Hi, I'm a Kenyan-born, Colorado-based single mom to twins Hodari and Milambu. I turned the challenges of single motherhood into a thriving YouTube community and blog. Here, I offer support and practical advice on parenting, lifestyle, and more. Let's navigate life's complexities together!
Being a parent to a toddler can be a full-time job, especially when you’re a single mom trying to provide for your family; keeping your little one entertained can be even more challenging. We’ve all been there – you leave your toddler for just a minute only to return to a new wall art that you didn’t commission, a face full of Vaseline, or clothes taken out of the drawer. Trying to keep up with their boundless energy and curiosity can be exhausting.
And that’s why it’s so easy to turn to screens to keep them entertained so we can get things done. I’ll be the first to admit that I have allowed too much screen time in the past because it gave me a chance to get things done.
The truth is it’s easy for screens to take over our lives if we let them. However, as parents, it’s important to strike a balance between screen time and other activities. Too much screen time can be detrimental to your child’s development, so it’s essential to have a repertoire of screen-free activities that you and your toddler can enjoy together.
In this blog post, I’ve compiled 100+ screen-free activities that you can do with your toddler. These activities will not only help your child grow and learn but also foster your bond with them. So, whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities, creative or physical ones, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover fun and engaging activities that will keep your toddler entertained without relying on screens.
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Why Are Screen-Free Activities Important for Toddlers?
In today’s world, screens are everywhere. From smartphones and tablets to televisions and computers, it can be hard to escape the lure of technology. While screens can be valuable tools for learning and entertainment, it’s important to remember that they are not the only way for toddlers to explore the world around them.
Screen-free activities are crucial for toddlers’ development, as they allow them to engage with their environment in a hands-on way. They provide opportunities for toddlers to use their senses, build fine and gross motor skills, and develop cognitive and social-emotional skills. Screen-free activities also encourage creativity, imagination, and problem-solving, all of which are important for healthy development.
In addition, excessive screen time has been linked to several negative outcomes in toddlers, including delays in language development, poor sleep quality, and increased risk of obesity. By incorporating screen-free activities into your toddler’s daily routine, you can help mitigate these risks and promote their overall well-being.
It’s also worth noting that screen-free activities provide a valuable opportunity for you as a parent to connect with your toddler. By engaging in activities together, you can build a strong bond and create lasting memories. So put down the screens and get ready to have some fun with your toddler!
How to Plan and Execute Screen-Free Activities as a Busy Mom
As a busy mom, it can be challenging to find the time and energy to plan and execute screen-free activities for your toddler. However, with a little bit of planning and creativity, you can make it happen! Here are some tips to help you get started:
Schedule screen-free time into your day: Make a conscious effort to set aside dedicated screen-free time each day. This could be 30 minutes in the morning or an hour in the afternoon. Whatever works for you and your toddler’s schedule.
Plan ahead: Take some time each week to plan out activities for the week ahead. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you have everything you need on hand.
Keep it simple: You don’t need to plan elaborate activities to keep your toddler entertained. Sometimes the simplest activities can be the most enjoyable. Think colo,ring, playing with blocks, or reading a book.
Get creative with your surroundings: You don’t need to have a lot of toys or fancy equipment to entertain your toddler. Look around your house and see what everyday objects you can use to create fun activities. For example, a cardboard box can be turned into a fort or a race car.
Involve your toddler in the planning process: Toddlers love to feel included and important. Let your toddler help you plan activities and make decisions about what to do. This will help them feel engaged and excited about the activity.
Have a backup plan: Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s okay. Have a backup plan ready in case an activity doesn’t work out or your toddler loses interest.
Don’t be afraid to repeat activities: Toddlers love repetition, so don’t be afraid to repeat activities that your toddler enjoys. It can be comforting and reassuring for them to have familiar activities to come back to.
Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your toddler. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to plan the perfect activity every time. As long as you are engaged and present with your toddler, they will have a great time.
100+ Screen-Free Activities For Your Toddler:
Screen-Free Craft Activities:
Finger painting: Let your toddler explore their artistic side with some finger painting. Use non-toxic, washable paints and let them go wild with their imagination.
Collage making: Provide your toddler with some magazines, glue, and paper to create their own unique collage.
Playdough: Making playdough is a fun activity in itself, but your toddler will have even more fun molding it into different shapes.
Beading:Stringing beads onto a necklace or bracelet is a great activity to improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
DIY stamp art: Cut shapes out of a potato, dip them in paint, and let your toddler create their own stamp art.
Salt dough sculptures: Mix salt, flour, and water to create a dough that your toddler can mold into sculptures.
Popsicle stick crafts: There are endless possibilities with popsicle sticks. Let your toddler create their own masterpiece with glue and paint.
Handprint art: Trace your toddler’s hand onto paper and let them paint or color it in.
Sticker art: Provide your toddler with stickers and paper to create their own unique sticker art.
Paper plate crafts: Cut and decorate paper plates into different shapes, animals, or objects.
Origami: Learn how to make simple origami animals and objects with your toddler.
Sponge painting: Cut sponges into different shapes and let your toddler dip them in paint to create their own art.
Sensory bins: Create sensory bins with different materials for your toddler to explore and play with.
Yarn art: Glue pieces of yarn onto paper to create unique designs.
Handprint animals: Use non-toxic paint to create handprint animals on paper.
Flower pressing: Press flowers between paper and heavy books to create pressed flowers.
Egg carton caterpillars: Use egg cartons and pipe cleaners to create caterpillars.
Felt board stories: Use felt and a felt board to create stories for imaginative play.
Sensory bottles: Create sensory bottles with different materials and colors for your toddler to observe and play with.
Screen-Free Indoor Activities
Building blocks: Encourage your toddler’s imagination with building blocks, like LEGOs or DUPLOs.
Pillow fort: Create a cozy pillow fort with blankets and pillows for your toddler to relax in.
Musical chairs: Play a game of musical chairs with your toddler and their friends.
Dance party: Turn on some music and have a dance party with your toddler.
Balloon volleyball: Blow up a balloon and play a game of volleyball with your toddler.
Puzzles: Encourage problem-solving skills with puzzles.
Indoor camping: Set up a tent or make a fort and have an indoor camping experience.
Scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt for your toddler to search for different items.
Dress-up: Set up a dress-up area with costumes and let your toddler play pretend.
Indoor obstacle course: Create an obstacle course indoors for your toddler to navigate.
Indoor scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt indoors for your toddler to search for different items.
Balloon tennis: Blow up a balloon and use it to play a game of indoor tennis with your toddler.
Indoor bowling: Set up a bowling alley with empty water bottles and a soft ball.
Shape sorting: Use different shapes and objects for your toddler to sort and match.
Make your own pizza: Let your toddler help you make their own pizza with different toppings.
Marble run: Create a marble run with different materials for your toddler to play with.
Reading: Read books with your toddler and encourage them to ask questions and engage with the story.
Play kitchen: Set up a play kitchen with pots, pans, and play food for your toddler to cook up their own creations.
Puppet show: Make puppets out of paper bags or socks and put on a puppet show with your toddler.
Board games: Play simple board games with your toddler to encourage turn-taking and counting.
Coloring: Provide your toddler with coloring books and crayons to color in different designs.
Tea party: Set up a tea party with pretend tea cups and snacks for your toddler and their friends.
Playdough mats: Print out playdough mats with different shapes and designs for your toddler to mold playdough onto.
Bubble bath: Make bath time fun with bubbles and bath toys.
Balancing games: Play balancing games with your toddler, like walking on a balance beam or trying to balance objects on their head.
Have a painting party: Set up an area with paint and paper and let your toddler explore their creativity.
Play with play food: Use play food and utensils to create a pretend meal or restaurant.
