Blog post originally written on written by Lia on 2017/07/04.

Isla will be turning two in less than a month, naturally she’s growing bored of her baby toys and ready to take her playing/learning to a new level.

Lately I’ve been struggling to keep us both entertained all day long since she isn’t in daycare, and I’m home with her most days.

Thankfully it’s been a gorgeous summer and we’ve been spending lots of time outside, but there are still lots of too hot or too rainy times during a day when I need to keep her inside and interested, engaged and learning, the perfect trifecta!

A few Pinterest visits later, I’ve come up with a couple Montessori inspired activities she loves, and were really simple and inexpensive to make.

  1. Colour Matching

This one is perfect for learning colours and dexterity. I got paint chips from the hardware store (2x primary colours), used a piece of cardboard for the circle, clothespins and some white glue. Then I cut the paint chips to cover both sides of the clothespins and a pie shape for the circle…and voila! You have a colour wheel. Depending on their age and level, they may need you to hold the colour circle while they manage to pinch the clothespin open and put it on the corresponding colour.

You know it is the perfect learning tool for them when they are challenged enough by it, but not so much that they are frustrated or throwing things. If this is the case, wait a few weeks and try again, you’ll know when they are engaged enough and enjoying themselves. Try to make it fun and interesting for them.

2. Animal Matching

Isla LOVES animals, so this game is very exciting and relevant for her. If your child loves trucks, dinosaurs or food, etc, you can alter the game for their interests.

This one is super simple; acquire plastic animals (I got mine from the dollar store), then do a Google image search for each animal. Try to find a very similar picture to the plastic version. Print out the pictures and that’s it!

You can do this matching games a few different ways:

-Give them one animal at a time and lay out all the images. Once they’ve correctly placed that animal you can give them another one.

-Leave the animals in a pile for them to choose and place on the corresponding pictures.

-Have them sort through the images to find the animal you are holding.

-Say the animal name and have them find it and match up.

Drawing is always a win in our house, we finally found markers she could open and close herself so she will sometimes spend upwards of 20 minutes quietly drawing at her table. It helps that the pad of paper is as large as her table, so she can really get crazy with those markers!

More Tips:

-I keep these activities stored away in a drawer, so that when I bring a different activity out each day it is new and interesting. If it is always sitting on their toy shelf, chances are they won’t even notice it or care to engage with it.

-Don’t expect to keep their attention for more than 15-20 minutes with these activities…they are toddlers after all!

-Get them to help you put away the activities when you’re done.

I just received this book for ideas, so I’ll be posting more toddler activities as I make them 🙂