Posted in Activities for Babies and Toddlers, Babies and Toddlers, Busy Families

10 Toddler Activities that Require No Prep for Busy Families

Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am ADDICTED to Pinterest. Let’s face it, Pinterest is amazing. What I love most about it is all of the awesome DIY activities for kids.

The difficulty that I have, however, is the following:

  1. I am not a naturally crafty person, so I really relate to a lot of those “Pinterest fail” photos online.
  2. Time, time, time! Even the simplest crafts, DIY toys, and many of the activities take more time that I (most of the time) realistically have.

So, if I can find no-prep activities with household items, I am all for them! I have not been able to find as many as I would like on Pinterest, so here is a list of my own created no-prep activities for babies and toddlers.

  1. Sensory Basket– Basically just fill a basket (or box, or just lay it all on the floor, whatever) with a ton of baby/toddler safe items from around the house for your little one to explore. I sometimes like to do this around a theme. For example, I might have a kitchen themed basket for them to explore while I cook, that contains measuring cups, plastic kid utensils, a spatula, tongs, etc. This allows your tot to safely explore items of your choosing, and they can get creative as to how to play with those items.
  2. Button and Zipper Practice – There are a ton of great DIY toys to make that give your toddler plenty of practice with buttons and zippers, but why make those when you can just give them an assortment of items from around the house to practice those skills with?
  3. Dance Time! – Just turn on music and have them dance!
  4. Coloring– This one seems super obvious, but I feel like no one ever mentions it…
  5. Singing Nursery Rhymes– Especially those that have hand movements with them such as The Wheels on the Bus or 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed can be super entertaining.
  6. Book Basket– This simple no-prep activity also encourages a love of books. Check out more about it in my post:  Why Your Toddler Should Have a Book Basket 
  7. Toys!– Seriously, another super obvious one that is never mentioned. Pretty much the entire purpose of toys from a parent’s perspective is to give their little one something to play with, obviously…
  8. Pretend Play– T loves pretending to be a T-rex. Pretend play is no-prep, free, and has endless possibilities.
  9. Play with the Pets– This one depends a little bit on how old your child is, but pets are meant to be played with and loved, and talking/petting them is no-prep and free 🙂
  10. Stacking– Have your little one practice stacking things to make a tower. Blocks, boxes, toilet paper, Tupperware, cups, and so on.
Posted in Activities for Babies and Toddlers, Babies and Toddlers, Sensory Play

Christmas Sensory Box 

Here are a few Christmas themed sensory bins I have made. This first one was the fist sensory bin I ever made. I thought the whole idea was kind of strange. I mean, I know that young children are easily entertained, but really? Boy was I wrong! 

T LOVED his bin. The idea is you give the tot a themed bin and some tools to help them explore it (tongs are a big hit, but cups and spoons work nicely as well), and they just go for it. It is unstructured play that encourages them to explore how they see fit. 

This bin contained the following: 

  • Cotton balls 
  • Mitten 
  • Bells 
  • Cookie cutter
  • Plastic ornaments 
  • Cinamon scented candle (for smell only) 
  • Red and green caps


    This second bin just has a red and green theme to it. I made it for my 10 month old, K, who is too young for tongs and also still puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. As you can see, it mainly contains different kinds of blocks. 

    A suggestion I have is to make a few of these bins, and use large tupperware to store them so that you can quickly and easily pull them out when needed. One bin can useually be pulled out a few times before your little one will start to get board with it. 

    Other fun Holiday themed items to put in your bin: 

    • Bows 
    • Ribbons 
    • Red and green pom poms 
    • Dreidle 
    • Toy snowflakes 
    • Most things in the holiday section of any Dollar Store 

      What are some ideas you have? Comment below! 

      Posted in Activities for Babies and Toddlers, Babies and Toddlers, Holidays

      25 (+10) Days of a Toddler Christmas

      toddler-christmas

      I titled this post with “25+” because if you are anything like my family, the Christmas celebrations begin the day after Thanksgiving. If you have the goal of doing a different Christmas activity every day leading up to the big day, then here is a list you may find useful 😉

      Day 1- Decorate the house! For us this includes the tree and everything.

      Day 2- Send Christmas cards

      Day 3- Make a Christmas countdown paper chain

      Day 4- Sing Christmas carols

      Day 5- Pretend play! Our dogs wear their Christmas bells and antlers, and the little ones pretend to be Christmas elves.

