Time for toddler play ideas! Play, after all, is what your little guy does best. And since toddler play is really learning, play ideas for tots are wonderful ways that you and your child can grow, develop and explore together.
What do you do when it’s raining out and you and your toddler are stuck indoors all the long long long day? Turn the TV on, make popcorn, and have a cartoon marathon? You don’t need to! Toddlers are actually ridiculously easily entertained, and you don’t have to do much to make your toddler thrilled and make this day go down in the records as ‘a day of fun adventures’ instead of ‘boring raining day number 377’.
Here are some wonderful rainy day toddler play ideas that both you and your little guy can have fun with.
• All Aboard For Africa! Give your child a cardboard box and tell him it is a car—or a train—or a boat—and he can travel in it anywhere he likes. He’ll love packing it up with his blanket, teddy, and, if mom is generous, even a snack; and he should be able to entertain himself for hours. If you want to make things really exciting—and get a workout in the process—you can volunteer to push him all around the living room—or all around the house.
• Car Factory—Here’s another box activity. Get out the crayons, markers, and any other favorite toddler craft supplies, and let your toddler go all out decorating his car—or boat—or plane. If he’s all about cars, cut out some cardboard circles and glue them on the sides for wheels. If he’s an airplane fanatic, cut out some wings.
• Home & Castle: If you’ve got a really big box—like those ginormous refrigerator boxes you can often pick up for free at Walmart or Target— cut out windows and doors and gift your child with an instant playhouse. There can be hours of fun in the decorating, and hours of fun in the playing later. Let your toddler carpet the place with a blanket, and lend her non-breakable kitchenware for a mini kitchen.
• Hide and Seek: No list of play ideas would be complete without hide and go seek; the perfect no-prep, no mess rainy day activity that can keep your toddler entertained for hours. Take turns being it: he hides while you seek, then get him to count to three while you go hide yourself. Don’t hide so well he gets scared or frustrated—and, if you sense that happening, make little noises so your toddler knows where to look!
• Soccer in the living room: Move away any movable furniture, then set up goals on the two sides of the room and play a rousing game of soccer with your child.
• Let’s be Bedouins: You don’t need a ginormous box to make a playhouse; just one blanket, draped over a chair or a table, will do nicely. Get your toddler started and then give him free rein, and you’ll be surprised at what turns his creativity takes.
• Toddler Arts and Crafts: Paint pictures, color with crayons, or make your own playdough and have a blast being creative. We’ve got lots of artsy play ideas for toddlers on the page devoted to that.
• Open an Orchestra: Show your toddler how he can make instruments out of kitchen ware: upside down pans and wooden spoons, for instance, or two forks struck together for chimes. Let him bang to his heart’s content for a while, and then see if you can teach him the rudiments of rhythm.
• Get Busy in the Kitchen: Make something easy, fun and tasty in the kitchen, and let your toddler help—and be chief taster! Peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, pizza, nachos, or quesadillas are all fun to do with a little help from willing hands.
What are your favorite toddler play ideas? Please share them in the comments!