Activities for toddlers 

20 simple & messy activities for toddlers. My daughter is 14 months old and absolutely loves doing these. This was a much requested post, so here we are..

Let’s start with some simple suggestions: 

  • Drawing
  • Cardboard box
  • Rice in a bottle 
  • Pots & Pans 
  • Bubble wrap
  • Balloons
  • Megabloks
  • Dry pasta & cup
  • Tunnel / den
  • Ballpit
  • Safety blanket 
  • Plastic balls & muffin tray 

Drawing – Simple but effective, Alyssia has finally learnt to make marks on paper (better late than never – she used to just try and eat the crayons) I have always got a notepad & pen on hand with blogging & organising my way through the week.. Alyssia loves to steal a page from my book and scribble on it when she can, Bless her

Cardboard box – We all go out and buy our children big gifts at Christmas & birthdays etc.. but what are they more interested in playing with??… the cardboard box! You can do so many things with a cardboard box, draw on it, paint it, sit in it, make a den etc… let them explore!

Rice in a bottle – Make a shimmy shaker out of an old plastic bottle and some rice, Alyssia loves to “shake shake shake” it and like all toddlers – loves to make a noise.  

Pots & pans – If your children are anything like mine, They will try to get in those kitchen cupboards when you’re cooking – Give them a pan and a wooden spoon & they’ll be well away. Alyssia loves playing with “Mummy’s things” from the kitchen cupboards, even if it is just for her to mix her toys in a pan – creative I know. 

Bubble Wrap – We were at my Grandads house the other day and he brought down some bubble wrap for the children to play with and I couldn’t help but think – what a good idea. The children thought it was absoultely hilarious, and were jumping (or trying to jump in Alyssias case) on the roll of bubble wrap for a good 10 minutes. 

Balloons – We usually only ever have balloons in the house after a birthday party or event, but I have found a few in the kitchen drawer now & again and have blown them up for Alyssia – she loves them! She’s obsessed with the noise the balloon makes when you pinch it, and I’m obsessed with making her hair static – as you do. 

Megabloks – We bought Alyssia some megabloks for Christmas when she was 10 months old and she loves them. She mostly likes to pull them all sort after you’ve spent a while using your parenting imagination – however it keeps them entertained for a good 5 minutes.. 

Dry pasta & cup – You’re probably thinking… what?? But here me out, this is one of our favourites.. get yourself a mixing bowl or a box and fill it with dry pasta.. get a plastic cup and use it as a scoop, let your little one explore – trust me they will absolutely love it. 

Tunnel / den – We all remember making tunnels & dens out of blankets and cushions when we were kids, right?? So why not show your little ones what it was like.. Alussia absoultely loves going under the “blanket tunnel” that we make going over the gap of our 2 sofas. 

Ballpit – We bought Alyssia a ballpit from Argos for around £15 I think with the plastic balls. It does take up quite alot of room but you can pack it away after each use if you want to. If you don’t have a ballpit you can make your own, why not bring soft play to your own home? Fill a plastic storage tub with plastic balls, or you could even fill your bath tub!

Safety blanket – I got this idea from a baby group that I went to when A was around 4 months old, you can get safety blankets in the £1 shop and you literally just cut them to shape, they don’t rip or break – they’re completely safe & you let your little one scrunch it up, Alyssia used to love the noise along with the shiny-ness of it. You could even let them use it as a cape. 

Plastic balls & muffin tray – again, You’re probably thinking….. what?? But this is by far my favourite simple activity to do with a toddler and Alyssia absoultely loves it. Simply find a muffin tray and fill the holes with the plastic balls, preferably 2 different colours. This is like a colour sorting game, Alyssia loves to find the different colours and put them in the tray. It just let’s her explore with new things in the kitchen and she loves getting involved.

