Here are a few simple Toddler Activity Tray Ideas that I’ve tried with N (24 months) recently that I wanted to share. Sometimes the simplest activities (the ones you spend the least time preparing) are the most popular with your toddler.
Remember that repetition is important at this age so you can rotate the activities or put a new one out each week, whatever works best for you.
Transferring Large Pom Poms with Large Tongs
Put the pom poms in the middle of the tray and use the tongs to transfer them into the outer sections. You could use this to make patterns, match colors, or for “making” food in the play kitchen.
Color Matching with Blocks
These foam blocks are large enough for toddlers to stack or match. Ask or tell your toddler the name of the color as they pick one up and match it.
Counting Cards with Extra Large Garden Stones
This is N’s favorite. I only gave her cards 1-3 to start with. She puts the cards in order and then puts one large stone in each circle on the card. Sometimes we count them together, sometimes I’ll point to and say the number of the card she completed but usually I let her lead the way with this one and chime in when I can.
Sorting by Color (with extra large garden stones)
We use the box that the Melissa and Doug Magnetic Letters came in but you could use any two containers or plates for sorting. I usually put one on each side to get her started.
Sorting by Size/Shape (with garden stones)
I put one on each side to get N started. Sometimes as she is sorting them I’ll chime in and say “Big and Small” or “Circle and Oval”.
Clipping Clothes Pins
Clip to the edge of a cup or a container. These plastic clothes pins are a change of pace from the smaller, wooden clothes pins. These seem easier for her to grasp and don’t pinch as hard just in case little fingers get caught in the end. This was the most difficult activity for N. I might put it away and get it out again in another month.