Those 2 to 3 years before Kindergarten are a critical period of time for your children. They’re growing so fast! Physically, emotionally, and intellectually. They’re constantly learning about the world around them, how to be a little person, and their own bodies. It’s an incredible opportunity for you to help them learn and grow before they start formal school.
Fun, Creative Activities for Toddlers
Kids learn a tremendous amount of stuff through play. It’s a good thing, too, because they also have endless energy to expend! At the end of the day, fun and creative activities are powerful for the mental and physical lives of toddlers. Get your preschooler started with the following 10 activities, but don’t stop there! Get creative.
1) Balloon Pop Challenge
This is a super simple way to get your kids to burn a little energy, exercise their gross motor skills, and learn to think and process information. First, blow up a bunch of balloons they can play with while you prepare the activity. Next, blow up a small, medium, and large balloon for each child who will participate. Label them Small, Medium, and Large. Tell the kids their job is to pop the balloons with their body and give them one of each size. Before you shout, “Go!”, ask them which balloon they think will be the easiest to pop. At the end, talk about why the large balloons were actually the easiest.
2) Foot Picasso
Kids love to get messy. This activity may be best outside. Purchase some large, wide strips of paper. You may find them at a teacher supply store, craft store, or just check around. Using finger paints, or another water-soluble thick paint, have your child dip their feet in the paint and make a painting on the paper with their feet. Have a tub of water and towel nearby to wash their feet between colors. Sit back and watch their imaginations run wild.
3) Bubble Wrap It
Save all the bubble wrap you get. For this activity, you’ll type it to the floor in long strips. Simply challenge your kids to pop all the bubbles with their hands, feet, and bodies. If you have more than one child, make it a race to see who can pop all their bubbles first.
4) Fun with Flour
Kids love, love, love getting messy! For this activity, you’ll need a tray for each child with somewhat high walls. Put about a quarter cup or so (not too much!) in each tray. Give your child cookie cutters, slotted spoons, strainers, etc and just let them have some fun. They will discover they can draw with their fingers, make handprints, and more.
5) Balancing Act
For this activity, you’ll need some sturdy dining room chairs (with horizontal braces) and some 2×4 pieces of wood. Simply place the 2×4’s across two chairs down in the bracing. They should only be 5 or 6 inches or so off the ground. Let your children practice their balance by walking across the beams.
Play is one of the primary ways a toddler, and any child, learns to process information.
6) Spring is in the Air
This is a great craft for practicing a little fine motor skill. Spring is just about here, (if winter will just let her be!) Have your kid(s) make a Spring Tree craft. Cut out some tree trunks and branches out of brown construction paper beforehand. Give your kids green, red, pink, yellow, and orange construction paper, tissue paper, and yarn. They can rip them up into small pieces, roll them, crinkle them, etc to create leaves and flower blossoms for the trees. It’s also a great activity for practicing gluing skills.
7) Danger Trail
Tape squares of colored paper scattered on the ground in the living room or playroom. Tell your kid(s) the exposed carpet or floor is actually lava or a raging ocean. They need to get around the room only stepping on the colored squares.
8) Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
Either cut small letters out of manilla folders or purchase some small letter magnets. Bury the letters randomly in a bin of rice. You can try several variations of this activity, depending on their age and level of understanding. Here are a few: Challenge them to find the alphabet and put it in order. Only put the vowels in and have them find each one and tell you what it is. Put the letters of their name in and help them discover what it spells. Put all the letters in and ask them to find the letters of their name, your name, or other words you’re teaching them.
9) Table Tape Race
This is an easy, simple activity that’s a ton of fun for them and a small clean up they can even help with. It’s a great way to practice their fine motor skills. Using colored electrical tape, tape different lengths of tape crisscrossed randomly on a table top. Tell your kid(s) their job is to get the tape off the table as fast as they can.
10) Ping Pong Toss
For this activity, you’ll need 3 large plastic cups, a strip of masking tape, a permanent marker, and several ping pong balls. Label each cup with either a 1, 5, or a 10 in large numbers. Tape a piece of tape to the floor in a straight line. Space the cups out in order in a line perpendicular to the tape line on the floor and tape them to the ground. 1 should be closest to the line and 10 the furthest away. Your kids are to toss the ping pong balls into the cups and try to get as many points as possible. You can also do it without the points and just try to get ping pong balls into the cups.
Learning is Fun!
For a toddler, and all children, play is one of the primary ways they learn to process information. Keeping them engaged in activities is a great way to keep their mind and bodies active and engaged. (And it may give you a little time here and there to do the things you need to do, too). Get started with these fun and easy activities, but don’t stop there. The possibilities are endless!
Contact Us for more ideas on things to do with your toddler or to learn more about our exciting preschool program.