10 Simple Play Ideas For Toddlers

10 Simple Play Ideas For Toddlers (That Don’t Involve Toys)

I think most toddlers are attracted to ordinary household items and “real” objects. But in the case of our number five child, since rotating the toys on his shelves, I have noticed that he has little interest in them at the moment. He is much happier playing with everyday items around the house. So I thought I would share with you ten simple play ideas for toddlers that don’t involve toys, that have been road tested by my toddler!

1. Tissue Box


At this age they love posting things into slots and an empty tissue box provides the perfect vessel to do this. Of course once you put something in, then you must shake it out. I simply found some lids to containers and let him go!

2. Utensil Draw


Thankfully the toddler is over the stage of continually jamming his fingers in the drawers! We have a large utensil draw which contains things like wooden spoons, whisks, spatulas, slotted spoons etc. Often if I am cooking in the kitchen, I will just open the drawer and that is enough of an invitation for the toddler to start picking up utensils, turfing some on the floor, banging and playing with them.

3. Old Phone and Keyboard


These no longer working hardware items are fantastic for role play for the older kids, the toddler however is a complete button pressing addict, so these let him get his fix.

4. Pegs


Usually these are played with by the toddler outside, so he can amuse himself while I hang out the washing. We had some rainy days last week and just for a change I brought the peg basket inside. He had great fun putting them in and out of the basket, and then of course spreading them the entire way across the room.

5. Saucepans and Lids


I don’t think there is a toddler that can resist banging some saucepan lids together! A great play idea to keep the toddler amused while I cook. He had fun not only banging lids together, but looking at his reflection in the lids and trying to work out which lid goes on which saucepan.

6. Cup Stacking


Most families will recognise these signature cups from that large Swedish establishment! Their kids cups are perfect for stacking on top of each other, in each other and for making sounds into.

7. Lining Up


Imitation of adults behaviour at this stage of a toddler’s life is amazing. One morning, I selected a pair of socks from the toddlers clothes rack and placed them on the window ledge, while I went to attend the needs of another child. The toddler then copied this and has repeated this activity of his own accord a number of times, lining socks up on the window ledge. Of course he has the most fun when he then knocks them all off!

8. Pillow Obstacle Course


Have you ever noticed that toddlers are unable to walk around things? They like to take the direct route, so by stacking a whole lot of pillows in his path, I can easily create a mini obstacle course for him. He then works out this is great fun and will belly flop on to them as well.

9. Dustpan and Brush


Again very much a form of adult imitation, the toddler loves to have a go at using the dustpan and brush. Even if (on the very odd occasion) there is actually nothing to sweep up.

10. Cubby


An eternal favourite of all kids of all ages – an indoor cubby. Fill it with soft padded items and the toddler crawls in out, over and rolls around, playing for ages.