29 answers

What kind of activities can I do with my 2 year old at home?

Ok, it is summer time but due to one thing and another we only have one car.

so i was wondering what kind of activities i can do with my almost 2 year old at home during the day.

we have our own little sand pit, we love to colour and paint, i just need some more craft ideas, we like to read lots of books and play cars. i am just stuck. i need more activitey ideas if not for him more change for me.

well any ideas would be great.

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?


A lot of moms suggested to do craft work with the toddler, reading and games. Check out the article for other moms' creative ideas.

So What Happened?™

Thank you guys so much for all your input, any time you have another idea please do send them my way. a new idea is always good for the next week.

I think i am going to have to get a planning book put together of the different craft ideas.

thank you.


More Answers

Hi M.,
I have been a SAHM for 17 years. I have 3 children,
a daughter (17, and 2 sons (15 and 11). Like you, I looked for "activities" to do with my children. If I could do it over again, I would do things differently.

The habits they develop in the home now they will carry with them into their teen years and beyond.

I would start my day with them with a morning devotion. Then, make a picture check list for them to "get ready for their day" - BR, wash face, brush teeth, get dressed, make bed, etc. and get a sticker or an angel stamp when they're done.
Have them start a load of laundry with you. Having them sort by color teaches them, and, they love to help fold. They are so proud to show you what they can do.
Have them help you set the table for each meal. (You can draw on any piece of paper a table setting - plate/bowl in center, fork on left, butter knife and spoon on right), put it at a place and have them put each item on top until they can do it without the paper.
Have them help you get out the food and help prepare it. A great activity to do together is to bake bread/rolls. They are so proud when they can make it for Daddy!
Have them help clear and wash dishes. They feel very important wearing an apron.
Have them help you dust, vacuum, sweep, and clean BR.

I would buy a homeschooling curriculum for that age (Seton, Bob Jones and ABeka are ones that I am familiar with - they all have a website). That gives you lots to do, they learn a lot and they enjoy it; you will, too!
Get computer activities for preschoolers.
Get some large, wooden or plastic beads and string them, or penne noodles. Puzzles are great. Play games like Candyland or card games like fish. Count 100 cheerios or fruitloops.
Draw pictures or lines and circles, write the letters of the alphabet, spell his name and things in the house and label them.
Garden together, plant seeds (any kind - a cup with some grass seed grows quickly for them to see results soon, plant tomato plants - something that you can use or something that you like - flowers).
Sew together. My son sewed a pillow by himself for his new brother when he was born. It wasn't 'professional', but it was cute, and it was from his heart.
Plan a tea party together and dress up for it.

Get a bike seat and go riding together. Buy a pair of skates for both of you and go skating together out front.
Take walks, pack picnic lunches, feed the squirrels, birds, ducks. Use sidewalk chalk and bubbles.
Buy a plastic ball, bat and glove and play catch and hit (baseball). Buy a soccer ball and kick it around outside. Same with a little lacrosse stick and ball and a basketball and small hoop (or basket or bucket up on a chair).
Play jump rope and hopscotch (hopping and balancing and coordination).
Make mud pies, or flour pies, or play dough.
Sing together. Dance.
The library has lots of books with craft ideas.

Most importantly, look into his eyes and talk, just have a conversation. It will develop into a bond of love, trust and communication.
Don't forget to take some time for yourself.

Watch Super Nanny on ABC; she has great ideas.

