Activity Cupboard – Easy Things to do with Toddlers

by Alissa Marquess on October 10, 2012

Toddler Activity StationA Toddler Activity Cupboard is filled with items that lead to busy, happy toddlers.

I love the idea of Toddler Busy Bags – and in fact I’ve used them with great success, but there is the problem of taking the time to put them all together.  Somehow the “set up” of busy bags becomes a big obstacle in my mind and I never get around to creating fresh ones.

What’s working for me instead is this Toddler Activity Cupboard in my homeschool room.  This way I have the convenience of easy to pull out activities and the flexibility to use the supplies many different ways.

The cupboard is similar to having a stock of busy bags on hand because all of these exciting items are gathered in the same spot, ready to go.

What’s in our activity cupboard?

  • A clear plastic bottle filled with rice and trinkets.  The lid is glued on with super glue.
  • Spice jar with toothpicks inside (or use coffee straw, or broken noodles)
  • Pom Poms
  • Recycle Bin Items – Foam Tray and Egg Carton
  • Empty wipes container – the kind with the soft flexible wipes opening.
  • Scoops
  • Tongs
  • Sieve
  • Funnel

What toddler activities can we do with these things?

These simple supplies can be combined to make all sorts of engaging and entertaining things to do with toddlers. Sometimes just putting out a selection of  items will spark toddler explorations.

If you’re stuck, Remember these four words and you’ll always have something to do with a toddler.

Note- with my daughter I am comfortable supervising her as she plays with toothpicks, and beads or other small items.  You know your child best and need to adjust your activities to your comfort level!

Simple Toddler Activities

  1. Hide treasures in a wipes container and let your toddler figure out how to get them out.
  2. Let your toddler break a foam tray into pieces.
  3. Stick toothpicks or broken noodles into the foam tray and show your toddler how to thread beads onto them.
  4. Makes dents in the foam tray with caps, a chopstick, a pencil or other dull item you have.
  5. Use tongs to transfer pom poms between a foam tray and an egg carton.
  6. Use tongs to eat lunch.
  7. Put pom poms in a bin and let your tot step on them, search for plastic animals or other treasures in them.
  8. Uses the baby wipes container for many different “stashing” activities.  Poker chips, pom poms and small treasures like game pieces are all good fun to push through the wipes slot.
  9. Scoops and droppers are great for water play in the bath or on a towel on the floor.
  10. Use scoops in a bean box or other sensory bin.
  11. Play I-Spy with the trinkets-in-rice bottle.
  12. Lots of pretend play – use containers for a baby bed, pretend the pom poms are baby animals and let your toddler carry them around in their pockets, pretend cook with containers and scoops.

I hope you take this list of toddler supplies and activities for inspiration and add your own to make an Anytime Toddler Activity Cupboard that works for you.

What would you add to this toddler activity center?  Are there everyday-items that you find yourself pulling out for your toddler again and again?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

katy October 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

multicoloured pipe cleaners are a must! they can make monkeys, snails etc and best of all i hide them tied round things in the house for an impromptu treasure 3 yr old can also do a treasure hunt for me and it helps my 2 yr old learn his colours!


Liz October 19, 2012 at 4:10 am

I agree with the pipe cleaners. My toddler loves “posting” them through the holes in a colander.


Margaret@growingplay January 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm

We have play dough in ours with lots of items to poke into the play dough. My toddler loves to break up styrofoam trays too. I love them to put paint in as well. Easy clean up.


christian louboutin daffodil strass February 4, 2013 at 10:47 am

Very good article. I will be facing many of these issues as well.


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