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47 Indoor Activities for Toddlers (Easy, Fun, Cute Ideas!)

Last Updated on 03/03/2024 by Nell Marie

Keeping toddlers entertained can be quite the feat. Keeping them entertained while indoors can be a whole other thing.

This list is all about indoor activities for toddlers, from the messy to the clean, to energetic, and quiet you’ll find it all!

If you’re running out of ideas for your little one, you’re not alone. I remember when my boys were toddlers and it wasn’t easy keeping them entertained and learning day in and day out.

No worries, I’ve gathered some fool-proof, kid-approved ideas just for your little one!

Let’s get to it!

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indoor activities for toddlers

Indoor Activities for Toddlers

I’ve broken this list up in categories, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

If you’d like a printable checklist for these ideas, scroll to the end of this article for a free printable.

We’re going to talk about:

  • 17 activities for toddlers
  • 10 messy activities for toddlers
  • 10 activities for energetic toddlers
  • 10 no prep activities for toddlers
  • 10 quiet activities for toddlers

17 Activities for Toddlers

  1. Puzzle Time: Introduce simple puzzles with large pieces suitable for toddlers.
  2. Storytime: Read books together or make up your own stories using picture books.
  3. Building Blocks: Engage in building activities using soft, large building blocks.
  4. Shape Sorting: Use shape sorters to help toddlers develop their cognitive skills.
  5. Musical Instruments: Provide toddler-friendly musical instruments for a fun and interactive music session.
  6. Dance Party: Put on some music and have a dance party together.
  7. Sticker Fun: Give them stickers and let them create artwork on paper.
  8. Balloon Play: Play with balloons by tapping or hitting them, but be mindful of any potential popping.
  9. Flashlight Fun: Create a little adventure by playing with flashlights in a dark room.
  10. Obstacle Course: Set up a simple obstacle course using cushions or soft play equipment.
  11. Sock Puppets: Use old socks to create puppets and put on a puppet show.
  12. Color Matching: Use colored objects or cards to teach toddlers about colors.
  13. Bean Bag Toss: Set up a target and let toddlers practice tossing bean bags.
  14. Animal Pretend Play: Act out animal movements and sounds together.
  15. Shape Hunt: Hide objects around the house in different shapes and let toddlers find them.
  16. Finger Painting with Edible Paint: Use yogurt or pudding for edible and less messy finger painting.
  17. Indoor Picnic: Lay out a blanket and have a pretend picnic with their favorite snacks.
sock puppet play

Spotlight Play: Sock Puppets

Sock puppet play is a delightful and creative activity for toddlers that encourages imaginative play, language development, and fine motor skills. Here’s more information on how to engage toddlers in sock puppet play.

Materials

  1. Old Socks: Gather a collection of clean, mismatched socks. Different colors and patterns can add to the fun.
  2. Craft Supplies: Use googly eyes, felt, yarn, buttons, and fabric scraps to create facial features, hair, and accessories for the puppets.
  3. Glue and Safety Scissors: For attaching features to the puppets.

Steps for Sock Puppet Play

Puppet Making:

Let your child choose their socks and decorate them with craft supplies. This can involve gluing on eyes, creating mouths, and adding any other features they desire.

Encourage your kiddo to be as creative as he/she wants. The process is more important than the final product.

Naming the Puppets:

Help your little ones to come up with names for their sock puppets. This encourages language development and creativity.

Storytelling and Role Play:

Once the puppets are ready, encourage your little ones to create stories or scenarios using their sock puppets. This can involve stories and imaginative play.

Social Interaction:

Puppet play is an excellent way for your little ones to interact socially. They can have puppet conversations, engage in pretend activities, and learn about cooperation.

Expression and Emotion:

Discuss different emotions with your child and ask them to express those emotions through their puppet. This helps them understand and communicate feelings.

Parent Involvement:

Join in the puppet play. You can create your puppet and interact with your toddler’s puppets, adding an element of shared play and bonding.

Storage and Continued Play:

Create a designated puppet storage space so that your little one can easily access his/her puppets for continued play.

Sock puppet play is not only entertaining but also a valuable tool for early childhood development.

It enhances creativity, language skills, social interaction, and fine motor abilities in a fun and engaging way.


Here are some easy sock puppet ideas

No -sew sock puppet ideas

Make a simple sock puppet

Further reading: Simple Indoor Activities for Toddlers

toddler activities

10 Messy Activities for Toddlers

If you want your toddler to indulge in some messy sensory play, these ideas may be right up your alley.

