31 Baby and Toddler Activity Ideas That Are Simple
Baby and toddler activity ideas that will help you keep them entertained during the lockdown .
What do you do with a baby at home all day, every day? This week we’ve certainly been struggling a bit more with lock down here in the UK.
It’s so difficult not seeing family and I’ve had to find more things to keep K busy this month. He is now 10 months old and doesn’t engage with an activity for long, so I’ve had to create activities that require minimal preparation.
Last month, I wrote about easy activity ideas for a 9-12-month-old and some of the ideas in this post build on from them.
The baby and toddler activity ideas are designed to help their 3 prime areas of development – Personal, Social and Emotional, Communication and Language and Physical Development.
Babies, toddlers and children need to be secure in these areas before being able to work on other areas of development like Maths and Literacy. Top developmental toys also help these areas of your baby’s development.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Nursery Rhyme Spoons
Nursery rhymes are great for your baby’s language development. Make some nursery rhyme spoons, sing and encourage your baby to dance.
Save yourself some time by downloading my free nursery rhyme spoons printable.
Saying Mama (or Dada)
Is your little one not saying mama yet? K isn’t but he’s been saying Dada for well over a month. Typical!
Try to encourage your baby to say words by recording messages on talking tins.
Hearing the message more than once will help your baby’s understanding and might encourage them to say the most important word!
Visiting a farm was something on my Summer Bucket List. However, just because we can’t go, doesn’t mean K can’t learn about the animals.
Teach your baby about farm animals and the noises they make by using my free printable animal cards. (If printing, change the pages per sheet to 4). I also used talking tins for this and used this video to record the animal noises.
Check out other farm animal activity ideas here.
Babies love to copy. Get your baby to imitate the sounds you make in a fun way. Try making noise and tapping your hand over your mouth while you do it. Then encourage your baby to copy and lightly tap your hand to their mouth. K loves this game and it didn’t take him long to get the hang of it!
Baby signing is a baby and toddler activity idea that is best done little and often throughout the day. This helps babies to communicate and takes away some of their frustrations.
This baby signing book has great reviews. You can also use these baby signing flashcards too. So far K understands milk, all gone, come and no. He has also started doing the sign for milk but I’m unsure if he uses it because he wants milk.
Giving your baby an object and encouraging them to pass it back will help their social skills. Using a phrase such as ‘ta’ or ‘drop’ will also help their understanding.
Try putting a range of objects in front of your baby and point to one for them to get. We did this using our rainbow rocker with all of the items laid out. This was perfect because K will use every opportunity to stand.
Create a fruit salad for your baby to enjoy. Cut up different fruits into finger food sized pieces. See this handy guide for the sizes.
Letting your baby explore and feed themselves will help their fine motor skills. Showing their likes and dislikes for certain fruits also helps their Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
Making your own sensory pots at home is an easy and quick baby and toddler activity idea. The smells last for a week and they help babies to use 4 out of their 5 senses.
I love our tuff tray. It can be used in so many different ways and can be used for years so it’s definitely worth buying. Try making a sticky tray for your baby by using sellotape the sticky side up. Then stick things to it and encourage your baby to get them.
Foam letters and numbers which are usually bath toys, work well for this activity because they are light and stick well. I like these foam letters and numbers because they come in a handy bag and include lower case letters. Something that is usually hard to find!
An activity like this helps babies fine motor skills. using a tuff tray on a stand for this activity also helps babies gross motor skills as it encourages them to pull themselves up to standing and cruise.
See my previous blog post: Baby Tuff Tray Activities, for more tuff tray ideas and setups.
Hide things in a cheap cotton produce bag and give the bag to your baby. First, take some of their smaller toys or everyday objects they’re interested in (K loves bottle lids!) and show them that you’ve put them in the bag.
Make sure you keep the bag open and then give it to your baby. Babies are naturally curious and this helps them to develop object permanence as well as using their physical skills to get the objects out.
Have your baby play with a mini slinky. This was something that I randomly had in a cupboard. K enjoyed pulling it, dropping it and picking it back up again, all of which help fine motor skills. Make sure you’re always supervising your baby when they’re playing with this.
Test out everyday objects by giving them to your baby. See which ones they have a preference for a go with it.
As mentioned previously, K is a fan of milk bottle tops, which can be used in posting activities. (Although K is unable to do this yet). Other things he likes are clothes pegs and a jingle bell that fell off of my Christmas slippers!
Painting in a bag
Sensory bags are great mess-free activities that will keep your baby or toddler occupied. All you need is a strong see-through sandwich bag, plain paper, paint and sellotape. Put the paper into the sandwich bag, then add some blobs of paint. Seal the sandwich bag and tape it down to the floor.
I put cardboard over the bag in the picture to make it look like an Easter egg. I did an activity similar to this when K was little but it didn’t work very well. I’ve since learnt to use acrylic paint (safe because babies won’t be touching it) and to stick the bag to the floor.