Play with a flashlight: Use a flashlight to explore dark spaces and make shadow puppets.
Make a bird feeder: Use a pinecone, peanut butter, and birdseed to create a fun and easy bird feeder.
Have a baking day: Bake cookies or cupcakes with your toddler and let them help with mixing and decorating.
Play with a ball pit: Use a small inflatable pool or ball pit and let your toddler jump and play with balls.
Make homemade instruments: Use household items like empty water bottles, rice, and beans to create simple instruments to play.
Paint with watercolors: Provide watercolors and paper for your toddler to explore their artistic side.
Play with magnets: Give your toddler magnetic letters, numbers, and shapes to play and learn with.
Create a busy box: Fill a box with small toys and activities for your toddler to explore independently.
Do a science experiment: Use household items to conduct simple science experiments, like making a volcano with baking soda and vinegar.
Play with kinetic sand: Use sand molds and tools to create shapes and structures with kinetic sand.
Fun Outdoor Activities
Chasing bubbles: Chase and pop bubbles with your toddler outdoors.
Water balloon toss: Play a game of water balloon toss with your toddler.
Ice cube painting: Freeze different colors of water and let your toddler paint with the ice cubes.
Outdoor art easel: Set up an outdoor easel and let your toddler create different artwork.
DIY kite: Make a DIY kite with your toddler and fly it in the wind.
Stargazing: Look up at the stars at night with your toddler and teach them about constellations.
Scavenger hunt at the grocery store: Create a scavenger hunt at the grocery store for your toddler to find different items.
Puzzles: Play simple puzzles with your toddler to encourage problem-solving skills.
Sensory bags with paint: Create sensory bags with paint for your toddler to observe and play with.
Spray bottle art: Fill a spray bottle with water and let your toddler create different designs and artwork.
Sensory bin with ice: Create a sensory bin with ice cubes and different objects for your toddler to explore.
Outdoor scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt for your toddler to search for different items outdoors.
Obstacle course: Set up an obstacle course in your backyard for your toddler to navigate.
Chalk art: Let your toddler draw with chalk on the sidewalk or driveway.
Nature walk: Take a walk outdoors and explore nature with your toddler.
Picnic: Set up a picnic in the park or backyard for your toddler and their friends.
Gardening: Teach your toddler about gardening by planting seeds or helping to care for plants.
Bug hunt: Search for different bugs and insects outdoors with your toddler.
Splash pad: Visit a local splash pad for water play and fun.
Sand play: Set up a sand table or provide your toddler with sand toys for outdoor play.
Hiking: Take your toddler on a short hike and explore the outdoors together.
Waterfall visit: Visit a nearby waterfall or stream and explore the water and surroundings.
Outdoor painting: Set up a canvas and paint outdoors with your toddler.
Backyard camping: Set up a tent and camp outdoors in your backyard with your toddler.
Bird watching: Go bird watching with your toddler and teach them about different birds.
Playground: Visit a local playground and let your toddler play and explore.
Nature scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt for your toddler to search for different items in nature.
Screen-free activities for toddlers are essential to their growth and development. These activities can promote creativity, problem-solving skills, and physical development. As a busy mom, it can be challenging to find time to plan and execute these activities, but with this comprehensive list of 100+ screen-free activities for toddlers, you have a wealth of ideas at your fingertips.
You can choose an activity that best suits your toddler’s interests and age level, and spend quality time together engaging in meaningful play. Remember, toddlers learn best through play, and it is our responsibility as parents to provide them with opportunities to grow and thrive. So, put down the screens and get ready to have some fun!
100+ Easy and Engaging Screen-Free Activities for Your Toddler
Hi, I'm a Kenyan-born, Colorado-based single mom to twins boys. I turned the challenges of single motherhood into a thriving YouTube community and blog. Here, I offer support and practical advice on parenting, lifestyle, and more. Let's navigate life's complexities together.
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