15 Toddler Activities That Are So Fun, You’ll Forget They’re Cheap

One thing about toddlers is that it does not take a lot of effort to entertain them. While it has become the norm for parents to buy their toddlers expensive toys or spend so much on activities, it is never necessary. 

You have nothing to worry about if you are on a budget. There are a lot of budget-friendly activities that would give your toddler great experiences. 

All you have to do is expose them to different activities, and you two will have a great bond while at it. 

Looking for ways to spend time with your toddler while still remaining within the confines of your budget? These 15 activities will get the magic done. 

1. Visit a Local Playground

kids on playground slide.
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Toddlers enjoy visiting the playground; it is excellent for their high energy. They would even pester you to keep going even in winter. 

When the weather is finally good, take advantage of it and visit the local playgrounds and parks as much as possible. 

First, it would be a great opportunity for them to do some physical exercises on the swings, slides, trampolines, and other playground equipment. 

Secondly, they can meet their agemates and play buddies in the playground, while you get to meet other parents. Simply put, going to the playground is a fantastic way to make friends. 

2. Have a Picnic in Your Backyard or a Park

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You can make picnics fun and exciting for your toddlers in so many ways. The good thing about picnics is that they do not have to be expensive or planned in detail. You can improvise a lot of things and go with simple, inexpensive activities. 

Some great picnic ideas to have with your toddler include having a themed picnic, inviting your toddler’s play buddies, getting their favorite foods and snacks, and doing some decorations and games. 

 You may also want to onsider involving the toddler in the picnic planning to help them look forward to it.

3. Create Art With Finger Painting

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Looking for a great weekend activity with your child? Why not make their first painting? 

Finger painting is an activity that will help develop your child’s learning and explore sensory play. The squish and cold feeling of paint on their hand is something they will love. If you are looking for an activity you can do every other weekend, this could be the perfect thing to try. 

 All you will need are sheets of paper and finger paint. You can shop for the paint or make it at home. 

 You may also want aprons if you don’t want them staining clothes. Old clothes or some nylon covers or raincoats will work fine too. 

Start by demonstrating what they need to do, then let them join and chat about what is happening as they keep playing and shifting colors. 

 You can hang some of their finger paints paintings at the end of it all. 

4. Play With Building Blocks or Puzzles

Unfinished white jigsaw puzzle pieces on blue background.
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Building blocks and puzzles are an activity that will likely engage you and your toddler for ages to come. They are a budget investment that will be worth every coin. 

Besides being a fun activity, building blocks and puzzles are great for developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Additionally, they are a great collaborative activity for mixed-age children. If you are looking for an engaging activity for older children, toddlers, and preschoolers, you should try solving puzzles and building blocks. 

5. Read Books Together

woman and child sitting on couch reading book: benefits of reading to your child.
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There are so many ways you can involve your toddler in reading books. To begin, you can have them select a title to read from your toddler’s book selection. 

You can then ask them to hold the book and turn the pages as you read aloud. 

Alternatively, you could read and help them fill out words or complete sentences from stories they know. 

 Pointing out the pictures and asking the toddlers to name them is a great interactive activity too. 

Reading with your toddlers is excellent for developing their communication skills as it helps them learn about sounds, words, and language. 

While reading books with your toddler is something you should strive to do every day, you can always find exciting ways to help them enjoy sessions. 

6. Blow Bubbles in Your Yard

Four cheerful kids in school age sitting together in park and blowing soap bubbles
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Every single toddler loves anything that involves blowing bubbles. 

 They find it entertaining, and they would happily do it every other time you initiate it. 

While it may look like it has nothing more to offer, it can help your toddlers develop their physical, language, and cognitive capabilities. It is also excellent for foot-eye and hand-eye coordination. 

If an activity is fun and still contributes to your toddler’s development, it is something you should embrace and do as much as you can. 

7. Explore Nature on a Simple Walk

Two children boy and girl in warm hats with backpacks looking examining tree bark through magnifying glass while exploring forest nature and environment on sunny day during outdoor ecology school less
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There are many ways to make a simple nature walk interesting for you and your child. 

Start by finding exciting destinations near you, and plan to visit them. A great example would be a pond with ducks, where the toddlers can feed the ducks. Or maybe a garden with flowers or anything they want to see and interact with. 

 While walking, you want to bring items that would make the walk simpler and enjoyable. For example, you can bring your stroller and a bubble blower. 

You may also list things you want to spot while out for a nature walk and do a scavenger hunt while out.

 Going for walks for the first time may be difficult and filled with some resistance. However, after doing it a few times, you can expect them to look forward to the next time they go out again. 

8. Have a “Dress-up” Playtime

Young baby boy dressed in dinosaur costume
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You do not have to wait for Halloween to dress up and play someone else with your toddlers. 

A lot of toddlers enjoy dress-up play times and would be down to do it at any opportunity they get. They especially love dressing up as their favorite superheroes and princesses; allow them to choose who they want to embody. 

The good thing about dressing up is that it helps children build their imagination and explore different aspects of their personalities. It is more than just putting on costumes; they may love role-playing with you or their play buddies. 

