Most toddlers are awake for 12-14 hours a day which means we parents of toddlers need to provide about 12-14 hours of entertainment every single day. Pretty intense, right? So, what can we do with our energetic toddler? GAMES, GAMES and more toddler GAMES!
We’ve put together our go-to-guide for toddler games and activities, all of which are ‘social distancing’ friendly and sure to be a big hit for your little one.
Which one of these toddler games and activities will bring the biggest smiles to your home? Only one way to find out!
5 water play toddler activities
1. Sprinkler splash and dash
Get the sprinkler out and let your toddler run through it. Turn it into a game by placing objects on one side of the sprinkler (balls, for example) and asking your toddler to collect them.
2. Water painting
Let your little one paint the fence with a spray bottle of water or a bucket of water and a paintbrush.
3. Sponge ball
Ready, set, soak! Simply cut sponges, tie them with a zip tie and dunk them in water for some super-soaking fun. There are heaps of games you can do with this one too – basketball using a bucket, Hot Potato or simply let your toddler dunk, rinse and throw them around. Too much fun!
4. Waterbomb pinata
Make a pinata out of water balloons and let your toddler have a go at whacking it open.
5. Boats away!
Anything can be a boat with a little imagination – a leaf, a water bottle, a folded piece of paper! Set sail on making your own using a leftover avocado shell and head to a nearby creek or stream to watch it go. Make a few and see which one wins the race.
5 funtastic colour-themed games
6. Pom Pom scoop
You’ll need to go to a craft store to pick up a big bag of pom poms for this fun motor skills game. Dump the pom poms into a big bowl of water and let your toddler scoop them out using a ladle or any other scooping device. Make it even more exciting by placing different coloured bowls around him so he can sort the pom poms by colour. Red pom poms go into the red bowl, and so forth.
7. Laundry basket ball
You’ll need a few laundry baskets and a bucket of play balls for this one. Place the baskets on the floor, each with a coloured piece of cardboard attached to it and the bucket of balls in front of your toddler. Then, get him to throw the balls into the laundry basket that matches the colour.
HINT: If you don’t have plastic balls, use coloured socks.
8. Spin the colour wheel
If you happen to have The Game of Life or Twister hanging about, you’re ready to play. Spin the wheel and ask your toddler to find something in the house that is the same colour as what the spinner landed on. A red block, a green pen, a black sock, a pink bowl.
9. Taste the rainbow
You now have an excuse to buy ‘Froot Loops’ – or the cheaper Homebrand version – with this cute game. Simply draw a rainbow template and let your toddler fill in the rainbow with the colourful Froot Loops. You can then use the ‘Froot Loops’ to make a necklace later if he doesn’t eat them all.
10. Pasta columns
Another fun activity is to string the Froot loops onto pasta. You’ll need uncooked long pasta for this one, plus a ball of playdough to hold the pasta in place.
5 rainy day games and activities
11. Puzzle piece hunt
Turn puzzling into a game by ‘hiding’ the puzzle pieces in a trough filled with sand.
12. Busy boards
Toddlers love Busy Boards and if you have the time, you can easily make one (or buy one). It may not be as awesome as the one below, but, hey, a trip to Bunnings and you’re set.
13. Hot and cold
This is a fun variation of hide and seek (and it doesn’t involve you having to squeeze under the table). Simply hide his fave teddy, a ball or any other object. If he’s getting closer, yell out “hot”. If he’s moving away, yell out “cold”.
14. Truck painting
A bit messy but heaps of fun! Add a few dollops of paint to a large piece of paper and give your little one an assortment of plastic cars and trucks. Just make sure you have a bath running and a big drop sheet down.
15. Tube race
We hope you’re collecting all those empty toilet paper and paper towels rolls! Tape them to the wall so they connect at different angles. Then give your toddler a ball to drop down the tubes and see where it ends up.
5 active play toddler games
16. Toddler bowling
Pick up a toy bowling set or use empty one-litre bottles. Use any ball you can find and let your little one knock them down. You can do this in a hallway or outside.
17. At home obstacle course
Use pillows as jumping stones, add a bit of crepe paper to your kitchen table for children to crawl through and mark landing points out with masking tape. Sure, it involves climbing on furniture and a bit of rearranging, but, hey, if it burns some energy…
18. Simon Says
Call out commands—“Simon says touch your toes!—and your little one has to follow. It’s an easy way to get kids jumping, twirling, and learning the different body parts.
19. Ribbon Run
Tie a different coloured ribbon to the tops of five long-handled wooden spoons, then place the spoons outside in a pile. Call out a colour and get your toddler to bring the right spoon back.
20. Scavenger hunts
Send your toddler hunting for objects around the house based on commands, such as “find me something round, “find me something red” or “find mummy’s missing keys”.
5 super easy sensory games
21. Playdough bash
You’ll need a toy hammer and several balls of playdough for this one. Simply roll the dough into little balls and let your toddler hammer them flat. I’d place a piece of cardboard underneath to prevent play dough caking into your floor.
22. Taste testing
Here’s one for those taste buds! Enjoy a feast at snack time by filling up a 12-tin muffin tray with different treats. Try sweet flavours (mini marshmallows and berries), tangy flavours (orange pieces and grapes), and salty flavours (pretzels and nuts). You can even add a blindfold for added fun!
23. Tons of troughs
Troughs are great for toddler activities. Try a different one each day.
- Water play trough – Complete with ladles and pots, shampoo for bubbles and sponges for squeezing.
- The pantry trough – Try pasta, navy beans, oats, barley, buckwheat, birdseed.
- Messy trough – Think shaving cream, bubble bath, shampoo, goop, finger paint, cloud foam and mud.
- Treasure trough – Opt for sand or kinetic sand and plenty of ‘treasures’ to find such as mini figurines, cars, rocks and gems. Don’t forget the diggers, spades and pails too.
- Garden trough – Collect items from outside – flowers, sticks, pinecones – and place them in a water trough. Mix it all together to create a colourful garden soup.
- Coloured trough – Coloured rice, pasta or water beads (if your child is old enough NOT to taste test them).
24. Ziploc Painting
Put some paint in a Ziploc bag – make sure it’s sealed and taped closed, then give it to your toddler. As they squish and poke the bag, the paint will move around in different and interesting ways.
25. Musical instruments
Delight the sound sense by creating musical instruments out of things you have at home, such as empty paper towel rolls filled with dried beans or rice for shakers.