9 Educational Activities for Toddlers That Don’t Require Any Prep Work

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Young children require attention and nurturing, but in a way that makes them feel eager to explore and learn.

Unfortunately, many parents let their kids use smartphones and tablets hoping that they’ll keep them in check, so they won’t have to.

Teaching your kids to be comfortable with technology is fine, but it’s necessary to keep the balance and not let them get immersed in phones and tablets as that can have negative consequences for their development.

Children and especially toddlers need to take part in educational activities that will help them learn about the world and get life skills they’ll need later in life.

But remember, these activities do not need to be complicated in order to for learning to occur!

So if you’re looking for some educational games and other activities for your toddler take a look at these suggestions!

Simple Educational Activities For Toddlers – No Pens, Worksheets or Screens Needed!

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Role Play/Dress Up

Dramatic play is one of the most popular games among young children, mainly due to its endless possibilities.

When playing dress-up, children can discover various occupations and expand their vocabulary.

Role-playing games can have a beneficial effect on your child’s development.

Whether you decide to buy a pretend play doctor kit or a simple costume, keep in mind that it’s a good investment since it will help your little one learn many skills including empathy, perspective taking and language development.

One thing to keep in mind is that children don’t really get into role play until they are over the age of 3.

But you can have dress up and dramatic play props out for them as early as the age of 2.  But be sure to check the props for small pieces if your child is still putting toys in their mouth.


Playing with puzzles will ensure your child will get the basics of spatial thinking, ordering and recognizing different shapes and colors as well as perseverance!

Puzzles are some of the best toys that you could give to your child, especially if they’re just starting to be curious about their surroundings.

Do you want even more information on how puzzles can support your child’s development? Click here!

Singing and dancing

Playing music and singing along to the words is a fun family activity that can create a very meaningful bond between you and your child.

Additionally, singing and dancing can help your child learn how to count and develop their rhythm skills.

Dancing is great for developing their muscles and gross motor skills, as well as improving their flexibility.

Just make sure to choose songs that are age-appropriate so you won’t be faced with your little one repeating inappropriate lyrics.

Painting and drawing

Most kids enjoy drawing and painting as it’s relaxing and can help them become familiar with the world in a sensory way.

Aside from that, drawing is great for self-expression and creativity development.

Painting and drawing various shapes and objects can also help children learn about colors and even learn some pre-printing skills.

Furthermore, learning to hold a pen or a crayon can be great preparation for preschool or elementary school!

You can also turn painting into a sensory experience.

All you need is an ice cube tray and some food coloring.  Put a drop or 2 of food coloring into a few of the water filled ice cube trays and freeze.  Once frozen head outside with your toddler and some scrap paper and paint away!
                                                                                                                   Toddler Painting Set

Splashing In Mud Puddles

Children are naturally inclined to explore their environment which often means getting dirty and messy.

Unfortunately many parents are too concerned with keeping their kids clean, even though jumping and playing in mud puddles can help them advance their fine and gross motor skills, as well as become more aware of their surroundings.

It’s also a great sensory experience!

A little bit of rain won’t be harmful to their health and if it’s a cool rainy day be sure to send them out in a raincoat!

benefits of outdoor play for preschoolers

Playing in the sand

Playing in the sand can be extremely useful for your child’s self-awareness and physical development.

Building a sandcastle, scooping and digging all help develop many different skills and just like playing in the mud, it’s a great sensory experience too.

So, next time you plan a trip to the beach, make sure to bring a sand kit toy and don’t hesitate to join your child and turn the sand play into a joyful family activity.

                                                                                                                   Backyard Sandbox

Doll play

Playing with dolls often seems like an activity from a bygone era, but in fact, children nowadays still enjoy their dolls and other toys, so if you’re thinking about what toy to get them, feel free to buy a doll or two.

Dolls are the toys that resemble people a lot, so they can be used for various character plays and improving social emotional skills among children.

Additionally, playing with dolls can help your child learn more about labeling their feelings and inspire their imagination.

And remember, dolls are great toys for boys too and here’s why!
                                                                          Dolls For Boys and Girls

Pretend-cooking and/or cooking

Cooking is a life skill so don’t hesitate getting your child involved in kitchen activities.

Whether you opt for pretend cooking or actually asking your child to assist you in the kitchen, keep in mind to keep them safe from injuries and always make sure to remove all the sharp objects, so they won’t be tempted to grab them.

Once your child is a bit older (over the age of 3) you can begin teaching them how to use some kitchen gadgets safely!

Learning to differentiate between the various kitchen and cooking items can improve your child’s life skills and help them become more thoughtful of others.

Exploring The Outdoors

Spending time outside is a great way to practice and strengthen fine and gross motor skills.

If you don’t have a private outdoor space, then plan a trip to the nearest park where you can show your child different trees and plants.

A park with a playground area is also great to get little one’s running and climbing!

For even more enjoyment, you can organize a family picnic in the park so your child can have more time outside while bonding with family.

Playing in nature will teach your child to respect and admire the environment, and become more self-sufficient and curious.

Did you know that allowing children to take risks outside (e.g. running down a hill, climbing a big tree, etc.) is crucial to their development?

Bottom line

Nowadays there are so many apps and gadgets geared directly at young children, but that doesn’t mean that some of the more traditional games and activities should be abandoned in favor of technology.

Getting their hands dirty and being out there in the real world is useful preparation for growing up, and can also help your child to be more inquisitive and intelligent.

The next time you’re about to hand your little one the iPad to play an educational app, remember some of these more traditional educational activities for toddlers and the benefit they will give your child.

Author Bio:

Isabel William is consultant by day and a blogger by night and Mom to twins 24/7.
Area of interest includes education, well being, mental health, as well as self-improvement.
Considered by her peers a lifetime educator, whose passion is love for writing and helping people, parenting, education and science.

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