Let’s play two truths and a lie.
Toddlers are active, they like to play with everything imaginable, and you have a massive list of activities to play with your kids.
The last one’s the lie, right?
No judgment, I was in the same boat, that’s why I wrote this article!
Quick Links: (28) Indoor Activities For Toddlers
You know that your kids like to play, but sometimes it’s hard to think of new ways to keep them entertained and positively channel their energy.
One quick tip before we dive into the fun stuff!
I would invest in getting a large bin for your supplies and have them READY TO GO. When you are in a pinch and you need something to keep your kids occupied, you don’t have time to run to Target and Amazon doesn’t deliver in 15 minutes, not yet anyway :).
A. Get Active (12 Activities)
Does anyone else’s toddler love to run around the house? I laugh so hard because sometimes my son runs in circles around our house over and over.
Kids WANT to move and NEED to stay active throughout the day.
This area is my specialty since I am a physical education teacher. I have some fun games up my sleeve.
#1: Baby Shark Tag
Does any of your kids want to listen to the song Baby Shark on repeat?
If so, I have the perfect game for you! Baby Shark Tag! Your kids can listen to Baby Shark over and over when playing this fun and active fitness tag game.
Check out the video below to see how this game is played.
In the video, I have exercise dice that I was able to write on. I couldn’t find those exact ones, but these are close to what I write on the dice anyway! I also like that your kids can roll a number along with seeing what exercise they have to do.
Have fun! Your kids will want to play this A LOT after being introduced to it!
#2: Obstacle Courses
What I love about obstacle courses is that you can use whatever you have lying around the house.
What I like about using all of these different objects is that they involve various movements!
a. Couch cushions: Climb, roll or slide down
b. Cones: Weaving in and out
c. Jump ropes: Learning how to jump rope
d. Tunnel: Crawling through an object
e. Small Trampoline: Straight jumps, tuck jumps, straddle jumps
It’s easy to create an obstacle course for your kids! Set up the objects that you want to use in order, so your child knows what to do next!
To make this a little more challenging, time your kids to see how quickly they can go through the course and see if they can beat their time.
#3: Tunnel Tag
This tag game is simple, fun, and you only need 2 people to play!
The more, the merrier, but sometimes it’s just you and one kiddo at home, and you’re looking for something to get them moving.
Directions for Tunnel Tag:
a. One player will start with a pool noodle (I use these for safety reasons; if you don’t have one, it’s okay; you can just use your hands), and they are the tagger.
*If you are interested in using pool noodles, cut them in half! Then you’ll have a bunch, and they are easier to run with. Check out the affiliate link below.*
b. The other players try not to get tagged by the tagger, but if they do, they make a tunnel with their legs.
c. To get unfrozen, a player has to come and crawl underneath their legs through the tunnel, and they both get back into the game. If just two people are playing, the tagger can help unfreeze as well, and then you can switch roles!
d. The person who is crawling through the person’s legs can’t get tagged while helping them.
#4: Animal Movements
Whenever I have to push into the classroom, I have a few go-to activities for my K-2 students, and doing these animal movements is one of them!
This video gets kids moving by doing different animal movements like the crab walk, donkey kicks, bear crawl, and more.
Your kids will have a blast trying to make their bodies do the same movements as some of their favorite animals!
These movements are HARD work too! They will be tired out after doing the entire exercise video. These movements work on cardiovascular endurance as well and muscular endurance!
#5. Indoor Soccer
It sounds like it could be a disaster, right?
If you have a big enough space and practice with keeping the ball on the ground, indoor soccer is an excellent activity to work on ball-handling skills, passing skills, and aiming skills!
Activities you can practice with your kids:
a. Passing back and forth using the inside of the foot.
b. Dribbling through a series of cones.
c. Set a cone up at a specific spot in front of the goal and have your kid practice kicking the ball in the goal.
RELATED: 26 Soccer Activites For 5-Year-Olds
#6: Cosmic Kids Yoga
Want a great workout for your whole family?
Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga! There have been many mornings where our family does yoga together and listens to her stories!
If you haven’t heard of her channel yet, she tells a story version of kids’ movies and creates yoga moves to go along with the story!
Yoga works on balance, strength, and relaxation techniques!
#7: Throwing Practice
You wouldn’t believe how many kids in my classes can’t throw the ball properly.
About once a week, we practice how to throw correctly and catch. We use foams balls when we practice, just for safety reasons, and I don’t want her to be afraid of the ball hurting her, or she won’t want to do it at all.
Tips on how to teach your child to throw properly:
a. Throw with their dominant hand (the one they feel most comfortable with).
b. Step with the opposite foot than the arm they are throwing with.
c. Make sure to throw all the way through; their hand should be facing towards the ground after they throw.
