10 Preschool Learning Activities for Active Kids

After our first week of quarantine, I shared our homeschool schedule and everything we are doing to maintain some sanity throughout this weird phase of life.  There was some novelty that first week with my 3 year old and after that week I had to quickly think of some new ways to get him engaged. I don’t want to constantly fight with him about “doing school” so I wracked my brain for some new ideas. Ellis is incredibly active and I finally found some preschool learning activities for an active preschooler that work! 

Last Friday, they officially announced that schools will not open back up this school year in Illinois.  As many other states have done the same. I want to do a follow up to the original post now that we are in it for the long haul of at least another month. Hopefully you have found your stride, given yourself lots of grace and know that what works best for your family may not look like everyone else’s.

I have a 5 year old in kindergarten, a 3 year old in his first year of preschool and a 14 month old toddler.  My 5 year old can get distracted, but there are some school activities that he enjoys. My 3 year old on the other hand. Phew! If you have an active toddler or preschooler, these activities have worked really well for my active kids.

We are still following the same schedule– some days we are more on it than others but the boys expect it which keeps us grounded. Integrating chores is also sooo important. If your house is anything like ours, people are eating constantly! And there are constant dishes and toys and homeschool supplies to clean up. 

Our philosophy is that keeping up with a household is a family job. Check out these other chore ideas if you are looking for more ideas on age appropriate chores.

The following post has affiliate links, please refer to the disclosure policy for more information.

10 Preschool Learning Activities  for Active Kids

Related Post: 10 Simple Finger Food Meals

I have to put another plug for this website, because I have gotten a ton of ideas on here and want to give credit where credit is due! Busy Toddler– This website is a mecca for toddler/preschool activity inspiration.

1) Homemade playdoh We tried this our first week and a great activity for active kids since it’s so hands on. Not only was this a great science experiment, we talked about how the consistency changed as we added ingredients. Add in a pack of sea animals or shapes to increase play and creativity. 

2) Lots of big floor puzzles! You are going to notice a theme. If I can find a bigger version of anything, it is usually a win. 

5 Continent Puzzle Pack– We used this our first day of homeschooling and I’ve recommended them to various people. Another great one for 2 or 3 year olds is this world map with matching animal cards. 

Floor Puzzles- These large puzzles are a great conversation starter as well! Like this Melissa & Doug Solar System Puzzle or Massive Dinosaur Puzzle or this beautiful Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle.

preschool learning activities

3) ANY work on butcher paper! These 4 items have given me tons of activities. Sometimes I put them on the wall and other times the floor. You can pretty much make anything you see on a worksheet into something bigger so they can stay active during the activity. These have been a few of our favorites:

Supplies: Butcher paper, Post-it notes, Dot Stickers, Do a Dot Art Markers

Number Recognition (pictured above): Number values 1-15 drawn out with dots and also written down on post-it notes. Student works on matching the numeric values by placing post-it number on top of the correct number of dots.

shape practice for preschoolers

Shape Practice: Draw a variety of shapes all over a large piece of butcher paper. Instruct student to color in all the triangles in red, then squares in blue, etc.  Or they can pick the color they want. 

homeschool activities for preschoolers

Addition Practice: Use dot markers or dot stickers to practice addition. Write a few basic addition equations on a butcher paper, with a large square after the equal sign. Have your student put each number in different colors and then count all the dots in the square to state the final answer.  

activities for active preschoolers

Letter Recognition: Write their name in huge bubble letters. On the dot stickers, write their letters  randomly all over the sheet. They work on putting all the letters in the appropriate place.  The day before I wrote all the letters of the alphabet on the butcher paper and he had to match them with the ones written on stickers. This name activity was an extension of that. 

4) Chopping and helping out around the kitchen. A lot of times my preschooler just wants to be near me and help out, so having him chop fruits or veggies is one of his favorite activities. You can check out all my favorite kitchen supplies for preschoolers, but a wavy chopper or a pack of intro knives are a great place to start. 

preschool learning activities sorting beads5) Sorting Work. Any activity where you can sort items has been working well. Sorting beads into different colors, sorting animal sets into where animals live or size etc., and collecting items to find out if they sink or float. Animal sets can also be used to talk about their names, draw them out on paper and lots of other tactile activities. 

6) Real Life Skills. This busy board activity binder is a great intro to a lot of real life skills. Has buckles, zippers, tying work, and buttons. They can then move on to their own clothing and shoes. 

7) Themed Days. Another tactic that keeps my boys engaged is having themed days. The work above was our solar system day: we read two books, did one of the floor puzzles listed above, listened to a couple planet songs and watched a short youtube video on asteroid belts. Then we used cookie cutters and cardboard planets to trace out the planets and draw our own. Butcher paper again! My oldest then practiced his handwriting by labeling everything. 

Botany Day: We planted some seeds, read a couple books on what is a seed and parts of a plant. Our art project was construction paper flowers where we labeled the different parts of a plant. 

8) Building Activities. This activity was a favorite. Of course, they were able to eat some of the supplies.  They build huge structures with marshmallows and toothpicks, and it was great watching them figure out how to make them stable/taller/bigger. 

9) Educational Toys. There are some games and activities that are easily integrated into a school day activity. Especially on a day where they are not feeling up to doing much. 

Dinosaur Fossil Dig Excavation– Very engaging and hands on way to learn about dinosaurs and fossils. 

Imagination MagnetsStill one of our favorites after owning it for two years. Fun pattern play that ranges in difficulty from easy to more difficult.

Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden– There is nothing better than the real thing to help stimulate the minds of your little budding scientists. In this garden, you get 5 caterpillars, all the food they need and a mesh habitat to grow your butterflies.

creative art preschool learning activities

10) Creative Art. Creativity and art are essential at this age. Coloring or drawing on regular paper can get old, so adding some different activities has kept it engaging and fun. Above is an activity we did at Ellis’ 3rd birthday and it was so fun, we did a version of it again. A huge canvas drop that was hung up on the side of the garage. They used paint  poured into water guns and spray bottles (mix with a little bit of water), and foam paint brushes.

Sidewalk painting of our shadows: We turned our chalk into paint by crushing it and adding a little water. Traced our shadows and painted them in. This was perfect for a nice day art project. 

The boys also do lots of watercolor painting at school so we invested in watercolor sets for each and a pack of large watercolor paper

Hope these ideas help add some fun activities to your homeschool days! If you have any you’d like to share, leave them in the comments for us all to read. 🙂 

Related Post: 15 Essential Books on Kindness for Toddlers & Preschoolers

4 Daily Toddler Schedule Samples

I recently joined the 3 kid club and the forever boy mom club. The shop is now closed after I had my third boy 6 months ago. 🙂 My husband and I always planned on 2-3 and joke that a 4th would drive us out of Chicago where we love. So now that my 3rd boy Rhys is growing up, I’ve been revisiting a lot of my baby and toddler schedule posts. I decided it’s time to give you all an update on different variations to daily toddler schedule ideas. Included are options for multiple kids!

These next two pictures of my then 2 year old Ellis happened within minutes of each other.  Perfectly captures toddler life, emotions can change very quickly! Some standard routines help them make sense of the world a little bit better.

two year old schedule, two year old disciplinetoddler emotions daily schedule

This post is part of our sample schedule and routine series, that has schedules from newborn to toddlers. In this post, you’ll find key elements of creating a toddler schedule, factoring different family models. Currently I have a 5 year old, 3 year old and a 7 month old baby.  Included are some toddler daily schedule examples for one toddler, toddler and baby and a multiple toddler schedule. 

If you want more specific developmental milestones, activity ideas and toy recommendations, check out the post for the specific age:

Related: Two year old schedule, 12-18 month schedule, 18-24 month schedule

Key Elements of a Daily Toddler Schedule

Sleep

  • They may start fighting sleep as they enjoy being awake with you. Stick to your routine- even if it’s just quiet time in their room for nap.
  • 2-3 year olds need 13-15 total hours of sleep. 1 nap that lasts 1-2 hours and a bedtime window sometime between 6-8pm.  Many families have found that a 4 hour window between waking up from nap and bedtime works really well. So wake up from nap at 3pm, bedtime at 7-7:30. Decide what works for your family and how to get your toddler the hours he needs.
    • My friend was recently telling me that she was worried her son went to bed too late. He goes to bed at 9pm. BUT he doesn’t wake up until 8am and consistently takes at least a 2 hour nap.  So he is getting the hours he needs, it’s not something I would worry about.  The one thing I suggested to her is that when he gets closer to school age, she’d want to slowly move it earlier since he’ll have to get up earlier. 
  • My oldest son Miles dropped his nap around 4 years old, even though there were some days where it was evident he needed the rest.  We maintained some quiet time and an early bedtime so he would be well rested for preschool. 

Repetition

  • They really need consistency and predictability at this age.  I often tell Miles and Ellis what is going to happen after we get out of the car so they know what is next. Ellis and I have the same goodbye routine at school also- it gives him a sense of comfort and control that he knows what it will be each day.
  • We’ve also utilized these checklists to help them create habits. You can start at age 2, but at 3 they can actually start to go down the list independently. 

Routine

  • In addition to a daily schedule, routines for common situations are really helpful at this age as mentioned above. 
  • For example, when my boys walk in the door they have to hang up their coats, take off shoes and put them in the bin, put their lunch box in the kitchen, go potty and wash hands.  If I randomly add a task instead of engraining it into a predictable routine, there is more room for protest.

Discipline

  • There is so much that can be said about discipline and various ways to approach this subject that it has its’ own post. For starters though, decide as a family how you will acknowledge behavior- positive and negative, and stick to your plan.
  • Their emotions are very real and they need to be understood and taught how to handle them. This will also vary widely based on personality! The way we disciplined our first was so different than what we had to do with our second, because they are completely different people.

Choices are so so powerful! 

  • Regardless of personality, this age thrives for independence. It’s funny because I previously wrote how my son Miles protested bath, but it’s nothing compared to my second son Ellis! He protests everything. Ha!
    • He likes to pick out his own clothes, shoes, decide what he eats and when etc.  If you say anything that sounds like a command, he’ll automatically disagree.  Last night he told me, “well, I am not going to wear matching pajamas ever again. I want a train top and dinosaur bottoms.” Lol. Okay kid, whatever works for you. He just wants to exert his power and see how far he can take it. My philosophy is if it’s not a dangerous situation or does not affect anybody negatively- than let it go.  I could care less if he wore matching pajamas or if his shirt was on backwards if that makes him happy, lol. 
  • In other situations where you have to set boundaries, limit the choices given. For example, in the winter wearing a coat is not an option. So instead of telling Ellis to go put on your coat, where he would then try not to wear one and put on shorts. (insert emoji face palm here) I’ll say do you want to put on your mittens or coat first? It still guides what he has to do, but with a choice so he feels he has some control over it.
    • All depends on your child’s personality- I can tell Miles “put on your coat” no problem.  He’s older now, but also has a more laid back personality. 

Remember that all these schedules and times are approximate.  Things can change based on the day, which is totally okay.  Also your times may look different and that is okay! These are to give you ideas and inspiration to create your own. 

