35 activities for toddlers using household objects

Baby development, Life with a toddler, Life with baby
Activities for toddlers using household objects - New Mummy Blog
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It can be hard to find activities for toddlers when they’re throwing a tantrum or you’re exhausted. I often find Toddler H playing with all sorts of household items and many keep her interest longer than shop bought toys. Just yesterday she shunned her ‘water toys’ for my plastic kitchen jug for an hour while sat in her paddling pool. A WHOLE hour. AMAZING! It got me thinking about all the other toys she plays with that are just lying around the house, or, that I’ve made from stuff we all have. Here are 35 activities for toddlers using household objects (they are probably suitable for lots of pre-school kids too, but as I only have a toddler, I don’t want to presume they are)…

Activities for toddlers using household objects:

  1. Plastic jug for water play/paddling pool time and inside play (putting things in, and apparently drinking from!)
    toddler using a plastic jug to pour water in a paddling pool
  2. Spoons for hitting things and hitting together
  3. Saucepan drums
  4. Saucepan and bowls for sorting things into
  5. Plastic tubs & baking trays for sorting and putting on your head?toddler using a muffin tray for sorting
  6. Paper cups or plastic beakers for towers, sorting, moving around or putting things in
  7. Toilet roll tubes for binoculars
  8. Toilet tubes for putting oranges through (learning in and out)
  9. A towel or blanket to put things under (learning under and on)
  10. A piece of toilet paper/tissue/feather to hold up and drop, watching it float to the ground – say up, and down as you drop it.
  11. Toilet roll threading – practice their dexterity with a ribbon and cut up toilet roll tub?Make a ribbon and cardboard tube threading toy
  12. Pillow den – pile up pillows and let them have a cuddle with their toys
  13. A box bed for dolly, add a few muslins or blankets (homemade cot tutorial COMING next week)?Make a doll's bed from a cardboard box
  14. Under bed plastic tub sand box
  15. Under bed plastic tub water box with plastic cups & a colander for pouring & bath toys
  16. Plant pots and pebble sorting (supervise closely!)??Pebble sorting using plant pots and saucers
  17. Water painting on the patio
  18. Watering the plants (realistically in the case of my toddler this involves watering the patio, grass, mummy, the rabbits and herself)??Toddler watering the plants and grass
  19. Water and sand walls – using plastic bottles, pipes and plastic trays (tutorial coming NEXT WEEK)
  20. Blackboard wall or board (tutorial in a couple of weeks)
  21. Home made play dough
  22. Yogurt painting – add food colouring to yogurt
  23. Flour play
  24. Plate sorting using coloured plastic plates?coloured plates for sorting and putting items in
  25. Socks – learning to put them on themselves
  26. Sock puppets – make use of all those odd socks!
  27. Old greetings cards – for learning what things are and playing “what is this?”
  28. Big cardboard box den?Cardboard box den for toddlers
  29. Crayons for colouring, and supervised cardboard box den colouring/decorating
  30. Sensory bottles (tutorial coming next week)
  31. Sponges for funny feelings – squashing, rubbing, and water play
  32. Coconut shells – again supervise this and keep out of reach as they’re heavy
  33. Wooden spoon for ‘kitchen play’ (again keep out of reach)?using a bowl and wooden spoon pretending to make a cake
  34. Wooden spoon as a prop for ‘row row row your boat’ ?(again keep out of reach)
  35. A thin scarf for peekaboo and floating ?(again keep out of reach)


So, there we have it loads of activities for toddlers (and young kids too). Please supervise your little ones where needed!!

Hope this list helps stave off some boredom this summer holidays! I’ll definitely be checking back myself to keep us busy. It’s really hard on us toddler parents when all the playgroups and classes we usually attend stop. I’ll be publishing toddler activities every week of the holidays so sign up to get a wee notification straight to your inbox.


Here’s a picture of my daughter to finish just to show that any item can have multiple uses to a toddler!

toddler with a jug on her head

Many items here can be included in a treasure basket, I’ll talk more about that next week,

Lynne x


PS. If you’re still stuck for ideas see my post on how to ‘Make a Fuzzy Felt Style Board‘ for toddlers & kids.

Pink Pear Bear

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  • Reply
    Emma Plus Three
    July 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Ah some really great ideas here. My kids used to love saucepan drums! x #bigpinklink
    Emma Plus Three recently posted…5 Things I’d Do If I Won The LotteryMy Profile

  • Reply
    Squirmy Popple
    July 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing – some great tips in there! Water play has been a big hit with the Popple, although Scottish weather really isn’t ideal for it. She’s just started showing interest in writing utensils, but I’m hesitant to give her crayons just yet – within 5 minutes of holding a pencil she tried to draw on both the couch and the wall! #bigpinklink
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…How to make your blog content not suckMy Profile

    • Reply
      July 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Haha yes we only do drawing in the highchair, and only tried the box den colouring briefly…. But think it would be ok in a few months so included it so I don’t forget it ?

  • Reply
    Ross - The Stented Papa
    July 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Really cool practical hints & tips here, I’ll be referring back to this for sure!! #bigpinklink
    Ross – The Stented Papa recently posted…He Said / She Said #2My Profile

  • Reply
    Louise Pink Pear Bear
    July 26, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Great idea! I often found the household items to be the most fun toys. Paint brushes and painting the fence with water is still popular with my 3 and 5 year old now. Thanks for joining us at the #bigpinklink
    Louise Pink Pear Bear recently posted…Wicked Uncle ReviewMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Some really good ideas here! Mine love the saucepans and spoons, my ears love them not so much! #BabyFormula
    Emma recently posted…4-Ingredient Delicious and Healthy Ice-Lolly RecipeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Fi - Beauty Baby and Me
    July 27, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Some great ideas!! Josh is just starting to have some awareness of wanting things around the house so it’s good to know I actually have lots I can occupy him with!! xx #thebabyformula

  • Reply
    Fran Back With a Bump
    July 27, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Back again for #bloggerclubuk

  • Reply
    Rhyming with Wine
    July 27, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Lovely ideas for the summer holidays here! We went “nature exploring” yesterday with some binoculars made out of toilet roll tubes and decorated with mini beasts. I honestly never thought that a three year old would get so attached to a pair of “noculars”. She wanted to take them to bed!?
    #bestandworst. x

  • Reply
    Lucy (@Lucy_at_home)
    July 27, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Oooh some great ideas here. As you say, kids can be so creative when it comes to repurposing everyday items! I like the idea of yogurt painting – never come across that before! #bloggerclubuk
    Lucy (@Lucy_at_home) recently posted…20 Life Hacks For ParentsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Hannah (tuesdayschildblog)
    July 27, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Some great ideas I’ll keep in mind for the future! I have lots of funky, interactive toys for my baby but all she wants to play with is a plain old muslin! Xx #thebabyformula
    Hannah (tuesdayschildblog) recently posted…My perfectly ‘ordinary’ dayMy Profile

  • Reply
    mainy - myrealfairy
    July 27, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Some great ideas there. It took me back to the time of my boys taking everything out of the cupboards to use as drums!:)


    mainy – myrealfairy recently posted…Dorset Facts & Trivia – A myrealfairy infographicMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Brilliant picture of H with her head in the jug at the end!! Theer are so many great activities there. We like saving up all the bottle caps from Ella’s Kitchen pouches and using them for all sorts of things. Colour sorting. Filling jugs and pans. Throwing at the cat when mummy’s back is turned!! #TheBabyFormula

  • Reply
    Mummy in a TuTu (@mummyinatutu)
    July 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

    wow… some absolutely brilliant ideas that aren’t really going to cost you anything!! A really great and useful post – pinned!!

