I’ve been meaning to write a post for ages with some of Riese’s latest fave toys, games, and books. Now seems like a very good time to make it finally happen! So, for those of you who also have a toddler and are stuck at home right now, here are some of our current favorite at home activities for toddlers.
In this post, I’ll include a mix of things to do with a toddler at home: both store-bought toys, activities, and books (FYI there are some affiliate links) and also just random things you can come up with yourself based on what you have at home. For reference, Riese is almost 2.5 years old. I hope this is helpful! Please feel free to join in and share your favorite games and toys for toddlers in the comments section – I am always looking for new ideas!
At Home Activities for Toddlers
1) Read! Best Books for Toddlers
Riese loves reading, which makes me happy because I’ve always been a big reader! Riese isn’t quite to the point yet where she will look at books by herself, but I’m sure we will get there. Plus, we like reading to her with her in our lap, anyway. 🙂
Here are some of Riese’s current favorite books:
- Little Blue Truck Books – Riese has been a huge fan of these since she was little!
- Where’s Spot? – these are books we’ve had since I was a kid! We have the original, the farm one, and the wildlife park one… need to try the others too!
- Corduroy – we’ve been trying to read this book to her since she was really little. She finally has the attention span for it now… yay! So sweet.
- Be Brave, Little One – this was a gift from a friend for Riese’s birthday and it’s so sweet! Makes me almost tear up to read it to her
- The Pout Pout Fish – my sister-in-law gave us this book for Christmas because it’s one of their faves and it’s awesome. It’s fun for adults to read too. Matt and I can’t read it without rapping because everything rhymes!
- Let’s Find Momo – this is a really cute hide-and-seek interactive board book. When we first got it about a year ago, we started with Riese just finding the dog. Now, she finds all the stuff in the pictures and will point out other things we ask about, too!
- The Rainbow Fish – really cute and colorful book with a nice lesson, too. 😉
- Goodnight Moon – a classic fave!
- Goodnight Gorilla – really cute, silly book that Riese loves!
- Penguin books – these are super cute and beautifully illustrated. W have been reading these to Riese since she was really little! We have the first three.
- Jamberry – super fun and whimsical with lots of silly made up words and rhymes
- Curious George Bedtime Stories – Riese is really into Curious George right now and this is a fun collection of a bunch of short stories!
I’m sure there are a ton more I’m not remembering right now, but that should keep you guys busy for a little while at least. 😉
2) Play! Favorite Learning Toys for Toddlers
We have a lot of favorites right now! First up on the list is anything tactile/messy.
I mentioned recently that Matt found this cool kinetic sand kit for Riese a few weeks ago at a craft store. It’s amazing because it doesn’t make a mess! It sticks together, and you can still shape it and build with it like wet sand, but somehow it doesn’t get everywhere like normal sand so you can use it indoors. Highly recommend! I have NO idea how it works but it’s so freakin cool. Matt and I like playing with it just as much as Riese does. 😉
We bought an art easel for Riese recently because she loves coloring and painting! One side is a dry erase board and the other side is a chalkboard. She’s been really into it, both coloring and also cleaning it off with wipes. Oh and yes, we absolutely already have some marker spots on the walls now in case you were wondering…
We are also very into sticker and coloring books right now, like this one, as well as food/cooking related toys like this cute toddler cooking toy set (pots + pans), and fake food (like this fruit and veggie “farmer’s market” set you can cut). Riese loves “cooking” for us. 😉 We’ve been thinking of getting her a play kitchen… maybe for her birthday in the fall!
Blocks are another big favorite right now. We have a couple different kinds: Lego Duplos and also Mega Bloks. Both are great! Riese won’t really build things by herself just yet but loves when we build things with her.
We also just got her some magnetic building blocks (<- that’s a good starter set version) this week – have you guys seen those before? They are really cool and a new fave!
3) MOVE! Best Toys and Games for Toddlers to Burn Off Energy
Because sometimes quiet activities just won’t do, am I right?!
Our absolute favorite indoor energy burning activity for Riese is the nugget play couch. We usually have it set up like a ramp so Riese can climb/jump up it over and over again. But she also likes when we turn it into a mini trampoline (by folding over two mats) and when we turn it into a fort/house, too. I love that it’s so versatile and isn’t a static/set toy so you can get creative with it! I hear older kids love this too because they can change it around on their own and use it for imaginary adventures.
It looks like they may be sold out on their website (not surprising), so bookmark that for later!
I’ve also been having fun “doing exercise” (as Riese calls it) with Riese! I tried to teach her how to do jumping jacks the other day which was kind of hilarious. She loves jumping, so she was REALLY into jumping squats and did way more than I could. She also likes trying to mimic me when I do yoga or stretches.
And don’t forget about hide and seek, or chase! Riese loves being chased around the house, or to chase us around the house, especially when wearing a cape. 😉
Another great option if you’re looking for active at home activities for toddlers: we have a rainbow hula hoop and Riese loves using it for active games! We put it on the floor and I say a color and Riese jumps into the circle at that color. She’s been using it to try to figure out how to jump backwards (over the hoop and out of the circle) lately, too!
Another active favorite thing of mine to do is to have Riese help us with chores around the house! She loves helping us walk around and dump all the trash cans out into a larger bag, she loves “helping” fold, transport, and put away laundry (one by one is best so it takes longer, heh), and she loves helping to unload the dishwasher – sorting the silverware is her job!
4) Create! More Indoor Activities for Toddlers
Don’t forget about arts and crafts! I’m not the most creative/artsy person, but I’ve tried to get more creative for Riese’s sake over the past couple weeks. We were doing a little art class together this winter before the whole world shut down. That gave me some ideas for things to get more creative with at home, like making little cards for family that we can’t see right now using random stuff I already have around the house.
Riese loves using a glue stick, and I ripped up some tissue paper I’ve saved from gifts over the years to stick it to the paper, and we added some ribbon as well. She also did some coloring and sticker adding – she’s REALLY into stickers right now!
A friend of mine sent me this picture of a cool race track she created with her toddler using an old cardboard box and the inside of paper towel rolls – genius! Definitely trying this one too. This is one of the most creative at home activities for toddlers I’ve seen. Plus, building it will be half the fun!
5) Cook! Get Your Toddler Helping in the Kitchen
In addition to the pretend play with food I already mentioned, Riese really likes helping us in the kitchen, which is huge because it makes cooking dinner/lunch/whatever a lot easier with her in the mix vs. just clinging to our legs and whining. I’ve mentioned previously that we got her these plastic toddler knives so she can help us slice food in the kitchen, and she also really loves helping us mix and pour (with supervision, ha). A bonus is that when she helps slice veggies she often ends up eating a lot of them in the process. 😉
We have this kitchen helper tower thingy for her to stand in so she’s up at counter height. It’s what we use when she helps sort silverware, too!
So there you have it! What Riese and I have been up to lately, and what her current favorites are.
I’d love to hear your fave at home activities for toddlers/kids in the comments, too!