We are all unexpectedly stuck at home with the kiddos for an indefinite amount of time while many of us are still trying to work. That equation doesn’t add up to anything easy. I put together a list of easy crafts for toddlers that require very little prep time from the adult and use things you likely have at home right now.
Crafts for Toddlers
These 10 toddler crafts are mess free and use things you have at home now. Plus each craft has been toddler tested and toddler approved to entertain for more than 10 minutes! For the 2 and under crowd, consider strapping him or her into a highchair for any craft that involves paint.
1. Ice blocks
All you need for ice excavation is plastic cups, small plastic toys, and water. Once frozen, you’ll need kid appropriate hammers or water guns! This is still one of my sons favorite “crafts”!
2. Cardboard box painting
The bigger the box the better. Literally stick the box outside and fill an empty egg carton with a few paint colors. Hand the child a paint brush and let them work their magic. If paint feels like too much, give the kiddo markers, crayons and stickers to decorate the box. For extra points, cut a window in the box and turn it upside down.
Coffee filters, markers, and water are all you need to make turn a plain ol’ coffee filter into tie dye masterpieces! If you’re scared of giving your toddler a marker, I’d recommend pre scribbling color on 10 or so coffee filters and giving the kiddo a paintbrush with water to complete the tie dye effect.
4. Pipe cleaner bracelets
My 3 year old daughter is a big fan of making, wearing and gifting pipe cleaner bracelets. She will happily string anything from buttons, pony beads, cheerios and even penne pasta on to pipe cleaners. Recently, she has enjoyed sealing them in envelopes and gifting them to neighbor kids to brighten their day.
Painters tape and canvas ensures a beautiful painting every time. If you don’t have canvas on hand, rip open a cereal box! Also fun to note, stickers work the same as tape. If paint scares you, do the same thing with crayons or colored pencils.
My kids are 4 and 6 now and this is still a favorite craft! All you need are Sharpie markers, rubbing alcohol, and a white t-shirt.
7. Paint a toy
My 3 year old invented this craft a few years ago. Grab any plastic toy and paint it! It’s that simple. Oh and I recommend doing this outside with washable paint. (I like this paint for the younger crew.)
8. Magic watercolor
All you need for magic watercoloring is white crayon, watercolors, and paper. Use white crayon on paper. The thicker the lines the better. Draw a picture. Scribble. Write a name. Anything. Next, hand the child the paper and let them watercolor all over the paper. Now, it’s time to watch the magic happen! (These watercolors work great!)
Turn rocks turn into blank canvases by painting a few white. Then, hand the child a writing utensil or painting device and let them go wild. If your child is on the yougner side, crayons on a white rock work perfectly.
10. No mess painting
It’s as simple as filling a zip lock bag with paint and Duck Taping the bags to the ground. I recommend putting a peice of white paper under the plastic bag so that the contrast is brighter.
Toddler Indoor activities
11. Post-It notes
Hand a toddler a stack of Post-It notes and watch the magic happen. I’m serious! Decorate windows, floors, and furniture! If you want to be fancy, write letters on them and stick the notes to the walls. Ask the toddler to find letter “M”, etc…
12. Easter egg hunt
If you have plastic eggs on hand, perfect! If not, toddlers will happily hunt for anything. Plastic animals, cars, keys, painted rocks, or like I said above, Post- It notes!
13. Sticker I-spy
This is one of my favorite airplane tricks with toddlers, but it can easily be done anywhere. Simply give the kiddo a bunch of stickers and a blank sheet of paper to prepare the game. When he or she is done placing the stickers, play I-Spy!
14. Box building
Raid the recycle bin for clean, empty containers. Try to find varying shapes like tp tubes, cylinder oatmeal containers, and empty cereal boxes. Let your toddler stack and knock the towers over and over. Best part? This is much quieter than wooden blocks!
15. Color hunt
This hunt is as simple as asking the kids to find anything “green” in the house and place it on the table. For the record, my kids did not lay the green things on the table in such a manner, I rearranged for the sake of a cute picture.
If you have a few pool noodles collecting dust in the garage, now is the time to put them to good use. My toddler loved to play soccer with these and we also used them to teach letters and simple words.
Water makes everyone feel better. So, don’t think bath time only has to be before bed! Also note, all of these can easily be done outside in a simple plastic pool.
17. DUPLO bath
This is as simple as putting DUPLO in the bath tub with your toddler.
18. Frozen fruit in the bathtub
Frozen grapes, blueberries or even a popsicle makes bath time that much more awesome.
19. Glow stick bath
Turn down the lights and add glow sticks plus music to the bathtub for a wild night!
20. Sink float game
Have your toddler collect 10 items before their bath. Things like plastic toys, a peice of fruit, coins, Cherrios, Hot Wheel cars, or a rock are all easy options. Then, have your toddler guess if each item will sink or float in the bathtub.
Toddler outside activities
22. Collecting bugs
Earthworms and rolly pollys are my kids favorite, but any bug will do! All you need is a shovel and a bucket or plastic container.
A few pieces of chalk turn a blank driveway into hours of fun. A few of my go to moves in a chalk obstacle are:
- Leap like a frog
- Hop from paw print to paw print
- Crab walk
- Do 5 jumping jacks
- Draw a spot for hands and a spot for feet for (attempted) push ups.
24. Pouring water and ice
Gather as many plastic containers as you can find and fill them with water. Fill a bucket with ice for extra excitement. Hand the toddler a syringe, spoon, measuring cups, or simply let him or her pour the water from container to container. If you have a plastic baby pool now is the time to whip it out.
25. Color game
For this game you’ll need sidewalk chalk and all the backyard toys and nature you can find. My kids learned their shapes with the shape game which can also be found in this sidewalk chalk games post.
26. Make chores fun
Kids love to help! Have the kids wash their toy cars and trucks, clean the windows, rake leaves, or sweep the patio. We bought our son a lightweight leaf blower for his 3rd birthday and it might be one of the best presents to date!
If you need ways to entertain the 1 year and under crowd, check out 20 easy ways to make a baby laugh.