10 Fun Activities For 2 Year Olds

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold. ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce (Tweet this)

Ah, the infamous “two-years-old” mark. Children at this age are notorious for entering a challenging stage, and for the parents it can be difficult to think of activities for 2 year olds that are not too advanced for them to get frustrated with or so simple that they lose interest quickly.

I am one of those parents. My baby is approaching that mark and I need to stack my toolbox with appropriate activities so that I can keep him busy, my house calmer, and my sanity in place.  However let’s not forget that playing, especially this early in life equals learning, and we can enrich our child’s mind by choosing the right activities.

Here I have gathered ideas that can be modified to suit different levels of development and the personality of your little one. Each one of these activities for 2 year olds have a learning component and I made sure they can all be accomplished with materials that are usually available in our homes. No need to break the bank, right?

Things to remember as you go over the activities:

  • Keep your mind open, you might get more ideas as you go over these.
  • Be flexible because toddlers don’t follow many rules, so they might decide to make a different game than the one you originally planned.
  • Adjust each activity to the complexity that your child is able to handle at the moment, as they further develop, you can up the complexity.
  • Do not give up on any of the activities just because they did not seem interested the first time around. They usually change their minds as often as we change their diapers.

My list of simple yet fun activities for 2 year olds:

Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn. ~ O. Fred Donaldson (Tweet this)

  1. Sorting objects: This is an activity that most toddlers enjoy and it can be modified in many different ways. At the beginning, they can just put things inside containers. For example, they can “help” you putting the clothes from the dryer into the basket, or putting socks into the drawer, or putting toys away inside a box. Later, you can make it more interesting by sorting out the objects by a characteristic such as color or size.  Legos are a good choice to play this game. Start little piles by color, for example, and get them excited about taking over to finish sorting them out.
  2. Scavenger Hunts: This one can be a lot of fun and it can also be done anywhere! The idea is to have them find certain things. At home, you can make a game by hiding one of his stuffed animals and helping him look for it until he gets the idea. Cover the toy only partially and make it really easy at the beginning so they don’t get frustrated.  Another way of playing this game is to have your toddler point at different things you ask him to find. This is useful for when you are out and about for a stroll (or even when grocery shopping) to keep them entertained. Look around and pick something to ask for “can you point to a flower?” “Can you see a red car?” and celebrate every time he does it right. If your toddler can not seem to find the object point it out to him in a happy manner “there it is! We found the red car!” This will help build his vocabulary and keep him interested in trying.
  3. Tune Time: Another way to help build their vocabulary is by singing! There are many songs out there that mix actions and words. Pick a couple each week. Sing and act them out with them. Make sure to get really involved. Repetition is something that children this age appreciate, so yes, it might get a bit boring for you but remember you are teaching them and keeping them happy at the same time. More singing about head, shoulders, knees and toes beats a screaming two-year-old any day!
  4. Pretend Grocery Store: This one is super simple and most kids enjoy it a lot. Save up (and clean) empty containers of milk, little mini boxes of cereal, and any other type of safe, unbreakable containers to make a little pretend store at home. Set them up and give your toddler a hand basket, a shopping bag, or a toy cart to shop to his heart’s content. You can guide him a bit by asking him to get you a specific item or let him just use his imagination.
  5. Dress up time: This one will help them not only pass the time, but also exercise some motor skills. Get a couple of boxes and fill them with funny and colorful clothing and accessories, and have a go at taking turns trying silly combinations. Some old costumes can be a nice addition.
  6. Boxes, rockets, and forts, oh my!: Two words: “boxes and kids.” A simple cardboard box is an amazing toy. You can have some fun with your toddler by decorating them. Turn them into a rocket, a clubhouse, or even a fox den!  The sky is the limit.  Most kids play and play with them for an hour (which is something children and cats seem to have in common).
  7. Bottle bowling: Gather some empty plastic bottles. You can fill them with some dry beans, rice, or water with food coloring to add some weight if needed. Glue the cap on for extra security and voila! You have some pins. Get a ball and have a blast. If you have a child that loves making noise (like I do), then the bottles themselves rattling and bumping into each other might be incentive enough. He might not even use the ball at all.
  8. Threading skills: This one is good for the older kids to practice more fine-motor skills. Toddlers are still a bit rough with their movements, so for this to work you need big holes and thicker cord. Shoe laces and toilet paper rolls are perfect for this game; just have the kids thread the cord through the tube. It might seem like a very simple task but when you are developing your muscle-brain connection this can be a nice little challenge.
  9. Sending Mail: Tired of all the junk mail cluttering your mail box? Think of them as free toys for your two-year-old. Make a pretend mail box with cardboard and watch them put the mail into the slot and take it out the back, time and time again.
  10. Sensory activities:  Time to explore the senses, especially touch. It can get a bit messy so you can use some plastic or paper to cover the area for easier clean up, or if the weather is nice just head outside.  In some plastic trays, you can put things like flour and rice for them to explore with their hands. Mixing a bit of food coloring into some yogurt makes awesome paint for finger-painting creations. And let’s not forget the classic homemade play dough; you only need water, flour, salt and food coloring. If they eat it—and let’s be realistic most would at least try—it’s nontoxic!

Final thoughts

Setting up some activities for 2 year olds might seem tedious at the beginning, but once you see them having fun and their minds expanding you will become addicted. Time will pass so much faster once they are having fun, and you will have far less tantrums by avoiding boredom.

Do you have your own favorite activity to do with your toddler? Share it in the comments. The more the merrier!

Play is the beginning of knowledge. ~ George Dorsey (Tweet this)


About the Author

Yaiza is a published author with a background in psychology and behavior. She has been an ecological educator for Zoos and aquariums, and has been and continues to be involved in several charitable projects and organizations. Her goal is to be active on building a better life for the present and a better world for generations to come.

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