5 Early Learning Activities for Toddlers (Affordable Family Fun Too!)

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Early Learning Activities for Toddlers

Early Learning Activities for Toddlers

Back to School time is just around the corner even though it feels like summer just began! School supplies are on the shelves and older kids might be getting excited. The little ones might be getting excited as well! Just because they aren’t getting on the school bus in August, doesn’t mean that there isn’t learning to be done!

Learning starts early and event toddlers can get involved with early learning activities. Developmental and sensory play is one of the best ways to help your toddler learn and grow. It will also help prepare them for school in a few years! Oh, and another great thing is that you don’t have to spend much money either!

5 Early Learning Activity Ideas

Creative games and activities can be as simple as puzzles, reading books, and allowing your child to color with crayons on a blank sheet of paper. These activities help stimulate your child’s creative and keep them entertained! There are tons of very affordable ways to learn and have fun with your toddler!

1. Get sticky feet! All you need is a roll of clear contact paper and tape to set up this fun activity. Toddlers love it but so do older kids (and even dad)! Cut a piece of contact paper that is about 2 feet long. Remove the backing to reveal the sticky side of the paper. Tape the contact paper to the floor with the sticky side up. Let your child walk and jump all over the paper! It’s fun to feel feet stick to the paper and your child will love the sound it makes when they lift their feet!

2. Make in indoor sandbox! Grab a cardboard box from the mail or a tupperware you’re not using to make an affordable indoor sandbox. Providing toddlers with a variety of sensory experiences is vital to their development and education. Fill the box with an affordable filler such as rice, dried beans, shredded paper, or colored pasta! Add in some measuring spoons, cups, and even a funnel for tons of fun! I recommend using a sheet underneath your indoor sandbox to help with clean up!

Early Learning Activities Colored Pasta

3. Finger paint with food coloring! You might have some corn syrup and food coloring in your cabinet right now! Get them out and you have an affordable and adorable sensory activity for your toddler! Spread corn syrup on a piece of poster board or cardboard (cut up an old box to reuse something around the house). Drop a few drops of different colored food coloring on the poster board. Let your child use their fingers to spread the colors around the canvas! When it dries, you will have a gorgeous, shiny piece of artwork from your child!

4. Paint the sidewalk! If you’re looking for an outdoor activity that promotes creativity and sensory development, try making your own sidewalk paint. This is a great activity for the whole family to participate in! Check your cabinets again! You only need food coloring and cornstarch to make this fun paint! Mix one part cornstarch with one part water. Add a few drops of food coloring. Mix and you’re ready to dip in your paintbrushes and get creative. Younger children can also finger paint the sidewalk too!

Early Learning Activities Sidewalk Paint

5. Have fun with tape! This might be one of the most affordable learning activities for toddlers! It can also keep your little one entertained for quite a while. Offer your toddler one or two pieces of tape. Allow them to try sticking it on themselves and other items around the house or outdoors. You will want to do a little prep work and pick up any important books or papers! Otherwise they might get stuck! Try different types of tape. I know we have quite a few in our junk drawer!

How do you help your toddler learn without spending much money? Share your early learning activities for toddlers! I can always use more ideas!

Formula Mom Disclosure: As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc

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About Mariah Moon

Mariah is a former teacher and mother of a rambunctious little boy living in The Woodlands, Texas. She recently welcomed a little girl into the family and is learning how to balance a toddler and an infant! She works every day to figure out how to balance all of her roles and figure out her formula for being mom! She can also be found at Mommy Mindset Media, Disney DIY and Noise Girls.


  1. The rice box is an excellent idea. My son’s Speech Therapist had one for him. We would put animals etc. in it and when you pulled something out you would work on saying it.
    Only problem was I made one for my daughter and I guess the dust from the rice got on her hands and then she rubbed her eyes and made them really irritated!

    My toddler if you can still call her that is 4. I have been printing worksheets and printable board games on education.com…it’s free and goes through high school.

    We’ve played some games you can learn ABC’s, colors, numbers, etc.
    Laura recently posted..Motivate Me Monday…Who wants to join me?

  2. Awesome ideas! My niece would love the sidewalk paint…she loves any type of paints. I am going to share this with my sister. Thanks!
    Stacey recently posted..No More Cutting Coupons Out of the Sunday Paper [Infographic]

  3. Such great ideas! Definitely saving a few of these for later. Thanks!
    Lindsey recently posted..Bounciest Giveaway Ever – Bloggers Wanted

  4. WOW – that is pretty creative – love it, but can just see mess all over my house
    Lena – recently posted..Hair Treatment- Review

  5. My daughter loves tape and paint! :) Thanks for sharing these ideas!
    LaVonne recently posted..Start Training Early

  6. I have a 2 year old. These ideas are so great. Thanks for sharing.

  7. We love to do the contact paper game, both with his feet and his toys– he has a lot of fun trying to pull favorite toys off of the contact paper! He also thinks tape is a ton of fun. I can’t wait to try out the corn syrup and food coloring activity!
    Jennifer S. recently posted..More On Pinterest

  8. I make homemade play-doh with my three year old. She helps me mix the ingredients and need the play-doh and food coloring. Then she gets to play. It lasts for months in the refrigerator and you can make lots of colors. Easy to make with just what I have in the pantry.
    1/2 c flour
    1/4 c salt
    1/2 c water
    1/2 tablespoon oil
    1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    few drops of food coloring

    Mix all ingredients except food coloring in a medium sauce pan.
    Cook over very low heat until it turns into a dough (it’ll only take a few minutes).
    Knead dough on floured surface until cool enough to touch.
    Separate dough into balls and make as many colors as you want. Knead until the color is even.

    I usually make each batch one color because it keeps so well in the refrigerator.
    My toddler can make it helping through three batches and that is enough play-doh for months to come.
    It is a great project that keeps them busy while making and every time they play.

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