  1. Finger Painting: Allow your child to express his/her creativity by finger painting with non-toxic, washable paints.
  2. Playdough Fun: Let your toddler explore and mold playdough. You can also provide cookie cutters and other tools for added fun.
  3. Water Play: Set up a water table indoors with various containers, sponges, and plastic toys for water exploration.
  4. Sensory Bins: Create a sensory bin with materials like rice, pasta, or beans. Add scoops, funnels, and small toys for tactile play.
  5. Shaving Cream Art: Spray shaving cream on a table and let your little one draw or play in it. It’s messy but easy to clean up.
  6. Edible Mud Play: Mix chocolate pudding with crushed graham crackers to create edible “mud.” Add toy animals for a muddy adventure.
  7. Ice Cube Painting: Freeze colored water in ice cube trays and let your little one paint with the colorful ice cubes on paper.
  8. Bubble Wrap Stomp: Tape bubble wrap to the floor and let your kiddo stomp on it for a satisfying sensory experience.
  9. Jelly Sensory Play: Fill a tray with jelly and let toddlers explore the wiggly, squishy texture with their hands.
  10. Flour Play: Spread a layer of flour on a tray and let him/her draw or play with toys in the soft flour.
playdough fun for kids

Spotlight Play: Finger Painting Ideas


Finger painting is a wonderful sensory activity for toddlers that allows them to explore colors, textures, and their own creativity.

Here’s more information on finger painting for toddlers.

Materials

  1. Washable Finger Paints: Choose non-toxic and washable finger paints designed for young children. These paints are safe in case they put their fingers in their mouths or accidentally get some on their skin.
  2. Large Sheets of Paper or Poster Boards: Provide a canvas for their artwork. You can tape down the paper to prevent it from moving during the activity.
  3. Smocks or Old T-Shirts: Protect their clothing with smocks or old, oversized T-shirts to keep the mess to a minimum.
  4. Wet Wipes or Damp Towels: Have these on hand for quick clean-ups during and after the activity.

Tips for Finger Painting with Toddlers

Prepare the Environment:

Lay down newspapers or a plastic tablecloth to protect surfaces.

Choose a well-lit and well-ventilated area for the activity.

Start Small:

Begin with just a few colors to avoid overwhelming your toddler. You can always introduce more colors as they become more comfortable.

Encourage Exploration:

Let them explore the paint using their fingers. Encourage them to feel the different textures and temperatures of the paint.

Introduce Tools:

Besides fingers, offer various tools like brushes, sponges, or even toy cars for a different painting experience.

Use Edible Paint:

For younger toddlers who may still explore by putting things in their mouths, consider making edible finger paint using safe, edible ingredients like yogurt or pudding.

Celebrate Creativity:

Avoid directing their artwork too much. Let them express themselves freely, even if it doesn’t resemble a recognizable object.

Supervise and Engage:

Stay nearby to supervise the activity and actively engage with your toddler. Talk about the colors they’re using or ask open-ended questions about their artwork.

Experiment with Textures:

Encourage them to explore different textures by mixing in materials like sand or glitter with the paint.

Clean-Up Together:

Involve your toddler in the clean-up process. This teaches responsibility and helps them understand that cleaning up is part of the activity.

Frame or Display Their Art:

Once the artwork is dry, consider framing or displaying it. This provides a sense of accomplishment and pride for your toddler.

Finger painting is not only a messy but also a highly enjoyable and educational activity for toddlers.

It allows for creativity, sensory exploration, and fine motor skills development.


Here are some finger painting ideas

Finger painting ideas for toddlers

Finger painting ideas for toddlers

Read more: Indoor Activities For Toddlers

fun things for toddlers to do

10 Activities for Energetic Toddlers

  1. Obstacle Course: Create a simple obstacle course using cushions, pillows, and tunnels for them to crawl through or climb over.
  2. Dance Party: Put on some lively music and have a dance party in the living room. Encourage your toddler to move freely and express themselves through dance.
  3. Balloon Volleyball: Use a soft balloon as a “volleyball” and encourage your kiddo to hit it back and forth with their hands or feet.
  4. Scavenger Hunt: Hide toys or objects around the house and create a scavenger hunt for them to find the items.
  5. Simon Says: Play a game of Simon Says, incorporating fun and energetic movements like jumping, hopping, or twirling.
  6. DIY Mini Bowling: Set up a mini bowling alley using empty plastic bottles as pins and a soft ball as the bowling ball.
  7. Indoor Mini Trampoline: If you have a small trampoline designed for indoor use, it can be a great outlet for their energy.
  8. Bean Bag Toss: Create a simple bean bag toss game with a target on the floor. They can practice tossing bean bags into the target.
  9. Animal Movement Game: Pretend to be different animals and have them mimic the movements. For example, hop like a bunny, crawl like a bear, or slither like a snake.
  10. Yoga for Kids: Introduce simple yoga poses designed for toddlers. Use colorful mats and make it a fun and interactive experience.
do these things with your toddler

Spotlight Play: Obstacle Course

Creating an obstacle course for rambunctious toddlers can be a fun and active way to channel their energy while promoting physical development.

