Easy and Free Toddler Activities

First of all, I need to address that yes, it is the second week in a row sans-products for Thursdays Three. I’m trying to spare you guys for the time being as come November, Thursday’s Three will be exclusively dedicated to gift guides, and you will be inundated. SO, in honor of not overloading you with ALL the products, I’ve gone ahead and am trying to help you in your day-to-day lives, whether it be just selecting what Netflix shows to watch or coming up with easy and free toddler activities as I have here. I’ll go ahead and venture that these activities entertain toddlers under 2. Over two, I’m not sure… YET.

Sloane is a pretty funny little unique lady. However, I believe she is also like many children, where she has her moments that she is perfectly capable of playing solo and entertaining herself. Which usually happens when I have two free hands to play with her fully.

She also has moments where she needs FULL attention; otherwise, she will throw one of her mini-tantrums (I call them mini because I expect they will get worse!). These moments usually happen the second I need to make her lunch or dinner, or for some reason, cannot provide her with my full and undivided attention.

This is how I’ve come up with cycling through some easy and free toddler activities; for moments when I need little Miss Sloane to be independently playing but for some reason she is resisting :).

Signed Samantha's Easy and Free Toddler Activities includes playing with pipe cleaners and a colander - pictured here

Colanders + Pipe Cleaners | Easy and Free Toddler Activities

First of all, I say free, but I mean pretty much free. Most of these items you should have in your homes and if you don’t, they are a nominal cost. 

The first easy and free toddler activity I started doing with Sloane included colanders and pipe cleaners. I showed her once what I thought she might enjoy doing with it: putting the pipe cleaners into the holes.

Sloane picked it up right away, very interested, very focused. She puts the pipe cleaners through the hole, flips the colander over to see where it went, maybe pulls it out, maybe puts another in, or maybe she pulls them all out and fills the colander with pipe cleaners.

She takes this activity and totally makes it her own. I usually get a solid 20 minutes out of this one.

Signed Samantha's Easy and Free Toddler Activities includes putting q-tips into a spice shaker which is what her daughter is holding.

Q-Tips and Empty Spice Containers | Easy and Free Toddler Activities

This one I cannot claim as my own. In fact, I’m certain I’m not the first one to come up with any of this, but this particular one I definitely got from someone’s Instagram stories. I cannot for the life of me remember whose, so if it was yours, please let me know – I will happily credit you!

It’s so genius, though. I remember the day I tried this; Sloane was losing her sh*t like nothing I’ve seen before. I had previously given her this spice container that I filled with dried rice and had to take it away once she figured out how to open it. So, I ran upstairs, grabbed some q-tips, and emptied the spice container of the rice. 

Once again, I showed her how to put the q-tip in and off she went. She finds it particularly hilarious that she can shake the container and the q-tips come flying out. 

Signed Samantha's Easy and Free Toddler Activities includes putting flash cards into envelopes like what is picture here. Her daughter has a ton of envelopes and flash cards all around her while she stares at her two flash cards

What’s in the Mail | Easy and Free Toddler Activities

This easy and free toddler activity in today’s Thursday’s Three one might be my favorite of them all. Maybe it’s because we rarely get letter mail anymore. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the few activities I actually just put on the ground next to Sloane and let her figure out what to do. 

I’m pretty sure she’d figure out them all, but it was fun to watch her deduce this one. I popped one flashcard into each envelope and let her “open the mail.” She LOVES it. 

So does Mama. It takes her 20+ minutes to open each of the cards and put them back in envelopes, then take them out again. Once she gets to trying to rip the envelopes (yes, we get there LOL), I take the envelopes away, and I lay the cards back out on the ground. I then ask her to find certain objects, “where is the bee,” or the “doggy,” etc. and she LOVES it.

This way, I can cook and play with her at the same time (clearly, I’m mostly cooking when Sloane wants my attention).

If I have a free moment, I can sit with her further and encourage conversation by saying the “dog goes woof,” or “we see dogs outside.” Like I mentioned in my IG stories, my latest project is Sloanes speech! I find these cards to be an easy way to create a simple conversation.

I should also mention, that I would not let her do any of these activities fully unsupervised. I always have an eye on exactly what she is doing – especially with the q-tips as she still will go ahead and stick things in her mouth.

Hopefully, these activities help keep your littles entertained! If you have any more, please share!!!


  • Erin

    Aww these are so adorable and such fun ways to entertain a toddler!! I will definitely keep these in mind for the future when I have my own kiddos. 🙂

    • Samantha

      If and when you choose to have kiddos, these will 100% come in handy – 5 minutes to yourself is a huge win !!! LOL

  • Kate

    Such a fun activity I can do with my daughter later ❤️

    • Samantha

      She will love them, Kate! I would even try doing them sooner – some you will find she is into right away and others, she may not be ready for. XO

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