Toddlers are too young to play on their own and be left to their own devices. They’re also not ready for a lot of worksheets so you need to get creative when it comes to keeping toddlers entertained. If you’re struggling to find out how to keep toddlers busy, crafts and activities are a great place to start.
At this age, focusing on guided activities is more productive than planning out rigid lessons since toddlers are still primarily learning through play. There are some worksheets that toddlers can do, and these focus on emerging skills like pre-writing activities, fine motor skills, and learning their shapes, colors, numbers, and alphabet.
When you are ready take the Is your Toddler ready for Preschool? Quiz
Learning Activities for Toddlers
It’s important to incorporate some learning into your daily play with a toddler. At this age small children are sponges and ready to soak up anything you’re willing to teach. Take your child’s lead: it’s not crucial for a toddler to learn their ABCs, but if they are interested don’t be afraid to encourage early learning either!
Be sure to also look at Printable Chore & Routine Cards For Kids
Our learning activities for toddlers focus on the alphabet (their ABCs), counting skills (and numbers), as well as learning colors and shapes.
- ABC Photo Book
- FREE ABC Poster
- ABC Match and Trace Cards
- Sensory ABC Activity
- O is for Octopus
- Spell My Name on a Train
- Magnetic Letter Name Search Sensory Bin
Numbers and Counting Activities
- Dry-Erase Markers on the Fridge
- Counting Popsicle Stick Puzzles
- Counting with LEGO (Please use duplo blocks for toddlers)
- Learning Numbers with a Counting Caterpillar Craft for Kids
Color and Shape Activities
- Bear Sees Colors Color Hunt
- Button Shape Matching
- Dot Matching Game
- Farm Animal Pattern Block Mats For Numbers 1-10
- Counting and Color Sorting Activity
Printables for Toddlers
Older toddlers can start working their fine motor skills. By age 2, most toddlers can start doing basic printable worksheets. The biggest focus at this age is teaching fine motor skills and working on strengthening their pre-writing abilities. Start with just a few minutes of ‘sit down’ work with your toddler and work your way up to more difficult worksheets as they master each skill.
Our toddler friendly worksheets including tracing activities for toddlers, toddler made worksheets to work on tracing names, and toddler approved coloring pages.
- Dinosaur PreWriting
- Number Strips For Handwriting & Number Recognition
- Shape Tracing Strips
- Community Helper Prewriting Practice
- 1-10 Counting and Tracing Numbers
- Name Tracing Worksheet
- Pencil Control for Early Learners
- Drawing Tray
Fun Activities for Toddlers
Toddlers are always learning even when it doesn’t feel like you’re focusing on teaching something specific. Planning fun activities for toddlers will help keep them busy and encourage creative play. Crafts are a huge hit with the under 3 crowd, but you do have to make sure they’re toddler friendly.
Our craft ideas for toddlers are a perfect introduction to crafting even at a young age. They’re created specifically for younger children and are easy enough for toddlers to do (with help.) Just make sure you never leave your young children unsupervised while doing crafts, especially when they have small parts.
Some of the most fun activities for toddlers are popsicle crafts for toddlers and toddler art projects.
- Window Shapes Matching
- Mess Free Paint Exploring
- Ice Painting Art
- Animal Spots – Fingerprint
- DIY Sponge Stamps for Kids
- How to Make Your Own Stamp with a Potato
- Jingle Bracelets
- Sensory Sticks
- Peek a Boo Book
- Oobleck For Toddlers
- Toddler Taste Safe Foam Dough
- Pick up Sticks
Fun Animal Activities for Toddlers
Learning about animals is more than just encouraging toddlers to make cute animal sounds. It’s actually a great way to improve toddler vocabulary and help them gain a better understanding of the world around them. Usually toddlers are a fan of animals, too, so that helps keep them engaged.
- Animal Puppets & Nursery Rhymes
- Farm Animal Pattern Block Mats
- Farm Animal Finger Puppets
- Little Blue Truck Farm Animal Story Retelling
- Farm Animal Sort
- Big Red Barn Art Activity Book
- Muddy Truck Edible Sensory Bin with Little Blue Truck
- Picture Matching with Board Books
Quiet Book (Busy Book) for Toddlers
Quiet books or busy books are a great way to keep toddlers busy when you need a break. They can be helpful if you’re making dinner, working from home, or looking after a new baby. Pull them out anytime you need your toddler to occupy themselves in a safe way.
These books are made up of different, toddler friendly activities on each page. DIY or homemade busy books and quiet books are a great way to keep things fresh and new. They’re also easy to take on the go and are self contained so there’s no mess.
- How to Make a Quiet Book the NO SEW Way
- What to put inside a Quiet Book (11 pages)
- Counting and Numbers Quiet Book
- Touch & Feel Quiet Book
- The Story of Creation in a Quiet Book
Busy Bags for Toddlers
Like busy books, busy bags are great when you need to figure out how to keep toddlers busy. Especially if you need them occupied on their own for a few minutes. Inside each bag is a single activity that fits a theme. Usually toddlers can do them independently, but they’re a great way to stave off boredom together too.
Prep busy bags in advance so you always have something to pull out when your toddler needs to be occupied.
- Easy Shape & Pattern Activity
- Counting Caterpillar Busy Bag
- Apple Seed Counting Busy Bag
- Dinosaur Matching Puzzle
- Fine Motor Skills with Crazy Straws
- Lids Matching and Memory Game
- Tiny Pom Pom Fine Motor Skills
- Velcro Dot Craft Sticks
Emotions Activities for Toddlers
Toddlers are at an age where they’re trying to make sense of the world. That includes emotions, which at this age are still confusing. Often young children lack the appropriate language skills to convey how they feel. That’s why activities for toddlers that focus on emotions are so important: they help give children the words and tools they need to express themselves.
Teaching toddlers about emotions, how to talk about them, and what they mean will eventually lead to reducing temper tantrums and other communication issues.
- Emotions Coloring Pages
- Learning Emotions With Face Playdough Mats
- Emotions Daily Tracker & Games Printable Pack
Toddler Themes for the YEAR
Early learning benefits greatly from themed lessons. You can reinforce what you’re trying to teach more easily than if you’re jumping through a bunch of different subjects. It’s also a lot easier for parents to teach skills based on a specific theme!
If you’re doing some early homeschooling with your toddler consider adding themes. Focus all your activities on that theme so your toddler really gets a chance to learn the concepts. You could also break that theme down into daily or weekly chunks. For example, a color theme for the month and days focused around each one.
You can come up with themes on your own, but you might want to consider picking up a premade theme that’s made specifically with a toddler’s developmental level in mind.
See all our Toddler Unit Lesson Plans here.
Toddler Building Toys
Building toys are great for independent play. They not only promote the use of fine motor skills, they also help young children build up their spatial awareness, logical reasoning, and understanding of cause and effect. Milestones for tower building vary by age, so encourage your toddler to build a tower as tall as they can.
The great thing about building toys is that they grow with your child. What starts as a young toddler building and knocking down a small stack turns into preschoolers building entire cities.