One Toddler- 1 Year Old Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk

7:30-8am | Play: Story time, sensory bins, building blocks or nesting toys, singing songs, or listening to music while playing instruments (xylophone, drums)

8-8:45am | Breakfast

8:45am | Start nap soothing routine

9am | Morning Nap (This nap fades out between 15-18 months)

10:30am | Wake Up- Sippy Cup of Milk

10:30- 11am | Snack

11- 12:15pm | Play time: Large motor development- park or open play, push and pull toys, riding cars. Social development- play dates or reoccurring music or art classes.

12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch with Water

12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

3:30-6pm | Play: Start easy paint or craft projects. Go outside at least once a day for fresh air.

6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of soothing routine)

6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.

7:00pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep.

Daily Toddler Schedule- 2-3 Year Old

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Glass of milk or water

7:30-8am | Play independently.

8-8:30am | Breakfast

8:30-10:30am | Outing to the park or indoor play. Or attend toddler gym, dance, music, or art class. Or schedule a more structured classes like ballet, sports, art, or karate.

10:30- 11am | Snack

11- 12:15pm | Help with making lunch and cleaning up. Start thinking about chores they can do when they are 2. 

12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch

12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- Read 2 books, then dark room, snuggling, , soft singing then white noise machine, cover with favorite blanket and stuffed animal.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

3:30-6pm | Play with favorite toys or have a second outing, then independent play so you can make dinner or wrap up the day. They can color at this age for longer periods or work on puzzles or other quiet activities.

5pm | If you want to have a designated screen time, this is a good time after a long day and gives you the opportunity to make dinner or other things you have to accomplish.

6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of bedtime soothing routine)

6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, music, lotion, massage, pajamas and read books.

7:30pm | Bedtime.

daily toddler schedule, toddler and baby daily schedule

One Toddler and a Baby

7-7:30 | Wake Up and start the day! Change diapers/pull up and get dressed.  

7:30-8:30 | Toddler gets a glass of milk and set up for independent play.  Nurse or give bottle to baby and cuddle time.  You can also choose to have this be your screen time hour for the day- so you can calmly get the baby ready for the day.  I save our screen time for right before dinner when they are more antsy or exhausted from the day. 

8:30-9 | Make and have breakfast.

9:00 | Baby takes morning nap. Toddler can play with a puzzle, blocks or magnetic books if you choose to stay home. It’s not ideal, but as I have had more kids and more energy to factor in with my older boys, this is the nap we take on the go.  It’s usually not as long or restful, but then they take their long afternoon nap in their crib. 

       *Activities worth leaving early for could be museums, or places farther away. We live in Chicago and the Botanical Garden is about a 45 minute drive so we make a day of it. 

9-10:30 | If you are home, you can do housework or prep dinner. Involve your toddler where ever they can pitch in. 

10:30-11 | Baby wakes up. You can go out for an outing with the two. Unless- see above- you have already left for the day. Check that diaper bag has all the essentials, change baby and get toddler to use potty.  

    *A baby and toddler schedule is not complete without some activity ideas. The best classes for a toddler and baby together are music classes hands down!  With story time being a close second. They both benefit from it so much and we try to go at least once a week to both.  Or you can sign up your toddler for classes like art or sports and hang out with your baby on the sidelines. The park or indoor playspaces are also great options. 

12:30 | Lunch

1:00-2 | Both take a nap. 

3-4pm | Wake up and snacks. 

4-5pm | Play time or second outing even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood.  Depending on whether we got outside time earlier.  Many babies take a 3rd “power nap” until 6-9 months old, which would be a good reason to stay home.    

5-6 | Finish dinner if needed or general clean up.  This is when I like to give them a little screen time or dad comes home and plays with the boys.  If you are breastfeeding, good time to nurse the baby before you sit for dinner.

6-7 | Dinner and family time. Clean up toys, start baby bedtime routine first. 

7-7:30 | Bedtime routine

7:15- 7:30 | Baby is asleep first, potential story time together depending on how tired baby is.  Toddler may want longer stories and it’s nice alone time with them if they get a separate story time. 

8pm | All kids are asleep!daily toddler schedule with two toddlers at home

Two Toddlers (both at home)

7-8AM | Wake up and have breakfast. Play independently or with each other. This is our summer schedule, since Miles has been in preschool since a few days after turning 3 years old. Ellis had just turned one, so the last few summers we have a more relaxed morning than the hustle and bustle of getting to school. During this time, I’ll plan dinner also if needed and we have time. 

9AM | Get dressed and pack up diaper bag, snacks and possibly lunch for morning activity. Even if you have already potty trained, back up clothes were always nice to have for accidents that are bound to happen those early months.  You can always leave it in the car and take a smaller bag out with snacks. 

10-12PM | Morning activity to the pool, library, kids class, playdate, park fun, a museum, or walk in the neighborhood. We like to make a summer bucket list to help plan our summers and visit as much as possible in the city. 

12-1PM | Lunch at same location of activity if possible or make something quick at home. 

1PM-3PM | Nap time. Chores for mommy like laundry, cleaning the house, or working on the blog. If we ventured out to a longer activity like driving to the suburbs, we may still be out and about during nap time. I think that’s okay every now and then, happens more in the summer and that’s expected. My older son Miles stopped napping at 4, he would have quiet activities like playing legos or puzzles or we’d work on something together since it was my only alone time with him. 

3PM-5PM | Afternoon Activity. If we had a simple morning activity that didn’t extend through lunch and nap, we may venture out again. To the pool, a playdate, library, swimming lessons, park, take an art or music class, play in the yard or do some crafts inside.