Tips on how to teach your child to catch properly:
a. Tell your child to have both hands up ready to catch the ball.
b. Grab the ball and bring it in towards their chest (I tell my daughter to pretend her ice cream cone is about to fall, and she has to catch it before it falls).
#8: Oodles of Noodles
Oodles of Noodles is one of my favorites.
I bet you didn’t know that there are many challenges that you can ask your child to do with pool noodles!
Here are the challenges you can ask your child to do:
a. Jump forward and backward over the noodle.
b. Do a fancy jump over it (turn, tuck, straddle).
c. Hop forward and backward.
d. Leap over it.
Add music into the mix and play a new type of freeze dance:
e. Freeze straddling it.
f. Make a bridge over it (feet on one side and hands on the other.)
g. Try a backbend over the noodle.
Different types of movements:
h. Be an elephant (make a trunk with the noodle.)
i. Move like a dinosaur with a big tail.
j. Act like a unicorn (place the noodle on top of your head.)
Balloons are so much fun plus they are fabulous for hand-eye coordination skills!
Here are some games to try with balloons:
a. Keep it up! Have your kids try to hit the balloon up by using their hands or feet without it hitting the floor. Count how many times they can do it in a row.
b. Pass it back and forth to each other, trying to not let it touch the ground.
c. Balance the balloon on a large spoon! Have them attempt to get from one side of the house to the other without the balloon falling off the spoon. If it falls off, they can go back to the beginning and try again!
d. Blow up the balloon and let it go! See where it goes, your kids will LOVE this.
e. Grab an object that is light like a ping pong ball or a small toy that rolls. Blow up the balloon and let all the air out of it near the object to see if it’ll move. Talk to your kids about cause and effect!
#10: Painters Tape
Believe it or not, there are a whole bunch of physical activities that you can do with some painters tape!
The best thing about it is that there’s barely any cleanup! The tape leaves no mess on your floor!
A. Balance Beam
They can walk on it, walk backward, kick one leg in the air at a time, hop down the line, try a tuck jump, do a spin and try to land back on the line.
B. Zig-Zag Pattern
Try all of the above movements, but create a zig-zag line with the tape!
Set up indoor hopscotch! Make several squares close to each other. They can practice hoping with one foot and two feet.
If your feeling like you want to add a little extra learning in, make numbers with the tape. I created a throwing game out of the hopscotch court. Work on addition facts or tallying by keeping score between you and your kids!
D. 4 Line Fun!
Break off 4 medium-sized lengths of tape and place them a few feet apart from each other. Ask from child to hop from line to line, leap, side slide, long jump, run and jump and stretch as far as they can to be in a push-up position.
E. Race Car Track
My kids had an absolute BLAST with this activity! We worked together to build a racetrack around our island in our kitchen. They raced hot wheels cars and remote control cars! We don’t have a toy robot like Botley yet, but if you do, have them try to code the robot to go through the racetrack!
Are you looking for the most simple activity to keep your kids active?
Bowling with plastic cups is a great way to work on gross motor skills, and it will excite your kids!
You’ll need some plastic cups and a ball to bowl with!
One tip for this activity is to have a line or cone for your kids to start rolling from. If they seem like they are doing well at one spot, challenge them by moving it back a little further!
Interested in adding some learning into this activity? Check out my Teachers Pay Teacher’s Store to grab a Subtraction Bowling Worksheet!
#12: Color Bean Bag Toss
What a fun way to get your child active as well as work on sight word or color recognition skills!
b. If you have colored bean bags, ask them to find a specific color, and attempt to throw the beanbag to the same color.
c. Work on underhand tossing skills by throwing with their dominant hand and stepping with their non-dominant foot.
d. Have a younger child? Have them place the beanbag on the color instead of throwing it!
e. Want to make this more challenging? Add sight words on the construction paper and have your child toss the beanbag to a specific sight word. IF you want to add sight words, I recommend getting the reusable folders that you see above because you can erase the word and add new ones right away to keep playing longer.
B. Sensorial Play (7 Activities)
My kids are OBSESSED with sensory play activities. The great thing about them is, is after you get it prepped, your kids will be engaged for A LONG time.
I could go on and on about different sensory activities that we have tried and loved, but these are our favorites.
#13: Water Marbles
If you’ve never played with water marbles before, you are in for an unforgettable sensory experience!
One important note: it takes about 2 hours for water marbles to be ready to play with, so don’t tell your kids about them until they are ready 🙂
The link above features the set that I have at home. I recently just got this set for my kids because I thought it was great that it incorporated some fine motor tools.
Some activities you can do with water marbles:
a. Use the tweezers to pick up specific colors to sort the marbles by color.
b. Have your kids practice how to hold scissors correctly by using the safe scoop scissors.
c. Practice scooping the marbles from one bin and dumping them into another.
d. Add magnetic/plastic letters or numbers in, have them use the tweezers to pull them out and talk about what they found.
e. Most importantly, PLAY AND HAVE FUN!
