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For the month of February, I am committing to 30 days of hands-on activities for my 21 month old daughter! This month I want to focus on spending quality time with my daughter and reducing our screen-time.
I’ve found that with some basic supplies and a few minutes each evening, it can be easy to set up activities that not only entertain you little one, but can enhance their learning.
Most of these activities can be adjusted for your child’s age. We started creating hands-on activities for Avery when she was around 9 months (they were just more simple and with safe items!) Make sure that you only use items that you are comfortable giving to your child and keep a close eye on them during the activities. My daughter is great about not putting items in her mouth, but it’s still important to watch closely!
Check out my post about craft and sensory bin supplies. I also share my simple tips for organizing all of our activity supplies! The post also includes a printable supplies list that you can download.
I will add to this post as the month goes on and include a free printable at the end of the month for my email subscribers! If you aren’t subscribed to my weekly newsletter, make sure you join now!
Week 1 Activities
1. Pom Pom Color Sort
- Pom Poms
- Muffin Tin (Optional)
- Silicone Liners (Optional – You can also use colored construction paper!)
- Measuring Spoons (Optional)
- Tongs (optional – these may be more difficult for younger babies to use)
Work on colors, sorting, scooping, grasping with tongs, or pincer grip! My daughter doesn’t sort the colors yet, but I will say the colors and show her how to sort. You can also just let them have a blast playing with the pom poms!
- Kinetic Sand
- Baking Supplies: Cookie Cutters, Rolling Pin, Baking Sheet, Kid-Safe Cutting Utensil (We love this Melissa & Doug Baking Set, but you can use real kitchen items instead!)
This activity helps teach cutting, rolling, shaping, and pressing! We just started using Kinetic Sand and love it! It feels like slightly damp sand, but is very easy to pick up and roll out.
- Animal Figurines (or any other items you want to hide, like alphabet magnets, toy food, etc.) – I get some of our animals from Michael’s and use a 40% off coupon!
- Dry rice
- Muffin Tin
- Large container that fits muffin tin (wide and shallow works best)
- Small shovel, scoop, or measuring cup
This is a great activity for learning to scoop and pour! You can also add in some animal identification or sounds!
4. Painter’s Tape Race Track
- Painter’s Tape
- Cars, Trucks, any toy vehicles (Someone bought Avery these soft cars awhile back and we love them!)
This is such an easy setup and so much fun! I love how intrigued my daughter is when she comes down in the morning to a new race track. I mix it up and setup in different places around the house. I’ve seen other Moms keep the race track *permanently* and just place a rug over it!
- Large tub, sink, or water table
- Small pitchers, bottles, or cups
- Measuring cups
My daughter asks to do this almost everyday! It’s one of her favorite activities. We set up her leaning tower at the kitchen sink, so it’s the perfect distraction for when I’m unloading the dishwasher or starting dinner.
- Assorted types of paper that rip easily (wrapping paper, construction paper, tissue paper, etc.)
- A large, shallow bin or box
This is great for letting children feel different textures and pull things apart. We used to give Avery pieces of paper to rip when she was little, especially when upset! It’s a great way for them to let off a little steam and frustration.
7. Pipe Cleaner Beading
- Pipe Cleaners (bend the ends so they aren’t sharp!)
- Dry pasta and/or beads (If you little one still puts things in their mouth, try something edible like Cheerios!)
This is one of our favorite busy activities, especially while at a restaurant. It keeps my daughter entertained for quite awhile! If you have an older toddler, have them practice putting them in patterns.
8. Foam and Felt Dolls
- Foam or felt
- Hot glue gun
Trace dolls on felt or foam and cut out. Create a “house” our of felt or foam and glue together pockets that the dolls can slip into. We found one in the Target Dollar Spot that inspired us! You can also use stickers of animals or other items, stick them to a foam sheet and cut around the shape.
- Random items that are two different colors
- Large piece of paper
Gather items from around your house that are two different color (blue and green for example). Lay out a large sheet of paper and write the two colors’ names and a line down the middle. Have your little one sort the items by color!
10. Car Races down a slide or ramp
- A slide or board to make a ramp
- Toy cars and other vehicles
Hold races down the slide or ramp!
- Bin or container for rice
- Board puzzle
Hide puzzle pieces in a shallow bin filled with rice. Have your child search for the pieces to complete the puzzle!
12. Button Sorting
- A small box or container that can be cut
- A sharp knife or blade to cut slots into the container
This was one of my daughter’s favorite activities when we introduced it shortly after she was a year old. We had to watch her carefully with the buttons at first, but she loved putting them in the slots! Use small cardboard jewelry boxes to make this a portable busy activity.
You can add colors to each of the slots to make this a little more advanced. Then you child can match the buttons to the same colored slot!
13. Bean Scooping
- Dry beans
- Measuring cup(s) or scoops
- Small funnel and cup that funnel can sit in
Practice scooping and pouring beans into the funnel. Beans are perfect to practice counting as well!
14. Valentine’s Day Activity: Heart Stamping
- Sponge cut into heart shape
- Washable Paint
Cut sponge into heart shape. Use washable paint and stamp hearts to make Valentine’s Day cards!
15. Colored Ball Sort
- Colored Balls
- Cardboard Box
- Construction Paper
- Glue or Tape
Cut out holes in a cardboard box. Use construction paper to assign a color to each hole. Let your little one have fun while color sorting the balls!
16. Animals in the Grass
- Paper “grass”
- Animal figurines
- Small tub or container
This is perfect for leftover Easter Basket Grass! I found paper “grass” at Dollar Tree and definitely prefer it over the plastic grass.
17. Glass Beads
- Glass beads
- Small tub or container
- Plastic bottle
I picked up 2 bags of these at the Dollar Tree and wasn’t sure what to use them with. My daughter is always interested in them when they come out. Simply scooping and dropping them into a plastic water bottle keeps her entertained for a few minutes! They can also be played with in water for added fun.
18. Dress Up Bin
- Assorted clothing items from around the house: shoes, hats, sunglasses, bags, gloves, skirts, etc.
I gathered a bunch of random items around my house and tossed them in a small tub. We like to go through and make silly outfits!
19. Animal Races
- Stuffed Animals
- Small bins or tubs
Load the animals in the bins and line up at the starting line (preferably on tile or wood floors). Push the bins across the floors and see who wins!
20. Reverse “Jenga”
- Any wood blocks or even small cardboard boxes
Take turns stacking a block or box until someone knocks the tower over! I use phrases like “my turn” and “your turn” to teach taking turns and game play.