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Encouraging creative play for your toddler is a wonderful way to help them build imagination, creativity and learning through play. These creative activities for toddlers are perfect for keeping your younger child busy, with fun new play ideas to try at home. Many of these activities require minimal equipment and are sure to keep them occupied as their creativity flows!
From sensory experiences to building, these creative activities for toddlers are sure to give them hours of fun as they learn and play.
The Benefits Of Creative Play For Toddlers
Getting your toddler involved with creative activities supports their early development, improving skills such as imagination and creativity. It also gets them away from technology and gadgets too!
It builds their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they attempt to manipulate and mould items in the ways they want.
Sensory play teaches them about textures and how things can change or stay the same.
Creative activities for toddlers also helps develop fine motor skills, with many of these activities involving the use of toys and tools, as well as their own hands. All of these activities help to strengthen little fingers and improve coordination.
Some of these activities also encourage the development of speech and language skills, which will also build confidence in your toddler.
The other great benefit of creative play is that it can encourage independent play and solo exploration, allowing you to take a step back from playing alongside them as directly.
Creative Activities For Toddlers
Get your toddlers creativity flowing with these simple activities you can do at home – for artistic play, drama and music and construction.
Find rainy day and colour activities for toddlers, indoor and outdoor activities and sensory ideas.
1. Dress Ups
Get a box and fill it with various items of clothing or costumes for them to play dress-ups with.
This can be actual children’s costume items or a mix of existing clothing you have in your home, such as dad’s shirt, your sunhat, their big sister’s polka dot socks and Nan’s scarf.
This simple activity of pretend play allows your child to create their own character or simply have fun mixing and matching various items to create their own silly ensemble. Join in for some shared fun together.
This is also such a fun way for your child to develop social skills through play.
2. Painting Activities For Toddlers
Messy play is always fun and most toddlers love the chance to express themselves through art activities.
Make your own edible paint so that your toddler can safely create their own works of art. Get them sheets of paper or let them paint cardboard boxes you have on hand.
Your toddler will learn about colours as they see new colour combinations forming from their paints mixing together. Don’t forget the painting smock to keep their clothes protected!
How To Make Taste Safe Paint – To make your own edible paint use 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of water with a few drops of food colouring. Add the water slowly, until you reach your desired consistency. Store your edible paint in the refrigerator between uses.
Don’t limit them to painting with a brush!
Give your toddler different sponges, brushes and rollers to use. Or let them finger paint instead.
If you’re dreading the potential mess, give your toddler some washable finger paints in an empty bathtub where you can easily wash away the mess once they are done.
They can also experiment with different mediums and textures such as painting with bubble wrap to see what patterns they can make or using leaves and flowers, rollers or sponges.
3. Play Dough Creations
Get your toddler to practice their fine motor skills with every kid’s favourite, play dough!
Get my toddler-safe play dough recipe to make your own at home, and let your toddler explore the unique texture.
Add extra fun to their playdough time by giving your toddler cookie cutters, rolling pins and other tools to help them create with. Or give them uncooked rice or spaghetti to poke into their creations for added safe fun.
Playing with the dough helps strengthen their fingers and hands which will support their development with writing and fine motor skills as they get closer to starting school.
4. Sidewalk Drawing & Painting
Sidewalk decorating with paint or chalk are perfect outdoor activities for toddlers.
Mix water, cornstarch, and food colouring to make your own sidewalk paint or make your own sidewalk chalk. You can get the recipes to make both at home. Let your toddler unleash their creativity by decorating the sidewalk with their artistic designs.
They will love seeing their work on display outside before it is washed away by weather or a bucket of water, leaving them with a new blank canvas to decorate.
5. Music Play
Put on upbeat music for your toddler and encourage them to dance along. Join in with them as you make up your own fun dance moves and follow their lead.
Or make your own musical instruments out of everyday household items instead. Your toddler will love creating different sounds and experimenting through play.
The bigger movements of dancing and making music will stimulate your toddler’s bigger muscle groups and are great for developing gross motor skills.
Try these ideas:
- A wooden spoon on pots and pans for drums
- A drink bottle filled with uncooked rice for a homemade maraca
- Attach strings across a disposable plate for a homemade guitar
- Find whistles and bells in their toy collection
FOR MORE RELATED FUN:
6. Box Creative Play
There’s something about boxes that kids love! And there are so many fun ways to play with boxes.
