Working regularly with a family means you’re guaranteed some days stuck indoors, so you’ll need a repertoire of indoor activities for toddlers. Keeping kids occupied when it’s too hot or sunny or snowy to be outside is part of the skillset. Don’t worry, indoor activities can be just as entertaining as adventures in the outside world. Here are some of our favorite at-home toddler activities.
Bring The Outdoors Inside
If the child is a little explorer, pull them away from pining at the window. There are a few creative indoor activities that can reinvent their home.
- Indoor pool party. Just too hot or humid to pop to the beach today? Inflate a kiddie pool and fill it with blue or teal tissue paper. Set up some beach chairs and some fruit juice and have a great time.
- Go on tour. Many museums and zoos have virtual tours now. Broaden the child’s world and keep them learning.
- Indoor gardening. Spread out the newspaper. Then collect some pots, seeds, and soil. This can be a long-term activity for a toddler and adds beauty to your home. Turn it into building a forest or jungle inside their house!
- Read together. Make a stop at the library or your local bookstore and grab some picture books. Settle in for storytime. Focus on books that are about faraway places or new animals and people.
- Build a blanket fort. This classic activity awakens the imagination. Create an outdoor world indoors. What is the fort for? How can you decorate it?
Nurture Their Creativity
Break out the art box and let’s get crafty. There are many art projects a toddler can do indoors. It helps with motor skills. And the family will get a keepsake for their scrapbook!
- Draw, paint, color. Pulling out the art box and some construction paper and let them go wild. You can try finger-painting too!
- Stained glass window. Using colored tissue paper and tape or water, you can turn any window in the home into a stained glass masterpiece. Don’t forget to check with the parents to see if this is okay.
- Make a 3D rainbow. Using objects, blocks, or scrunched-up paper, have them make a rainbow. It’s a great way to reinforce the colors.
- Paper snowflakes. A traditional winter activity. Grab some paper and have the toddler help you fold. You can handle the cutting with a good pair of safety scissors. Then both of you can decorate with glitter and crayons and markers. You can hang them in the window for some wintery fun.
- Clay time. Whether it’s playdough or cloud clay, working with clay helps children develop motor skills and sensory awareness. Don’t forget to take photos of their creations.
- Make jewelry. There are quite a few toddler-safe jewelry activities. An easy DIY one is to get big beads and use a shoelace to make a necklace.
- Geometric art. Whether you use crayon and paper or make shapes with household objects, this is a great way to teach the child the different shapes.
- Spider web door. Throw up some clear or colored tape across a doorway. You both can throw objects like pom poms or pipe cleaners and see what sticks.
- Make a 3D rainbow. Using objects, blocks, or scrunched up paper, have them make a rainbow. It’s a great way to reinforce the colors.
Keep It Moving
For the kid who’s always zipping around the room, you’ll want some fun toddler activities that get their body pumping.
- Balloon hockey or tennis. Blow up some standard balloons and start batting them around with your toddler. You can also create goals or set up a mini net. Keep score or don’t! It’s all fun and games here.
- Balance tape. Use colorful or patterned tape to create paths around your home. See if their little one can stay balanced and steady. This is a great gross motor skills activity.
- DIY Bowling. You can use empty soda or water bottles. Or even paper towel tubes. Find a soft ball and see if either of you gets a strike. A great free toddler activity!
- Dance party. Turn up some (kid-friendly) tunes! See who can come up with the best moves.
Or Settle In
Too exhausted from running around? Or if you want to just cozy up with the little one, there’s some great, calmer activities too.
- Movie marathon. Are the parents ready to introduce their kid to Disney or classic stories? Tuck into their couch with some snacks.
- Do a puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle with their favorite animal or a new landscape can be a good way to spend some time together inside.
- Extra toy bathtime. Hop in the bath with some fun animal toys and get them and the child clean. You can even imitate the animal sounds!
- Pom pom push. Make a container and poke a few holes and see how long it takes the kiddo to fill up the container with little pom poms. This is a good motor skills activity. Using a clear container that the two of you decorate can make the activity seasonal too. A jack o lantern for Halloween, an Easter Bunny, or a sunflower. They can show it off to their parents when they come home!
- Scoop and transfer. This is another great activity for developing motor skills. Set the child up with a couple of containers and a scoop. They can bring rice, ice, or even dried beans from one container to another.
- Ramp races. Set up a ramp using a backing sheet or strong piece of cardboard against your couch or a stack of books. Your toddler can roll round blocks or cars down it.
- Build the tallest tower. A great activity for multiple kids is to set them up with blocks and see who can build the tallest tower. From set up to them tumbling down, there’s sure to be some smiles and laughs.
- Cotton ball race. Tape a start line and finish line on the floor. Use a squeeze bottle or your mouths to blow the cotton across the floor
Make Food Fun
Growing bodies need fuel. Use this time indoors for fun food-related toddler activities. Tasty snacks, sensory play, and science experiments can all be found in their home kitchen.
- Magic potions. This is a great one if you also help with meals. As children watch us cook, sometimes they begin to imitate our actions. Have some bottles full of colored liquids of different textures and let them squeeze and create their own magic. You can even add science lessons into this activity as they get older. Maybe lay down a liner. Things can get sticky!
- Decorate cupcakes. You’ll want to keep the child away from the oven itself, but having them help mix ingredients and then frost the cupcakes can be a fun (and messy) indoor activity.
- Hot cocoa taste test. Who doesn’t love hot chocolate on a winter day? You can use mini teacups and have the whole family get in on choosing their favorite. Marshmallows are essential too.
- Sous chef. Engage the child in your meal prep all year round. They can count ingredients, tear lettuce or herbs, or help you measure ingredients and pour.
- Snow ice cream. A great activity for winter. You can make snow ice cream with many flavorings. Of course, be aware of pollutants that may be in your area.
- Rice squish. Cook and cool some rice and add rice to several small bowls. Use food coloring to create clay and let the kid squeeze and combine.
With this roster of indoor toddler activities, you can have fun with the child you care for, help them develop motor skills, and learn more about the world! It’s a great list to have in your back pocket any time you know you won’t be able to leave the house. Ready to use them with a new family? Connect with your next one on Sittercity today.