Fun Things to do with Toddlers and Young Children

Here is a cache of fun things to do with toddlers and young children. Winter, in cold weather areas especially, is a tough time to keep them busy and engaged. All the snow days and winter breaks make for lots of indoor play time but we also have ideas for any climate. Some are new and some are throw backs to our own childhood. So enjoy your time together, after all, they are only young once. Cherish these moments before they are asking you for the cell phone that does everything or the little red car that's the real deal. If you're wondering exactly what to do with this time, you've found your answer. Browse below for tons of fun kid-approved activities!

Outdoors - Quiet Time - Crafts - Critters - From the Comfort of Home

Fun things to do with toddlers and young kids involving Critters

  • Go to the zoo. The zoo is an enjoyable and classic day trip for toddlers. Your toddler will love seeing his or her favorite animal in real life for perhaps the first time. Give your toddler some control during the day by letting him or her pick out which animals you'll visit. Visit List of Zoos to find the zoo nearest you.
  • Go to the dog park. Even if you don't have a dog, the dog park is always a fun place to see all types of critters (including yours!) romp freely. Your toddler will have a blast seeing all the four-legged friends.
  • Go to the pet store. The pet store is a great place to see different animals without having to pay admission. Your toddler will adore looking at the puppies, kitties, and fish. Ask a worker about having your toddler hold an animal, and your toddler will be in heaven. Be prepared for your little girl or guy asking to bring a new friend home.
  • Visit a farm. Your toddler will love learning what real farmers do in their everyday lives. He or she will also love to see the ducks, pigs, and horses up close and personal.
  • Go fishing. Your toddler will love joining in on this activity, which is usually undertaken by the older members of the family. If you catch something, make sure to throw it back so that your toddler doesn't get upset.Grab a stick and some line and a container of nightcrawlers and head to well stocked pond. YES, you can still catch fish with a DIY stick serving as a rod!
  • Visit a petting zoo. Your toddler will be ecstatic when he or she is right there amongst all the goats and wooly sheep. However, we can't promise you that you won't hear "BAAAAAAAAHs" coming from the backseat when you're on the way home!
  • Walk dogs at the animal shelter. The animal shelter can always use volunteers, and this activity is especially good if you don't have a pet of your own. You will probably have main control of the leash, but your toddler will be happy to walk alongside a needy friend.
  • Pretend to be a pet. Your dog might get confused, but your toddler will love it. Get on all fours and walk around the house barking or meowing. Let your toddler brush you or walk you.
  • Play veterinarian. Have your toddler give your pet a medical checkup. If you have a stethoscope, have your toddler listen to your pet's heartbeat. If not, simply have your toddler place his or her ear on your pet's chest. Use these and other suggestions for how to check your pet's health. Learn more at About Dogs.
  • Give your pet a makeover. Have your toddler help you paint your pet's toenails, brush your pet, and spray your pet with perfume. Make sure the products are animal friendly.
  • Milk a cow. Your toddler will love learning how to do this difficult task.
  • Feed the birds. Have your toddler tear up some pieces of bread, scatter them, and watch the flock come feast! Now you have something to do with all that crust your toddler refuses to eat.
  • Dress up as your toddler's favorite animal. Find furry things around the house to wear and go around the house barking, neighing, roaring, chirping, or growling.

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Fun things to do with toddlers and young kids Outdoors

