Toddler Activities!!

See also Ages & Stages - Toddlers

Toddlers are defined as young children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old.
Toddlers are very curious and eager to please. Toddlers want very much to participate with their older preschooler friends.
In a child care environment, daycare providers often find themselves with not only toddlers but many children of varying ages.
I've put together this page full of toddler crafts and activities geared specifically to the toddler.
Many, if not all of these ideas, are also appropriate for the preschool age.

Ideas submitted by the members of the Provider's Playground Child Care Group on Facebook.!

Sensory bottles

I'm sure most of you have a set of these but I wanted to share incase some of you don't. Take empty plastic bottles (soda or water) fill with water and "other item:

a. Lava bottles: fill 1/2 water and food coloring, and 1/2 baby oil. It produces a lava lamp effect when tilted.

b. Snow globes: fill half with water and half with corn syrup. Add glitter, beads, paper clips, etc. The corn syrup makes the glitter fall slowly for dazzling effects.

c. Discovery bottles (not pictured): fill with rice and small objects like dice, small toys, paper clips, etc. As you roll the bottle, different objects will come to the surface to be discovered.

Once filled, simply fill the bottle caps with hot glue and turn them on. Let set until dry and you have a great addition to you sensory set.! Set these bottles in a sunny window for even more dazzling effects!

~Submitted by Tricia

Magic Wands!

plastic tubing any diameter (home depot plumbing dept)
plastic end caps (home depot)
corn syrup
baby oil
food coloring
hot glue

Fill an end cap with hot glue and push it onto the end of a tube (cut to the length you would like) Let dry. Fill 1/2 with water and 1/2 with corn syrup or baby oil as above. Add food coloring or sequins/beads etc. Fill another end cap with hot glue and press onto the top of the tube, let dry.

I call these "magic wands". They are soft and flexible and can really be used as a good gross motor activity! Show the children how to turn them upside down and watch the water move. Toddlers will wear them as necklaces, or pull them around like snakes. Held up to the sunlight they are dazzling. Put different colored wands over each other and watch the "new color".

~Submitted by Tricia

Fruit Loop Sand

Get a box of Froot Loops and have the kids sort the colors. Then, put the different colors into baggies and let them crush them til they're powdery. Then let them use them like colored sand in a baby food jar and make layers. Looks like the real thing, without the hazard of them eating the sand. :) Plus, I think kids of many ages would enjoy doing this! (You can also get plastic or glass bottles with tops to do this in at the craft store for pretty cheap.)

Tear Free Bubbles ( This is great for small children! )

1/4 cup no-tears baby shampoo, 3/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Mix all ingredients and let bubbles settle. Put into a bottle.

Jell-O Bubbles

1 part dish washing detergent, 1 part gelatin powder, any flavor/color, 8 to 10 parts warm water

Mix all gently as making suds will weaken the mixture. Store in container.

Fun Bubbles

1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup dish liquid, 1 quart water

Pour the water in a shallow tub. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Add dishwashing liquid and stir again. Kids can use a fly swatter, and swing it in the air to make lots of bubbles. An empty pop bottle can be cut at the bottom of it and use that as a blower.

Tambourine Fun

Ages: 2 - 4
Supplies Required:
- Two Paper Plates
- Rice or Beans
- Markers, crayons, stickers, etc.
- Streamers or Ribbon

Have the children decorate the outside of the plates - can be adapted here to any theme. Then staple them together putting beans and rice inside before sealing. There you have it, a nice, easy, fun to make tambourine your child is sure to love. Staple streamer or ribbon strips around the plates. The kids love to wave these around. I like to let them use these while we dance around - great for rainy days!

Hula Hoop Leaps

My kids LOVE doing this so thought I'd share. I have 2 hula hoops in the yard. I place them next to each other and the kids line up and they have to jump/hop from one to the next and then they continue walking around like a circle until it's their turn again. This way it keeps them moving, lol. anyway, each time the first person comes to the front again, I separate the hula hoops a little bit, so each time they have a little bit further to jump. I don't know what it is, but they think it's hilarious. :) It could even be done inside on a rainy day.