  • Reply
    Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap)
    July 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    My daughter used to sit on the floor and just play with plastic tubs and tupperware for ages! I never got it but looking at this post you can see how and why! There are so many things you can do without spending money and they are occupied forever!! Great tips and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst
    Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) recently posted…Best and Worst Week #59My Profile

  • Reply
    the frenchie mummy
    July 27, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I love the way you use ‘everyday’ objects for another purpose. LOL. For babies, one that works really well with Baba: coaster. He can be fascinated for a good 10 minutes and Mummy can get on with her blogging obsession… #TheBabyFormula
    the frenchie mummy recently posted…Summer holiday in Norfolk – Day 1My Profile

  • Reply
    Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby
    July 28, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Lovely post! I’ve noticed it too that kids easily got fed up with the toys we bought at the shops, most of the time, they’re more interested playing household stuff. It’s great to know these list to add more to their existing household toys. #TheBabyFormula
    Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby recently posted…Highlights of JulyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby
    July 28, 2016 at 7:55 am

    I forgot to mention, Toddler H looks so cute with that water jug over her head… she’s adorable, isn’t she?
    Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby recently posted…Highlights of JulyMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 28, 2016 at 9:45 am

    This is a post I’ll be tagging for later when my son gets a bit older- love that it’s things from around the house to use as a different purpose, really clever #coolmumclub
    Blabbermama recently posted…The Daily Blab: The spreading deficiency that YOU are suffering fromMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Hi lovely…oh yes, the mouse loves any toilet roll related play. Mainly the ones still on the holder, andrex puppy stylee 🙂

    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub!
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 35My Profile

    • Reply
      July 29, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Lol I’m not saying it, but we’ve not had that yet somehow. Have a fab break, and thanks for hosting x

    • Reply
      August 10, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Hahaha, yes I can imagine, though I’m not jinxing it by saying you’re on your own experiencing that!! Fingers crossed!

  • Reply
    July 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Some great ideas here! We love homemade Playdoh…we put lemon in ours to make it smell nice!! Even though he is 4, Archie still loves playing in the sink with a jug and some tumblers! #coolmumclub

  • Reply
    July 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

    This is a fab list, so many great ideas. Will definitely be checking this out on this days where I’m looking for something to do with Leo xx #bigpinklink
    wendy recently posted…Thomas Land, a fab day out for toddlersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mum in Brum
    July 30, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Sone really great ideas here! Ours has always had more of a love for household objects over toys – it does make you wonder why you spend so much money. Love the idea of a box bed for dolly – I’m definitely doing this tomorrow! #coolmumclub
    Mum in Brum recently posted…Hatton Country World – A review of our family day outMy Profile

    • Reply
      July 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I do plan to cover it in sticky back plastic but haven’t got there yet! Hope Taylor lives it too x

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 7:52 am

    What a fantastic list, lots of fab ideas. When my son was about 18 months he had abou five shape sorted but all he wanted to do was use our egg poacher pan for essentially the same thing lol! xx #bloggerclubuk
    Laura recently posted…Kidloland: Fun & Educational Rhymes, Games & Activities For Toddlers & PreschoolersMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Some great ideas here for my little boy – I’m going to pin this ad I’m looking forward to trying some of these out with him. #TwinklyTuesday
    Gemma@CotswoldMumsBlog recently posted…It’s nursery time!My Profile

    • Reply
      August 10, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you! Hope they’re nice and helpful in those arghhhhh-what-can-he-play-with-next-moments x

  • Reply
    Lisa (mummascribbles)
    July 31, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Great post! Why is it the things we buy them throughout the year are nowhere near as good as a wooden spoon or water jug??!! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Reply
      August 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Yep! I do think everything is only good for 2-5 minutes though hahaha x

  • Reply
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons
    July 31, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Who knew so much fun could had with items that you are likely to have around the house. I especially like the dolls bed. What a brilliant idea! Thank you for linking up to the #dreamteam X
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Watch Disney Pixar’s Inside Out on NOW TVMy Profile

  • Reply
    You Baby Me Mummy
    August 10, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Wow so many great ideas! Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    • Reply
      August 10, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks Aby! Hope you’ve had a lovely week x

  • Reply
    Colette Stevenson
    April 3, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Lots of lovely ideas. Thank you. Time to share!

  • Reply
    Children in Need 2019 - Asda Power of Play playing cards | #powerofplay - New Mummy Blog
    November 15, 2019 at 7:08 am

    […] following their own initiative. The cards use items you’ve got around the house, turning household items into toys is something we’ve loved for many years – it’s lovey how kids are so […]

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