5 Easy and Green Toddler Activities

Toddlers love to stay busy. They are taking in so much about the world around them and constantly learning more.

As moms (or other caregivers), we are always trying to support this growth as well as keep the toddler who wants to be busy, busy in a productive way.

As a teacher and a mother, I decided to share my top 5 favorite activities for toddlers that require little or no setup, don’t create a lot of waste, and actually keep your toddler engaged.

Research has found basic, non-electronic toys are the best to support cognitive growth and learning as they encourage children to use their imagination and problem solve.

1. Nature Collecting

Toddler nature play

Any outdoor space has abundant activities for little ones. One of my daughter’s favorite activities is nature collecting.

I provide her with a small bag or basket and she freely collects little items she’s interested in. Her favorites are stones, sticks, and fallen leaves.

My favorite activities are activities that can turn into extended projects as research has shown children stay more engaged and learn more from child-led, project-based learning.

Some examples would be sorting the items together after collection, using the items for an art project, or reading a book about Autumn after looking at collected fallen leaves.

Check out our favorite nature books too!

2. Painting

Toddler easy activities

Painting is one of my daughter’s favorite activities we do indoors. It gives her a lot of room for creativity and artistic expression. We paint paper on a canvas, used cardboard boxes, nature items (i.e. stones and leaves), and dishes.

For a mess-free toddler activity, use water on dark-colored paper or boxes. You can let the paper dry and use it again!

3. Water Play

Toddler water play easy activities Along with water painting, you can use ANY water activity to keep your toddler entertained. A few ideas: a sprinkler, a small water bin with scoops, washing babies or cars, and watering plants.

Water play is not only so beneficial for your child, but it is also so fun for them. This is a super easy toddler activity that will keep them entertained for a long time.

4. Bugs!

Toddler hiking nature play

Who needs TV when you can just watch bugs! Although you need to make sure your toddler is ready for this activity and can gently engage with some of the understanding bugs are living as well, this toddler activity requires no setup and is endlessly entertaining, and sparks endless curiosity.

Bug watching is a great activity for attempting to start project-based learning or unschooling as it sparks questions and interest in different topics.

To start, just flip a rock and show your toddler there is lots of life under rocks! This could go a myriad of directions from creating shoe-box “habitats,” to note-taking, to learning the science of different types of bugs.

5. Cardboard Boxes

Easy Toddler activitiesCardboard boxes have endless uses. It is probably the best toy to provide a toddler.

You can color, cut, move, or make-believe with a box. My little one loves to decorate them as houses for her babies or play “cave” with her stuffed animals.

This is another great toddler activity that is also eco-friendly as you can reuse and recycle the cardboard boxes over and over again.

What are some of your favorite toddler activities? Share them below!

Minimalist mom Eco friendly easy toddler activities

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21 Comments on “5 Easy and Green Toddler Activities

  1. Great blog! ❤️ I have a blog about Fall activities if you’d like to check it out. If not, that’s completely fine. I love reading about your lifestyle! It’s very raw and natural. ❤️

  2. “Who needs TV when you can just watch bugs!”
    Exactly!! Kids (and some adults) LOVE bugs!
    Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  3. Awesome article! Yes to all this, esp. outdoor activities! so much to see and do for them to explore!

  4. I love the upcycling on the card board boxes! One of my toddlers favorite things is painting but we will have to try the card board boxes. I am sure that will be a hit.

  5. These are awesome green activities for toddlers. My toddler loves to do all of these!

  6. Very good ideas here. Bug watching is my favorite but my daughter enjoys painting, or playing with water. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. My kids aren’t toddlers but they would still enjoy doing these activities. We love to collect nature items to use for crafts.

  9. I love this. Super simple. Yesterday we got a package in the mail and it included a box to play in, plus packing paper to draw on. Then, we recycled everything. 🙂

  10. These suggestions are spot on! I’ve had 5 toddlers and they all loved each of these activities! Good job, mama!

  11. Love these, we work on nature stuff all the time and with toddlers I remember how much fun we had

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