Remember being bored as a kid? I don’t even have TIME to be bored now, what with blog friends, Facebook, and Pinterest, I find at least a dozen new things I’d love to try. Kids get bored easily it seems. And moms have a busy time keeping them occupied, especially in summer when days are LOOONG and HOT. So I’m compiling a list of activities for toddlers specifically, since I have one. I’m publishing it in sections so it won’t seem overwhelming!
NONE of these ideas will involve technology (to my knowledge, unless it’s an appliance for building or cooking something). Which, toddlers shouldn’t be operating heavy machinery anyway. I’m also trying to keep activities as “free and natural” as possible, so most use common household objects/materials. Some take a bit more preparation.
Here’s the first list. I call this the Water Edition, because it’s all water-based activities.
Note: Activities may not be appropriate for all ages, but I am aiming at somewhere between 1-3 years! Also, please supervise children at all times, especially with water play.
- Jump in puddles. Never underestimate the thrill of letting your kids go outdoors when it’s raining. This is precisely when they want to “Go ‘side!” as my boy says. I kept telling him “It’s raining!” but he insisted: “SEE it!” (I want to see it!). So I thought – why not! We spent about 10-15 minutes outside, walking through the rain, running his cars through puddles. Stomping in the puddles. Getting soaked. He had a blast. Surprisingly, so did I!
- Paint with water. Give your child kiddy paintbrushes and a jar of water. Let them paint on your driveway, sidewalk, fence, the side of the house. The water won’t hurt anything, and they’ll stay clean!
- Water plants. Teach your baby about gardening by letting them water plants either with the hose turned low, or with a small bucket or watering can. Unless you’re like our son who likes to water the cement. You’ll create a great “chore buddy” for coming years, teaching your toddler how to water the garden!
- Create a water table. We have a delightful water table toy. But to make one on the cheap, bring a large tupperware or rubbermaid tote, or your baby bathtub outside and fill with water. Experiment with various objects to see which float. And which don’t!
- Make Music. Fill a couple water bottles with various levels of water. Show your toddler how to blow across the top to make different notes.
- Sprinkler! I’ve learned that unless you have a water table or teeny tiny pool, filling and refilling a big pool for toddlers is just hard work. And impractical. They are in and out constantly. So make use of a sprinkler. Not only will your toddler have fun, but you’ll also water your lawn!
- Icebreaker. Don’t you know toddlers LOVE to bang on things? Freeze water in a bundt pan or other container. You can add food coloring, or put in some small plastic toys. Then, run container under hot water to loosen block of ice. Show toddler how to bang away to unearth hidden objects! They’ll have a blast. Clean up will be a breeze! (Just be careful where you do this if you’ve added food coloring!)
- Bubbles! Get baby bubble bath and use it in your kiddie pool or water table to create piles of bubbles for kids to play with outside. They’ll love batting around mounds of foam, and spreading it all over the yard and driveway.
- Little Squirt. Use generic ketchup and mustard bottles from the dollar store. Fill with water and let your toddler squirt away! This will probably be easier (and more fun) than a squirt gun at this age.
- Water Balloons. Fill up balloons part way with water so they are not likely to burst easily. Toddlers will have fun squishing the water inside like a baby stress ball! Throwing will be fun too, as they watch the balloon flip and flop all over. And if the balloon happens to burst, even more fun, but not a huge soaker like if you’d filled it up entirely. (Note: PLEASE be aware that a broken water balloon leaves small pieces around that could be choking hazards, so I recommend this for older toddlers and that you be sure to pick up the pieces immediately.).
Do you have any other water activities to add to the list?
Have you checked out the rest of my 101 Toddler Activities?