Here’s a guide on how to set up a simple yet engaging obstacle course.

**1. Choose a Safe Space:

  • Pick a room or area with enough space to set up the obstacle course without any obstructions. Ensure that the environment is safe and free of hazards.

**2. Gather Materials:

  • Collect soft and safe materials to use for the obstacles. Some ideas include cushions, pillows, blankets, large cardboard boxes, and soft play mats.

**3. Plan the Obstacles:

  • Keep in mind the age and abilities of your toddler. Create a series of obstacles that are challenging but safe. Some ideas include:
    • Cushion Path: Arrange cushions or pillows on the floor for toddlers to hop or walk across.
    • Tunnel Crawl: Use a soft tunnel or create one using blankets draped over furniture for crawling through.
    • Box Stepping Stones: Place sturdy, lightweight boxes in a line for toddlers to step on.
    • Balance Beam: Lay a narrow strip of tape on the floor or use a low, stable surface for toddlers to practice balancing.

**4. Incorporate Movement:

  • Add movement-based challenges to keep your toddler active. For example:
    • Jumping Jacks: Include a designated area for doing jumping jacks.
    • Animal Walks: Assign different areas for walking like different animals – bear walks, bunny hops, etc.
    • Sprint Zones: Set up short sprint zones for quick bursts of energy.

**5. Include Tunnels and Hideouts:

  • Tunnels can add an element of excitement. If you don’t have a soft tunnel, create one using blankets or large cardboard boxes. You can also set up small hideouts for them to crawl into.

**6. Safety First:

  • Ensure that all the materials used are safe and won’t cause injury. Remove any sharp objects or potential tripping hazards from the course.

**7. Supervise and Encourage:

  • Stay close to supervise the toddlers as they navigate the obstacle course. Provide encouragement and praise to boost their confidence.

**8. Change It Up:

  • Keep the obstacle course interesting by changing the layout or introducing new challenges. This prevents boredom and maintains their interest.

**9. Celebrate Completion:

  • After they successfully complete the obstacle course, celebrate their achievement with applause and positive reinforcement.

**10. Capture the Moment:

  • Take photos or videos of your toddler navigating the obstacle course. It’s a great way to preserve the memories and share the fun with family and friends.

Creating an obstacle course for your rambunctious toddler not only helps in burning off excess energy but also supports their physical development, balance, coordination, and spatial awareness in an enjoyable way.


Here are some obstacle course ideas

Indoor and outdoor obstacle courses for kids

Backyard obstacle courses for kids

Related reading: Best Indoor Activities for Kids

obstacle course for kids

10 No-Prep Indoor Activities for Toddlers

  1. Simon Says: Play a simple game of Simon Says, instructing them to perform actions like clapping hands, stomping feet, or touching their nose.
  2. Dance Party: Turn on some music and have an impromptu dance party in the living room.
  3. Shadow Play: Use a flashlight to create shadows on the wall. Toddlers can have fun making different shapes with their hands.
  4. Balloon Keep-Up: Blow up a balloon and keep it from touching the ground. This simple game can be surprisingly entertaining.
  5. Pretend Play: Encourage imaginative play by suggesting a scenario like going on a pretend picnic, having a tea party, or playing house.
  6. Color Hunt: Ask them to find and bring you objects of a specific color from around the house.
  7. Indoor Picnic: Lay out a blanket and have a picnic with their favorite snacks.
  8. Toy Parade: Have a mini parade around the house, with toddlers marching and showcasing their favorite toys.
  9. Shape or Number Hunt: Call out a shape or number and ask them to find objects in the room that match.
  10. Storytelling with Toys: Use their toys to create a simple story together. Each toy can represent a character in the story.
toddler games
Spotlight Play: Indoor Picnic and Camping

Indoor picnics are a delightful way to bring the outdoors inside, providing a change of scenery for your little toddler.

Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Set Up a Picnic Area:
    • Lay out a blanket on the floor or create a cozy space with cushions and pillows.
  2. Pack Picnic Food:
    • Prepare simple finger foods like sandwiches, fruits, cheese, and crackers. You can also include their favorite snacks.
  3. Use Pretend Play:
    • Encourage imaginative play by pretending you’re outdoors. Discuss the “outdoor” surroundings and engage in pretend activities like bird-watching.
  4. Include Stuffed Animal Guests:
    • Invite stuffed animals or dolls to join the picnic, fostering social interaction and imaginative play.
  5. Play Soft Background Music:
    • Create a relaxed atmosphere with soft background music, enhancing the indoor picnic experience.
  6. Storytelling Time:
    • Read a story or engage in storytelling during the picnic, incorporating elements of nature or outdoor adventures.

Indoor Camping for Toddlers

Indoor camping brings the excitement of camping into the comfort of your home.

Here’s a brief guide:

  1. Create a Tent or Fort:
    • Use blankets, sheets, or a pop-up tent to create a camping space. Secure the “tent” using chairs or other furniture.
  2. Gather Camping Gear:
    • Provide toy camping gear such as a flashlight, pretend binoculars, and a stuffed animal as a camping buddy.
  3. Campfire Snacks:
    • Make “campfire” snacks like s’mores using safe alternatives or enjoy simple camping treats like trail mix and granola bars.
  4. Night Sky Ceiling:
    • Use glow-in-the-dark stars or project images of stars onto the ceiling for a simulated night sky.
  5. Nature Sounds:
    • Play soft nature sounds, like crickets or gentle streams, to enhance the camping experience.
  6. Stargazing:
    • Lay down and “stargaze” with your toddler, pointing out imaginary constellations or talking about the moon.
  7. Camping Stories:
    • Share camping stories or read camping-themed books to add to the adventure.
  8. Sleeping Bags and Pajamas:
    • Let your toddler wear pajamas and use a small sleeping bag or blankets for a cozy camping experience.

Both indoor picnics and camping provide unique opportunities for imaginative play, bonding, and creating special memories with your toddler.

Adjust the activities based on your child’s age, preferences, and safety considerations.


Here are more fun indoor ideas for toddlers

Rainy day activities

Indoor camping ideas

indoor camping ideas

10 Quiet Activities for Toddlers

  1. Quiet Reading Time: Set up a cozy reading nook with soft cushions or blankets and read books together.
  2. Puzzle Play: Engage your toddler with simple puzzles. Puzzles with large pieces and knobs are great for little hands.
  3. Sticker Collage: Provide stickers and paper, and let them create a sticker collage or decorate paper.
  4. Playdough Creations: Use playdough for quiet and creative play. They can mold and shape it without making much noise.
  5. Sock Puppets: Create puppets using old socks and have a quiet puppet show.
  6. Coloring Station: Set up a coloring station with crayons and coloring books. You could also provide blank paper for free drawing.
  7. Quiet Blocks Play: Build structures with soft and quiet building blocks or foam blocks.
  8. Lacing Cards: Introduce lacing cards to help improve fine motor skills. They can thread laces through the holes.
  9. Stringing Beads: Use large beads and shoelaces for stringing activities. It’s a quiet and focused task.
  10. Nature Collage: Collect leaves, flowers, or other small items from nature and create a quiet collage using glue and paper.
games for toddlers
Spotlight Play: Coloring for Kids

50 easy and cute coloring pages for kids

Drawing ideas for kids plus a template

activities for kids to play

Activities for Toddlers – Wrap Up

Click the image below to join the free newsletter and get access to this FREE pdf printable of the 47 activities in this article.

Engaging your toddler in age-appropriate activities is not just about keeping them occupied; it’s a vital aspect of their development.

These activities, whether focused on creativity, physical movement, or cognitive skills, contribute to the building blocks of their growth.

Through play, your little toddler will learn about the world around them, develop essential motor skills, foster creativity, and enhance social interactions.

Activities such as finger painting, indoor picnics, and coloring provide a foundation for self-expression, fine motor skills, and cognitive understanding.

Crafting obstacle courses or participating in dance parties channel their boundless energy into structured and joyful experiences.

Incorporating storytelling and themed play helps little ones develop language skills and stimulates their imagination.

As the mama (or daddy), active participation in these activities not only strengthens the bond but also serves as a valuable source of encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Creating a safe and stimulating environment for your little one to explore creates a love for learning that will accompany them into their future developmental stages.

The toddler years are a remarkable time of discovery, curiosity, and growth.

By embracing a diverse range of activities that align with their developmental needs, we contribute to shaping confident, curious, and well-rounded individuals ready to navigate the exciting journey ahead.

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