Toddler independent play ideas

It’s always helpful to have a safe activity to pull out for your toddler so you can get things done. Like unloading the dishwasher. Here are two activities with tongs to try, one indoor and one outdoor.

Organizing in ice cube trays

With these differently colored and sized ice cube trays and some creative repurposing, Jacob has endless options for fun. The puff balls were from another craft, but can be found at JoAnn’s or a similar craft store. The heart-shaped “rocks” (actually decorative glass pieces) are from Pier 1 to surround a candle. I bought them in college so I can’t guarantee they are available now. 🙂 they were part of my Valentine’s day decor that Jacob was really into. There are also some marbles that Jacob’s grammie has given him from a vase at her house.*

He uses the tongs and moves items around the containers. As he gets older I plan on asking him to sort the puff balls by color and size.

*make sure your child will not put the marbles in his/her mouth, closely supervise or omit them from this game. The heart glass shapes are so large to be swallowed or choked on, but marbles should not be used around babies.



Sink or float
I definitely could have arranged this photo to be more visually appealing, but I’m a busy mom. This game involves water in clear vessels (preferably recycled plastic which is not breakable) and a variety of small toys and household items. The idea is that he drops them in the water to see whether or not they sink or float. When he is done, he grabs them out with tongs and places them on the towel. Jacob likes to see what happens when he puts certain items together in the water, so he usually crowds them in.
Items here are random: a bag clip, ping-pong ball, straw, plastic pear, you boat (spoiler alert: it sinks!), and a wine bottle stopper/pourer.
Enjoy these fun games that build hand-eye coordination and many other skills, all while fostering that ever-important toddler curiosity.

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