  • Pack a picnic. Picnic food is easy to assemble. Your toddler will have fun helping you to gather scrumptious foods to pack in that wicker basket. Once you're done, walk with your toddler to one of your favorite grassy spots and have a feast!
  • Go to the pool! There is something about being in the water that every toddler loves. Even if it's not summertime, you can probably find a nearby indoor pool that will suit you and your toddler's fancy. If you're not sure which gym has an aquatic center, try Find Your Y.
  • Go to a pond. Some people think of ponds as poor excuses for lakes, but they are a world of fun for your toddler! Go to a pond near you, and teach your toddler how to look for bullfrogs or skip rocks.
  • Play ball! If you used to love playing a particular sport, but you can never find the time to practice it now, teach your toddler! You will have your own fun freshening up on skills while your toddler enjoys learning a new sport and a little more about you.
  • Play water target This activity is great for a hot day. Set up some targets and with water guns, let them see if they can hit the target with bursts of water!
  • Collect seashells or rocks. This is a scavenger hunt nature has already provided. Challenge your toddler to find the most beautiful seashells or rocks that he or she can.
  • Play Red Light, Green Light. This is a fun activity that will get your kid moving. Best of all, you don't have to do anything but stand there and shout! If you don't know already, learn how to play here at Wondertime.
  • Double trouble. Walk around your neighborhood or the city and have your toddler spot things that come in pairs of two. Set a goal for the number of pairs your toddler should find to keep him or her busy.
  • Make your own carwash. Pull out some old sponges and some soap and have your toddler help you to wash your car. If you don't trust little fingers with your wax job, wash some play cars of your toddler's instead.
  • Go on a nature walk. Go for a walk and have your toddler spot as many animals as he or she can. When you come across evidence that an animal has been where you are standing, have your toddler guess who stepped there, who lives there, or who pooped there!
  • Plant something. Every child loves digging in the dirt! Buy some seeds that your toddler can plant. they'll love seeing something grow over time.
  • Pick from a garden. Visit a community garden or a garden that you have in your backyard, and have your toddler help you to collect the ripe fruits and vegetables. Wash them off, and taste the healthy deliciousness!
  • Hula-hoop! Work those obliques and teach your toddler how to hula hoop. Once your toddler masters the hip motion, try two hoops at a time or try having your toddler swing the hoop around his or her arm or neck! Visit How to Do Simple Hula Hoop Tricks for simple hula-hoop tricks.
  • Chalk your driveway. Your toddler will love transforming hunks of concrete into beautiful artistic creations. Make sure rain is not in the forecast!

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    Fun things to do with toddlers and young children during Quiet Time

    • Paint your nails. You've probably already noticed that toddlers love every media of art, especially the kind that you're allowed to put on your fingers and toes! Your toddler will love changing the color of your nails from that boring human peach or brown to one that he or she finds vibrant and exhilarating! Make sure you cover the floors!
    • Organize Your Closet. This is probably a task that everyone has on his or her to-do list. Why not recruit some help? Review the colors with your toddler and have him or her help you sort your clothes by color.
    • Organize Your Change. Send your toddler on a rescue mission for the change that has been lost under sofa cushions or inside drink holders. Then have your toddler sort them into separate piles. After you're done, buy a treat for your toddler with the money you've recovered!
    • Make tooth brushing fun. Turn on the radio while your toddler is brushing his or her teeth and have him or her dance along to an entire song. This way, your toddler will have brushed his or her teeth for an extended time without even realizing it.
    • Go to the library. Have your toddler pick out his or her favorite books and then read them to him or her. Hats make for good costume changes when a different character is speaking!
    • Make a home library. Pull some books off the shelves and make your own library. Use a license or credit card to check out some books from your toddler.
    • Watch the clouds. From the comfort of the grass, watch the clouds on a sunny day. Find a certain-shaped cloud, and ask your toddler to search the sky for it.
    • Puzzle flashlight hunt. If he or she has to search for the pieces of a puzzle, your toddler will feel far more accomplished once it is all completed. Learn more information about how to carry out a puzzle flashlight hunt at Puzzle Flashlight Hunt!.
    • Make caricatures. Sit down facing your toddler and draw his or her face while he or she draws yours. It will be interesting to find out how you both see each other.
    • Be a language teacher. Teach your toddler to say "hello" or another common word in five different languages.
    • Study the world. Study an atlas or globe with your toddler so that he or she learns about the world that exists even beyond pre-school. You might try pointing out where your toddler's ancestors came from.
    • Be a hairstylist. If your toddler's hair is long enough, braid his or her hair. Your toddler will feel handsome in cornrows or like a princess in french braids. How to French Braid will teach you how to make new styles with braids.
    • Build a fort. All this requires is a large sheet and something to drape it over. Read a story to your toddler in the fort and pull in some sleeping bags to make for an enjoyable indoor camping experience.
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      Fun things to do with toddlers and young children from the Comfort of Home

