Is your toddler throwing tantrums in the grocery store, fighting sleep, and complaining for everything? Join the club!
Have you recently started a new job, gone on a vacation, or had a new baby?
Big changes and new routines can be a cause for less time spent with your toddler and results in an hard time for everyone in the family.
This leads to lack of attention and connection for your young children.
During the toddler years, time with mom is critical for growth and development and with the craziness of life, chances are, you are due for some one on one time with your little one.
Maybe you just need some ideas to do with a busy toddler!
Or you’re stuck inside on rainy days and need some saving grace ideas.
If you’re a stay at home mom, you’re probably in need of a fun way to spruce up your current activity archive.
Whatever the reason you’re here, I promise you’ll find some simple activities that are bound to have you loving your time with your little kids and will also foster great quality time that will spark a special connection.
Mom And Toddler Activities
1. Check Out Books From The Library
Reading to your child is a great way to invite snuggles and is truly good for kids of all ages. However, younger children benefit the most from reading as their vocabulary is growing at an accelerated rate.
You might even find that your child falls asleep while reading leading you to be able to take a nap right alongside him or her!
2. Do Some Simple Cut And Paste Crafts
Cutting is a skill that will be used for a lifetime and small children love the autonomy they feel when you give them the scissors. Such a simple thing, yet they feel so grown up.
Try these craft ideas for fun indoor toddler activities.
(Toddler hack: draw a smiley face on their thumb with a sharpie and tell them that when they are cutting you always want to be able to see the smile. This will help them know how to hold the scissors correctly).
3. Do A Fitness Challenge
One of those easy toddler activities is getting them moving!
Check out the fitness challenge for toddlers that will have you and your little one moving together everyday.
You’ll have a great time trying out these new exercises together and seeing who can do it the longest, best or silliest.
You could also do an obstacle course to get them up and moving around.
4. Go To The Plant Nursery
Looking at plants together is a great way to connect in nature without having to go very far.
Plant nursery’s are all over the place hiding right under our noses.
Look up one near you and have fun wandering up and down the aisles of plants.
5. Plant Flowers Or A Garden
If you want to have some fun with plants at your own house, pick up some seeds and plant them in your own backyard.
Your toddler will love watching little things grow into something significant.
Make sure you buy a child size watering can for your child to water them everyday. Teach them what it means to take care of something.
You could also make this simple pipe cleaner flower craft after planting your flowers!
6. Go On A Nature Scavenger Hunt
Get a ziplock bag, a few pictures of objects you find in nature, and head to a local park or even your backyard to hunt for common things you find outside. Flowers, rocks, grass, leaves, etc.
Then when you get back, make a collage with elmer’s glue of all the things you found.
You can use this printable nature scavenger hunt to make it more interactive and fun.
You could also do a fun indoor scavenger hunt if your toddler wants more!
7. Have Daily Dance Parties
Turn on one of your favorite songs and have a dance party in the kitchen every night after dinner!
We frequently do this with our toddler girls when we are cleaning up the kitchen and they have a hay day every time!
8. Bake Together
Find a fun new recipe to make and have a ball getting covered in flour together!
Smear it on each other’s faces and take funny pictures together.
Try baking a cake together and when it comes time to frost it, let them put the food coloring in.
They will love watching it turn from white to a certain favorite color.
9. Clean Together
This might seem silly, but after a long hard day, you might be in need of some cleaning.
Young children love to have a mop in their hand and be assigned a specific job to help around the house.
And you’ll be happy to spend time with them WHILE cleaning up your house! Two birds, one stone!
10. Do Your Nails
Your toddler daughter is going to love this one!
Be careful not to make the mistake of letting her paint one of her own nails or she’ll ask to do it every time (kinda like If you Give a Mouse a Cookie).
Make sure you have cotton balls on hand as well as nail polish remover. You will be the fun mom of the year for doing this special activity!
11. Color or Paint
My girls can spend a long time sitting and coloring without interruption.
It’s fun to see what their little minds come up with when you just let them have a blank canvas and some crayons or markers.
Try not using a coloring book for this one to foster more creativity which will engage a different part of their brain.
Holding a crayon is also a great skill that they will learn to master the more time they spend holding one.
Again, reading can help foster those early language skills in toddlers.
Just because you aren’t explicitly teaching your child, doesn’t mean they aren’t learning as you read to them.
In fact, sometimes children learn more from books than they will from a short conversation with you.
