Easy, brain-boosting activities to do with your toddler at home
Cooped up at home with a toddler? Looking for things to do, make and play? Have a look at the huge variety of activities we've pulled together here to keep your 1 to 2 year old happy and stimulated
Having to entertain a toddler all day at home is like trying to juggle jellyfish: hard-to-handle, unpredictable and probably a bit messy. What really helps is having a varied store of engaging, brain-boosting activities to call on to keep your child happy, stimulated and engaged. And we've got masses of them for you right here...
Here are some great ideas for home-based learning activities, games, books, toys and crafts for 1 and 2 year olds...
Downloadable activity sheets
We have all sorts of fun, developmentally stimulating activity sheets for you to download, print and share with your toddler – whether you're after something to boost their counting skills, something to help them make marks with a pencil or something to hone their powers of observation...
Numbers and counting
- Mister Maker spotting shapes activity sheets
- Numbers and counting activity sheets
- Counting, talking and creativity activity sheets
Pre-reading and pencil-marking
Observation and imagination
More like this
- Mr Tumble activity sheets
- Sound and play activity sheets
- Activities from BBC Something Special
- Summer-themed what-can-you-spot activity sheets
- Creativity and imagination activity sheets
Literacy: first writing and pre-reading
Fine motor skills: colouring and mazes
- Alphabet colouring in sheets
- Peter Rabbit colouring and maze puzzle sheets
- Easter colouring activities
Learning through movement and play
- Toddler games downloadables: create a trike, running or hopping track
- Tree Fu Tom maths activity sheets for children who love to move
- In the Night Garden cut-out games
Games to play
Thinking of ways to get your child up and moving – and learning as they play – can be tricky when outings beyond the house are limited and maybe there's not a lot of space to run around safely indoors. We've found some great ideas for indoor games and activities – some of them based on boosting motor skills, and a whole host of others that include everything from flour drawing to sock matching to 'hunt the teddy'...
- 6 counting games for toddlers and preschoolers
- 6 sound games to teach toddlers to talk
- 6 games for imaginary and creative play
- 26 indoor games to play with your toddler
- 6 toddler games to boost motor skills
- In the Night Garden toddler activities for indoor play
- 5 amazing things to make with cardboard
And when all else fails – or you just need a break...
Finding time every day – even several times a day – to look at a book with your toddler and talk about the pictures you see can bring a welcome, slower, cuddlier change of pace after a long session of more active or more directed play. Here are a few of our most-loved book recommendations for toddler...
- The best interactive books for toddlers and kids
- 10 of the best books for toddlers
- 10 best books for 1 year olds
- 10 best books for 2 year olds
- 10 of the best books for preschoolers
- The best 30 books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers
Try these podcasts, too
Great toddler toys keep your child learning as they play – whether that's in a more obvious educational-toy kind of way or in a looser, imagination-expanding, pretend-play kind of way. We've tested and reviewed hundreds of toys in the past few years, picking out the very best to recommend in the dozens of toy articles we publish and regularly update. Take a look at the toys we really rate for 1 to 2 year olds...
Toys to stimulate the imagination (and lots of dressing up)
Toys to get them moving, even indoors
Toys to get them creatively lost in their own little world
Toys to keep them thinking and working things out
And the pick of the toys our child testers loved the best
Making and glueing and cutting and painting – and creating something special to stick on the wall or mantlepiece for all to admire: crafting with your toddler is definitely worth the time and the (yes, OK, inevitably messy) effort. Here are some lovely little projects to make together...
- 5 amazing things to make with cardboard
- How to make your very own Grass Hedgehog
- Nursery pal 'Percy the Pig' to make with your toddler
- Simple fluttery birds to make with your toddler
- Mini makes: Cute penguin to make with your toddler
- Queen and king paper crowns to print and make
- Mini makes: sparkly ice cream
- Mini makes: Olive The Owl kite
Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.
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