Cookie Cutter Stamping

This is an idea that can be used throughout the year. Have the children print using cookie cutters (the plastic ones work the best) and tempera paint in a shallow container. You can do this every month and the children never seem to get tired of it! I like to use a variety of colors and papers; for example, pink, red, purple paints with heart cookie cutters on white paper. They look beautiful! Wilton has an ABC/123 set that's $20 at Michaels I think. I got it for Christmas for dd a couple of years ago w/ a 40% coupon. :)

Ceramic Hot Pad

You take a 6x6 ceramic wall tile (you can usually get them donated through a home repair store) Paint the child's hand with the color that they had picked out, place on the tile, write the child's name at the bottom. After 24 hours, put a sealer on it.

Vinegar Heart Pictures

Have the children use a paintbrush to cover a white piece of construction paper with white vinegar. Then, let the children place pre-cut red and pink tissue paper hearts all over the construction paper. When the vinegar dries, the tissue paper will fall off and will leave read heart prints.

This can be modified to fit any theme!!! :)


Glue together 2 TP rolls. hole punch on the outside top and use yarn to make a strap. Decorate with markers. Take the kids on a nature walk and let them use their binoculars to look for birds in the trees and other creatures. Teach them the word binoculars. (Sounds too cute). :)

Paper Plate Crown Kids' Craft

It is easy to make a special crown for your kids out of a paper plate.

To make this simple kids' craft, you will need:

Paper plate (not the plastic kind)
Markers, crayons or paint
Scissors (or Exacto knife)

Optional additions
Glue or Double-sided tape Stickers, foam or paper cutouts, beads, sequins, feathers, fake flowers, glitter glue or other decorations

Use your scissors or Exacto knife to cut from the center of your paper plate outward in eight strips ( like a pie), ending each about an inch from the outer edge of the plate. This will create eight triangles, each anchored by the "brim" formed along the edge of the plate; bend each triangle upward to form a crown. (in other words, poke a hold in the middle of the paper plate, and cut towards the rim of the plate - make 8 cuts like a pie so all cuts start from the center. Then fold the triangles up so the points stand up.)

Use paint, glitter glue, and other items to decorate your crown. You may want to add paper cutouts to the tip of each triangle to make the crown extra special. Consider making these crowns for seasons and holidays; make a birthday crown with candles and jewels, a winter crown with snowmen and snowflakes or a spring crown with flowers and baby chicks and ducks.

***I let the kids decorate the plates before they're cut!!!

Bread Painting Snack

A fun snack idea, paint a piece of bread!

Materials Needed:

White Bread
New Paint Brush
Food Colorings

Decide how many colors you want to use and gather that many small cups. Put about 1/4 cup of milk in each cup. Using food coloring, add a different color to each cup. Add the food coloring until you get a bright color. Now, use the paint brush and paint a picture on a piece of bread. Make sure that bread doesn't get too wet. When your picture is done, toast the bread. Now you have a masterpiece to eat! If you want to top the toast with a bit of butter.

Butterfly Ink Blot

Click HERE to see an image of this art

Cut out a butterfly shape on white paper, the shape should be symmetrical. Fold the paper in half, and ask the child to paint half of the butterfly. When the child is finished, ask him/her to press the paper halves together, so that both sides will look the same. Have the child rub the folded paper. Open the paper, and you have a butterfly with matching wings.

Fish Art

Obtain bathtub grippers that are fish shaped. I found mine at the dollar store. (You can use any shapes.) Peel off the back, and let your child decorate with glitter or construction paper. You don't have to use glue:)

Meat Tray Boats

Ask a local grocery store for unused, clean meat trays. Make great boats - just cut out the shape. Plus collect milk caps and toss them onto floating meat trays with letters/numbers/colors on them. Letters--write an upper case on trays; lowercase on caps. They try to make matches. (Younger ones just throw blank caps and try to say the letter it lands on.) Numbers-Match quantity w/numeral or add up points. (meat trays have 1 or 2 dots or shapes on them) Colors--match color of milk cap with the color of the tray (laminated construction paper circle tapes to it).