*If we came home during 3-5, we would have quiet time and try to calm down after our long day. Do a puzzle, play with legos, set up the train tracks, color, draw or do a simple craft project.

5-530PM– Prepping and eating dinner. Varies based on the day. I usually like to meal plan at least a little bit. Crockpot or Instant Pot meals also are a stress free way to get dinner on the table when you are busy during the day.

*5PM also starts the dinner checklist and chores.  You can start chores as early as 2 years old- mostly cleaning up with assistance, and our second son Ellis started his first chore of feeding the dog at 2 years old.  He’ll dump the whole container in the bowl, so it’s definitely a supervised activity.  He asked for this job because he wanted something to do while his older brother set the table- which has been his job since 3 and 1/2.  Learning to clean up their place after eating and toys after playing are perfect starter chores, before adding chores that help the family.

6-730PM | Bedtime routine. We try to keep this as normal as possible. Sometimes we’ll skip bath if we were out late or had friends over late, but we try to do it often. The boys just get so relaxed and ready to sleep when it’s still included. Finally, we read books together.

8PM | Everyone is asleep!

Hope this helped you create a daily toddler schedule that fits your family’s needs and size best. I’ll be back soon to share all our preschool routines! 

Free Printable Chore List by Age- From Toddlers to Teens!

What are some ways you teach your kids responsibility? Or ownership of their home? My husband and I were discussing this the other day. We want to make sure our kids contribute to the household, well because it is their home also.  They have pretty great lives and we don’t want them to take that for granted.  In thinking this through, we wondered what exactly are the age appropriate chores they can do. It’s hard to always remember what those are, which is where this chore list by age comes in hand.  

It’s not about having them help us- because it’s actually not easier to have kids help. Sometimes the 2 year old feeds the dog and spills dog food over the floor or they don’t accomplish something exactly the way you would. The purpose is that we want our kids to be well rounded and be able to take care of themselves when they leave our home. 

It seems like that is left out a lot. Kids do homework, play and tons of activities, but adding in contributions to their home is just as beneficial.  It adds to their development and character- like strong work ethic, confidence, accountability, community and a sense of pride. It can be anywhere from 2-5 different things they do a day, 10 minutes to an hour depending on your home and age of your kids. 

Related: End the Power Struggle with this Easy Daily Routine Chart & Master Back to School with Routine Checklists 

Our boys already show pride and accomplishment when they help. Miles is 4 years old and his main chores since he was 3 have been setting the table, cleaning his place at the table, feeding the dog and cleaning up his toys. Our 2 year old Ellis now helps by taking over feeding the dog and always clearing his plate from the table as well (his balance isn’t great so if there is food left, Miles helps him).

Ellis always announces to us- jumping up and down-when he’s put the dog’s bowl down with food. Like we weren’t there and told him it was time to feed her. He just gets so excited and wants to make sure we know that he contributed.

Are there days that are battles? Of course. I just remind them that every member of the house contributes in some way. I cook dinner, your dad cleans up the dishes after, you (Miles) set the table and Ellis feeds the dog, etc. If the table isn’t set, nobody can eat etc.  They start to see how everything works together.

Maybe in the future they will get some compensation or reward for complex chores but we hope that starting early gets them accustomed to having chores as part of their everyday life.

Now this list is extensive. The goal was to put everything a child is capable of doing based on their age. From there, you decide what you want to integrate into your family. It doesn’t have to be every single thing listed in the age range, by no means. 

You can download the free printable by signing up for a weekly newsletter at the end of the post! Great resource as your kids grow up and your household changes. 

Chore list with age appropriate tasks helps kids build work ethic, confidence and a sense of pride. Free Printable to use as a resource and inspiration!

Toddler Chore List (Ages 2-3)

  • Pick up toys and clothes 
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Set the Table (with help)
  • Feed pets and refill water
  • Clean up place at the table after meals
  • Brush teeth & helps get himself dressed
  • Clean up spills and messes
  • Wipe down tables, chairs and stools
  • Make beds (with help)

Preschool Chore List (Ages 4-5)

  • Helps fold towels and wash clothes
  • Water plants
  • Chooses clothes & gets dressed
  • Prepare snacks and simple meals
  • Unloads from dishwasher
  • Help with laundry- loading & sorting clothes
  • Makes bed with minimal help
  • Sets table independently
  • Assists with putting away groceries

Early Elementary Chore List (Ages 6-8)

  • Dust & vacuum
  • Put away clothes 
  • Help rake leaves
  • Load & unload dishwasher
  • Prepares & packs lunch for school
  • Get himself up, dressed and brushed for school
  • Puts groceries away
  • Transfers clothes from washer to dryer
  • Empty trashcans

Older Elementary Chores (Ages 9-11)

  • Folds own laundry & puts away (with help)
  • Washes dishes
  • Personal hygiene 
  • Helps younger siblings get ready & do homework
  • Bathes and cares for pets
  • Sets alarm clock & other bedtime activities
  • Cleans up room independently
  • Prepares easy meals
  • Household maintenance- change lightbulbs etc.