So here are some slightly messier activities for toddlers: 

  • Ice cubes
  • Washing up bowl & bath toys 
  • Bubbles 
  • Finger painting 
  • Rice crispies & cup 
  • Sponges in water
  • Bowl of peas & sieve 
  • Sand box 

Ice cubes – Something so simple, But so much fun for little ones. Alyssia loves playing with ice cubes & she always has done.. simply get a tray or a large bowl and fill it with ice cubes and just let them explore, see what they do with them.. 

Washing up bowl & bath toys – Alyssia loves this activity but always ends up getting water everywhere so I usually put a few towels down first. I make up a bowl of warm soapy water & fill it with her rubber ducks from the bath and just let her play with it. It keeps her entertained and it’s something good for a rainy day. 

Bubbles – We all love bubbles right? Something I would reccomened to any parent.. toddlers love bubbles especially my toddler! Alyssia thinks it’s absoultely hilarious evedytime I blow the bubbles & now that she’s that little bit older, she trys to catch them. Bubbles are very cheap too.

Finger painting – this is the messiest one yet and not something we do very often but I would like to do more of with A, now that the summer is rapidly approaching. Finger painting, hand print painting, roller painting, it’s all good fun! I would definitely reccomend putting a wipeable mat down first though unless you’re extremely brave unlike myself. Haha! 

Rice crispies & cup – again, this is a strange one but it’s alot of fun. Its very similar to the dry pasta & a cup, the only difference is that it is with rice crispies instead and they are slightly messier if you ask me. This is such a fun activity to do, you can let them scoop the rice crispies up, eat them, sit in them, stand on them, whatever.. just let them do their thing.. 

Sponges in water – We all love a bit of messy play, especially with water so why not let your little ones join in with the ‘washing up’ and give them some sponges in some warm water. I’m sure they won’t mind helping, aslong you don’t mind.. 

Bowl of peas & sieve – love this one, probably because it’s the weirdest one of them all.. literally cook up some peas in a pan, leave them too cool in the water & after a few hours.. let your little ones have the pan of peas with a sieve and see what they do, you can also do this with frozen peas but this way it doesn’t matter if they eat them as they’re cooked first. 

Sand box – We haven’t tried this one yet as we don’t have a garden, however Alyssia loves the sand – she’s experienced it at the beach and at various parks but you can buy big bags of sand from Tesco for under £5, use a plastic box or lid and fill it with sand.. let your toddler sit in it, jump in it, play with their cars in it. Whatever, just let them explore. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments if you thought it was helpful. 

Thanks for reading, 

Zoe x

13 thoughts on “Activities for toddlers 

  • Lots of great ideas here. We have a ball pool but both my children crawls straight out of it! Water play is a firm favourite here and pots and pans. My eldest loved scooping pasta too.

  • That’s really good, Alyssia turns 15 months old this week! Yes definitely I completely agree, the muffin tray is amazing – my little girl absoultely loved this. She enjoyed matching up the colours, putting them in & out and she enjoyed throwing them onto it seeing if they’ll land in the holes. Let me know what your LO thinks of it. Zoe x

  • I love some of these ideas – I’m so trying the sieve and cooked peas idea, my son loves to smush his food so I think he’d enjoy this a lot!! We’re huge fans of den building and cardboard boxes here too, there’s something about popping their head out of cosy spaces that seems to appeal to toddlers!

  • Such great ideas! Bear loves finding stuff in the kitchen to play with like the plastic chopping boards & my nans rubber colanders haha! He really loves a bath & bath toys too but I’m so finicky about having water in the house that isn’t the bath haha! Thanks for such fab ideas!
    Claire xx

  • These are such good suggestions. I love playing with toddlers as they’re such easy little beings when it comes to play. They just love to learn. A lot of this will have so much longevity. My four year old step son tries to be all big and grown up but really he loves to play like a toddler too!

  • Enjoyed reading this! Gonna try the muffin tray one wit my two year old. She knows all her colours now so will love sorting them all out. Bubbles is a favourite of ours too x

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