We all know too much screen time is bad, and don’t want our toddlers watching cartoons all day. Sometimes, though, you just have to get things done and let’s face it — there are simply too many hours in a day to spend all of them entertaining your children, and no one has time to set up complicated sensory bins or supervised activities all day. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of easy, low prep activities for toddlers that you can quickly set up to get your little one away from the screens.
- Noodle Sensory Bin – Add dry noodles to a plastic tub and toss in some tongs, scoops, spoons, or cups as well as some little toy animals or cars for sorting, hunting, finding fun.
- Tissue Pull – Fill an empty tissue or wipes box with scarves or other fabric and let your child pull them out and put them back in.
- Popsicle Bath – This is magical. No, really. Put a stop to any meltdowns by adding water and a popsicle. This works in the bathtub or the pool, and doesn’t make a mess! Of course, you can make your own popsicles too and freeze them for emergencies.
- Pom Pom Push – If you like easy activities that can be prepped in just a few seconds, this one is for you! All you need is painter’s tape, pom poms, and pool noodles!
- Puzzle Mix Up – If puzzles are becoming too easy or getting boring, combine the pieces from two or more puzzles for an extra challenge!
- Dot Dot Dot – Grab a roll of butcher paper. Attach a long piece to the floor or wall with painters tape. Let your kids use dot markers or dot stickers (like the ones for garage sale pricing) to decorate. You can draw simple shapes or letters or numbers for them to “trace” with the dots.
- Water Sensory Bin – If your kid LOVES to splash and play in water, but you don’t want to give them five baths a day – try this out. Just add water to a tub or bin and throw in some bath toys, scoops, foam letters, etc. The possibilities are nearly endless.
- Glow Stick Bath – A lot of these activities involve water — but if your kid doesn’t like the bath – try this trick to make bathtime fun again! You literally just add glow sticks to the bath to make the water glow!
- Bean Sensory Bin – This is another super simple sensory bin that is great for any kids who are out of the putting-everything-in-their-mouth phase. Just add dry beans and small legos, animals, trucks, or other toys to a plastic bin. As always, scoops, plastic tweezers, etc can add extra fun and work on additional skills.
- Color Sorting Activity – You can do this with any toys around your house, including your Lego duplo bricks. Tape some colored paper to the floor and you are ready to sort.
What other ways can you find to keep your child busy with just a little creativity and minimal prep?