No School? No Fear! :: 20 Free or Cheap Toddler Approved Activities

“Ding, ding!” It’s your child’s school alerting you of an immediate school closure for many different reasons from professional development day or snow day or no electricity. Or this is a day during one of those never ending holiday breaks where you are ready to scream cause the kids are driving you bonkers. You’re not prepared and you definitely do not have anything lined up to tire them out. From past experience, you know these days are the toughest to manage. Those days are long gone … well sort of, depending on the mood of the kids.


My wife and I are both teachers and attempt to develop intentional, appropriate activities for our toddlers that are educational, include PLAY, and are CHEAP or FREE. One more thing, we want to use materials we already have on hand. No one wants to bring 3 screaming toddlers to the store to purchase supplies. 

Side Note: If you follow the NOLA KIDS Instagram page, then you have seen some of the SNEAUX day activities my wife and I organized for our three toddlers earlier this year.

20 Toddler Approved Activities that are CHEAP or FREE

  1. Get Moving – Dance and Shake it to a kid friendly Pandora station
  2. Bike Ride while playing holiday iSpy (Ex: St. Patrick’s Day look for a green bike, a green sign, etc)
  3. Silly String Fight while discussing the shape of the cans and colors of the string
  4. Yoga – Cosmic Kids on YouTube is amazing
  5. Snowball or Marshmallow Toss to a certain color 
  6. Paint the Tub with shaving cream with added food coloring while making shapes with their fingers
  7. Chalk time with imagination – add different animals in a hat and let the child pull and draw their depiction of the animal
  8. Tie Dye Paper towels using water and food coloring
  9. Cloud animals- lay on the grass and find cloud animals
  10. Puzzle time race
  11. Animal Hunt using flashcards
  12. Paint crazy lines using q-tips
  13. Story time then acting out the story or adding to the story or changing theending
  14. Oil painting – add any type of oil and food coloring to a ziplock bag
  15. Bug hunters – discuss different types of bugs using a pictures
  16. Treasure hunt – create a rice bin and hide small objects inside
  17. Create an obstacle course-swing, slide, go through the tunnel, kick the ball
  18. Bubble time – pull out the bubble machine or get to blowing bubbles while they are popping
  19. Let’s get wet – go old school on them and turn on the hose and sprinkler
  20. Old school games – hide and seek, ring around the rosy, etc.

Other helpful tips and tricks

*We use time intervals between 15-20 minutes to keep them engaged.

*We were potty training all three at one time so used 30 minute time intervals for “POTTY TIME” throughout the day.

*Snack time was included with a twist (Annie’s bunnies while discussing characteristics of bunnies or the importance of enjoying quiet time during snack time … shhhh … it was our break)

*Schedules work best for toddlers, and we have a generic schedule that we use just in case we are too tired to think of activities.

What are your go to activities during a break that do not break the bank? Would you also like to see a post with activities for older kids?

Nette Archangel
Originally from the village of Loreauville, Nette along with her wife, Jasmine and their two sons, Thomas and Lane moved to their favorite city after residing in Ruston, LA. . She is an education administrator who loves living in NOLA. When not running after the brodudes, you can find her organizing, planning, and jamming to Carrie Underwood. Already busy with supporting education and family, she finds time to be involved with the LGBT Community by serving as an administrator for NOLA GAY FAMILIES. Her goal in life is to acquire Carrie Underwood legs and to eat an entire salad one day (she's super picky eater)! Follow her on IG: @[email protected]



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