From time to time, there are situations in which you need your little one to settle down and engage in some independent, quiet play. Toddlers are full of energy and curiosity, but even they need some downtime. Quiet time activities can be a great way to engage and entertain your 2-year-old while also promoting their cognitive and motor skills development. Whether it's right before naptime or when you need a moment of peace, here are some fun and engaging activities that are perfect for your 2-year-old!
- Busy Bags - Busy bags are little activities that you prep ahead of time and place inside pencil case-sized bags to be pulled out whenever you need your 2-year-old to occupy themselves for a bit. The perfect activities are those that require a bit of concentration on your child's part. Because 2-year-olds are developing their fine motor skills and are interested in cause and effect, prep activities that encourage them to put their little fingers to work. One such could be sticking velcro onto colored popsicle sticks and having your child experiment with putting the sticks together and pulling them apart.
- Puzzles and Shape Sorters- Puzzles and shape sorters help improve your child's problem-solving abilities and hand-eye coordination. Look for puzzles with large, chunky pieces that are easy for tiny hands to manipulate. Start with simple puzzles that have a few pieces, and gradually introduce more complex ones as your child's skills develop.
- Arts and Crafts - The key to these activities are choosing materials that are low-to-no-mess and something that they can do fairly independently. At 2 years of age, your child is in the "controlled scribble" phase of drawing. Give them a nice big blank sheet of paper and some fun colors and let them go to town! Another artsy activity could be sculpting with playdough. Just be sure they're making their creations away from any carpeting!
- Sensory Bins - Sensory bins are fantastic for engaging a child's senses and encouraging exploration. Fill a shallow container with materials like rice, beans, or sand, and add small toys or objects for your 2-year-old to discover. You can also include measuring cups, spoons, or brushes for added sensory experiences. Just be sure to avoid anything that can be considered a choking hazard.
- Button Play - There's something about buttons that toddlers love. Grab several strips of felt and sew or glue a button on one end of each of them. Cut a button-sized hole on the other end. Then button the strips up however you please. You can make links, like in a chain, or just button them to one another randomly. Then give it to your toddler to untangle. This activity is great for hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills development, and concentration!
- Sponge blocks - Building blocks are classic toys that promote spatial awareness, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Sponge blocks are building blocks' awesome cousin because — you guessed it —- they're quiet! Cut different colored sponges into rectangles and squares of various shapes. Provide your child with these blocks and let them experiment with stacking and building structures. Join in the fun and show them how to build simple towers or houses.
Quiet Exploration - Set up a cozy corner with pillows, blankets, and soft toys where your child can explore and play independently. This safe space allows them to use their imagination, relax, or cuddle up with a favorite stuffed animal. This downtime is crucial for their emotional well-being and self-soothing skills.