Middle Schooler Chores (Ages 12-14)

  • More detailed household cleaning- refrigerator, etc.
  • Clean shower & tub
  • Babysit siblings for short periods (with adults nearby)
  • Wash windows
  • Help with deep cleaning
  • Prepare occasional family meal
  • Mows lawn- with assistance
  • Help wash car

Teen Chore List (Ages 15+)

  • Babysit siblings for longer periods
  • Family errands
  • Earn money and manage personal finances
  • Purchase own clothes or other wants
  • Prepare family meals
  • Deep cleaning
  • Helps with family budgets- learn about how to create one for themselves

Please share any other great ideas you use for chores below! I already see my boys pride and ownership of their space increase with their contribution to our home. But I also know they are young and different hurdles are bound to be in our future. Tis Life. 🙂

Daily Toddler Schedule to Combat that Summer Chaos

Summer is fun and exciting, making room for vacations, pool days and excursions. But it can also get a little chaotic. With school and other times of year, there is more routine and structure to the day and as we know, really helps kids thrive. Creating a modified daily toddler schedule can help keep that carefree summer feeling and make sure your kids get their needs met.

This post is sponsored by Red Baron but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I like a good routine and schedule to my day. But it’s also important to be flexible. I’ve learned this the most by letting go more when my husband is watching the kids. He’s not going to do things exactly like I would and that’s really OKAY. As long as we are on the same page about the important things, it’s all good.

Summer is kind of like that. You may have an amazing day at the pool or beach and not make it for nap time once. Or maybe they catch only a few zzz’s in the car. One day bedtime gets adjusted a little late for a great outdoor movie or concert in the park.

You can still create some routine that aligns more to your summer. Make some adjustments to your normal routine to have that summer fun while not burning out.Having a summer bucket list and a plan of summer activities for toddlers is a perfect way to make lasting memories and get the most of your summer as a family!

Summer Bucket List

This is a fun and easy way to decide what activities your family wants to make sure they do in the summer. I’ve made a summer bucket list of things we want to do this summer as a starting off point in planning our time. It can be very simple or more adventurous- all depends on what works best for your family. If you have older kids, you all could create a summer activities list together.  And of course, add more as new ideas emerge. This keeps your summer active and motivated to take advantage of as much as possible.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.

Flexible but Structured Plans

Decide if you are doing any trips, camps, or signing up the kids for swimming lessons. Your schedule will naturally revolve around those things.

I’ve seen some moms plan out their summer weekdays into themes, like Make it Monday, Trip Tuesday, Water Wednesday etc. You could do that- assign each day a different theme and use it as a starting off point. I like to look at the weather of the upcoming week and plan activities based on what we are working with.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.From there, I try to make sure I have a variety. One adventure to somewhere new or haven’t been to in a while. We went to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the first time a couple weeks ago and it was ah-mazing. One day to go to the pool, water play in the yard or visit a park with a splash pad. Plan a play date or outing with friends one day. Schedule a couple of classes on Pearachute like art or music that the boys love doing together. Since Miles was in school, the boys haven’t been to tons of classes together so it’s nice to have that opportunity again. If your kids are older, taking time to read and write for enjoyment so they keep up those skills during summer as well. We read to our kids majority of nights still as our pre bad activity.

What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!Craft Corner for Rainy Days

A quick trip to Dollar Tree can do wonders for your craft area. Stock up on paper, colored pencils, foam shapes, shaving cream (for spongy paint), paint, pom poms, pipe cleaners and more! A craft project can entertain for 1-2 hours and is a perfect replacement to an outside activity that is special for that day. Instead of just playing with the usual toys they always see. If you have older kids, stock up on puzzles and board games also.

End power struggles, stop repeating yourself and ease your worries about nagging with this super easy to follow daily routine chart. Teaches positive independence with this visual and interactive tool for completing routines in the morning, during meal time and before bed.Daily “Must-Do” Activities

Write out what your must do items are for each day. This would apply to everyone. For us, it’s some type of physical activity, outside time weather permitting, reading time, and 15-20 minutes towards the home. The home activities consist of their daily chores. Since they are 2 and almost 4, they clean up their rooms and toys, help set the table, feed the dog, clear their plates and clean up messes they make. It helps them have pride and ownership over their space. Your chores and responsibilities aren’t over just because it’s summer so theirs aren’t either! Of course if you have older children, adjust the chores as necessary and add reading/writing time, and practicing an instrument or skill.

Easy Lunch and Dinner Ideas

The sun doesn’t just wipe out the kids. Moms get pretty exhausted as well! For our morning activities, I like to prep a lunch to take with us if possible. Some of our easy finger food meals which includes some fruit, a yogurt pouch, cheese, meat and crackers, and raisins. Or I’ll pack some easy sandwiches. Since my boys are toddlers, I know they will get so tired on the way home and will be prime for their nap when we arrive.

After nap is a great time for us to play outside, go to the pool, take a Pearachute class or swimming lessons. Having quick meals is huge after such a long and adventurous day. During the school year, I would grocery shop and prep dinner while Miles was in school but in the summer we are out and about so much more that having easy go to meals is a must.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.We’ve been loving Red Baron Pizza around here! The crust is delicious and the boys love the cheese. I just pop it in the oven and while it cooks we do our final clean up of toys and settle down to eat. You can give veggies as an appetizer and fruit as dessert for a well rounded meal.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.And guess what? There are also no dinner battles trying to get the kids to eat when you have a pizza like Red Baron for dinner. That is a gift in itself when trying to feed toddlers. 🙂

Daily Toddler Schedule

This is an example of what our day looks like:

7-8AM- Wake up and have breakfast. Sip my coffee slowly instead of in the car on the way to school. Maybe a little Netflix time before we leave.

9AM- Get dressed and pack up diaper bag, snacks and possibly lunch for morning activity.

10-12PM- Morning activity to the pool, library, kids class, playdate, park fun, a museum, or walk in the neighborhood.

12-1PM Lunch at same location of activity if possible or make something quick at home like a yummy pizza. With fresh fruit and vegetables of course! It’s so easy to have some fresh produce on hand during the summer.

