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Activity Ideas for Toddlers

Sara Gable, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension, with help from:

Dombro, Amy Laura, Colker, Laura J., & Dodge, Diane Trister.  (1999).  The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers.  Washington, DC:  Teaching Strategies, Inc.

Marzollo, Jean.  (1977).  Supertot.  New York, NY:  Harper & Row Publishers. 

Creative Activities: Keep them simple!

  • Deodorant bottle painting on different kinds of paper, like newspaper, grocery sacks, or construction paper.
  • Handprint painting – use paint-soaked sponges in meat trays to keep down the mess.
  • Tissue paper shapes dipped in liquid starch and arranged on paper plates.
  • Junk mail return address labels and old envelopes or pieces of mail.
  • Painting with thick-handled, short bristle brushes at a table-top easel.

Motor Activities: Toddlers love to keep busy.

  • Playdough and simple kitchen equipment
  • Dropping game and carrying game
  • Simple puzzles
  • Bean bags and buckets
  • Blow bubbles against a mirror
  • Appliance boxes for crawling in and out
  • Felt shapes, felt body parts, and a felt board
  • Cardboard building blocks
  • Cloth tunnel for crawling
  • Push/pull toys, shape sorters, and nesting cups
  • Cobblers bench

Sensory Activities: Provide opportunities for clean "messy" play!

  • Bathtub blocks in tubs of water
  • Piles of shredded paper with farm animals
  • Outdoor painting with water
  • Tubs of water with measuring cups and spoons
  • Bathing baby dolls
  • Rubber ducks in tubs of water
  • Lots of little pieces of masking tape

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Last updated: 12/02/15