Stringing beads on pipe cleaners:
These two are especially easy and super budget friendly. I usually put down a plastic drop cloth to help catch spills and keep the beads and beans contained. Now that she is older, she is pretty good about keeping everything on the mat, but when she was younger this was our set up:
A little plastic pool was perfect for keeping beads and beans from ending up all over the room.
This is a fancy way of saying "Here, I put some random crap in this box. Have fun!" No, but really, what toddler doesn't love an empty box? Today I threw in some string, clips, crayons, and an empty art paper roll. This is what she came up with:
Cutting and pasting:
This is probably her favorite daily activity. Andrew bought her safety scissors and after some practice we upgraded her to a regular little pair. Learning how to use scissors is really important for her development and motor skills. It helps build her tiny hand muscles, increases hand/eye coordination, and encourages bi-lateral coordination (using both sides of her body at the same time). There are a ton of helpful resources like this one, if you want more information:
I also now give her a glue stick, instead of a bottle, so she feels even more independent and doesn't have to ask me to help squeeze the glue.
This art easel was seriously the best investment, ever. It has a little tray that keeps all of her supplies organized and the other side is a chalkboard! The paper is also on a roller, making it really easy to switch to a new piece. I usually give her a mix of brushes and sponges to work with, but it never takes long before she switches to fingers and hands.
These have been some of little A's favorite activities throughout the past year, or so. They keep her entertained and allow for her to continuously brainstorm new ways to play.
If you want some more information on the benefits of open-ended play, check out these articles: