Looking for EASY activities for 2 year olds? Take a look at these things to do with your toddler, from arts and crafts to sensory and learning fun!
I could barely walk from my bedroom to the dining room, much less take my son on outings. Toward the end of my twin pregnancy, the discomfort was so unreal, I thought it a cruel joke that I also had a toddler to care for.
At the same time, I didn’t want to deny him the attention or activities he needed while he was home with me. As tempting as it was to plop him in front of the television all day, I knew I couldn’t resort to that, either. I needed to find things to do with a toddler, with little to no exertion on my part.
And that’s when I dug into easy activities he could do, both while I was on bed rest and hardly able to move, as well as when I’d need to be with the babies and needed to keep him busy.
Pregnancy aside, you might be looking for easy activities for 2 year olds to entertain your rambunctious little guy. Maybe he’s getting bored—despite plenty of toys, he can’t seem to find a thing to do. Or perhaps you’re simply looking for “curriculum” or homeschooling ideas to teach.
25 easy activities for 2 year olds
As someone who literally couldn’t get off the couch to keep her toddler occupied, I know all too well the need for easy activities. Whether you’re on bed rest, occupied with a new baby, or just want easy things to do with her child, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, I list activities you can do at home that take little set up yet can entertain your child for long stretches. I also include outings for those interested in getting out of the house without much fanfare (and with plenty of time to get home for nap!).
Some are timeless standbys you can always count on, while others are unique twists to common activities. I hope this list of easy activities for 2 year olds can come in handy when you’re out of ideas and need some inspiration:
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Teach your child basic skills, from household chores to Montessori-inspired activities. Focus on the skills he gets to learn, as opposed to getting the task done “right.” Here are a few activities to try:
- Wiping surfaces. Take turns spraying and wiping surfaces to clean, using an eco-friendly cleaner. For instance, spray the coffee table, and have him wipe with a rag. Then, have him spray while you wipe.
- Sweeping. Show him how to sweep the floor using a child-size broom. Using painter’s tape, mark squares on the floor so he knows where to sweep the dirt into.
- Transferring beans. Place two bowls and a measuring cup on a baking sheet. Fill one of the bowls with dried beans, then show him how to scoop them from one bowl to the empty one.
- Squeezing water with sponges. Similarly, place two bowls on a baking sheet, and fill one with water. Show him how to use the sponge to soak water from one bowl and squeeze it into another.
- Squirting water with a baster. Another similar activity is to use a kitchen baster to pull water from one bowl and squeeze it into another one. This activity helps develop his fine motor muscles and was a daily activity in my kids’ Montessori school.
- Lacing cards. Practice basic lacing with lacing cards like these.
- Sorting pom poms. Grab several paper bowls and mark the rims with different colors. Then have him sort several colored pom poms like these into the correct bowls.
- Kitchen supplies. Look through your kitchen for child-friendly tools he can use, from measuring cups and spoons to poking pipe cleaners through a colander.
- Letter of the week. Focus on one letter a week and create educational activities and games around that letter. You can write and trace the letter, find it written on signs around you, and come up with words that start with it.
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Simple games and toys
Simple games and toys are those that don’t take a lot of preparation but can entertain your 2 year old for hours. Some do include your participation, but not so much that you’re running around the house. Take a look at these ideas for games and toys:
- Matching cards. Grab a card deck, or better yet one designed for kids like this, and play matching cards.
- Bubbles. Find a clear spot to blow bubbles your 2 year old can catch. Combine it with a bubble bath to make bath time even more fun.
- Magnetic doodle boards. My kids loved magnetic doodle boards and could spend long stretches of time drawing and erasing.
- Catch or fetch. Even if you’re not able to play a traditional game of catch, you can still toss a ball back and forth to each other. If the ball goes out of your range, have him run after the ball, perfect for burning energy.
- Magnetic fishing games. There’s a reason these toys are so popular—kids love making a “catch” and collecting their fish.