Baby Tinker Tray
Collect random household items or things that relate to a particular theme and let your baby explore. Using a kitchen utensil organiser tray helps your baby to see all of the items and will encourage them to return back to the tray.
So far, we have created a garden-themed tinker tray an everyday household items tray, one with food and one with wooden toys.
These little silicone suckers are amazing for keeping babies and toddlers busy. They are one of the top developmental toys I recommend for 1-year-olds.
The suckers stick to so many surfaces and are a bit of a challenge to get off. They are perfect for taking on the go and will keep babies and toddlers occupied in restaurants, in the car or on planes. We’ve used ours in our tuff tray, on the windows, in the highchair and I’ve also added them to water. K enjoys chewing on them as he’s currently teething.
Putting a ball near your babies feet as they are cruising along, will help them with the skills they need to walk. We use this ball because it’s bright and has a lovely texture. It’s a perfect first ball for little ones. You could also try rolling the ball to your baby and see what they do.
Baby and toddler activity ideas using larger items to create obstacle courses are great to keep them occupied. Putting things close to each other will encourage your baby to cruise from one thing to the next and will help to teach them how to walk. We’ve used a mini trampoline, our rainbow rocker, a basket and our footstool.
Adding some toys to a basket will spark your babies curiosity. They will enjoy trying to get into the basket and there’s quite a lot of skill needed to be able to retrieve a toy. Our basket is similar to this but a different colour. It’s perfect because it has a lid that’s light and easy to open. It also looks pretty. Our basket usually lives in the hallway.
Encourage your baby to climb the stairs. They may already be able to do this but practising every day will help to strengthen those muscles. If your baby is unable to do this, stand them up on a step, sit behind them and see what they do. Putting a favourite toy just out of reach is a good motivator. However, I found that my phone motivated K the most!
He mastered climbing the stairs a few months ago so I now use his rainbow rocker to challenge him more. It’s perfect for little climbers because there’s a gradual incline and enough space for their little feet. I added on our interactive activity arch. It also fits on most prams and we previously used with K’s bouncer chair. Something which he still uses even now.
Baby and toddler activity ideas using bubbles are a great way to keep them entertained. K enjoys watching the bubbles form from our bubble blower and finds it hilarious when I blow them at him. Find out how easy it is to make your own bubble blower.
Hide and Seek
Playing hide and seek by covering your baby’s head with a light silk scarf will bring lots of enjoyment. The scarf we have is a hijab which is soft, big and colourful. It can be used for lots of other things too.
Put the scarf over your baby’s head and ask where they are. They will then start to anticipate you saying boo and will start to pull the scarf off themselves.
Cornflour and Water
Mixing cornflour with water is a simple, messy sensory activity you can do with your baby. When you touch the mixture it goes hard and you can make a little ball. Then when you let go, it turns into a liquid again. K wasn’t too keen when we did this activity but I found it very satisfying!
Make your own edible sensory sand by blending crackers with a bit of water. See here for more details of how to make it.
This mixture should last for a week and you can add in other items for babies and toddlers to pour and scoop.
Babies can have lots of fun playing with water indoors or outside.
All you need is a plastic storage container and some items to add-in.
Shiny Tuff Tray
Have your baby explore lots of different shiny items by adding them to a tuff tray. The reflective objects will interest them!
Create your own puppet show using some fabric and glove puppets. We used our rainbow rocker and our Hijab fabric to create our puppet show. K loved watching and enjoyed anticipating when they would pop up.
Out in the Garden
Take your baby out in the garden and let them explore. Doing this adds another dimension to their play, all the while giving them new experiences. In the picture, I’ve set out K’s Wobble board, his rainbow rocker, a bubble machine, a bouncer chair, stacking cups and a tinker tray. I’ve also used a paddling pool to create a ball pit.
K really didn’t like our garden at first. Read my previous blog post for how I helped him to enjoy it.
Lift the Flaps
As well as using books, you could try making your own by using cardboard and pictures of family members.
Peeling Off Washi Tape
If you don’t have Washi tape, you could use masking tape instead.
Linking Chains on Teddies
We use linking chains for so many different things and K likes to hold them.
Add them to teddies and challenge your baby to pull them off.
Sometimes simple games provide the most fun. Babies and toddler activity ideas don’t always need to involve toys and resources. Just having you play with them is enough.
According to my Wonder Weeks book, at 11 months old a baby should be able to repeat a simple game.
K loves it when I balance different things on my head. Like a stacking cup for example. He enjoys trying to grab it off and he also likes watching objects fall from his head.
Other simple games you could play with your baby include dancing, Pat-a-Cake and songs with actions like Wind the Bobbin Up.
So there’s my list of baby and toddler activity ideas and games that we’ve been doing during lock down this month. I hope you find them useful. If you do, please don’t forget to comment and share. Also, tag me in any activities you try from the list on Instagram.
Do you have baby and toddler activity ideas to share? Let me know in the comments section below!