These are really fun to do in a water table or a shallow kiddy pool.

Cereal Bird Feeder

Instructions for making a simple bird feeder using cereal.

Materials Needed:
Donut-Shaped Cereal (cheerios)

Cut a piece of yarn to one and a half or two feet long. Tie a pencil or any other object about the same size on one end of the yarn. String the cereal onto the yarn. Remove the pencil and tie both ends of the yarn together. Hang outside!

Cool Cooking Idea: Ice Cream Sandwiches

Kids can make this treat themselves!

Materials: Graham crackers any flavor (we like Chocolate), ice cream (any flavor) and plastic wrap.

Description: Let the ice cream get to a soft stage then take the graham crackers and spread one half with about 1/2 cup ice cream. Put another graham cracker on top and wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze for about 3 hours. These great summer theme treats are good for up to about 3 weeks!

*Be prepared for lots of finger-licking! EWWWW!!!! I'd label the wrap with their initials!!!

Game: "Guess The Animals"

Animal cookies make this both a fun game and a treat for preschoolers as they learn about animals during this activity. Adaptable for older children, who can play as a game of charades.

Materials: A bag of animal cookies.

Description: Teachers provide a bag of animal cookies and invite the children to take turns pulling a cookie out of the bag. Younger children can act out the noise the animal makes or movements that animal does. The other children get to guess what animal they have. Older children that understand charades can act out the animal any way they need to. Children 8 and up can make it as a game of Pictionary, using a board or paper.

You can let the children eat their cookie after they make its sound, OR you can have them pick their animal, then eat it so they "become" that animal and make its sounds.

Paper Towel Coloring

Let them color with a marker on a sheet of paper towel. Paper towels have different, fun prints nowadays. You can even get holiday themes. The markers give a soft, watercolor look on the paper towels. Markers color easily, with just a touch for the littlest ones, and the older ones can make designs my marking along the raised texture of the towels. They will get a kick making it look like a quilt.

When they're done, let them spritz their artwork with a water bottle so they can see the colors bleed and blend. Could work into a lesson on primary and secondary colors for the older kids.

Apple Bag

small paper bag
red/brown paint
green construction paper
rubber band

This is a fun apple project! Take a small lunch bag and stuff it with newspaper. Tie a rubber band around the top of the bag leaving some bag at the top for a stem. Next, paint below the rubber band red for the apple and the top stem should be painted brown. After this dries, you can cut out and attach a green construction paper leaf.

Wildflower Mug

You know those mugs you can get at the craft store for $1 (sometimes 2/1 on sale) that have the top that screws off and then inside you have several sheets the kids can color that have rainbows or say #1 mom or whatever? Well, use the sheet as a template and cut out a double-wide strip of contact paper. Take the kids on a nature walk to pick wildflowers or grass or leaves or whatever they want. Then unpeel half the contact paper, let them stick it all over like a collage. When they're done, unpeel the other half and fold onto itself (sealing the flowers and leaves.). Then reinsert the paper into the mug and screw the top back on. They turned out really neat - we did them today. I can send pics later. They're in the car and I'm far too lazy to run out there now, lol. Hope these directions made sense. It's been one long day!

Links to Other Toddler Craft Sites

30 Creative Toddler Craft & Art Projects - Hands On as we grow
Activities for Toddlers -
25 of the Best Toddler Crafts for Little Hands - BuzzFeed
50 Perfect Crafts for 2 Year Olds - How Wee Learn
30 Easy Toddler Crafts - Lauren Greutman
Simple and Easy Toddler Crafts - Rainy Day Mum


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