Does anyone love the new Play-Doh smell as much as I do? I know, it’s weird, but I love opening a new container of Play-Doh!
Play-Doh is always a great go-to in a situation if you need a moment to yourself, need to get lunch made, or get the laundry done.
My kids enjoy playing with Play-Doh, but they almost enjoy playing with the tools the set comes with more.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to playing with Play-Doh. Kids can get creative and make whatever they want.
Add learning into this activity by using cut-outs that have the alphabet and numbers!
We worked on some addition and subtraction problems using these cut-outs, and my daughter had so much fun, she didn’t even feel like she was learning.
You could also practice letter and number recognition or sight words!
#15: Toy Washing
Kids have fun, and the toys get cleaned, it’s a win-win!
I just got a cheap pack of toothbrushes, added some and soap, water and a few toys in a bin and let the kids go to town.
Any time kids get to play with water, they get excited! Your kids will enjoy this simple activity so much. Both my kids carried the game into the bathtub the next night during bathtime.
It’s sticky, gooey, stretchy, slimy yet satisfying. Whenever we make slime, my kids are fascinated by it. They play with it, hide their toys inside of it, and create outfits for dolls.
I’m not going to lie, we’ve made slime a handful of times, and I have had my fair share of slime fails.
But thankfully, after many attempts, we finally found a recipe that has worked for us!
To make stretchy slime, you need the following ingredients:
a. 1/2 cup of Elmer’s glue
b. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
c. Food coloring
d. 2 teaspoons of contact solution
e. Hand/body lotion
f. Something to mix with!
Check out this video to see how you can make stretchy slime at home without using borax!
Have fun! Seriously, this is the kid’s favorite things to make, and it’s a great thing to do if you’re stuck inside due to rainy or cold weather!
#17: Frozen Shaving Cream
My son has a thing right now for underwater animals, so right when I saw an example of this on Pinterest; I knew I had to try it.
a. Put a lot of shaving cream into the bin, add a few drops of blue food coloring in, then place in your plastic toys.
b. It takes about an hour for the shaving cream to freeze, if your child becomes antsy, you can always pull it out beforehand, shaving cream is an excellent sensory activity no matter how you do it.
c. HAVE FUN! My recommendation for this activity is to play with it in the bathtub, just to be safe. It could get a little messy :). Also, the blue food coloring may leave your kid’s hands a bit stained; don’t worry, it comes off with some scrubbing.
#18 Kinetic Sand
Kinetic Sand is my favorite sensory bin! I could play with it for hours with my kids because I love the way it feels.
We have spent hours playing with the Kinetic Sand set with we have. My kids love building with the sandcastle molds. We also had in some of their toys, and they try to dig them out.
Want to add some learning in while playing? Your kids will love this letter search activity.
To set this activity up, place your kinetic sand in a bin, and bury the toy letters inside the sand. Have your child search for letters and have them match what they found to the worksheet!
#19: Colored Spaghetti
For Halloween this year, I made a sensory bin with orange-colored spaghetti noodles! It was a hit with both kiddos.
Colored spaghetti noodles can be played with any time of the year! To make this bin extra fun, I added in some Halloween themed toys, and my fine motor tools set that I got with the water marbles you in #11.
Check out this awesome video to see how to color pasta noodles!
#20: Fake Snow
My kids especially love this activity in the spring and summertime when it’s not snowing here in Cleveland!
The product is excellent because if you add water, you have an instant activity that will keep your kids engaged and having fun for a long time.
*TIP: GET A TABLECLOTH OR SET DOWN SOME NEWSPAPER ON BEFORE DOING THIS ACTIVITY. It’s tough to clean up, it’s a blast to play with, but to help with your clean up, I suggest laying something down to protect your floor or table!
For some extra fun for this activity, you can add some holiday toys or mini erasers that the kids can try to dig out.
If you have the kinetic sand product I mentioned in #16, you could also use the sandcastle toys to create different objects!
C. Fine Motor Activities (8 Activities)
Why are fine motor skills crucial to your child’s development?
The small muscles in your hands, fingers, and thumb work together to be able to perform everyday tasks like being able to feed yourself, button a shirt, and develop proper handwriting techniques.
By involving fine motor play throughout childhood is essential, and it’s entertaining!
#21: Pasta Straining
Want to know the EASIEST activity to pull off that you child will ABSOLUTELY love?
Putting dried spaghetti noodles into a strainer! I had no clue that my little guy was going to be so enthralled with this activity.
I appreciate the activities that I can pull off with things that I have in my pantry. It makes it convenient, and I don’t have to spend a lot of money.
