Favorite Toddler Activities

Favorite Toddler Activities September 4, 2014

I know I am probably the last of the families here to return to school, but we did finally return to school this week.  It has been a wonderful week for my two school-age children.  Even our kindergartener who started half-day kindergarten today was beaming ear to ear.  The week has been a bit tougher for my three year old and me, however.  We both miss his older siblings and wish they weren’t gone for most of the day.

My three year old is not going to preschool this year, so we, along with his one-year old sister, will get to spend most of the day together.  I am determined and excited to put effort and energy into our time together, since this is a new and rare opportunity alone with my younger children.  Today, we came home from school drop off and made a mess finger painting with shaving cream, took an extra long bath time to clean up, and then sang the ABCs in a circle on the floor while we pointed to the letters on a mat.  My three year old loved my extra attention.  I loved it too, especially with the heightened realization that this time is so short.

So, I am looking for your favorite homebound activities with your toddlers and preschoolers so that I might borrow some of them this year.  I purchased The Toddlers Busy Book at a consignment sale and can’t wait to put a few ideas to work each week.  I am thankful that the perspective of seeing my older kids off to school has given me renewed energy for age that I previously found laborious.  Help keep me going with your favorite toddler activities!




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  • Sarah

    I don’t know if this counts, but I’m on maternity leave now while my oldest 2 have just started Kindergarten. I have been walking them to school and taking the long way home with their 3 year old brother. He walks or runs or points things out. I hold his hand and marvel at what he has to say when he isn’t competing for attention. What a blessing those 3 block walks have been.

  • Queen B

    Sarah, so true. Three is a great age to marvel at the world together. We’ll do lots of “Nature” walks.

  • Mary Alice

    We did playdough this morning, and building a massive train track is always a favorite activity here. It can work well to have one major toy or activity that you are introducing per week, kind of “teaching them” to play and work, so that by the end they can do a lot of it by themselves. My little ones could water color for hours. I also do seasonal themed picture book baskets, so today we probably read 10 books about fall, apples and pumpkins, and for the next few weeks we will have simple craft projects related to that, collecting leaves and doing leaf rubbings, cutting up apples and doing tastings of different varieties, even painting with apple halves (stamping). I also bake and cook with my children a lot — you can teach them to cut up cucumbers with a plastic knife and make homemade hummus for a dip, make homemade peanut butter, smoothies, banana muffins, etc. One last one, I don’t know if you get a lot of magazines or catalogs, but one year I drew a huge rainbow (just black lines with spaces) on a posterboard and for weeks we gathered pictures and made a rainbow collage.

    Enjoy this time!

  • Mary Alice gives some great suggestions. Lots of cooking, play dough, and other hands on activities. I also try to get most of my errands done when I only have a few little kids — kids ages 1 and up seem to love the food store, car wash, and department stores for short trips! — and that leaves me more relaxed for when my big kids are home. I’d also try to schedule a play date once per week because I am a people person and love meeting other moms. Informal playground time is is great for this too. And my little ones love trips to the aquarium and zoo. We have a membership but my big kids are so busy they have little time to attend. My 3-4 year old kids LOVE these outings.

  • Jolene

    If you google Tot School there are tons of blogs with fun toddler activities, I think the main site is called 1+1+1 but not totally sure on the name but they have loads of activities I’ve used with my 2 year old and 8 month old.

  • Queen B

    Thanks, Jolene! This is great!

  • Queen B

    Zoo membership, check! Thanks for the reminder to make use of those fun outings with fewer kids in tow, Kellie. Definitely more relaxing…