1PM-3PM Nap time. Chores for mommy like laundry, cleaning the house, or working on the blog. If we ventured out to a longer activity like driving to the suburbs, we may still be out and about during nap time. I think that’s okay every now and then, happens more in the summer and that’s expected.

3PM-5PM Afternoon Activity. If we had a simple morning activity that didn’t extend through lunch and nap, we would venture out again. To the pool, a playdate, library, swimming lessons, park, take an art or music class, play in the yard or do some crafts inside.

*If we came home during 3-5, we would have quiet time and try to calm down after our long day. Do a puzzle, play with legos, set up the train tracks, color or draw or a simple craft project.

Create a daily toddler schedule to combat summer chaos. Includes tips for adjusting your routines, simple dinner ideas and a daily example schedule.5-530PM- Prepping and eating dinner. Varies based on the day. I usually like to meal plan at least a little bit. Crockpot meals also are a stress free way to get dinner on the table when you are busy during the day. If I haven’t planned or am exhausted, we’d do  a pizza as I’ve mentioned, order out, or have sandwiches.

*Our almost 4 year old Miles has chores around this time also- setting the table and feeding the dog as well as cleaning up. Our two year old Ellis also helps clean up and has started to learn how to feed the dog- currently he overfeeds her extensively so we have to watch him. 🙂 I try to keep this consistent as much as possible because it’s less of a fight when they expect it everyday.

6-730PM Bedtime routine. We try to keep this as normal as possible. Sometimes we’ll skip bath if we were out late or had friends over late, but we try to do it often. The boys just get so relaxed and ready to sleep when it’s still included. We read books together. Since our boys share a room, our two year old Ellis goes down first and 20 minutes later by 8PM his brother Miles (4 years old) goes to bed.

And that’s it! Hope this helped you a little bit in combating your summer chaos. I still have young children so I’d love to hear your summer war stories and tips you’ve learned.

Skip the Terrible with this Easy Two Year Old Schedule

2 year olds have a bad rap. There were times when I laughed at my two year olds’ logic and other times when I wanted him to just do what I wanted!  We had him on a pretty regular schedule, but there were other elements we needed to add at this age.  I’ll include everything we have learned in this two year old schedule. Afterward, read all about disciplining your two year old to help minimize tantrums and power struggles. So you can skip some of the terrible and enjoy this blossoming little person.Skip the tantrums with this easy two year old schedule for a happy toddler. Reinforces what they need- consistency, boundaries, repetition & understanding. Toddler schedule, activities for 2 year olds, 2 year old toys, toddler activities, toddler schedule

The best advice someone gave me was simple.  Just remember how much they are working on right now and keep that in perspective. We can’t expect them to do things the way we do or remember how to do something after shown once. He is increasing his independence, while also learning that there are rules outside of himself that have to be followed.

Related Post: 15 Essential Books on Kindness for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Related Post: Daily Toddler Schedules– Includes a Toddler and Baby Schedule & a Schedule for 2 Toddlers

On the other hand, they are able to focus longer on games and activities, and start telling the funniest stories. You really see them blossom into a “real person”.

If you haven’t already, you could be transitioning to a toddler bed or converting your nursery to a toddler room.  This is also a great age to potty train. I waited until about 2 and 1/2  with my first. With my second, I started right at 2. They are both boys, but starting earlier did help Ellis get trained faster. They also have different personalities which plays a role, but waiting until you get to a more independent 3 year old can make it tougher– but not impossible! Skip the tantrums with this easy two year old schedule for a happy toddler. Reinforces what they need- consistency, boundaries, repetition & understanding. Toddler schedule, activities for 2 year olds, 2 year old toys, toddler activities, toddler schedule

This post continues our sample schedule and routine series-find schedules from newborns-preschoolers! In this two year old schedule, you’ll find developmental milestones of a 2 year old toddler, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age.  Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).

Key Elements of a 2 Year Old Schedule

  • Sleep– they may start fighting sleep, but stick to your routine- even if it’s just quiet time in their room for nap. A 2 year old sleep schedule should equal 13-15 total hours of sleep. 1 nap around 1pm (lasts 1-2 hours). I have bedtime at 7:30, but the ideal window is sometime between 6-8pm.  Decide what works for your family and how to get your toddler the hours he needs.
  • Repetition– really need consistency and predictability at this age.  I often tell Miles what is going to happen after we get out of the car so he knows what is next.
  • Routine– In addition to a daily schedule, routines for common situations are really helpful at this age.  For example, when Miles walks in the door he has to hang up his coat, take his shoes off and put them in the bin, go potty and wash his hands.  If I randomly add a task instead of engraining it into a predictable routine, there is more room for protest. Good age to add routine cards or checklists
  • Discipline– There is so much that can be said about discipline and various ways to approach this subject, that it has its’ own post. For starters though, decide as a family how you will acknowledge behavior- positive or negative, and stick to your plan. Their emotions are very real and they need to be understood and taught how to handle them.
  • Choices are so so powerful!  My son often will protest bath- because he knows it’s the beginning of bed time.  I used to try and persuade him why bath was amazing and then I started asking him questions,
    • “Do you think we should just make a few bubbles or lots of bubbles (it’s always a lot, lol), I want to play with the froggy bath toy, which one do you want to play with?”  Right away he starts thinking about the things that he likes about bath and I can gently lead him there with no contest.