13. Ask And Answer Simple Questions
Try this or that questions to spark up a great conversation with your toddler.
It could even start up a fun game that you never anticipated.
14. Do A Stretch Routine
This is one of those simple things that doesn’t usually come to mind when you think about special time with your toddler.
However, stretching can release hormones that don’t normally get accessed in a day.
Try it out at the end of a long day to help you and your little one both feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
15. Do Yoga
Similarly, after a busy day, come home and relax together by doing some yoga poses in the living room.
It’s a simple way to wind down but also still have fun together.
16. Build A Fort
Try building a pillow fort in your family room!!
Kids love to feel like they can “escape” to a completely different world simply by being covered by a blanket!
Add some flashlights, pillows, books and a simply snack or treat. You Can even pretend to be camping!
17. Have A Silly Photoshoot
Making silly faces together is bound to produce laughter!
Kids have the craziest ideas of what a “funny face” looks like. See what they can come up with.
Let them have a turn taking your picture too so that they can feel like they are in charge too.
18. Snuggle Up And Watch A Movie
This one might not elicit much talking, but cuddles with your little one are sometimes all you need to connect.
Especially if your child’s love language is physical touch, they will love you forever for taking the time to snuggle them up.
19. Kick A Ball
What a great way to work on gross motor skills!
Kids love being outside and playing with balls (Some more than others).
Your younger children might need a little help with their coordination, but after a few tries, they should pick it up relatively easy.
20. Throw A Balloon
Toss a balloon up in the air and play “keep it off the ground” or as we like to call it “the floor is lava”.
If you’re feeling real adventurous, you could even try doing a water balloon fight together!
21. Make An Ice Cream Sundae Bar
YUM! Who doesn’t love ice cream?! (If you don’t then just don’t answer that because I believe everyone should love ice cream).
And kids especially will be thrilled that you are giving them permission in the middle of the day to have sweets just for FUN!
22. Have A Picnic (Indoors Or Out!)
It’s fun for kids to eat their food in different locations.
They are always told “keep your food in the kitchen, clean up your mess, throw away your plate”— at least my kids are.
They love to be told that they can eat somewhere other than the kitchen as long as they stay on a blanket. You could even try a tea party in their room if it isn’t time for a meal.
23. Find Objects In The Clouds
Lay out a blanket and look for different objects in the clouds together.
Help them use their imagination to create pictures (because sometimes they can be a little tricky to see).
24. Play A Board Game
Sit down and play a game with your toddler! They are just starting to get to the perfect age for this.
Check our our favorite board games for young kids if you need some new ideas.
25. Play Hide And Seek With Objects
Hide their favorite stuffies around the house and have them look for them!
Play hot and cold if they are a little too young to look for them on their own.
26. Sign Up For A Mommy And Me Class Near You
Many local community centers have swim classes, gym, or dance classes that can be done in a “mommy and me style”.
Your child will love this special outing with you.
27. Involve Your Toddler In What You’re Doing
Sometimes all your toddler wants is to feel included in the everyday tasks that you are doing.
If you don’t have the time to sit on the floor and play trains or take the time to do a puzzle because it’s just a hectic day… then don’t stress!
You can connect in this meaningful way!
If you have to work on your computer, have them sit next to you and work on their pretend computer.
If you need to fold the laundry, tell stories to each other while you do it.
If you have to run errands, listen to some of their favorite songs in the car and then get a treat together!
28. Have sensory playtime
Check out these ideas for simple sensory play that can be done indoors or outdoors.
Create a sensory bin and get down on the floor with them to do water play. You could try adding soapy water to the bin for some bubble fun.
Sensory bottles are another great option! If you aren’t familiar with them, then check on this website for a little tutorial.
29. Play Grocery Store
Kids love to do this by themselves, but they love it even more if you get down on their level and play WITH them!
This will help them feel loved and connected to you while you are doing pretend play.
Even though it seems like a normal ordinary task to you, it’s exciting for your little one. And it’s a great brain development activity!
30. Make Paper Bag Puppets And Put On A Show
Puppets truly come alive for kids! Grab some paper bags, or even some socks, and make puppets!
They will love the story telling aspect of this activity.
There are so many options to create a fun day for you and your little one that don’t include screen time!
Take a little extra planning time and think about what you want to do to connect to your toddler and watch their behavior drastically improve!
And you’ll be smiling all the while because of the relationship you chose to create!