It has been a crazy time these past few weeks. We are staying home after daycare closures and work closures, and doing our best to practice social distancing. We get outside for a walk as often as possible, but for the most part we have just chosen to stay home and self isolate. I’ve always been a huge homebody and very introverted anyway, and I could easily stay home for days on end, alone, and enjoy my own company without batting an eye. BUT, since having a child I find it much more difficult to stay home all day.
It is still winter in Canada and we still have cold weather and snow. We are getting outside when we can for walks and backyard play, but some days it is seriously just too chilly and windy for it to be enjoyable out there. On those days I try to prepare something outside of our normal play or toys. Something fun and new for Mia to engage in, and for mom to have a much needed mental break. I am also trying my best to work from home right now as my place of work is closed, and sometimes I just need some quiet time to focus on a task, which is where these easy, low prep activities come in handy!!!
So, because I know many of you are currently in the same situation, (i.e. stuck at home, trying to survive the day to day, potentially working remotely for the first time while also having kids running around) I wanted to share some easy activities we have done that involve very minimal prep and that you also probably already have supplies for in your own home. If you don’t already have, it can definitely be found on Amazon and will not require you to leave your house, because staying home is important right now!
1 | POM POM SWEEP
All you need is some tape, some pom poms, and a kid sized broom. Make a square on the floor with the tape and scatter pom poms all around the floor. Have your child sweep the pom poms into the square. This could be done with other objects as well if you don’t have pom poms handy. Try blocks, lego, small animals, etc.
2 | DOT STICKER MATCHING
All you need are some dot stickers, paper, and markers or crayons. Draw some different colored dots on paper and have your child peel and stick the dot stickers on the matching color. This is a great fine motor activity for toddlers and a great way to practice colors!
3 | STRAW LACING OR THREADING
All you need is some plastic straws and something to thread them onto. In the photo I used grilling skewers and stuck them in our nesting cups, but you could use dry spaghetti noodles, pipe cleaners, or lace / thread. Sticking them in play dough works great as well!
4 | PIPE CLEANER THREADING
If you have a colander and some pipe cleaners, this is a great threading activity! Your toddler will love sticking the pipe cleaners into the little holes in the colander. This is great fine motor practice and is super minimal prep!
For more fine motor ideas check out: 9 Super Easy Toddler Activities for Fine Motor Development
5 | GROSS MOTOR COLOR MATCHING
This activity is so easy! All you need is some different colored paper, pom poms and other colorful items that you may have laying around (blocks, counters, craft sticks, etc.). I taped the paper to the floor and put all items in a bin, and then I had my toddler match the items to the correct colored paper.
6 | EGG CARTON COLOR MATCH UP
Using an old egg carton, some crayons, and some craft sticks, we created this great color matching activity that is also great for fine motor development! Gotta love a good DIY activity!
Want more color matching activities? Check out 10 Fun & Easy Activities to Teach Your Toddler Colors
7 | WATER & FRUIT PLAY
It doesn’t get much easier than water play! Give your child a bin of water with some scoops and jars and that would honestly be good enough for most toddlers. But, I like to add a little more to keep it interesting, and adding fruit is a great way to add to the fun! This is also a wonderful option for those little ones who still love to explore with their mouths, as the whole activity is completely edible!
8 | FRUIT & VEGGIE CUTTING
If you have these little slice-able foods at home, put them all in a bin and have your child cut them and put them into pots and pans to make some dinner! The cutting is a great activity for fine motor work and typically this activity will lead to some imaginative play as well. We have THIS SET of play food!
9 | WASHING THE DISHES
This easy activity is great for learning those everyday life skills! All you need is some soap and water, some sponges or cloths, and some play dishes. My daughter LOVES this activity and it is a go to for me. I have also seen these awesome play sinks that accomplish the same activity but give you a working tap for the child to play with.