2 moms found this helpful

Here goes w/more idea for your little boy :D...wading pool, slip & slide, sprinkler (!), Play-Doh (you can make your own! Look online for recipe), building blocks, Lincoln logs, Matchbox type cars W/RACETRACK, new books to read, "Barney" videos (kids this age LOVE Barney!), nature walks (lots you can teach there!), or if you live in a city, CITY walks & teach him a little safety, e.g., crossing streets, "helping" you to pick up some milk, etc., hand games like Patty Cake, listen to music & sing at the top of both your lungs :D, try to hook up w/other moms w/kids (he needs to experience his peers - GREAT for teaching), toddler swing set (as your budget may allow), build a "fort" out of a table & sheet (stock it up w/favorite toys, flashlight, snacks, etc., this may be good for rainy days), simple word games like I Spy, let him clean out your canned goods cupboard (mine was the right height & this is good for you, too, he gets to empty, you get to wipe down the shelves & cans, you both can put things back), let him bang on pots and pans w/wooden spoon (use earplugs, LOLOL!), let him pretend to cook by filling pots, etc., with water at the kitchen sink (get him a stool so he can reach) a little messy but FUN, baths in the middle of the day w/bath toys, let him "help" you around the house, e.g., making the beds, dusting (give him his own dust cloth).

Hope this helps you some!

Pam H.
Westminster, MD

1 mom found this helpful

I also am a stay at home Mom with a 2yr old and 3yr old.

I know that it can be a challenge to occupy children at that young age. Everyday is a struggle to balance the appropriate amount of television/movies watched with play time/activity time. It is so easy to sit kids in front of a TV, but what good does that do to teaching them about life and building their character?

Here are some things I do with my two girls:
1) Hide and seek around the house. (This can be hilarious because my 3yr old always like to yell out "I'm right here!" from her hiding place.)

2) Play dough time.

3) Writing/Drawing time...We have a big white erase board in the kitchen. The girls sit at the table with paper and crayons and copy what I draw on the board.

4) Puzzles are great for developing problem solving skills.

5) Puppet making with brown paper sandwich bags, colored pipe cleaner, all kinds of things from the craft section.

6) Face masks with white paper plates. A stapler and string.

7) Reading a story and then acting it out afterwards.

8) Hide and seek with small toys. I have the girls wait in the bathroom while I hide their little colored teddy bears in very obvious locations.

Hopefully these ideas will be a help to you and your little one.

1 mom found this helpful

A little about me I a 40 year old SAHM with two small children ages 3 and 5. When we lived in Pittsburgh we used to do a lot of stuff without our car because so much was within walking distance. Granted we would take our stroller because it is never fun having to carry two kids home as well as all the stuff you lugged to the playground.

Here are a few ideas of stuff to do without the car:

1. Pack a picnic lunch and walk to the neighborhood playground picking up pinecones on the way to paint or decorate.

2. Make homemade playdough or silly putty or both if your in the mood.

3. There are some books at the bookstore titled "the busy preschooler", "the busy toddler", "365 tv free activities" jamb packed with ideas.

4. You could make your own sticker books using contruction paper and stapling it together to look like a book and write something on the front to identify it as such.

5. I made up cards with numbers on one side and the same number of squares or some other shape on the other and taught my kids numbers, counting and shapes as well as colors at the same time.

6. With summer around the corner, you could make water balloons and just have a water balloon battle.

7. Sidewalk Chalk or paint.

8. Bubbles.

9. Play catch or kick ball.

10. Hop-Scotch.

There is a world of information on stuff to do in and around your home or neighborhood that doesn't require the use of a car.

Also keep in mind kids at this age are like a giant sponge. They absorb information at a pretty rapid pace and everyday is a different adventure. Enjoy all the time you have with your child now because they grow up rather quickly.

Hope this helps.

L. S.

1 mom found this helpful

You may already do this, but you are at a great age to have him help with the laundry. My daughter had her own little basket and loved to pull everything out, sort colors, load the machine, and push the buttons and then hang-up or fold. It's not exactly a craft, but it is a splendid use of time and a good lesson - which we have kept going for 2 years as she improves her skills.

Kitchen activites are really good at that age too - like making instant pudding, cutting soft fruit like bananas, making small sandwiches. You can use cookie cutters and spreaders which aren't sharp, decorate cookies, or throw fruit and candy into pudding and call it dirt-pies. My daughter got a real kick out "cooking" and especially of "making lunch" not just for us but for daddy when he got home. At 4-years, she now makes her own lunch when she gets home from precshool and it is something we enjoy doing together.

