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:
- I am not a naturally crafty person, so I really relate to a lot of those “Pinterest fail” photos online.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Dance Time! – Just turn on music and have them dance!
- Coloring– This one seems super obvious, but I feel like no one ever mentions it…
- 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.
- 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
- 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…
- Pretend Play– T loves pretending to be a T-rex. Pretend play is no-prep, free, and has endless possibilities.
- 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 🙂
- Stacking– Have your little one practice stacking things to make a tower. Blocks, boxes, toilet paper, Tupperware, cups, and so on.
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
- 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:
- Red and green pom poms
- Toy snowflakes
- Most things in the holiday section of any Dollar Store
What are some ideas you have? Comment below!
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!
- Walk around the neighborhood to check out Christmas lights
- Go to a tree lighting ceremony
- Make smores
- Sip on hot cocoa
- Play in the snow
- Messy play with a Christmas theme (such as green or red obleck)
- Go to (or host!) a Christmas party
- Decorate pine cones
- Have your little one help with the holiday cooking (mixing things, adding sprinkles…)
- Make long-distance family phone calls ❤
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.
- Shoe box
- Hot glue and hot glue gun
- Mini dinosaurs
- Cut out felt land forms (mountains, grass valley, river, lake, volcano)
- For fun, add texture by snipping the top of the grass and making the volcano lava be loose strips of felt.
- Glue it all down
I hope your little paleontologist loves their new play set!
(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:
- Pinwheel template (you can get it here: http://www.pinwheelsforpeace.com/pinwheelsforpeace/pinwheel_template.html )
- Your preference of coloring supply (crayons, paints, etc.)
- A pencil
- A pushpin
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.
This, like most all of my posts, is a super simple craft that won’t take much time at all to make.
- Orange and black felt
- A marker
- 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!