10 Minimal Mess Toddler Activities

Toddlers are pretty much the masters of making a mess, I know I don’t need to tell any other mamas that fact. Especially while I’ve been pregnant I’ve been trying to find activities for William (2-years-old) that aren’t extremely messy. I just don’t have the energy to clean anything up or pull out a ton of supplies for him to work with. We’ve tried out a few different activities in an attempt to keep him busy and I thought I would share the list that I’ve compiled, with you. We haven’t tried out every activity on the list but they are all great options. And the best part, they’re all inside activities so if it’s far too humid outside, you can keep your kiddo busy inside.

Minimal-Mess Toddler Activities

1. Stacking Cups

This is one of William’s favorite random activities. He doesn’t necessarily stack the cups into a tower but stacks them inside each other or plays pretend with them and pretends to drink out of them or mix something up in them. He also likes the sound they make when he throws them. Ha.

2. Play with the iPad

I just wrote up a post of William’s favorite iPad apps, it’s a great way to keep his attention while I rest. And most of the games are educational too. Second Story Window also has a great list of apps for two-year-olds.

3. Paint with Water

Rather than pulling out messy paints, you can wet a paintbrush and your toddler can paint away on colored construction paper. The only mess that can be made is water being spilled but that’s easy to clean up!

4. Playdough

William loves playing with Playdough at the moment. Although we just combined two containers of it because William had eaten so much of one color… You can also make your own Playdough or silly putty.

5. Pom Pom Drop Activity

This is a simple, fine-motor activity that is especially great for younger toddlers, though William does still enjoy it. All you need is some masking tape, a toilet paper tube, and pom poms. I even have a busy bag version of it.

6. Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Activity

This is another simple activity to put together that works your toddler’s fine-motor skills. Simple punch holes into a the lid of a container and give your toddler pipe cleaners to stick into it. It’s as easy as that! You can also just give your toddler tall cups to transfer the pipe cleaners back and forth or use a small mouth bottle for more challenge, you can see how we did it here. You can also use a colander.

7. Cardboard Box and Balls

Make a fun activity for your toddler by cutting out circles from the top of a cardboard box for plastic balls to fit through. Color code each circle and have your toddler match the correct ball color with the correct circle. The page I linked to above is in Spanish so make sure you have a web browser that can translate for you, if necessary, but it’s also easy to tell what to do from the photo.

8. Ziploc Bag Finger Painting

I will say that we’ve tried this activity and it just didn’t work for William, he kept pulling up the tape that held it down and tried to throw the bag around. But if you’re kiddo follows directions better or at least sits still longer, this is a great idea! Just stick paint in a Ziploc storage bag and tape it down on the table. Your toddler can push the paint around with their fingers.

9. Felt Board

I’ve actually purchased pre-made felt boards (including all of the little characters and whatnot) for like $4 at the craft store, but you can also make your own (like this ice cream cone one). I will say that I think I had more fun with the felt board than William did...I think it just depends on your kid’s personality.

10. Sensory Bags

This would be a great activity for younger toddlers to play with, I’m pretty sure William would just open up the bag and pull everything out creating a giant mess. Again, depends on your kid’s personality.

What are your go-to minimal-mess activities? We also love playing with Hotwheels, trucks, and blocks!