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Activity ideas for a 2.5 year old?

Hey all,

I was just wondering if you had any activity ideas for a 2.5 year old. We can't afford to put my daughter into playcare (though I wish we could!), so I am looking for learning-type activities we can do from home (that are preschool oriented). :)

So far I have:
Get a giant box (like a fridge box) and turn it into a playhouse
Color days (and activities like coloring, painting, ect)

Shaving cream is out of the question-- she doesn't like messy textiles (and I have NO clue why! Play-dough is out of the question. :( )

I am also looking for things I can do that are fairly cost-friendly. If it helps at all though, we DO have an easel with a whiteboard on one side (which is magnetic-- we play with fridge magnets often) and a chalkboard on the other.

I try to do fun things with her... I am just seriously running out of ideas.

Thanks so much in advance!! :D

Answer Question

Asked by OmbreGracieuse at 7:36 AM on Aug. 26, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 9 (351 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Stringing macaroni or large wooden beads to make bracelets/necklaces, etc is great for fine motor skills.......... Create some large stencils out of a firm cardboard or plastic(shapes) it's great for both teaching the shape and learning to color within a boundary........ You can find some great preschool printable worksheets online for "school time".......... Consider making some Marshmellow fondant as an edible playdough substitute (it's lots of fun, super easy, and it's good for kids to learn to manipulate things with their hands).......... Play blocks, it's a great way to teach colors (and shapes if you have the little wooden blocks)................. glue things like macaroni and dried beans onto construction paper to make pictures.................Have a letter of the day (the same letter every day for a week) and do everything centered around that letter.............Have a music time

    Answer by Kimedbs at 7:46 AM on Aug. 26, 2011

  • Try to involve her in your meal prep. Even if its not directly part of the meal, i.e....Frozen vegetables, re-enforce colors by asking her to separate yellow corn, orange carrots, and green peas into separate bowls. Then maybe she can pour them into cooking pot.

    Answer by Beechnut42 at 7:47 AM on Aug. 26, 2011

  • i don't have extra money either, Not sure if you have a printer or not? But i print off activites like team ummizoomi off of there site for free.He loves those. You could also go to the dollar store. I know its sounds too cheap and not worth it.. But its a chance..

    Good Luck!

    Answer by Mrs.Ro at 8:49 AM on Aug. 26, 2011

  • lots of books. reading time is awesome. maybe try using this time for you and her to learn another language, or asl (americian sign language) is a good site. walks to the park, or field trips to the zoo, aquarium, beach, forrest, where you go on scavanger hunts for words, letters, colors, objects, plants, animals, people(rangers, moms, dads, other children, police, firemen, post men, life guards) cars, trucks, vans... lots of stuff!

    Answer by flowersmama at 9:00 AM on Aug. 26, 2011

  • Dress up clothes! I'm sure you have this, but even in preschool part of the idea is dramatic play. Also, try and join a playgroup or start one! She will love it and you'll get to meet new friends too :)

    Answer by Sarahbeth7 at 4:00 PM on Aug. 26, 2011

  • Thanks so much for all the amazing ideas, mama!

    For some reason using beans and things for pictures BLIPPED off my radar. I plan to try this sometime very, very soon!

    I also found an amazing site that suggested mixing food coloring with sand, letting it dry, then using it the way you'd use glitter on pictures. Just thought I'd share!

    Comment by OmbreGracieuse (original poster) at 8:39 PM on Aug. 26, 2011

  • Playsilks are great....they tend to be a bit sturdier & also bigger than regular silk scarves but you could get scarves from a second hand store in a pinch. If you want to make your own playsilks you could buy un-dyed Habotai silks (I got some years ago from Dharma Trading Co. online) & use unsweetened Kool-Aid packets to dye them. Keep them in a basket; the uses are numerous! Use for dress-up & dramatic play, to make beds for babies/animals, use a blue one to make a river or pond, a green one to make a field or hill (when playing with barn animals or dollhouse dolls, boats, etc.) I dyed a bunch & purchased a few colors that I couldn't do with Kool-Aid (like brown, gold, light pink, etc.) My daughter used to lay out the brown one then place her wooden toy foods along it like a "garden."
    Use your box idea to make a toy kitchen, esp. if you have play food.
    But really, just involve her in what YOU do (laundry, cooking, cleaning.)

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:11 AM on Aug. 27, 2011

  • Also, I remember my daughter (and now my young sons) enjoy repeating the action of dropping pennies into a bank, so a supply of pennies to pick up & drop in could keep her busy & develop her fine motor skills.
    Little clothespins & a line (we had a small wooden frame "clothesline" with several rows strung across it; you could just put up a string for her) help develop the same kinds of motor skills and was a really great (fun) activity for that age, with or without doll clothes/hankies/wash cloths to hang.
    Having little bags to put things in & carry around was big for my kids at that age. My daughter had a carton of wooden eggs that she simply LOVED (and always would tuck into this small cloth bag or a purse, lol)
    Folding laundry can be fun (not a chore to force, but something to invite help with), stacking & building, sweeping with a small broom or a brush & dustpan (sweep down the stairs.)
    Mine love putting on hats & mittens!

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:24 AM on Aug. 27, 2011

  • Thanks for the advice, girlwithc!

    I have a question though-- how do you get it across to your little ones that they CAN help, but they don't HAVE to? Like... it isn't a chore (it's not expected of them to help me fold laundry, ect)?

    Comment by OmbreGracieuse (original poster) at 8:28 AM on Aug. 27, 2011

  • Bust out some veggies : squash, carrots (big ones), trim them down to make shapes; stars, triangles, squares, circles, etc.. Get primary color acrylic paint (red, yellow & blue), have them dip the veggies into the paint (show them how to hold it) press veggies on paint then onto plain, white construction paper. (Teacher-oriented)


    You could use various sizes of paintbrushes. Ask him/her "What is your favorite animal?" Then have them draw it. (Child-oriented) =)

    Answer by onelove1982 at 10:32 PM on Aug. 27, 2011

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