The Toddler Years Must Do List

All The Most Fun Toddler Activities to do before they’re Big Kids!

(Well, OK- plenty of these are fun for big kids too, but you can start playing today…)
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My youngest child turned two this week!  In celebration of her birthday, and because I really want to make the best of this time…

I present the Toddler Years Must Do List!

All the most fun things to do with toddlers before they turn into big kids!

Having a toddler around is SO busy; I don’t want to spend the toddler years in a blur and miss the best parts of this cute and funny stage – I need this list!

Many of these ideas for toddler activities come from when I asked about your favorite toddler activities on facebook this summer.

I had no idea how HAPPY reading the responses would make me!


The Toddler Year Must Do List


Caveat!! Don’t let this list overwhelm you!   Just use it to get get re-inspired when you’re feeling exhausted by things like potty training, constant mess and night wakings.  The ideas on the list are the some of the most fun things about toddlerhood.  You don’t have to do them all, but I think you’ll treasure any of these toddler activities that you do.

This post includes a few Amazon links which support CWK when you purchase through them, yet don’t cost you anything extra.

Play Together:

My daughter particularly likes it went I pretend her nose makes different noises like beeping etc. Its so bonding and so fun” ~Mel

Hide & seek in the house (which is really silly because it’s just basic hiding beside the bed post or behind the couch). ~Katherine

  • Pretend to be tigers and chase each other
  • Pretend you can’t find their hands when you’re helping them get dressed

Exploring Nature:

Stomping in muddy puddles; making the most of the weather whatever it is! ~ Lucy

  • Feeding the ducks, or chasing them…
  • Feed a baby goat
  • Fly a kite
  • Walking in the rain…
  • Puddle splashing!
  • Play outside in fresh snow.

The look on my little one’s face every time he was in a toboggan was priceless! ~Rhonda

Bucket List for the Toddler Years

  • Hop over waves at the beach.
  • Look for crabs in the rocks, starfish in the rock pools.
  • Plant a spring flower to watch it grow.
  • Pick fruit off of trees
  • Watch a caterpillar become a butterfly
  • Explore the forest, touching everything.
  • Play ‘look high/look low’ and see what types of creatures or plants they see.
  • Run in the fields.
  • Toss leaves
  • Collect rocks.

A daily afternoon pram walk, so we can talk about the gardens we see, trees, the clouds, we count the buses. We just connect, get some fresh air and if I’m lucky they have a nap 😉 ~Caroline

Go Visit:

  • Petting zoos
  • A botanical garden
  • An open gym day where your child can free play in the foam pit, the trampolines and the mats.
  • A Children’s Museum
  • Public library toddler reading time
  • Cousins, Grandparents, and Friends!

Sensory  Play

  • Playdoh
  • Waterbeads
  • Sand castles
  • Playing with rice, beans or cornmeal
  • Playing with those arts and crafts poms poms
  • Anything messy.
  • Mud pies, mud holes, mud body paint

Toddler years bucket list - water play

  • WATER! In the sink with containers, in the sprinkler, in a sand and water table.
  • Pour and measure – add a drop of food color for fun.
  • Squeeze wet sponges.
  • Walk the neighborhood with a watering can and “water” the flowers you see.
  • Long baths – not just for getting clean

Songs, Rhymes and Stories

Toddler years bucket list

  • Read books together
  • Touch and feel board books
  • Sing and dance
  • Songs with lots of movement, like “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, and “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes.
  • Have spur of the moment dance parties

My kiddo and her young friends (16-24 months) like to wiggle to music while wearing tutu’s…~Katherine


Cooking - toddler years

  • Pretend or real cooking
  • Make goop, gak or slime
  • Baking cookies or mixing pancakes together
  • Bake banana muffins
  • Have a Tea Party
  • Decorating cookies with lots of sprinkles that go everywhere!

When my daughter was 3 she had 2 of her friends over and we made Valentine’s cookies–the floor was solid pink with sugar and sprinkles afterward! ~The Twisting Kaleidoscope

Arts and Crafts

  • Finger painting
  • Pudding Paint!
  • Water coloring paint
  • Do A Dot Art Markers (Amazon affiliate)
  • Stickers
  • Sidewalk chalk scribbles
  • Stamping (Amazon affiliate)
  • Make handprint art – tracing, impressions in salt dough and paint handprints

More Play!

Toddler years activities list

  • Blowing and catching bubbles
  • Balloons and balls -Balloon baseball!
  • Bikes, Trikes and Ride-on toys
  • Knobbed Puzzles (Amazon affiliate)
  • Do “chores” with Mama and Papa
  • Push baby strollers or shopping carts
  • Rough and tumble play
  • Build “forts” out of boxes or couch cushions!
  • Make blanket tents and tunnels

And of course: Tickle, snuggle, kiss, and have lots of playful physical interaction.

 I adopted my boys as 21 and 23 month old boys… they are now 5.5 I would say ANY of the suggestions here, because kids just LOVE to play and experiment, but more important was the fact that I was down on the floor with them, making eye contact, laughing, sharing, and connecting with them. ~Margaret

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This is YOUR list.  Thank You.  Thank you for all of your beautiful ideas, your adorable examples; and thank you for inspiring me and so many other moms to enjoy parenting our toddlers!

For more fun toddler activities, take a look at my collaborative Zero to Two eBook!

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  1. says

    Its funny some of the fun adventures are random places in our local areas where we decided to explore (more fill in time). From beautiful rock pools and fairy finding in the bushes. So many great sensory experiences and fun to see them see discover things for the first time.

  2. Sarah Bates says

    Thanks Jo U0001f603 always refreshing reading ideas. I’ve watched a bit of playschool this week and have got some cool craft ideas we’ll have to try!

  3. felicity says

    Lots of good ideas but regarding chasing ducks! I think children should be taught to respect nature and not make life hard for them plenty of fun can be had without causing animals distress. I am forever telling kids off for doing this and frown on parents who let there children do this

  4. Mary says

    Some of my baby boy’s greatest adventures are in our living room. It.s amazing how simple things that we find boring he’s discovering to be so interesting and playful (although i did have to get our glass table out of the living room for safety reasons:) ) but my favorite time with him is at evening, when i read to him Sleep well my baby, he gets this big bright eyes at first listening to me and than he slowly falls into sweet dreams, he’s just the cutest :)

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