      • Play dress up. Your toddler will love being swallowed up in the contents of his or her parents' closets! Mix things up by putting pants on your toddler's head or shoes on his or her hands!
      • Have a fashion show. Bring out your toddler's inner-model. This activity can be paired with playing dress up. After your toddler has on an outfit that he or she loves, have your toddler strut down a hallway of your house and shoot some photos!
      • Your toddler, the stylist. If you're going to be around the house or if you don't mind people seeing you in "costume", have your toddler pick out an outfit that you will wear all day long! He or she will love this opportunity to exercise control.
      • Workout. Incorporate your toddler into your workout routine to spend some more time with him or her during the day. Of course, this means slowing it down a bit or giving up some time on the treadmill, but your toddler will feel happy to participate instead of watching you from the sidelines.
      • Have a pizza party. Have your toddler pick out his or her favorite toppings (you can put them on half the pizza if you don't agree with them), and chill out. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the grease!
      • Organize a scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt can take place anywhere, but if you don't want to leave the comfort of heat or air-conditioning, you can organize one within your home. Kids Scavenger Hunt Ideas will give you ideas for cute kids scavenger hunts.
      • Your toddler, the makeup artist. You might end up looking like a clown, but it will be worth it if you and your toddler have fun! Set out some makeup that you don't mind using up, and let your toddler make you into a masterpiece!
      • Swap your clothes! Pretend to be the real life version of Freaky Friday. Visit Clothes Swap for more details.
      • Play Knock Knock. Since your child has outgrown peek-a-boo, move on to the next stage. This game will teach your toddler about your relatives. Find out how to play at Knock! Knock!....
      • Play supermarket. Set out some food items and have your toddler choose some he or she likes and buy them from you using spare change. Whip up a meal from whatever he or she chooses. Doll strollers make for great shopping carts!
      • Have a sock war. Ball up a pile of socks and station behind the couch while your toddler is stationed in front.
      • Be movie stars. Halloween is not the only time for costumes! Pick out some items around your closet and dress up like characters from your toddler's favorite film.
      • Have a balloon party. Surprise your toddler with a room full of balloons. You might be blue in the face after you blow them all up, but at least you'll enjoy watching your toddler's eyes light up when he or she sees and rolls around in them.
      • Make a stuffed animal family photo. Your toddler's stuffed animals are like family to him or her so why not take a picture to prove it? Make an appealing backdrop, set your toddler and his or her plush friends out nicely, and click. Read more information at Family Portrait with Stuffed Animals activity.
      • Have your child be the teacher. Your child is always learning new things. Let him or her be the one to teach you something for once.
      • International feast. Cook up some menu items from around the world. They don't have to be difficult--egg rolls and tortillas with cheese will suffice. Teach something about the cultures where the foods come from to broaden his or her horizons.
      • Cook a meal. Even a toddler will feel really important when he or she is helping you to feed the rest of the family. Choose a kid-friendly recipe from Cooking with Kids.
      • Host a doll party. Have your toddler write invitations to all his or her favorite dolls, make some popcorn, and then set up a playlist so your toddler can DJ. Your toddler will love hosting a wild doll party!
      • Make an obstacle course. Let the kids go through the course by yelling out directions. Make sure there are no sharp corners!
      • Be actors! Practice a skit with your children that they will perform later for your family.
      • Be a mummy. If you don't mind wasting a roll or two of toilet paper, have the kids walk circles around you while wrapping you up like a mummy. Be careful not to fall. Ancient bones aren't stable.
      • Bake cookies. You might want to wait to do this after your toddler has eaten so as not to spoil a meal, but all kids loves warm crumbly sugar in their mouths! Visit Nick Jr. to find fun cookie recipes featuring many of the characters that your toddler probably watches on TV.
      • Reorganize a room. Your toddler may get bored of the way things look just like everybody else. Move some furniture around your toddler's room to give it a new look. Then surprise your toddler by hanging party decorations so that your toddler will be excited just to spend time at home.
      • Make a music video. If you have a videocamera, record you and your toddler dancing and singing to one of your toddler's favorite songs. Look around the closet for clothing that a mini rockstar might wear.
      • Give tattoo sleeves. No needles involved! Buy a booklet of temporary tattoos and put them on your toddler to make sure that he or she is sufficiently tatted up. Your toddler has probably already acted like a rebel, but now he or she can look like one too!
      • Create a mini society. Teach your toddler the value of money by giving him or her fake money and having him or her exchange money to get things of interest in return.
      • Find the footprints. Place footprints around the house, and have your toddler follow them to find a surprise waiting at the end. For more details, visit Footprints Activity.
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        More fun things to do with toddlers and young children in our Family Fun section

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