      Day 6- “Write” a letter to Santa. Then put it in an envelope and have them put a sticker as the stamp for it to be ‘mailed to the North Pole.’

      Day 7- Read Christmas stories

      Day 8- Christmas shopping. Also a great opportunity to help teach your child about the selflessness of gift giving.

      Day 9- Christmas cookies

      Day 10- Watch a Christmas play

      Day 11- Decorate a gingerbread house

      Day 12- Build a snowman

      Day 13- Play with a Christmas sensory bin or sensory bottle

      Day 14- Make Play Doh cookies

      Day 15- Color Christmas pictures

      Day 16- Do a decorating Christmas tree craft

      Day 17- Make an ornament out of popsicle sticks or salt dough

      Day 18- Go on a red and green scavenger hunt

      Day 19- Watch a Christmas classic with the family (such as A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

      Day 20- Go get a picture with Santa

      Day 21- Make Christmas wreaths out of a green paper plate

      Day 22- Teach your toddler how to make snowflakes with paper and safety scissors

      Day 23-  Take Christmas photos

      Day 24- Start a Christmas Eve tradition

      Day 25- CHRISTMAS DAY!

      Extra-

      1. Walk around the neighborhood to check out Christmas lights
      2. Go to a tree lighting ceremony
      3. Make smores
      4. Sip on hot cocoa
      5. Play in the snow
      6. Messy play with a Christmas theme (such as green or red obleck)
      7. Go to (or host!) a Christmas party
      8. Decorate pine cones
      9. Have your little one help with the holiday cooking (mixing things, adding sprinkles…)
      10. Make long-distance family phone calls ❤

      Merry Christmas!

      Posted in Activities for Babies and Toddlers, Babies and Toddlers, kids, School Age Kids

      DIY Mini Dinosaur Play Set

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      My son LOVES dinosaurs. He also has a birthday coming up, and since he is turning 3 we decided it was okay to get him a pack of mini dinosaurs.

      The problem is that his little sister is only 10 months old, so the dinosaurs are VERY much still a choking hazard for her. So, I wanted to make a fun place to play with them, and also an easy way to clean up and store them in a safe location.

      Thus, this dinosaur play set. My favorite part about it is that it is a shoe box, so it can close and store all of the dinosaurs inside it.

      Materials Needed: 

      • Shoe box
      • Felt
      • Scissors
      • Hot glue and hot glue gun
      • Mini dinosaurs

      Directions: 

      1. Cut out felt land forms (mountains, grass valley, river, lake, volcano)
      2. For fun, add texture by snipping the top of the grass and making the volcano lava be loose strips of felt.
      3. Glue it all down

      I hope your little paleontologist loves their new play set! 

      Posted in Activities for Babies and Toddlers, Babies and Toddlers, Education, School Age Kids, Toddler Crafts

      DIY Pinwheels

      (Disclaimer- I use no affiliate links in this post.) 

      September 21st is Pinwheels for Peace in celebration of World Peace Day. Each year the middle schoolers at my school make pinwheels to decorate our front lawn. It is a pretty big event, which makes that night’s news each year. 

      This year, I had T make a few pinwheels. Using dabber paints, his turned out pretty good! So, here’s how it’s done: 

      DIY Pinwheels 

      SUPPLIES: 

      STEP 1- Cut out the square 

      STEP 2- Write something about peace on the back. 

      STEP 3- Color and decorate both sides. 

      STEP 4- Cut along the diagonal lines. 

      STEP 5- Assemble. Follow the directions on the teplate to set up your pinwheel. 

      STEP 6- “Plant” your pinwheel in the grass. 

        Posted in Activities for Babies and Toddlers, Babies and Toddlers, School Age Kids, Toddler Crafts, Tot School

        Felt Pumpkin

        Felt Pumpkin Face

        This, like most all of my posts, is a super simple craft that won’t take much time at all to make.

        Materials needed:

        1. Orange and black felt
        2. Scissors
        3. A marker
        4. Construction paper

        Step 1: Draw the outline of a pumpkin on the orange felt, then cut it out.

        Step 2: Design a few different style mouths, noses, and eyes, then cut them out of the black felt.

        Step 3: (optional) Use the construction paper to create mats to put the pieces on.

        My favorite toddler activities are the ones that take way less prep time than the amount of time your tot will spend playing with it, and one that can be pulled out multiple times to be played with. This one definitely qualifies for both!

        Happy Halloween!