One tip that I have is to show your child how to do this a few times before they attempt to do it themselves. They will break off the noodles and get frustrated because they shoved them in too hard without any direction :).
#22: Fruit Loop Color Sort
Do your kids love snacks? If so, this activity is great for you!
Your kids will instantly be hooked into this learning activity, that they won’t even realize they are learning.
I placed some Play-Doh down on one of our art trays and pushed a few dried spaghetti noodles into it. I started by putting 2 Fruit Loops of each color on the noodles, so they understood what they were supposed to do.
Of course, throughout the time, they were snacking on the cereal, which made this fun!
With my younger one, we talked about the colors and how to sort by color. My older one worked on counting, which had the most, least, and were any the same.
This was engaging for the kids; they did some learning, and got to work on some fine motor skills!
#23: Bead Threading
Finding an activity that kids will like and that they can learn from is the best!
This bead color sorting activity works on color recognition, number recognition, counting, sorting, and fine motor skills! That’s pretty amazing.
If you guys don’t have an art tray, they are honestly the best. I use them for everything! I’m sure you saw throughout this whole article.
a. Write each number out on a piece of paper and cut them out and tape them down. We only had room for 8 on our tray, but you can do as many as you want!
b. Tape down the different colored pipe cleaners that you want to use at the top.
c. Show your child how to string each color on the pipe cleaner. Depending on how old they are, you can do this activity together, working on counting out loud, or you can have them do it on their own to see how they do and talk about it afterward!
#24: Pom Pom Counting
Using the cupcake tin for this activity inspired me to make some cupcakes, so I consider that a win for the whole family.
You need a cupcake tin, cupcake holders, a marker and pom poms (there are many substitutes that you can use for this, I decided to use pom poms because the kids love using them now and then).
Write on the bottom of each cupcake holder a number that you want your child to count to. Place the holders in the cupcake tin and explain to them that they need to find that number of pom-poms and place them in each specific holder.
To add in some fine motor skills, add in tweezers to pick the pom-poms.
#25: Trapped Toys!
I was astounded on how concentrated both my kids were when doing this fine motor activity.
You could do a specific theme for your bin. We have a ton of toy dinosaurs, so that worked well for us!
I’ve seen spiders, bugs, mini-erasers, and many more. It’s up to you what you want to use! What’s important is knowing how to set the bin up.
How to set up a trapped toy bin
a. Place the toys you want at the bottom of your container.
b. Thread the pieces of yarn through the holes and tie them at the bottom of the bin.
c. Create your bin by adding as many pieces of thread as you want! The more, the harder it will be for them to try to pull the toys out.
d. Add in fine motor tools if you have them or have them use their hands to try to yank them out!
e. Make this more challenging by seeing if your child can pull some out without hitting the pieces of yarn.
#26: Rainbow Q-Tip Art
Time to get crafty! Not too crafty… so don’t worry! There won’t be too big of a mess to clean up.
Kids love to paint! Why not add a new tool like a Q-tip into peak their interest even more?
This is an excellent fine motor activity! Using a Q-tip and placing colors in a specific spot helps work on control, which will help later on when it comes time for handwriting skills.
Make sure to have quite a few Q-tips handy because sometimes the tops get frayed, and you need new ones.
#27: Cutting Practice
Learning how to use scissors and cut can be a difficult skill for some kids, that’s why it’s essential to provide some practice at home before school begins.
If you want to make your own cutting strips, they are SIMPLE and quick to make.
For younger children, start out with the vertical, horizontal and little line cuts. They could even practice ripping the paper if they can’t hold scissors yet.
The older ones can try to do each of the lines, practicing how to hold the scissors correctly and manipulating the piece of paper with the scissors to be able to cut where the lines go!
Don’t have the supplies to make your own? Check out Melissa and Doug’s Scissor Skills Workbook!
My daughter enjoyed this book! The scissors come with it as well, which is a plus!
Make sure you have a glue stick because there are many activities where objects should be glued together to create something fun!
#28: Fine Motor Boards
These fine motor boards are amazing because they work on essential life skills that kids will be expected to know how to do before school starts.
Work on lacing, buttoning, zipping, buckling, tying, and snapping with these boards. I especially like these because they are small and be taken on the go since they are small.
You may need to help your children understand how to do each board before they attempt to do it on their own!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Toddlers are busy; we can only hope that they won’t rip apart the entire house by keeping themselves busy :).
I know that planning some of these activities for your kids may look like it’s a lot. But, besides 2 or 3 of the activities, I can honestly say that setup took me 5 minutes or less.
By having some physical activities, sensory play ideas, and fine motor activities handy, your kids will be happy and entertained!
Believe me, when it’s raining, too cold to go outside, or you have a ton of snow, you will need some things to do while you’re trapped inside.
Got some ideas for our community? Share some of your awesome indoor activities with us by leaving a comment below!