- Balloons. Blow a few balloons to toss in the air and catch. Or, if you happen to have one filled with helium, weigh it down to his level so he can bop it back and forth.
- Dance party. Throw on a few interactive nursery rhymes, or even your favorite songs, and dance in the living room. Even better: flatten a cardboard box (like an empty diaper box) and have him “tap dance” on it for cool sound effects.
- Puzzles. My son literally spent 45 minutes playing with this door puzzle, not just the first time but several times after. Chunky wooden puzzles that come together to form a picture are also great for this age.
- Water play in the tub. Is bath time pretty routine for you? Mix it up by adding water-safe toys in the tub!
Arts and crafts
Your 2 year old might not be able to create a polished work of art just yet, but that doesn’t mean he can’t start doing simple arts and crafts.
Thankfully, you don’t need much to start, much less complicated Pinterest crafts with an “end product” in mind. Instead, think of arts and crafts as open-ended play, with your child leading the way:
- Play dough. Make several shapes (especially with cookie cutters!), mix colors, and even pinch off pieces. Play dough is also a fantastic sensory experience for your toddler.
- Painting. From water colors to finger paint, creating art with paint is an easy way to spend time together. One unique option is to “paint with a truck”: squirt paint onto a paper plate, roll the truck’s wheels over the paint, and use it to “paint” tire tracks onto a sheet of paper.
- Markers. Now can be a good time to introduce markers—just make sure to get the washable kind. Or for a truly mess-free activity, get Color Wonder which uses only water.
- Glue sticks. Tear or cut 1-2″ pieces of paper and have him glue them onto a larger sheet.
- Chalk. Either get sidewalk chalk to use outside, or regular chalk to draw on a chalkboard (or even black paper).
- Reusable sticker books. Create art and practice fine motor skills with stickers. If he struggles with peeling, help by peeling an edge and have him remove the rest. Reusable sticker books like these make it fun to move stickers around:
- Coloring books. Find coloring books with fun characters he loves, and don’t worry about coloring within the lines just yet.
Looking for things to do outside the house? Take a look at these easy activities for 2 year olds that will get you out and about*:
- Libraries. Find your local libraries’ calendars and mark events for the toddler age. They likely have good activities like puppet shows and story time, or simply provide toys for your 2 year old to play with. Similarly, check with local bookstores to see if they offer story time activities as well.
- Parks. Scout your neighborhood parks and see which ones get the highest reviews online. Many also cater to the toddler age, with playground equipment appropriate for their size and development.
- Petting zoos, conservatories and farms. Introduce him to live animals up close. Many conservatories offer tours where visitors can touch animals, and petting zoos and farms might let you feed them as well.
- Indoor playground. From bounce houses to gymnasiums to trampoline parks, plenty of places offer indoor play for the toddler age.
- Parent and child classes. The YMCA or your local city recreation likely offer classes for you and your little one, like swimming and yoga.
- Out in nature. You might not go on miles-long hikes, but you can spend time in nature. Even hanging out at the bottom of a hiking trail can be a fun outing for both of you.
- Children’s museums. Look for museums that allow hands-on exploring.
- Local aquariums. Your city might have a local aquarium that houses interesting animals and creatures to see and even touch.
I hope you’ve gotten a few ideas from these easy activities for 2 year olds! Now you can practice life skills, play games and toys right, and create arts and crafts activities right at home.
These activities will come in handy, whether you’re looking for a curriculum, need your child to burn energy, or simply need to keep him entertained—without getting off the couch.
Get more tips:
- The Best Activities to Do with 2-Year-Olds
- 2 Year Old Development Activities to Do With Your Child
- Looking for Games for 2 Year Olds? Here Are Our Top Picks
- 12 Ways You’re Already Practicing Montessori Parenting Without Even Realizing It
- 31 Totally Awesome Conversation Starters for Kids
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*Note: Given the current global crisis, this activity isn’t feasible. That said, save it for the future when it becomes available again!