Basically, you are entering this great phase where your son will find mundane chores fun and can spend hours occupied with them. Even giving him a wet paper towel to clean his sink or dust his shelves is fun at that age.

Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

Take a walk, and talk about what you see.

Look up there! There are one, two, three, four birds sitting on the telephone wire!

Listen to that dog! What does it sound like he's saying?

That sign tells the name of our street. Our street's name is...

Let's count how many driveways have a car in them.

What color are those flowers?

etc etc

1 mom found this helpful

Family Fun Magazine has a great website familyfun.com

There are a lot of craft and family time ideas for different age levels and craft experience levels. Plus there are recipes to make together and printables to color, holiday crafts, etc... Lots of ideas. I refer to this website almost daily to find new things to do with my own six children. Enjoy! -K.

garden! if you don't have a yard, pots will do just fine. plant a pizza garden (tomatoes, peppers, oregano) then as your produce comes through, have him cook with you.
simple cooking projects are great fun for littles this age.
how about taking care of pets, like hermit crabs or fish?
a good loud sing-and-dance session every day is a fine thing!
sculpy is your best friend. can be expensive, though, and homemade modeling clay is probably even better for a little guy of not-yet-two.
:) khairete

You can always have a water fight outside. We use gallon milk jugs and dollar water squirters. We cut the tops of the jug. I also go bug hunting with my son, he loves it.

Check out Family Fun Magazine online they have some great ideas for all ages.

i know this may sound weird but i watch jon and kate plus eight, when the go to their aunts house she makes candy with them and lollipops, thats something fun that all kids love to do is eat candy! you could make like frozen popsicles(sp?) and then after nap time they would be frozen and yall could eat them! hope that helps!

Don't forget about the magic of bubbles! You can even make your own bubble solution and have fun experimenting with household objects as bubble makers (string, cookie cutters, etc.. Sidewalk chalk is also something that my family loves...draw on the street, sidewalk, or driveway and it washes right off with rain or the water hose. You can get a package of it at any Dollar Tree for $1. When it rains, build a fort inside by putting a sheet or blanket over the kitchen or dining room table. You can make rooms off of your fort by adding side tables to the mix. Give your little one a flashlight and go "camping" in the house. Make s'mores.
Finally, make bird feeders with pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seed. Hang them in a tree nearby or close to a window and watch the birds and squirrels eat your treat!

I hope this helps!

One thing that my children enjoyed at that age was finger painting with pudding. We would go outside and they could paint anything they wanted to and it wouldn't hurt them if they got it in their mouths.

Another fun activity for that age is water time. I don't know if you have a pool or a sprinkler he could play in, but if you do, he will love it. During our summer camp at the day care we have weekly water days where the children are able to play in the sprinkler and have a picnic.

I hope this helps...

First of all good job thinking so far ahead about school.
There are a lot of websites with thoughtful activities.
Here's my fav.


I was in this position for 4 years, with two young ones. We invested in a sandbox, with lots of fun toys and things for it. We put up a sprinkler to run around in on ocation, got a slip and slide (even though they were really too young to use it appropriately, they had a blast just walking on it and trying to catch the water spurting up in buckets), we would go for walks. You could collect flowers and things to use in crafts at home. I would put out a blanket in the backyard and have picnic lunches a lot. Purchase or make a bug/butterfly net for your daughter to run around and try to catch bugs. Have a bug container ready for when she actually does! You could lay a blanket down in the yard, and bird watch with her. Do normal activities, like crafts and coloring in a special way, such as outside on the blanket (get a couple of clipboards), same with reading the books that you already do. Is there a nearby park that you can walk to easily? If so, utilize that as well! Good luck and enjoy your summer!

