15 No Prep Activities for Toddlers

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activities for toddlers

Have you ever wondered when do toddlers run out of energy? 

I can answer you that question right quick: Never. Like ever.

A dead-tired 2-year-old will still kick and scream to play at 830 at night when you have been trying to put him down to bed for over an hour.

Toddlers literally open their eyes and that’s it, they are 100% awake and ready to roll.

I heard a quote that little kids wake up like that because they are still excited about life. I wholeheartedly agree.

I actually marvel at that every single day. Their enthusiasm to explore and their dedication to keep trying a hundred times over are unparalleled.

This post isn’t about how to make them calm down so we can have a life. (Though I understand the need for short breaks, treating my toddler as a nuisance  isn’t the attitude I strive for)

What this post is about is how to have fun with your toddler when you want to spend one-on-one quality time with them.

I realize that they are too young to have long attention spans and honestly, super complicated, Pinterest perfect crafts and activities don’t have a place in my wanna-be minimalist life.

With two older kids at home (and a teenage stepdaughter and a husband), it would be very easy to forget about the toddler and just try to satisfy immediate needs in order to get some quiet.

I do fall into that a little more than I want to, so I set out on a mission to find low-key toddler activities that me and my little guy can enjoy together.

I want to give him all of myself, just like I did with the other ones when I was much less overwhelmed.

My plan is to spend some focused time with him in the morning when it’s just us awake.

He is only 18months old, so I am expecting to use these for many months as he matures.

Today, I decided to share my finds with you!

While I could have included at least a 100 different activities, I like to keep things simple. I’d rather do a few activities consistently than have 100 pins and never even look at them.

I want you to see this list and feel inspired instead of overwhelmed. 

I hope you enjoy!

1. Balloon Hockey

activities for toddler

I love Lean Green Bean’s Balloon Hockey idea so much! All you need is balloons and a fly swatter to bat the balloons around the house. Genius!

2. Car Wash

activities for toddlers

Check out Teaching Mama’s cute idea for an indoor carwash. Which 2 year old wouldn’t love soapy water and something to drop in it?


3. Painting With Water

activities for toddlers

LouLou Girls posted about painting with water for an (almost) mess-free activity. Since being strapped into the high chair is included, I think I will save this one for emergencies.

4. Sensory Bins

activities for toddlers


Mostly Under Control rounded up 6 Sensory Bin ideas for little hands. We have a beans sensory box, but I plan to try different ones. They are awesome.

5. Water Beads

Water Beads also make a wonderful sensory play option and they are pretty fascinating to watch as they “grow”.

6. Hammering Golf Tees

activities for toddlers

Teaching Mama recommends letting your toddler hammer golf tees into a styrofoam block. Who would have thought?

7. Car Ramp

activities for toddlers

A lot of different things could work for a car ramp, but The Lean Green Bean decided cardboard it is. You could also roll down small balls.


8. Muffin Pan Fun

activities dor toddlers

My Three Good Things says, putting balls into a muffin tin is great fun for a younger toddler. I have to agree.

If I didn’t already have more than enough small balls, I would definitely buy this 16 piece basic set or this sensory one.

9. Magnets


While these magnets seems pricey at first, my kids play so much with them that I gladly bought several sets. Magnets are hands down the best to build a tower with and crash it.


10. Poke-a-dot Book

I saw this Poke-A-Dot book on Baby Related Inspirations and I will have to get one (or 3). My toddler loves pushing buttons and loves “reading”: this book is the best of both worlds!

11. Scotch Taped Toys

activities for toddlers

Baby Related Inspirations had an idea that combined little figurines and Scotch tape into one activity. Could something be more fun for grabby little hands?

12. Bear Pattern Strips

activities for toddlers

These printable  Pattern Strips from Fun A Day are perfect to use with my kids’ favorite counting bears. The bears come with colored cups, so you can always just play sorting with them.


13. Stickers

These Animal Zoo stickers are perfect for small hands and you can also teach your child about animals.

Melissa and Doug Sticker Collections come in a variety of themes, my kids love them all.

14. Froggie Pompom Drop

activities for toddlers

I have seen pompoms used in many different ways, but this is by far my favorite. The Froggie Pompom Drop, Hassle Free House Wife’s idea, is not only cute, it is also easier for younger toddlers to do than other activities out there.

15. Ladle Lift

activities for toddlers

Found on Busy Toddler, the Ladle Lift is a versatile and fun (also educational) activity for your toddler.

I hope you enjoyed these 15 low prep activities for toddlers. Go and make some memories!

Which activity do you like the most? How do you spend time with your toddler? 

Like what you read? Please share!

activities for toddlers