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1. Sort out objects
Put an array of safe objects on the floor and help your toddler learn how to sort them by colour, size, shape, or type. You could use all kinds of household things like socks, a hat, a brush, a clean sponge, fruits, bottles, tubs, and boxes – as long as they’re safe.
2. Learn about shapes
Find a small ball and a block, and then cut holes into the lid of an old shoe box to fit them. Help your toddler learn to place each item in the right hole. Explain the features of the shape by saying things like “See, this block has square edges. Which hole has square edges?” and watch them triumph when the object successfully falls through the hole.
3. Hide and seek
As your toddler gets older, they will be up to the challenge of finding you hidden behind a sofa or behind a door. They will also love the thrill of hiding behind a curtain and waiting for you to find them.
4. Let them help
Your little one wants to mimic you and may want to help out when they see you doing chores. Encourage their desire to be helpful by letting them participate in doing safe tasks. You could put on fun music and put their toys away together, or ask them to help you fold socks. Be encouraging and help them help you.
5. Get cooking together
Why not bake some cookies or cupcakes? If your toddler is old enough, let them help out with mixing the ingredients, pouring the batter into the pan, or icing the finished product. Or they could just be there to help you as the chief taste tester. Just make sure that everything is safe: for example, don’t leave any sharp utensils within your child’s reach, and keep them away from the hot stove and oven.
6. Share family stories
Your toddler probably loves hearing about themselves and where they come from. Take out a photo album and show them pictures of yourself when you were younger as well as those of their grandparents. You could even show them pictures of themselves when they were a newborn. They will love learning about their family tree and hearing stories about themselves.
7. Create a scrapbook
Gather some paintings or drawings your toddler is doing and let them pick out some favourites. Get a big notebook or folder and add the art with the date alongside it. In a few years, your child will love having this special keepsake of their earliest work.
8. Display their art
If your toddler is old enough, you can get them involved in choosing which of their artworks to display, and you can even select a wall that becomes their very own art gallery. If you don’t want to stick anything on the wall, simply hang it on the fridge using a magnet.
9. Write letters together
Encourage older toddlers to write a letter to their grandparents, or any other relatives they are missing. You can discuss what they’d like to write and you can help by writing the letter, and you can encourage them to scribble their name at the bottom as their ‘signature’. Show them how a letter is addressed and let them stick on the stamp. It’s ok if you can’t send it right now; put it aside and mail it when you have a moment. The recipient will be delighted!
10. Build a fort
Your toddler will love this activity — you could even call it indoor camping! All you need is a few chairs with a sheet draped over the top to create the fort. Put a comfy pillow inside for your little one to sit on. Once the fort is made, encourage your toddler to look at their picture books in there or give them a torch they can use to make light shapes with.
You might find they make it their own little domain that they can spend hours hiding out in. Over time, you’ll find your toddler uses their creativity and imagination to make the fort into whatever they want it to be, whether it’s a spaceship, a pirate ship, or a castle.
11. Create a sign
If your toddler is older, they may love the idea of having an entry sign for their fort – or bedroom! Use supplies like glitter and colourful pencils to make the sign and make it match whatever they imagine their fort to be. For example, it could say Mia’s Fairy Wonderland or Tom’s Castle.
12. Play mirror games
Your toddler loves looking at themselves in the mirror and following your instructions. For example, ask: “Where’s your nose?” or “Can you stick out your tongue?”. You can even ask your toddler to look carefully at their eyes and tell you what colour they are.
13. Impersonate an animal
Pick an animal, and let your child pretend that’s what they are. For example, if they’re an eagle, they could soar through the sky (your living room) with their arms outstretched as if they were wings. Or a giraffe, so your toddler stretches up nice and tall with their arms up high and their hand bent forward as the giraffe’s head. And they can become an elephant by holding one arm up to their nose like a floppy trunk, or jump around the house pretending to be kangaroos. Let your child show you how to imitate certain animals for extra fun and encourage them to make the corresponding animal sounds, too.
14. Play ball games
Your toddler will enjoy rolling a ball back and forth or playing catch with you, and these are good ways to improve their hand skills and hand-eye coordination. Just make sure you pack away any breakables like vases and photo frames because your toddler’s aim will be off (whether it’s accidental or on purpose!), and your aim might need some practice, too!
15. Squish coloured spaghetti
Cook up a small amount of spaghetti (or rice works well too) and place a couple of spoonfuls in a few different bowls. Wait for it to cool and add some different coloured food colouring to each bowl. Then, let your little one squish the foods with their hands and explore the different colours, textures, and sounds. They’ll love making a mess with their hands and feeling the food squish between their fingers!
16. Sort some pom-poms
You should be able to order some of these budget-friendly round puffs online. Give your toddler a muffin tin and ask them to sort the pom-poms by colour. Your toddler will like the challenge, the feel of the textures, and the look of the bright colours, and this task will help improve their hand and finger skills.
17. Create window art
Get some coloured tissue paper and let your toddler tear it into small shapes, then help them stick these onto a window to create their own stained-glass window. To stick them you can either use water or glue (just make sure it’s the kind that will wash off easily afterward).
A less messy approach is to tape a big square of wax paper onto the window first, and then help your little one glue the shapes onto the wax paper. This idea will help them learn to fit shapes together and allow them to express their creativity. They’ll also enjoy watching how the colours change depending on how the sun shines in.
18. Pop bubble wrap
If you have bubble wrap at home, place a large square on the floor and let your toddler jump on it to pop the bubbles.
19. Make a rainbow
Get your toddler to scrunch up coloured tissue paper into tiny balls, and then help them stick them on a piece of paper to create a rainbow that you can stick in your window in support of the NHS. If you have limited colours of paper, choose a motif to match. For example, if you have brown and green paper, help your toddler create a tree.
20. Do a puzzle
Help an older baby or toddler put the shapes of a large, simple puzzle in the right spot. If you don’t have any at home, try the online CBeebies jigsaws.
21. Chalk it up
Set up a blackboard and let your toddler draw with chalk. You might ask them to be the weather person each day and ask them to look outside and draw what they see - it could be sun, clouds, or rain.
22. Try finger painting
Grab some big sheets of paper and put out the paint, spreading a drop cloth or newspaper underneath to protect the table or floor. Let your toddler play with the paint and mix colours with their fingers to see how new colours can be formed this way.
You could help your little one paint handprints, too. Paints that are suitable for children usually wash out of clothes easily, but you may want to dress them in an apron or clothes you don’t mind them getting dirty.
23. Mould some dough
Give your little one some store-bought dough or use this home-made playdough recipe that your toddler can poke, scrunch up, pat down, pull apart, and squeeze together. The same can also work with crinkly cellophane or crunchy wrapping paper. Your toddler will love making a noise when it’s scrunched or torn.
24. Get colouring in
No colouring book? No problem! Download our colouring book for your little one, break out the coloured pens and pencils and let them get creative!
25. Learn to draw
You don’t need to be an art teacher to help your little one get the hang of drawing. You can download our easy animation guides to teach your toddler how to draw their favourite cute creatures.
What indoor activities do your toddlers enjoy indoors?
Let us know in the comments below!