I would start a garden. It doesn't have to be big, just dig out a corner or row along the house. Pick out some seeds to plant in the ground or start them in the house in a cup. You could also pick out some tomatoes or other plants already started (sometimes seedlings don't make it, which is frustrating for kids. Plants already started have a better chance of surviving). It's great fun to watch them grow. During the summer things grow so fast there are changes every day. Flowers, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers are great. Even if you or your child won't eat them they're still fun to watch and it may help him to be interested in new foods. Have fun!

One other thing my kids liked was "painting the sidewalk." Fill a bucket with water and give him a paintbrush. He can paint water on the sidewalk, a fence or an outside wall. Simple but kids love it!

How about sidewalk chalk and a sprinkler. Also, I used to go for long walks and bring a treasure bag. He can fill is with sticks,rocks, leaves and flowers that he finds and thinks are neat or pretty.
I used to collect acorns and draw faces on them with a sharpie pen. With the caps on they look like little people.
He can make his own Popsicles and make fruit salad with you in the kitchen. Just use a butter knife and let him cut up banana's and strawberries. Get him a big wheel and let him "ride his bike". Get one of those cheap kiddie pools and let him play with his bath toys in it.
Have play dates and just enjoy the time with your little man.

My son loved a game called "peek a boo" spaghetti. You take a colander on the kitchen floor and turn it upside down and then break up some dry spaghetti noodles and have him put the spaghetti into the holes on the colander. We would say "where is the spaghetti?" and then lift up the colander. It is great for fine motor skills.

You can take socks and roll them up into a ball and try to make them into the laundry basket.

stringing cheerios on pipe cleaners.

Also, if you can get to the library there are great CD's by Bev Bos and Raffi that have wonderful actions songs such as:
Shake your sillies out and Freeze Dance.

Hope this helps.

Hi M.!
the Starfall website is fun, has the ABCs. Also visit www.sproutonline.com and go to he activities link. They have cheap,awesome and easy crafts plus a short video for parents(instructional). Save all your old diaper boxes or wipes boxes and gallon milk containers and egg cartons. Plus save toilet paper and paper towel rolls. All can be reused for fun crafts(and its good for the earth too!). In the summer my daughter loves anything that involves water and being in the backyard. You can also save things like shampoo bottles and old kethup bottles, clean them out and fill them up with water and you have squirt guns! Have you registered with Free Cycle? Visit www.freecycle.org It's a website where people post things they are getting rid of(for free) or you can post a "want" ad saying you want outdoor toys etc. Playdoh is fun just make sure your son doesn't eat too much of it. Here's a recipe:
1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
food coloring
Heat all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Stir constantly until a ball forms. Cool for a few minutes. Knead; store in an airtight container in the fridge.
It's ready in less than 10 mins. If you keep it in the fridge, it won't dry out.
Also try googling County or State parks/playgrounds in your area, you could pack a picnic lunch an put your son in the stroller and go to a local park for lunch and play.
Hmm, there's always sidewalk chalk, walmart always has crayola chalk packs of 52 for $3.88. And then bubbles can provide tons of amusement!
Even if you're not into gardeing, you could get some cheap starter pots that come with seeds from Target (a dollar), andyour son and you can try to grow things like tomatoes and daisies and strawberries!
Good Luck!

There are TONS of great craft and activity ideas at familyfun.com. Wonderful, wonderful site!!

Hi M.,

Do you have a yard? Teach him how to care for plants, do yard work.

Learn to catch the bus and go places.

Hope this helps. Good luck. D.

Hi M.!
I love the "two's". I watched my twin nieces for 4 years. Something that's fun, a little messy, but oh well (that's what the tub or the hose is for). Next time you're at the grocery store buy different flavors of instant pudding, buy some coated paper at WalMart & finger paint with the pudding. It's fun & you get to lick your fingers. Also, washable markers help make the coolest tatoos on you & your child. He draws on you (usually just legs & arms) & you draw on him. If it gets on the carpet, a wet rag takes it right off. If you have a wagon, that's great too. We used to walk around the neighborhood, meet the neighbors,etc. When it's really hot just go out early in the day. Plus it's good exercise for Mom.
Enjoy your summer & your son. He'll be graduating from high school before you know it.
Good luck!

