My Latest Favorite At-home Toddler Activities

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READING TIME: 3 min.

I have a three and one year-old at home with me. Some days we love getting out and exploring, and other days you just need to stay home and have a “quiet” (haha) day.

I’m listing my latest favorite at-home activities for toddlers. Some require zero prep, and others need a little forethought. But, if it entertains them for at least 20-30 minutes without me needing to intervene? Totally worth it!

Homemade playdough
This is a perfect rainy day activity. We’ve made a few batches of this in the last few weeks, and my son asks to play with it almost every day. The texture is more soft and pliable than store-bought, making it easier for their little hands to create. And it lasts f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Here’s a simple recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (If you are going to make more than a few batches, buy the larger container of this. It’s much more cost-effective.)
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • Food coloring (I like the gel kind)

Mix dry ingredients in medium saucepan, then add wet ingredients. Heat over medium low until it starts to thicken. Add desired food coloring. Continue stirring until it starts gathering around the spoon (you don’t want it sticky). Cool on wax or parchment paper. Knead for a few minutes until the texture is the right consistency. Enjoy! Here’s another recipe that uses Kool-Aide, which makes the playdough smell SO good. 

Water painting

at-home activities
“Mom! I’m painting the fence!”

That’s right. Give them a bucket of water and let the kids have at it! I gave them paint brushes and rollers and let them “paint” our fence. If you have a deck, let them paint that. If the weather isn’t suitable to be outside, let them paint construction paper with the water. Just about zero mess to clean up. Woo-woo! 

Card Slot Drop
I’ve been searching for ways to reuse my empty oatmeal containers and this is one fun way to do that from Busy Toddler. Simply cut a hole in the lid wide enough to fit playing cards. Hand them a deck of cards and voila! My three-year old was surprisingly interested in this—he pretended it was a mail box. You could even get crafty and cover the container with paper to make it look more like a mail box. Or not. Either way, they will like it!

Sticker lines
Draw varying lines on a blank piece of paper (vertical, horizontal, zig-zag, etc.) and let them place stickers along the line. Easy!

Wipe-clean workbooks
I found some of these at Sam’s Club recently (I’m sure Costco, Target, or Walmart have them as well). I bought the books focusing on lines and tracing as well as letters and numbers for my son. He is really in to them! My younger daughter just likes to doodle on them, but they both will sit quietly and do their “work.”

Quiet Bins
This is actually something I’m currently putting together. I am in need of something that is not TV to give to my three-year old while my one-year old naps. (He’s currently in the “I don’t want to nap every day” phase and it’s a killer!) I’ve found a few ideas here and am trying to keep it simple, which is the point of these bins.

So here they are! Please share with us your current favorite or go-to toddler at-home activities.

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