Inexpensive projects for toddlers

The time between 1 year old and 2 is a difficult one because finding activities that are inexpensive, and age appropriate are hard to think of. If I was talking about a 3 year old the possibilities are endless...painting, coloring, cooking, play dough ect...The problem for those activities for a one year old like my son is that all of those things taste sooo good :) I know they make non-toxic crayons and paints but really who wants to clean a mouth full of green crayon or fish out a chuck of play dough?
Here are a few ideas for toddlers

Saran-Wrap and tissue paper art

I took a long piece of saran-wrap or cling wrap and laid it across the coffee table and cut up small squares of tissue paper. Now, because this isn't contact paper the tissue paper squares don't stick, have the kids place the tissue paper onto the saran-wrap and when they have filled it up fold the saran-wrap in half and push together. The kids will love to hold it and look at their art work.

We stuck ours to the sliding glass window, the light shining through looked really pretty, the saran-wrap sticks on and pulls off of glass and mirrors very easily.

Other variations could be cutting out different shapes, if you use blue saran-wrap as we did you could cut out fish shapes making it look like the fish are swimming in the water.

Simple Shakers

If your child ever drank formula chances are you have a few of these formula containers taking up space in your cabinet, these are perfect for quick shakers. You can put different items in each section to make different sounds or fill them all with the same item. For example: dried rice, dried beans, dried peas or popcorn kernels work well. I know what your thinking...ummm those can open and I don't want dried rice all over my floor. Yes, I agree...but have you ever tried to open them...I always remember trying to open that silly thing and always struggling then it would finally pop open and white powder would be all over me...my point is they are difficult to open, but if you are still considered water bottles are always a great choice because you can hot glue the tops on.

Contact Paper...the best invention ever!

On our last trip to the zoo I took pictures of each animal so I could show my son pictures of real animals to help him learn zoo animal names.

After uploading the pictures onto my computer I copied the pictures onto a word document and labeled each one I then printed the pictures and cut them out. I took a large piece of *clear* contact paper removed the white backing and stuck on the pictures face down. I then stuck the contact paper with the pictures to my sons closet doors which are mirrored. I placed it down low so now when we are in his room he goes up to the area on his mirror and touches each animal and I say the animals name.

A few variations might be using pictures of family members for face/name recognition. Using different shapes and colors, or other animals. If you don't want to waste your printer ink buy some cheap flash cards of different animals and display them the same way.

Handful of memories

I am obsessed with capturing my sons growing hands. I find that painting the object ahead of time (like during nap time...because I have nothing better to do in that precious hour and a half lol) works best, I put my son in his high chair and quickly paint his hand, push it down, remove the project QUICKLY lol and have lots of wipes next to me works great every time ;)

Here are a few easy and creative ways to do that.

The pumpkin was already painted and I bought it for a few dollars around Thanksgiving. I put his hand print on, let it dry and then covered it with modge-podge to glaze it and prevent the paint from chipping off. We gave one to each of the grandparents for Thanksgiving.

The first birthday hand print was on a small tile

The Father's day had prints are on $1.00 mini canvases from the craft store.


  1. AnonymousJuly 13, 2010

    these are cute projects taylor:) i think the saran wrap ones my fave...super easy, yet would pass the time wonderfully! lol.

  2. Kaitlin SchubertJuly 13, 2010

    You are such a wonderful mommy!!! I am so excited to try this new activities! Have a fabulous week!

  3. Great ideas Taylor! I agree, I'm sometimes at a loss of what to do w/ Mr. L during this time of his life. Once we get to 3 I'm full of ideas. :) Thanks for sharing these!


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