Hi M.,
There is a great website www.FamilyFun.com that has lots of craft ideas and talks about things you can do outside, etc. It's the online version of Family Fun magazine and you can look up things according to your son's age. A wonderful website for learning to read is www.starfall.com. The teachers at my daughters school even love it. I made a book with my daughter when she was little with things that started with the letters of the alphabet. We drew pictures and cut them out of magazines. Enjoy the time now cause before you know it, he'll be starting school. I used to belong to MOMS Club when my daughter was little and that was awesome! You get to hang out with other moms and your child gets to have playdates.
Best of luck!!

My step daughters used to love going on scavenger hunts. It started on family camping trips, but continued to parks, hikes, & backyard fun when they were getting bored with "the usual stuff." For us, it helped the younger start to read, but also gave us time to share our love of the outdoors. As time went on they would find not just a leaf, but a maple leaf or an oak leaf. Afterwards, we would take paper & glue & make masterpieces with all their findings. Granted, at 2 your son would not be so advanced, but you could modify it. Find a leaf, a flower, grass, a small stick, a small stone. Take a toy of his & play hide & seek with it in the yard. My son likes to hide notes for me to find, which all started after I put the plastic Easter eggs away.

I would also let him help me in the garden. When my son was 2-3 he would love to dig, so I tried to leave one corner of the garden to be "his" to dig in. That way I knew my flowers were safe.

Going on walks, if your neighborhood allows, and identifying what you see, birds, trees, colors of all sorts, be as apecific as you want is also a help, since it also guarantees a good night sleep later.


DLTK's crafts for kids site was a huge help for me in Tucson,where the heat keeps you home anyway.

How about an obstacle course (inside the house or in the yard) Toddler age stuff like under chairs, over the toy box, through the fort (blanket thrown on 2 chairs) etc. And work with those words as you go - Over, Under, Through, Behind and so on.

Hi M.! I am B. Deck, an Educational Consultant with Usborne Books at Home. We have great children's books, how to art, kits (very popular), cooking, music, etc. I keep my my crew busy ( we have 5 children) with the art and kits during the summer. We cater to a lot of homeschooling parents. You can check it all out at www.ubah.com/X2733. You can order right from the site. Make sure to put your name in for the $50 book drawing which we do monthly! Let me know if you have any questions.

B. Deck

If you don't have a pool or a sprinkler, full up the sink and give him some boats to play with while he stands on a chair. My son loves to do that. Also you might want to start a stroller club in your neighborhood. Find other moms with little kids and go for walks around the neighborhood. It is a way for you both to make friends and get out of the house. Plus power in numbers is always a good idea. Also try teaching him to say his address, phone # and his and your full names. Incase he gets lost, the police can get the info from him. Also go to a fire department if you have one near by or a EMS house and ask for a tour. Trust me, I was a fire fighter and we love showing off our trucks and gear. And they will let him sit in a truck and try on their boots. All kids love that kind of stuff. And you can always make a fort in your living room with blankets and play make believe. My son likes to play in out "Castle" and make dragon sounds to scare my daughter, the "Damsel"
Or you can host a play date at your home. You don't have to drive anywhere but you still get the interaction with kids and moms and may be able to get more ideas.

One activity my kids, age 2,5 and 7 just love is playing in macaroni! I bought a couple of big boxes of that small elbow macaroni when it was on sale and dumped it into a really big cardboard box (I cut down the sides so the little one can get in and out easily without getting trapped or tipping it all out) and put it on the floor with a table-cloth spread out underneath it. They sit in it, chuff trains through it, bury things in it, fill cups with it, pour it over each other! When they are done then I pour it into a big tin and put it away until next time. It is a great way to spend an hour as long as you don't mind running into the occasional piece of macaroni around your house (also make sure you tell your husband what that particular macaroni is for so he doesn't use it next time he makes macaroni cheese).

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