Sunday, January 7, 2018


Hello friends, Welcome to my blog!! Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2018!! Am very excited about today's post as its not the usual art and craft post that I share.This post is about DIY toddler busy activities using materials in and around the house. These are simple activities that are engaging and will promote independent play. 

Since its cold here in California am not able to take my daughter frequently out to play . Also many of her friends have gone on a vacation so the playdates are not happening. So I have to keep her occupied the full day inside the house without getting bored .  I googled about some ways I can keep her engaged and was surprised to see countless resources on keeping your toddler busy on a budget of $1.These activities also help in the development of gross motor, fine motor and problem solving skills. 

Below are some of the activities which I tried with my daughter.

She loves to play with these pom- pom balls and will get excited the moment she sees the box in which I have stored them. She likes to throw them all around the house. Though its little difficult to clean it is a very good gross motor activity or her. These are a huge hit among all kids who come for a playdate. 

Tissue roll pom-pom drop:
Initially she was more interested in removing the tape from the wall but soon she started dropping the pom- poms into the tube . This activity improves the toddler's hand eye co- ordination and fine motor skills.

Muffin tray color sort:
You can use empty egg cartons instead of muffin tray. This improves problem solving skills.

I got this pack of  100 plastic balls from amazon . My daughter loves throwing balls all around the house and these colorful ones are her favorite.

Paper cup basketball:
Covered the paper cup with color card stock and she has to drop the respective color ball in the cup. Though she is still learning to sort colors she loves to drop the ball into the cup.

Yogurt container ball sort:
I took 3 yogurt containers and covered them with color card stock and my daughter has to fill the container with the color of the container. She is still learning to do this so she completes this activity with my help. For her the fun part is to throw the balls once the container becomes full.

Cardboard box ball drop:
Of all the three ball activities this is her most favorite. Made holes in the packaging cardboard using exacto knife and she drops not only balls but even some of her favorite toys into it

This is the activity I give her when I prepare dinner or wash vessels. She will try to insert the pipe cleaners into the hole one by one and then remove everything . An excellent activity which improves fine motor as well as hand eye co-ordination.

Take an empty yogurt container and make holes small enough to insert straws into it. The pushing and pulling action improves fine motor skills

I bought a pack of 100 popsicle sticks at the dollar tree. For the first activity I will give her a few popsicle sticks and rubber bands. She has to put the rubber band onto the stick. This develops her problem solving skills.

This is her favorite activity and she can do this even for half an hour without getting bored. I will tie the rubber bands around the stick and her job is to pull the band out. Initially I made just two loops so the band is loose enough for her to remove. Now she is able to do more challenging task of removing a band tightly wrapped around two sticks together. Sometimes she tries to slide the band out and other times she pulls the band. Either way it will improve her problem solving skills.

A fail proof way to keep your child entertained as well as educate them. I bought these shape magnets from target dollar spot . When my daughter realized that they will stick to the surface and won't fall she screamed with excitement. She could play for hours with this magnets. She will stick all the magnets remove one by one slide them down etc. Later we taught her the names of the shapes and she grasped it very quickly. We tried to teach her the concept of shapes through books, pictures shape sorters etc. But it was only through magnets she learnt them. 

 This is also a quite activity that will keep the toddlers engaged for a while. I usually peel the edges a little so its easy for her to peel the whole tape. You can also use different color tape and ask them to peel a color.

This activity I learned at the library and she loves this very much. I bought a pack of assorted color felt sheets from daiso japan and cut different shapes from each color. I had a black felt cloth that I
use for my craft purpose so used that as a base for this game. She loves smiley so that is the hidden object in this play. Will hide the smiley underneath one of the felt shapes and she has to find the hidden smiley. Every time she opens up a shape will tell the name of the shape and color. She will be very happy when she finds the smiley. A fun game which teaches shapes, colors as well as improves their problem solving skills.

My daughter is too small for this activity. The idea is to put the pony beads into the pipe cleaner and make a bracelet. These pony beads I got it from Walmart. Alternatively I ask her to match the color of the beads to the pipe cleaners. She tries to put the pipe cleaner into the beads and with repeated practice I think she will be able to make a bracelet soon. Since this activity is very challenging for her she always wanted to give it a try.


After she learnt shapes through magnets decided to try the same for teaching colors. So covered the popsicle sticks with color card stock and attached magnetic tape at the bottom. Took a white sheet and glued the strips of colored card stock. I bought a cookie sheet so that we can play with the magnets even when we are travelling. But more than the cookie sheet she loves to stick them upon the fridge. She learnt the colors quickly and matches with the colors on the sheet. Since I didn't include black and white color she is not very familiar with those colors.

An alternate way to play with these magnetic sticks is making shapes with them.

This pack of 3 lacing shapes I got it from dollar tree. My daughter is not much interested in this activity as of now.

All kids including mine loves to play with crayons. So we always carry this set of 4 crayons and a small notebook for her to draw wherever we go.

My daughter is very fond of stickers that she likes to stick them all over her body. I got this Christmas themed sticker book at dollar tree. 

I got these two sets of flash cards at dollar tree. Initially she was trying to throw the cards everywhere but slowly started listening to the words. Then we would name a word and she will find that card for us. Now she has improved a lot and will say the word when she show the card. Flash cards helped her immensely in developing her speech and picture recognition skills.

 Sorry I didn't take pictures while we did this activity. I lined up two color card stock and gave her a new brush. We had water in a paper cup. I  had a brush for me and I dipped the brush in the water and painted strokes in the card stock. She saw me doing it and after a few minutes she herself started to paint. After forty minutes I had to stop this activity forcefully as the card stock has become wet and started to tear. 

For the first time the kids may not be interested in some of the activities.Initially they might not know how to play so they will get bored and will give up. But upon repeated exposure they will know how to play and slowly will get better at it. That will give them confidence and they will ask for more activities rather than screen time.

Do post your comments/suggestions.Hope you will also try these activities. See you soon with another interesting post.