Milestones

  • Movement milestones- climbing, walks up and down stairs, kicks ball, runs easily, pedals tricycle and bends over without falling
  • Turns book pages, makes really tall towers, holds a pencil in writing position, screws and unscrews lids or nuts & bolts.
  • Language- Follows 2 or 3 part commands, recognizes most objects and pictures, understands most sentences, uses 4 or 5 word sentences, strangers can understand most of his words.
  • Social- Imitates adults and playmates, shows affection, can take turns, expresses a wide range of emotions and objects to major changes.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, please reference the disclosure policy for more information!

Toys for 2 Year Olds

  • Beginner’s tricycle
  • A large train set really leads to hours of play- with setting up the tracks in lots of different ways and then playing with the trains.
  • Magna tiles– they are all the rage and for reason! Higher price than other toys but we have built some pretty amazing structures with these- there are really endless amounts of possibilities so it helps your 2 year old use various skills at one time.
  • Tool set– a continuation of getting them pretend toys to use so they can “help” you around the house or on projects.  My son always feel so important when he grabs his broom to help sweep (by messing up all the piles, lol) or getting his tool set to help on a project.
  • Fireman suit or Princess dress– Now that they are better at dressing themselves, adding dress up to their pretend play adds an extra layer of fun!  I’m all about toys that are open ended and can lead to years of play instead of something they’ll get tired of.
  • Lego duplo– start building lego houses and villages.
  • An easel is a great way to spark creativity and easy for you to help your toddler draw shapes or letters.

Activities for 2 Year OldsSkip the tantrums with this easy two year old schedule for a happy toddler. Reinforces what they need- consistency, boundaries, repetition & understanding. Toddler schedule, activities for 2 year olds, 2 year old toys, toddler activities, toddler schedule

  • There is so much 2 year olds can do! Yes, we have to discipline more and handle big emotions- but I absolutely loved this age because I could do more projects with my son and we could talk about them and interact.
  • Read everyday if possible- you can start asking questions about the story or pictures in the book.
  • Lots of pretend play! It gets even better, I would sneakily record Miles laying out his dinosaurs and what they “talked” about.Skip the tantrums with this easy two year old schedule for a happy toddler. Reinforces what they need- consistency, boundaries, repetition & understanding. Toddler schedule, activities for 2 year olds, 2 year old toys, toddler activities, toddler schedule
  • Music classes- these don’t get old! They start singing along a lot more.
  • Play dates for socialization- they still won’t completely play together, but there is more interaction and sharing practice.
  • Park or open play spaces to run around and work on large motor skills

Some of our favorites classes that we have explored with Pearachute at this age are art classes- he started making the coolest projects at this age.  They can also learn a skill- soccer, ballet, playing an instrument or karate.

*You can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   đź™‚  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=URBANMOMTALES

Sample Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Glass of milk or water

7:30-8am | Make believe play starts to develop- toys that encourage creativity and make believe like kitchen sets, car towns, dress up clothes, toy telephone, dolls, etc.

8-8:30am | Breakfast

8:30-10:30am | Outing to the park or indoor play. Or attend toddler gym, dance, music, art or sports class. Two year olds are ready for more structured classes like ballet, sports, art, or karate.

10:30- 11am | Snack

11- 12:15pm | Help with making lunch and cleaning up. Lots more at this age than before- they can start setting the table, wiping counters, and basic prep work like stirring or pouring.

12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch

12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- Read 2-3 books, then dark room, snuggling, , soft singing then white noise machine, cover with favorite blanket and stuffed animal.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

3:30-6pm | Play with favorite toys or have a second outing, then independent play so you can make dinner or wrap up the day. They can color at this age for longer periods or work on puzzles or other quiet activities.

6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of bedtime soothing routine)

6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, music, lotion, massage, pajamas and read books.

7:30pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep.

Skip the tantrums with this easy two year old schedule for a happy toddler. Reinforces what they need- consistency, boundaries, repetition & understanding. Toddler schedule, activities for 2 year olds, 2 year old toys, toddler activities, toddler schedule

Before you go, read all about how to positively discipline your two year old.

An Essential 18-24 Month Toddler Schedule

At 18 months, you start to create a routine that you will follow until at least 3!  Of course, there are big developmental differences and milestones, but a routine with one nap will be the main schedule that your activities will be planned around.  This creates some sanity and consistency for parents too, because you can focus on other things instead of changing sleep cycles or types of food your toddler is eating.  This 18-24 month toddler schedule has everything you need for your curious toddler!An 18-24 month toddler printable sample schedule with activities, developmental toys and milestones for the happiest toddler on the block!

I’ve mentioned this before, but a toddler approaching their second birthday on a consistent schedule will be better able to handle those big emotions that come up.  Of course, it’s not a magic bullet- but it helps.  It’s a wild rollercoaster, but toddler logic is also pretty entertaining so there are fun times on this crazy ride.

Related Post: Daily Toddler Schedules– Includes a Toddler and Baby Schedule & a Schedule for 2 Toddlers

An 18-24 month toddler printable sample schedule with activities, developmental toys and milestones for the happiest toddler on the block!Major changes you could be undertaking are transitioning to a toddler bed or converting your nursery to a toddler room.  This is also a great age to potty train (I waited until after 2 with my first, but am going to try during this age with my second). It still helps to have an arsenal of easy finger foods meals.  But they should be feeding themselves a lot more though and getting the hang of using utensils.  My son Ellis still likes to toss his plate when he’s done, so there’s that still, but we’re working on it!

In this post, you’ll find developmental milestones of a 18-24 month toddler schedule, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age.  Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).

