I will be the first to admit that I am not a Pinterest mom. Of course I love to pin lovely things and clever ideas as much as the next mama, but my follow-through definitely leaves something to be desired. The fact is, I’m just not particularly crafty, I don’t love to cook and I detest activities that require a ton of supplies, prep and clean-up. I guess I’m just a minimalist like that. Thankfully my daughter has a grandma who is really into craftiness so she can go over there and make a crafty mess to her heart’s content, but it’s just not my thing. That doesn’t mean we don’t still do fun activities together though! These activities are a few that we love around here and that require little to no supplies or skill. My favorite kind of activity!
15 Fun Activities For Toddlers and Their Not-So-Pinteresty Parents:
1. Enjoy some spray bottle fun
If you give a toddler a spray bottle filled with water you will have them entertained for a solid half hour…maybe even longer! This is one of our favorite hot weather activities, because it doesn’t require swimsuits since the small amount of water dries really quickly. It’s a fun way to cool off quickly when you don’t have the time to go to a splash pad or play in a pool.
2. Try out water painting
Water painting it pretty much the best invention ever. When I was a preschool teacher we used to do it with our students all the time it’s basically exactly what it sounds like. Get a bucket of water and some paint brushes and head outside to let your littles paint designs on the sidewalk with water. As the sun comes out the designs will dry and they can start all over again! More temporary and less messy than sidewalk chalk.
3. Hang out in an under table fort
I’m pretty much the worst fort builder on the planet. I’ve tried multiple times with disastrous results until I realized I was making things way more complicated than they needed to be and now I stick with under table forts. Throw a blanket over your dining room table. Throw some blankets and pillows underneath to make things cozy and you’ve got an instant fort that your little ones will love to hang out in.
4. Set up a water station
Sometimes on a hot day you want to play in the sprinklers, but your grass doesn’t actually need watering. Instead of wasting extra water, set up a water station. Fill plastic storage tubs with water and various measuring cups, put on your swimsuits and set up outside. Your little one will love pouring the water back and forth and getting wet in the process. Add little plastic sea animals too – your toddler will love it!
5. Go Bug hunting
For a great bug hunt you needn’t look any further than your own backyard. Lift up rocks, check near trees and talk about all the little creatures you uncover as you go!
6. Play with your food
Make snack time fun by cutting up your toddler’s food into creative shapes, then have fun playing with your food and creating “art” together. Maybe it will even entice picky eaters to try new things!
7. Have a teddy bear picnic
Have a picnic lunch (either in your house or your yard depending on the weather) and invite all of your toddler’s favorite stuffed friends to join in on the fun. My daughter LOVES when I include her “friends” in our play and join in on her world of imagination.
8. Bathe the babies
Let your little one play “mommy” or “daddy” to their babies by giving their dolls baths. Any type of plastic doll will work and you can have your little one sit in the tub and bathe together with their dolls or set up a little washing station tub outside. Either way, they will love being nurturing with their very own babies just like you are when you bathe them.
9. Put them to work
Sometimes all a misbehaving toddler needs to turn their day around is to be put to work. My daughter loves helping with household tasks. One of her favorite things is to help me dust. I arm her with a baby wipe and she runs around wiping down anything and everything in sight for the next half hour. It’s pretty impressive what a wonderful and simple distraction a baby wipe can be! Helping unload the dishwasher, folding clothes or picking up toys can also prove to be engaging tasks. Certainly this takes extra time for you as a parent, but your little one will love it so much it will be worth the effort.
10. Play dress-up
Break out the dress-up clothes for you and your little. They will get a kick out of seeing you dressed in costume too!
11. Have a laundry toss
Get a laundry basket and take turns trying to toss soft objects into it. This is a great activity for building gross motor skills and coordination.
12. Impromptu dance party!
The best things in life are unplanned. If things are feeling a little dull in your day, stop what you’re doing, flip on some tunes and bust out your best moves right in the middle of the kitchen. Toddlers love novelty and this will make them smile as they join in on the fun.
13. Break out the flashlights
In case you didn’t know, flashlights are pretty much the most brilliant invention ever in the mind of a toddler and are endlessly entertaining. Obviously this isn’t an activity for playing solo since flashlights aren’t kid’s toys, but break them out together and play explorer in your own home!
14. Make playdough food
You can get slightly Pinteresty here if you’d like and make your own playdough, but I just go for the store bought variety. Set it up alongside some of your baking utensils (rolling pins, baking sheets, muffin tins, measuring cups/spoons, etc.) and pretend to be bakers. Make cookies, cakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls…whatever your heart desires. There will be less mess than with real baking and it’s “sugar-free”!
15. Go on a color hunt
Pick a color and then roam around your house or yard pointing out everything you can see that is that color. You can switch the color as you like and it will be a great way to help your little one learn their colors if they don’t know them already!
What are your favorite fun and simple activities to do with your little one?