and have even busier lives right now. I used to glorify busy and now I try and avoid it... so I am hoping things slow down a bit!

One of my goals this year is to do simple toddler play activities with my toddler each day. I feel like I have been failing lately, but we did manage to do a few fun things together over the past week or two. Here are 10 quick and easy toddler activity ideas to try!     

1. Rolling ribbon spools down a ramp

I love to save cardboard ribbon spools but I never know what to do with them. Last week we just rolled them down a ramp. The kids were so excited about it. It was neat to see them problem solve when the spools would fall down or not balance well. 

2. Cornflake sensory bin

I am not a fancy sensory bin creator. I just grabbed a few favorite items and turned them into an activity. We have cool vehicle counters from Learning Resources that I hid in a big tub of cornflakes. The kids had so much fun looking for the different vehicles along with crushing and tasting the cornflakes.

3. Mess Free Baggie Painting

You can find the full tutorial for this baggie painting activity here. We love using cars to help us paint too.

4. Nap Time Pretend Play 

We like to pretend that it is naptime. When I was sick a few weeks ago this was my favorite activity! We all lied around with blankets and pillows and pretended to nap. Then the kids would yell, "it's wake up time!" and we'd all wake up... and then go back to sleep again... and again. My toddler loves to "nap" in a really uncomfortable basket with hid doggie and blanket.

5. Shoe Matching Game

We've done this matching game with toys before but we decided to adapt it and try it with shoes!! My son LOVES trying on different shoes and moving our shoes around so this game was perfect for him. He thought it was so fun to play with mommy and daddy's shoes along with his big brother and sister's shoes.

6. Sticker Paper Plate Frisbees

For this activity we just used paper plates and frisbees. I gave my son a sheet of stickers and I helped him peel them off. Then he stuck the stickers all over his paper plate. Once he was done stickering both sides we threw the paper plate around the house like it was a frisbee. His big brother and sister wanted to join in too!

7. Washing Dishes

Playing with water is always a blast with my kids! We did this activity at my daughter's preschool and I plan to replicate it at home. The kids just did some dish washing using three tubs. In one tub they put their extra food, the other was filled with soapy water so they scrubbed their plate with soapy water, and then they finished off by putting their clean plate in a big bin filled with clean plates.

8. Fruit Loop Towers!

This was a great idea from Mess for Less that we tried out! Go here for the fruit loop tower tutorial. I thought my toddler would spend the entire time eating these but instead but built and built... and then ate some... and then built more towers!

9. Knocking down cup towers

My kids love to build cup towers while I make dinner. Their favorite thing to do is make them really tall and then have my toddler come and knock them all down. He loves it!

10. Pipe Cleaners, Straws, and Playdough Fun!

There are so many different cools tools you can use with playdough. Some of our favorites include pipe cleaners, straws, toothpicks, candles, and googly eyes.

See any activities that you want to try? Don't forget to follow me over on Instagram and see any additional #simpletoddlerplay activities that I share!

Need more activities for toddlers or preschoolers? Make sure to check out our awesome e-books! We are having a special HALF-PRICE sale on them all week long!

For one week only you can use codes 3to5 and 0to2 to get 50% off two of our most popular ebooks. They’re just $4.49 each this week – and filled with awesome ideas, activities and printables!

Zero to Two: The Book of Play is full of wonderful sensory, play-based ideas for our youngest learners. It comes with a set of printable puppets and stroller cards, and is just right for babies and toddlers. See more details of the book here, buy it now, and use code 0to2 to get it for just $4.49.

Buy Now

Three to Five: Playful Preschool is packed with hands-on, creative ideas, including math, literacy, science, art and play. It comes with ten fantastic printables including My First Journal, a city-scene for pretend play, recipe card, and math and alphabet game cards. See more details of the book here, buy it now, and use code 3to5 to get it for just $4.49.

Buy Now

This offer is only available until Sunday September 14th 2014 so don't miss out!

You can buy the ebooks wherever you are in the world. You pay via PayPal.


  1. Our grandson loves to have water play, pouring from one container to another. Can't wait to try the washing dishes!! Pretend napping has been a big hit for a while, complete with fake snoring! Now I want to try the paper plate sticker frisbees, and can't wait till next babysitting day!

  2. Love and Love and Love! These are so great! Thanks for some great ideas to help keep my little one busy this week. :)

  3. So how do we download the books if we have ipad ? Or is a c0mp required?

    1. Anonymous they download best using a computer. Feel free to email me about any problems toddlerapproved at gmail dot com

  4. Hi! When I enter the code, it says "The code has expired."

    1. Hi Anonymous, yes as mentioned in the post the code was only good until September 14th.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! Please know that if it isn't kind or adding to the conversation, it won't be shared. I moderate each comment, so you won't see your comment show up immediately when you post. Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog.