Independent Activities for Little Kids (2-4)
I’m always looking for activities to keep my kids busy while we are at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with my kids but sometimes I need a break to do something else…like laundry for 5 people 🙂 I’ve outlined some of their favorite activities below that require little to no adult involvement – yay! I’d say these are good for the 2-4 age range.
Wooden Beads & Pipe Cleaners
My boys love using wooden beads to create bracelets and necklaces! This is a great activity to improve fine motor skills. You can find supplies at a craft store and I even spotted some at Target the other day.
My boys received shape puzzles for Christmas this year and they love them! My 2.5-year-old really likes this simple shape puzzle by Melissa & Doug: http://amzn.to/2myF0Rb
My nearly 4-year-old likes this more complex shape puzzle from Melissa & Doug: http://amzn.to/2mNMgcH
My kids love to make forts. I help them make a fort under the kitchen table and they can play in it for hours. It’s awesome. They will also try to make a fort with the couch cushions but ofter get frustrated when the cushions fall over. If found that throwing a few sheets over the kitchen table works a lot better for them.
My nearly 4-year-old has this Melissa & Doug lacing set that he really enjoys. This is a little advanced for my younger son.
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2n3XImB
Dot painters are the best. It’s like painting but without all the mess 🙂 I think these are good for 2 and up. Here’s a link to the set we have on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mNFTWJ
The kids can use these on blank paper or do activities. There are lots of activity books made specifically for dot painters. Also, I have drawn things on blank paper for them to trace – like their name.
Dry Erase Activity Books
These are a great way to help kids practice pen control and they aren’t messy! Here are some good options for books:
- Wipe Clean: My Big Activity Workbook: http://amzn.to/2n3OLcY
- Wipe Clean Workbook Tracing and Pen Control: http://amzn.to/2n3GNAE
- Wipe Clean: Early Learning Activity Book: http://amzn.to/2mx9jXx
I’d suggest buying a few extra dry erase markers – we always seem to misplace our markers!
We’ve been reading the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and just started making our own oobleck. You can find the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2n3X74y
- Start with the water in a bowl and add the cornstarch a bit at a time
- Stir until it has a gooey consistency – I have the kids use their hands for this part
- When the oobleck is just right, slowly add food coloring, if you want.
Warning: This is definitely a messy activity, but really fun! When the kids are done playing, you can save the oobleck for a few days to play with again.
There are so many options for building toys. These are some of my favorite toys because they really encourage creativity. I keep our building toys in separate bins in our toy closet so the kids can easily access them.
Tinker Toys – While my 2.5-year-old plays with these occasionally, they are very popular with my nearly 4-year-old. Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2nexf6l
Bristle Blocks – These are great for 2+. They are so easy to build with and cause minimal frustration. Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2mNQReS
Duplo Legos – We have multiple sets of duplos. We started with just a basic set and then added a few more based on the kids interest in superheroes and construction.
- Basic duplo set: http://amzn.to/2n3RWSc
- Superhero duplos: http://amzn.to/2mNXj5F
- Construction duplos: http://amzn.to/2n3YobM
Magnetic Tiles – We don’t personally own these, but my kids use them at preschool and the museum. We are getting some for my 4-year-old’s birthday and I’m so excited to play with them myself 🙂
Here’s a link to a basic set on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mU2WRm From what I’ve heard, there are a lot of brands (Magna tile, Picasso tiles, etc.) and they are all very similar and can be used together.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully, it gave you a few new ideas.
– Anna, Life with Little Ones