Give your toddler chalk, paint or felt pens to decorate a box however they like. Or turn your boxes into something beyond their imagination.
- Build box tunnels or castles for them to play in
- Fold your box flat and draw roads for their toy cars
- Turn a box into a crib for their baby doll
- Create a fun box costume they can wear
This will need your help but their creative play will be inspired by your creations.
7. Small World Play
Create a small world play centre for your child such as this Zoo themed cutlery tray. This activity zone for your child can be changed up with different types of animals and accessories for a new world each time.
8. Nature Activities For Toddlers
Nature play is perfect for teaching toddlers about the world around them. Take them for a nature walk through the garden to collect a range of leaves, flowers, seeds and nuts.
Outdoors activities are fun ideas for toddlers who are still learning about the world around them.
Try one of these fun nature play ideas:
- Use crayons to do leaf rubbings
- Make a nature suncatcher
- Press flowers between paper and heavy books
- Glue them onto cardstock or paper to make 3D scenes
- Fill a shallow tray with water and see what floats and what sinks
- Sort them from biggest to smallest or by colour
- Bury in a tub of sand or uncooked rice for your toddler to find
Try one of these water play activities for preschool-aged kids (and the rest of the family) during the warmer weather.
9. Mosaic Wall
If you are concerned about damaging the wall, use a tile wall or the refrigerator or freezer surface instead.
You can also get pattern board sets as a fun alternative for your toddlers colour play activities.
10. Sorting Activities
Use a container with many compartments, such as a muffin tin and give your toddler objects of different colours or different sizes.
Toddlers in general love to sort objects by size and colour. How they sort them can be up to them, or with some guidance from you.
If using small objects, ensure supervision in case they are potential choking hazards. Or use larger objects, such as coloured blocks if you want to give your child a more independent activity.
Great items to sort include things such as coloured pom poms or ping pong balls, cotton balls, bottle lids or pipe cleaners. This activity is great for developing hand eye coordination in young kids.
11. Colour Sensory Bins
Coloured rice is so much fun for younger children and toddlers. It can help teach them colours. It can be moved into different sized containers. You can bury things in it. And it’s taste safe.
For a simple coloured rice play activity, try this rice sensory bin idea using a cutlery tray and coloured toys for a colour sorting activity.
12. Blanket Fort
The pure joy on your toddler’s face is worth turning part of your home into a mess to build a fort from sheets and pillows.
Turn a table into a comfortable play zone indoors, or take the fun outside and use a trampoline or swing set as your fort frame.
Give your toddler free playtime in their new fortress or share the time with them, reading books and playing together.
13. Magnetic Blocks
Magnetic blocks such as these ones are wonderful open-ended play toys for toddlers. There is no end to what your toddler can create with colourful magnetic tiles. From 3D construction, with a little help from you or 2D images and patterns of their choosing.
With so many things to build with magnetic tiles, they make for fun toddler activities and older kids can get involved too.
You can order magnetic tiles online here.
14. Water Painting
One of the most simple and fun activities to do with your toddler is painting with water.
Fill a bowl or container with water and grab a few paintbrushes of various sizes. Set up outdoors either on a driveway or cement area or at a fence and have your toddler draw pictures with water using the paint brushes.
They will love seeing the different shapes they can make and marvel at how quickly their artwork disappears as the water dries.
This can also be a wonderful early introduction to letters and numbers as you guide your child’s hand to create the shape of basic letters and numbers with water.
More Ideas For Creative Play For Kids
In case you want even more ideas, so much of what we do during our daily lives can be incorporated into creative kids activities. Through movement, touch, using different senses and playing with toys in new ways.
- Encourage them to use their imagination when playing with toys. For example, they can pretend that their stuffed animals are having a tea party or that their blocks are cars in a traffic jam.
- Give them opportunities to experiment with different mediums. For example, they can paint with watercolours, use clay to make sculptures, or play with dough to make shapes.
- Encourage them to tell stories. This can be done by providing them with props, such as puppets or dolls, or by asking them questions about what they are doing.
- Provide them with opportunities to move their bodies. This can be done by playing music and dancing together or stretching and doing yoga.
For ages 3 & up:
Keep your younger kids entertained with play and learning with these fun creative activities for toddlers! Find more family fun ideas for keeping kids entertained at home and in the backyard. And don’t miss these LEGO activities for older kids.
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