Toddlers have this endless energy, it’s hard to keep them occupied all day long. I used to find myself longing for nap-time so we could both have a little break.
Here are some quick and easy ideas that are foolproof, your little one will love them!
1 - Get Cooking
Depending on their age you could pop your little one in their high chair or have them stand up next to you on a chair near the surface you are going to cook on. You could google a super simple cake or biscuit recipe, whisk up and omelette or just peel and cut some fruit for a fresh fruit salad. Your toddler will love to watch and you can explain what you are doing as you go along. Liven up their senses by letting them smell and taste the ingredients. If you are using a mixing bowl let them have a go at mixing. You could even give them their own bowl and a little spoon to mix up their own mixture. You will find your little one is much more likely to try the food they have had a hand in making!
2 - Play Dress up
Although your toddler may be a little young yet to fully embrace imaginative play it is still fun for them to dress up. If you have costumes already you can use those. Otherwise just drag a box of hats and scarves to a big mirror and play at taking it in turns to try them on. You can put on different combinations and pull silly faces as you play. One of my daughters favourite things to do was put her tights on her head so it looked like she had dangly ears where the legs hung down. You could also include some old sunglasses or cut masks out of cardboard and paper.
3 - Box Train
As I am sure you will know by now toddlers love cardboard boxes. If you have some to hand you can take two or three of them and tie then in a line. Pop your little one in with some of their favourite toys, you can get in yourself if there is room! Pretend to be on a train journey somewhere, let them choose where. Maybe you are going to the beach or to grandmas for the day. You can draw some wheels on the outside or colour the train in too. There’s hours of fun to be had!
4 - Indoor Bowling
Don’t worry you don’t need a full set of skittles, although if you have one fab! Grab a ball and set up a few things to use as pins. Lots of things will work for these, drink bottles, paper towel tube, small towers of duplo bricks! Then mark a line to sit behind and take it in turns to roll the ball at the pins. Be sure to cheer and encourage your little one even if they don’t knock anything down the first few times.
5 - Arts and Crafts
You’re never too young or too old to have fun getting arty. Younger children love the sensory experience and the chance to get messy. It's a great way to let children of all ages express themselves, and giving them the opportunity to get creative is also beneficial for brain development. You can have fun with paints, glitter and glue or even make a collage with sticks and things you have found in the garden or in the park.
6- Hide and Seek
Playing hide-and-seek is great fun, even if they are too young to actually hide just peeking out from behind a tree or bush will make your little one giggle. The challenge of getting into the perfect hiding place will help improve their balance, agility, and coordination. You could start by hiding toys and having your little one help you find them and then move on to hiding yourself, then give them a turn to hide.
7 - Make a Den
It could be small or it could be huge, taking up the whole room! An easy place to start is with the kitchen table. Grab some big sheets or blankets and drape them over the edges of the table. Let you little one crawl inside the den. Encourage them to help drape the fabric and bring their toys in to plan in the den space. You could put some cushions and blankets inside too. Maybe as a special treat let them have their snack inside their den.
8- Build towers...and knock them down
You could use building blocks, duplo or even a pile of books (although don’t pile them up too high, they get heavy!) Encourage your little one to use their skills and coordination to add blocks to the top of the tower, then stand back and watch it crash down. You could start by building a small tower then try and build a tower as tall as your toddler.
9 - Follow the Leader
Toddlers love to copy adults so if you need something to help get your toddler active, try a game of follow the leader. It’s a great way to help develop their large motor skills. Begin by explaining to your little one that you want them to copy the things that you do. Use language that they understand. Start with movements that you know your little one is capable of, like clapping their hands, this gives them a feeling of confidence. If your toddler doesn't seem to know what to do, ask, "Can you do it?" Then help them do the movement. Some other ideas for movements are - hop, jump, high five, blink, touch your nose, touch your toes. Once they've mastered the game, give your toddler a chance to be the leader, too!
10 - Indoor obstacle course
Start with a clear space to lay out your obstacles. Make sure the obstacle course is simple at first and change the stations as they've mastered. You could have your little one crawl under a row of chairs or jump in and out of a hula hoop. They could walk on a balance board or layout a winter scarf for them to walk along. You could include a ring toss or have them try to walk with something balanced on their head. Maybe they could ride their bike or scooter along a part of the course or do a rolly-polly.
I hope this has given you some ideas to work with on those cold, wet days when playing outside isn’t so much fun.
Let me know below if you have any suggestions at all! I really look forward to reading them.
Have a lovely day