10 | SEEK & FIND PUZZLES
Take your puzzles to the next level by hiding the pieces. We used a bin with rice but you could really use anything. Or you could even take it a step further and hide them all over the house and create a fun game out of finding the pieces.
11 | MATCHING GAMES
We used our play food that cuts into two halves, and also our large animal and small animal figures to create two different versions of a matching activity. You could do this matching game with a variety of items or whatever you have on hand. (Socks, cards, plastic eggs, etc.)
There are also lots of different matching toys that you can purchase that give you the same concept and are really great! Shop some of them here.
12 | FLOWER SOUP
Currently it is a bit too cold to pull out flower soup where we live, but this is always a go to in the summer for us. Add some flowers to some water and throw in some scoops and bowls, and you have yourself some flower soup!
You may also like: 18 Ways to Play With Your Ikea Flisat Table
13 | DIY Bracelets
We used pipe cleaners for our bracelets but you could use thread or yarn as well. Also, we had some beads on hand but you could use dry pasta or cereal if you don’t have any beads. This is also a great fine motor activity for little ones.
14 | NAME ACTIVITY
Using tape or markers write out your child’s name. Using Duplo blocks, have them lay the blocks on the lines that make up their name. We included a color matching aspect to the activity as well!
15 | CRAFT STICK MATCH UP
I used different color washi tape and different color craft sticks to create this super simple color matching activity. I love how easy this one was to set up (and clean up!) and also that I can use the materials in a variety of other ways as well.
14 | STICKY COLOR MATCH UP
I used pom poms and cut up plastic straws, a lint roller, and some nesting cups to bring this activity to life. The goal is to have your toddler grab the poms and straws with the sticky lint roller and then to pull them off and place them in the correct cup.
15 | DOT STICKER APPLE TREE
I created this tree out of paper and then drew shapes on it. I then used green and red dot stickers and drew shapes on those as well. I had my toddler peel and stick to the matching shapes on the tree. You could use numbers, shapes, or letters for this activity!
16 | POM POM & BOTTLE COLOR MATCHING
What toddler doesn’t love pushing things into holes? For this activity all you need is some old water bottles, some colored paper to wrap around them, and some pom poms! Super simple but lots of fun.
17 | DIY Puzzle
Trace objects on a piece of paper and have your child match the objects to their outline as they would a puzzle. I used some wooden shapes, but you could use any type of objects for this activity.
Our wooden shapes are from this awesome counting toy.
17 | POM POM & DUPLO MATCHING
18 | POM POM COUNTING
A great way to practice counting is to draw some numbers on paper and have your toddler place the correct number of pom poms in a row above the number. This is a great activity for 3+ or early preschoolers who are learning to count objects.
Our wooden number tiles are from this Melissa & Doug counting toy.
19 | ANIMAL PARADE
I love this activity and it is one that I pull out often when I need something quick. All you need is some tape and some toy animals. Lay some tape down on the ground and have your child line up all their animals in a line. My almost 3 year old loves this one!
20 | NUMBER MATCH
This number match up is super easy and a great little learning activity! All you need is some paper, a marker, and some sticky notes. Draw some numbers on paper and place on the floor (you can tape them down if you would like), draw numbers on sticky notes and scatter around on the floor. Have your child place the sticky notes on the matching number. You can change this up with shape matching, letter matching, etc.
21 | PAPER RAINBOW
This was a fun little arts & crafts activity that we did recently. I simply cut up small pieces of paper, drew a rainbow on a sheet of paper, and (with assistance) let my toddler use the glue stick to stick the pieces of paper to the matching color in the rainbow. She loved this activity and we have a pretty adorable little rainbow as a finished product!
22 | PUZZLE MATCH UP
If you have multiple wooden puzzles, lay them all out on the floor and have your child match them up! It changes it up because they are using all the puzzles at once which created a big more of a challenge. I will link the puzzles that we used here. They are: the Melissa and Doug Ocean Puzzle, Pet Puzzle, Number Puzzle, Shape Puzzle.