These indoor toddler activities are play ideas that are absolutely perfect for young children during the winter months. If the cold weather keeps your toddler indoors, then you may feel like pulling your hair out by the end of winter. We’ve been there! As a pediatric occupational therapist, I want to share hands-on, play-based toddler ideas for winter days, because it 1) keeps toddlers off screens, and 2) helps develop those essential skills. You’ll find more ideas in our toddler activities library.
These indoor toddler activities are things that we’ve done with our own toddlers when they were younger.
Indoor Toddler Activities
Welcome to our Inventory of Indoor Play Ideas! Check them out and find a cure for Cabin Fever.
There are a lot more on the blog that we are organizing and adding daily, so check back often. Perfect for that snowy/rainy/indoor day 🙂
Parents of toddlers may have older or younger children in the home. So, coming up with easy, low-prep toddler-friendly activities is a must to keep busy little learners developing skills.
GETTING STARTED WITH INDOOR TODDLER ACTIVITIES
Please start by reading this blog post on Toddler activities, because it breaks down how to set up appropriate play activities for the toddler years.
Next, prepare some essentials in an indoor toddler play kit. Items to have on hand include:
- Play dough or kinetic sand
- Containers with lids
- Couch Pillows
- Painter’s tape
- Craft supplies
- Construction paper, scissors, and glue
- Paper towel rolls
- Sensory bin supplies
- Cups or kitchen supplies like colanders, spoons, and muffin tins
All of these items can be used to develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, learning, early literacy, early math skills, communication, social emotional skills, sensory processing, visual motor skills, and more!
Indoor Toddler Activity: Sensory Bins
There are many ways to create a toddler-friendly sensory bin using materials in the home. Gather supplies and start playing. Easy indoor activities like DIY sensory bins are always a hit with toddlers.
Some materials for a toddler sensory bin might include:
- Cardboard box or low bin
- Dry rice or beans
- Shredded paper
- Cups and bowls
- Scoops for scooping and pouring
- Shaving cream
- Dry noodles
- Dry oats
Gross Motor Indoor Toddler Activities
The indoors can be a challenging place for moving and getting the wiggles out during rainy days or cold winter months. However, there are many ways to add gross motor skill work in a small space. Try these indoor activities while developing balance, endurance, and coordination.
- Have a dance party.
- Make an obstacle course using couch cushions, painter’s tape, and other items found around the home.
- Do animal walks.
- Make a fort with pillows and blankets.
- Use a comforter or sheets to make a tunnel for crawling.
- Play Simon Says.
- Roll socks into balls and toss them at a target.
- Color while laying on the floor.
- Roll trucks or toy cars down a DIY ramp.
Fine Motor Indoor Toddler Activities
Fine motor skills develop during the toddler years. From coloring with crayons, placing items into containers, throwing and catching a ball, and beginning to dress themselves, toddlers are really making gains!
Here are fine motor activities for toddlers:
- String toddler-friendly beads onto string.
- Drop craft pom poms into bottles.
- Play with play dough.
- Roll a ball into a target.
- Thread cut up straw pieces onto a pipe cleaner.
- Poke holes in a cardboard box and poke pipe cleaners into the box.
- Drop pipe cleaners into a plastic water bottle.
- Scoop, pour, and dump with water.
- Build with blocks.
One of our favorite ways to play is by making a craft for 2 year olds and 3 year olds. Crafting develops fine motor skills at this age!
More Indoor Toddler Activities
Indoor Play Series
Textured Shaving Cream Sensory Play
A final note on indoor toddler activities
The toddler years are a fun time, with lots of growth and development. Young children will find ways to explore and learn through play every day. The most important thing to remember during these years is to have fun, engage with the young child and see the world through their eyes. While these activities are great for toddlers, they are fun for older siblings and the whole family! Have fun playing!
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.