Child enrichment (cheap and easy preferred)

In my quest not to go mad at home alone with a preverbal toddler during a global pandemic, I’ve been branching out with enrichment activities! I’ll post what I’m doing here to share the ideas I run across, and please share yours as well! Most of my attempts do not go as planned, so feel free to disaster follow also!


I tried to do a “peg drop” activity. We have some short wood pegs made by cutting down a small dowel we found in the garage. I taped a cardboard TP tube to the window (to encourage standing and stability, per the IG PT) and modeled the drop.

Drop count; 3
Pull TP bits off and eat them or hand them to mom count: 6
Rip whole thing off the window and try to eat tape count: 2, then mom intervened and caused a small tantrum

:joy: off to a good start today!


Pulling TP bits off and handing to mom or pretending to wipe oneself are a favorite around here. Got awkward when she followed me into the bathroom and tried to help me with it though :joy:


Hey you help her, fair is fair mom :rofl::rofl::rofl:


We’ve had great success with painters tape as a thing you can stick on walls. He’s not as interested now, but a year ago, he was SO in to tape.


It’s true! H thinks she’s going to self potty train because she tries to help us in the bathroom, last night she told us when she was pooping, and she seems to have made the connection that bathroom = where elimination happens. She’s just got to connect those last few dots about when she needs to go and getting to the bathroom and maybe we’ll give it a shot!

Another favorite activity we have is imitating her activities with toys. Yesterday she rocked in her rocking chair, then all of her toys rocked in the rocking chair one by one. Everyone got a turn. Day before that all of her stuffies ate “oooogurt and fwooot” for breakfast with their own spoons.

  • I had one of those hard-sided wipes containers and filled it with various fabrics. A few leftover handkerchiefs/pocket squares from a wedding Mr. Meer was in, some felt, some random fabric scraps of various types (the ones that frayed were quickly removed just because toddlers are hard on stuff).

  • Stringing toilet paper tubes on string? Optional extra step, cut them in half.

  • When he was little his PT had some Squigz and a large mirror (for observations I guess) and they’d stick the Squigz up where he had to reach for them and they encouraged him to make sure each arm got a turn. Having just got out our holiday decorations I found a light up snowflake that’s supposed to stick on a window and also those cheap gel cling decorations that can be substituted for the Squigz, but of course you’ll have to adjust for the everything-goes-in-the-mouth factor.

  • Recently I got an 18-pack of eggs and inside the carton I drew (very very simple) bunnies. His OT is to pick up a puff ball or cotton ball with tweezers or tongs and “feed” the bunnies. Again this would have to be adjusted but if you have some other small but not too small toys around maybe they can be bunny food or toys shared with the bunnies then dumped out and done again. I used three different colors of sharpies to draw the bunnies just because and Kiddo definitely had Opinions on which bunnies would get food lol (now the RED bunny, and now a BLUE bunny, etc.)

  • If you have a toy that has two parts or maybe a set of six blocks/cars/food/whatever, have them start at one end of a hallway and then all have to go to a party or something at the other end of the hallway. Bonus: Can you bring all the red food? Can you bring me the purple car? You brought me the block with the number 1, now can you bring me number 2?


One that was super fun in our house was some baking soda with a few drops of food coloring and then squeezing or pouring vinegar on it. It changes colors and makes fun fizzing!


My son LOVES peeling masking tape off tables and walls.
Good for fine motor hand skills.

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Does he eat it? latte immediately sticks it in her mouth, and I’m really not a fan of her consuming adhesive.

We have this problem too. Most of the activities I’ve found always use some form of cardboard tube, paper, tape, cotton balls, etc and she immediately puts all of that in her mouth and it disintegrates and is gross. We are just avoiding any of those kinds of activities until she is past the stage where everything goes into her mouth


I’ve never seen him put tape in his mouth. But we sit with him when he does this.
But he will literally pick up a rock, walk to us, stare us in the eye and put it in his mouth.

So he’s at the stage where he knows what to eat and what not to eat, and also knows what a rule is and how to break it.

At the daycare they do small pieces of tape, but I so fairly long ones so he can’t actually “eat” it if he does.


Toddler Pikelet was all about sensory bins. We had a bunch of cardboard mailing tubes, funnels, balls that could act at plugs in the funnels, cups, measuring spoons, coloured rice, dry pasta, cotton wool, etc. She was never much into putting the bits in her mouth though.


What age was she into this? I’m hoping Latte tries eating everything less as she ages :joy:

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I think she got the peak use from it from about 1.5 - 2 years. After that my tolerance for the mess was done.


My personal children entertain themselves now but in my capacity as an early literacy librarian, I just got out of a Zoom toddler enrichment* where we were painting on aluminum foil. This was way cooler than paper, recommend.

*PM me if anyone wants to know about the free Zoom toddler enrichment…

ETA: Because they are old and giant, not because they’re special or something :laughing:


Ooooh painting on alfoil is definitely something my kid would enjoy.

Mine liked the sensory bins thing, I got a box from IKEA big enough for him to sit in too. Same age range as Pikelet for best use, but depends on how much your kids likes to Nom things.

Water play is always a hit for him. I have a few different places (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bath, his art table has its own tubs for water, a bucket outside). Degree of getting water everywhere at each age range changes where we could comfortably go without me having to be too vigilant (obvs I watch him constantly around water, but there’s “sitting with you” and then there’s “water everywhere and it’s slippery and I’m stressed”).

I have realised how much I have forgotten of what we did and I’m going to need to remember in 9 months when Chickadee needs to be entertained.


You mean there’s life after eating, pooping, and sleeping?? Fun thread, posting to follow.


I do not recommend ping pong balls.

My parents thought it was a great idea because he can hold it easily with one hand, it makes a nice bouncy sound on the hardwood floor, and he laughs every time we bounce it for him.

Now I spend all my time on my hands and knees trying to find the ping pong balls under the couch, table, etc, while my one year old yells “baaawl” at me.

Please recommend a replacement bouncy ball to me, preferable one that is safe to lick and drool on (I’m concerned about him chewing on the felt on a tennis ball).


I have seen parents buy a larger version of a ping pong ball (maybe it’s called a ball pit ball?) that is a much safer size but is still the same sort of stuff. I’m afraid we didn’t get them so I don’t know what they’re called.

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