A list of free or inexpensive activities for toddlers to make learning fun!

The following mostly free or inexpensive activities will help develop your child’s physical, thinking and language skills while he plays.

Play time is the perfect time to make learning fun!

  • Body Parts Game: Cut a photo from a magazine that shows a close-up of a child’s face and one that shows a head-to-toe photo of a child. Show the photos to your little one and ask him to “point” to each body part.
  • Sing a Song: Singing along is a great way to help your child learn new words. Sing your favorite children’s songs with your toddler and build fun memories with him.
  • Play-Dough Restaurant: Use homemade play-dough to create play-food and pretend to cook and eat in a “restaurant”.  Lots of fun for your little one and yourself. (Easy no-cook pay-dough recipe here)
  • Read a Story:  Read books to your child and allow him to use the pictures to tell you a story as well. This will help develop his vocabulary and creativity.
  • Finding Hidden Treasure: Fill a small bucket with water, shredded paper or sand and hide a small toy for your child to find, for example a small plastic truck. Let them hide it for you once they find it and take turns looking for it.  (Supervision is important when playing with water, sand and small toys).
  • Paint the trees: This is great activity to do during warm days. Go outside and give your child a small bowl of water and a paintbrush. Let him “paint” the trees, the sidewalk, the fence and anything else he wants to “paint” outside.  (Don’t forget to supervise closely!)
  • Find the Matching Picture: Make a set of pairs of matching pictures, mix them up and lay them face-up on a table. Together with your little one try to find the matching pairs. Take turns finding a new match.
  • Solve a Puzzle: Use a photo to create a homemade puzzle. Cut the photo into 4-5 pieces and allow your child to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle. Take turns and help him when needed.
  • Pour and Fill: Fill a small plastic container with clean water or sand and give your child a few spoons, plastic cups and small bowls.  Show him how he can pour the water/sand into the cups and bowls.  (Supervise closely!).
  • Finger Painting: Spread some corn syrup on a piece of cardboard (cut an old cereal box) and add a few drops of food colouring. Ask your child to spread the colours around and paint the cardboard. You will love the shiny artwork after it dries.

What learning activities do you love to do with your toddler?

Share YOUR favorite free or inexpensive early learning activities for toddlers!