These 50 toddler activities are easy ways for an eco-conscious, nature inspired, budget-friendly parent to use up some of that boundless energy. Take the guesswork out of parenting and incorporate some of these easy activities into your day for a well-balanced toddler!
The toddler years are some of the busiest, confusing, in-the-moment, ever-changing times of your parenting career. Between snacks, naps, tantrums, and running after them, it can definitely be hard to plan anything on the fly!
Table of contents
- Toddler Activities for Eco-Conscious Families
- 50 Fun Toddler Activities
Toddler Activities for Eco-Conscious Families
You never know where your day will lead you when you’re living life with toddlers, so it’s helpful to have a few activity ideas in your back pocket.
These toddler activities are all simple and budget friendly ways to keep your toddler busy and happy throughout the flow of your day. We encourage getting kids outside as often as possible, but you’ll also find some indoor activities here.
Feel free to pre-plan activities or write down a few and have your tot pick one out of a jar every day.
50 Fun Toddler Activities
On this list you’ll find developmentally appropriate, nature-inspired, and easy DIY activities on this list to suit the needs of a variety of temperaments and engagement levels. Have fun!
Outdoor Toddler Activities
1. Have a picnic in your own backyard. Lay out an outdoor blanket and bring some simple wraps, fruits, and berries outside to enjoy lunch or snack time.
2. Observe and count with a backyard bug count game. Or make a DIY humane bug jar if your toddler wants a closer look, and then let them go.
3. Create a fairy garden with these fun ideas for inspiration. This is fun to put together with your child, and makes for some really fun play once it is set up too.
4. Go on a nature scavenger hunt together. This is a great way to spend time outside with your toddler, and also a great way for them to begin learning facts about nature and plant names.
5. Pick a bouquet of wildflowers (let your child choose what they deem a flower, even if it’s a weed). Put them in small vases around the house, or tie some with twine and give them to a friend or neighbor.
6. Go on a mushroom hunt and identify the mushrooms you find. There are some great mushroom books for kids with wonderful illustrations.
7. Go out stargazing with your toddler. The night sky is filled with stories and wonder that encourage connection with the universe.
8. Pick dandelion puffs and make wishes together, or collect the flowers and dry them to use for tea or a salve. This is a perfect activity to do in your backyard or nearby, and dandelions have tons of uses!
9. Make a potion. Collect anything you can find outside together (dirt, leaves, flower petals) to put in a jar with water to make an imaginary “potion.” Add a few drops of food coloring to each one and let your toddler stir them up with a stick.
10. Create a pretend plant restaurant. Bring some pie pans, baking sheets, and cooking utensils (thrifted ones are great!) outside to create gourmet meals with anything you can find outside, and play “restaurant.”
11. Backyard plant identification and foraging. These foraging books for kids are perfect guides to identifying edible and medicinal weeds and plants growing right outside your door.
Indoor Toddler Activities
12. Cook with your toddler. Small children can be more helpful than you think, and they love it! Let them stand on a stool, add ingredients, help stir, and even crack eggs.
13. Learn your child’s favorite song in a different language. Even sign language is fun for toddlers, and you can sing or sign the song in rounds.
14. Write a poem together. Connect with your little one while teaching them language and rhyming skills. You can start a line, and let them finish it.
15. Make up a bedtime story using their favorite toys as characters. If your brain is too tired to make it up, use a story you already know by heart (my boys loved the Hobbit as told by their stuffed dragons).
16. Make homemade ice cream. Try making ice cream in a bag for something simple that doesn’t require an ice cream maker. Toddlers and kids love getting their hands in the kitchen, and this project ends in a sweet treat!
17. Show your child a fun or creative way to deal with stress (jumping jacks, running laps, poetry, singing, yoga poses, painting, mantras, or dancing it out are all great places to start). Then everyone can try it out for the day!
18. Make a magnetic story board and tell stories for hours. This is a fun way to encourage literacy and a love of reading, as well as telling your child’s stories.
19. Make a cardboard house and decorate it. Another throwback to my childhood, I think it’s a universal truth that endless fun is to be had with cardboard and markers no matter how many fancy toys one might have!
Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers
20. Research and plan a local playground tour and visit one per week. Or for cold winter days indoor climbing is great substitute!
21. Have a dance party. There is nothing quite like dancing it out for an energy release, as well as exposing your tot to your favorite music.
22. Set up an obstacle course either indoors or outdoors that includes climbing (couch cushions make great tiny indoor mountains), jumping, running, and balancing.
23. Play hopscotch. This is a great simple toddler activity that can be set as simple as necessary with sidewalk chalk!
24. Run through a sprinkler together. This is a throwback to my childhood on warm days, it’s so simple, fun, and can provide hours of entertainment and water based games.
25. Add a simple DIY balance beam to your yard. Toddlers love to balance, and your own backyard is a safe setting for them to master this skill.
Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
26. Make a nature cutting bin. This is a fun outdoor activity that lets toddlers use scissors and it provides various textures and strengths for cutting skills.
27. Try this button stacking activity with super simple supplies you likely already have around the house. This is creative, playful, and works on fine motor skills at the same time.
28. Create your own comic books. Make a template on paper first with squares to draw in, then take turns drawing with your child as they tell the story of what happens next.
29. Squeeze lemons by hand with your toddler and make a big pitcher of lemonade. For a little extra calm in your busy toddler day try making this lavender lemonade.
30. Work puzzles together. Puzzles are a great quiet time indoor activity, I found that even my busiest bodied toddlers would stay engaged in puzzles. Plus, it’s good for depth perception and fine motor strength.
Art Activities for Toddlers
31. Make sidewalk chalk paint. Using sidewalk chalk on wet ground, or swiping paint brushes with water over chalk makes for a creamy texture and more saturated color that spreads easily.
32. Make button art. We all have that drawer or basket filled with extra buttons, don’t let them go to waste! Grab some glue and paper, or string them on pipe cleaners for some artistic fun.
34. Make your own paints and brushes from nature. Dress your toddler in paint-worthy clothes, then go outside and paint. Get as messy as you can and mix together paint colors to your heart’s delight.
Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers
35. Build a blanket fort. Use chairs, couch cushions, ottomans, a table, and all the blankets you can find, then have a popcorn party or a picnic in the fort.
36. Play in the rain. Get out those rain boots, jump in some puddles, and dance in the rain.
37. Try rain painting. Let your toddler scribble a few colors on card stock or a paper plate, and put it out in the rain to let the colors mix. Or draw an outdoor scene and let the rain add natural artistic streaks to it.
38. Giant puddle paint brush. Put on rain coats, grab your sidewalk chalk and a broom, and create!
39. Giant tic-tac-toe is simple to make, and a super fun way to spend a rainy afternoon playing with your toddler. This is a great way to have your child practice taking turns, the art of being a gracious winner, and a gracious loser as you play quick rounds.
Sensory Activities for Toddlers
40. Make a sensory bin or try one of these sensory activities for toddlers. There are so many ways to support their sensory systems and regulate their mood.
41. Flour sensory play. There are so many toddler activities to do with flour, which you likely already have in your pantry.
42. Colored ice bin activity. Using the magic that is food coloring and water, there are endless sensory play activities to do with colored ice.
44. Make a sandbox area in your yard and fill it with pouring tools and trucks for digging. It’s fun to make little rivers and streams in a small sandbox too!
Social Emotional Activities for Toddlers
45. Pretend play is a wonderful way for toddlers to process issues and learn social skills. This is a great time to incorporate dress ups!
46. Make stress balls with balloons by filling them with flour and drawing faces on them. They can also be filled with rice or baking soda, use what you have and let your toddler play their stress away.
47. Cooperative board games are great for so many reasons! They teach cooperative skills, social skills, language skills, and self regulation.
48. Roughhousing has been shown to be really good for kids, believe it or not! It is not only great for energy, but teaches kids to set boundaries, read social cues, process emotions, and more, so let your toddler get their wild out!
49. DIY emotion matching game. Make small cards or disks with different face emotions on them, help your toddler identify each emotion as you flip them over and find the match.
50. Read a guided meditation together. This activity to do together with your toddler will benefit them in many ways, and foster your connection and bond.