9. Play With Sensory Activities Like Playdough

Creative boy playing with colorful playdough at kindergarten
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Sensory activities such as playdough, sensory bottles, sensory bins, and slime are great for having fun with your toddlers. They love the exploration part of it. 

 Such sensory activities are known to help build brain nerve connections. By having them feel the playdough, you are helping their brain advance in recognizing different textures and feels. 

You can also help build your toddler’s language skills by striking conversations about how the playdough feels. You could ask them whether it is hot, cold, heavy, light…

It is also a great and fun hands-on activity that may help build social skills and self-regulation. 

10. Visit a Petting Zoo or Farm

Cute toddler boy looking at an alpaca at a farm zoo on autumn day. Children feeding a llama on an animal farm. Kids at a petting zoo at fall. Active leisure children outdoor.
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Visiting a petting zoo or a farm is a chance for your toddlers to finally get to see animals they see on books and TV. 

After reading to them about pets, or animals in the zoo, you can learn about their favorite animal. Having them see their favorite animals in real life will be a memorable opportunity for them. 

 If they enjoy petting the farm animals, be sure to have them closely supervised while doing it. If it is in the zoo, follow instructions to ensure the experience is enjoyable and safe for everyone. 

Visiting farms and zoos may come with a lot of follow-up activities. For instance, you can talk about their experience and feelings about the animals. 

11. Play With Water and Toys in the Bathtub

Happy laughing baby taking a bath playing with foam bubbles. Little child in a bathtub. Smiling kid in bathroom with colorful toy duck. Infant washing and bathing. Hygiene and care for young children.
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Toddlers enjoy bathing. For adults, bathing is a time to scrub body dirt and maybe relax after a long day. However, for toddlers, it is a time to get messy and have fun. And you can go out of your way to make it more enjoyable for them without breaking the bank. 

 You can get them sponges that they can soak and squeeze. Toddlers also love to “clean.” If your toddler loves it, you can get them a sponge and soap and have them “clean” the tub. 

Other play items you can have for their bath time fun include bottles and containers. They will love the act of pouring water from one container to another. Besides, they may also like to blow bubbles in the bath or play with balls; the options are endless. 

12. Have a Dance Party at Home

Active african funny dad little son and crazy daughter heavy metal or rock and roll lovers dancing in cozy living room relish life fooling around listening cool music scream with joy enjoy party hard
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Organizing a dance party at home with your toddlers is super easy. The sillier the dance, the better and the funnier for toddlers. 

The entire thing can be as simple as turning on their best music, wiggling your hips, jumping around, or busting some simple choreography and inviting them to join you. 

There are so many benefits of organizing a dance party at home. While it is exceptionally budget-friendly ( free, unless you choose to go overboard), your toddler will have fun doing it. 

 Additionally, it is an excellent physical exercise that also helps in learning pattern sequences of music and dances. 

If you are looking for a fun activity to tire your toddler down so that you can both get some good rest, a dance party will do the magic. 

13. Make a Homemade Obstacle Course

Competitive active game - boy jump over obstacles
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A homemade obstacle course would be your best bet if you are looking for an entertaining hands-on activity, good for the brain and body, that will allow you to use what you already have. 

Some items you could improvise for your obstacle game could be hula hoops, cones, plastic cups, tunnels, and balls. 

The games could involve simple activities and instructions, such as jumping, crawling, running, throwing, matching, etc. They are simple activities executed physically but call for excellent brain coordination. 

14. Visit a Free Storytime Session at the Library

Child with glasses reading book
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Visiting the library is a great way to foster a good reading culture in children. Other than exposing them to the book sections, you could try attending storytime sessions. 

These sessions are especially significant in helping build communication skills. Storytime sessions in the library are fun activities your toddler will enjoy mainly because of how lively and animated they are. 

Additionally, they can get to meet other toddlers and build friendships. 

Libraries typically have these sessions once a week; check out with your local library and plan to go. 

15. Play With Household Items Like Pots and Pans as Makeshift Instruments

Kids having fun playing on kitchen pans at home
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This is one good reason not to spend fortunes buying every other toy that hits the market or trends on the internet. Your kid may not even fancy it like they do the things already in your house. 

There has been a trending video of a toddler who adored a plastic potato masher. They would not put it down; they would use it in many different ways, such as banging the pots and floor, wiggling it in their arms, or throwing it around. 

Simply put, you could improvise what you have in your house and make great playing items for your toddlers. As long as it is safe for them to play with, let them have the entertainment. 

Budget-friendly Activities To Do With Toddlers

mother and daughter happy SH
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Toddler’s entertainment is not so difficult to figure out. And even more importantly, you can easily impress your toddler without too much preparation, effort, and money. 

There are a lot of free and budget-friendly activities your child will love, like the ones discussed above. Try to vary things, and offer them different entertainment options, as many also come with growth and development aspects. 

Don’t let your toddler do a single activity every other day just because you are on a budget; go out of your way and offer them a variety of these budget-friendly activities for toddlers. 

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