Key Elements of a 18-24 Month Toddler Schedule

  • 13-15 total hours of sleep. 1 nap around 1pm. I have bedtime at 7, but the ideal window is 6-8pm.  Decide what works for your family and how to your toddler gets the hours they need. You don’t want them to be awake more than 4- 4.5 hours between nap and bedtime. So my sons usually wake up around 3:30 from nap and 4 hours later at 7:30 are falling asleep for the night.
  • Continue whole milk- recommended to not do 2% or skim etc until after 2 years old.
  • 3 meals and 2 snacks- eat what you eat, but you can pre prep food that is nutrient rich for ease of use or have simple finger food meals on hand.

An 18-24 month toddler printable sample schedule with activities, developmental toys and milestones for the happiest toddler on the block!

  • Movement milestones- walking, kicking a ball, pulling toys behind while walking, climbs up and down furniture, starts to climb up and down steps (supervised, still not steady).
  • Taking toys apart and putting back together, builds towers, throws balls, fits items into shapes and holes, scribbling and painting, begins make believe play.
  • Language- Says 15 words by 18 months, says simple phrases by age 2, follows simple instructions, repeats words overhead in conversations.
  • Start more routines- For example, getting in the house- we take off shoes, hang up coat, and wash hands. You are more active in carrying them out at this age, but start having them take ownership of simple tasks and slowly they will take over and it creates more predictability.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, meaning I will make a small commission to help keep this blog running. Thanks for your support!

Toys for 18-24 Month Old Toddlers

A make believe hide away like this teepee  is one of my favorite toys for this age and going forward!  Magical spaces can really bring out your child’s imagination and they’ll have fun for hours.

Your toddler is really working on hand eye coordination and this basketball hoop is a fun way to work on it!

Who doesn’t want a slide?

Activities for 18-24 Month Old Toddlers

An 18-24 month toddler printable sample schedule with activities, developmental toys and milestones for the happiest toddler on the block!

  • Your toddler starts thriving for independence! Let them make simple choices- like picking out pajamas or their outfit, or what color cup to drink out of.
  • 18 months is a pivotal milestone in terms of ability, they can climb a lot more at the park and hold their balance in the shallow end of the pool.  Also, lots more classes open up to you! Many don’t start until 18 months, our favorite is a little tot soccer class or more advanced painting classes (actual instructions instead of free paint)
  • Read everyday if possible, or as often as you can
  • Sensory bins or craft projects at home
  • Lots of pretend play!
  • Music classes- play with instruments
  • Play dates for socialization
  • Park or open play spaces to run around and work on large motor skills

An 18-24 month toddler printable sample schedule with activities, developmental toys and milestones for the happiest toddler on the block!

Some of our favorites classes that we have explored with Pearachute are music classes that include dance and various musical instruments.  Early painting, beginning soccer, broadway and me plays and open play rooms.

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   đź™‚  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY

Sample Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk

7:30-8am | Make believe play starts to develop- toys that encourage creativity and make believe like kitchen sets, car towns, dress up clothes, toy telephone, dolls, etc.

8-8:30am | Breakfast

8:30-10:30am | Outing to the park or indoor play. Or attend toddler gym, dance, music, art or sports class.

10:30- 11am | Snack

11- 12:15pm | Help with making lunch and cleaning up. Work on puzzles and shape sorters, identify colors (probably won’t master until 2 or after)

12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch

12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- Read 2-3 books, then dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine, cover with favorite blanket and stuffed animal.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

3:30-6pm | Play with favorite toys or have a second outing, then independent play so you can make dinner or wrap up the day.

6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of bedtime soothing routine)

6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion, massage, pajamas and read books.

7- 7:30pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep.

An 18-24 month toddler schedule, printable sample schedule with activities, developmental toys and milestones for the happiest toddler on the block!See you for the final schedule of the series- 2 year olds!

Daily 12-18 Month Schedule for a Happy Toddler

It’s hard to accept at first- that you officially have a toddler now! I call this the in between year though- they are more half baby, half toddler. Enjoy the little bit of baby you have left! Because at 2 they are ALL toddler, lol. By now, the excitement from the first birthday is winding down and you are starting to see what kind of person your baby is becoming.  Your 12-18 month schedule is just as important as ever!What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!

It may be hard for you to believe that I feel this way, since I wrote an entire series of schedules, ha! BUT a toddler entering two on a consistent schedule will be better able to handle those big emotions that come up.  Of course, it’s not a magic bullet- but it helps.

Related Post: Daily Toddler Schedules– Includes a Toddler and Baby Schedule & a Schedule for 2 Toddlers

Maybe you feel like you haven’t had a consistent schedule during the first year, it could have been crazy to adjust to life with a baby and a busy schedule. Trust me- we’ve all been there.  It’s not too late!  This is also a crucial  milestone, where they may start fighting eating and sleeping, so predictability will help combat some of those struggles. Now that the baby food era is over, you may be wondering what to feed your one year old.  It helps to have an arsenal of easy finger foods meals.  Feeding themselves is an important milestone, and it frees you up a little bit so that’s a win-win.

My second son Ellis is currently 15 months and my oldest son Miles is 3.  Ellis is a complete “danger seeker, adventure is life” kind of guy.  He leaves my side immediately when we go somewhere.  Miles always stuck by me, and sometimes still does in new places. You’ll start to notice those trends the most at this age, they may start to develop separation anxiety and show bigger emotions when things change.  Even though Ellis is fine in new places, I haven’t gone to the bathroom alone since before his first birthday. For some reason, he doesn’t think I’ll come back when I go.  What can you do? We adjust to these phases, because they are still trying to figure out the world and how things work.  That’s big scary work for them!

In this post, you’ll find developmental milestones of a 12-18 month toddler schedule, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age.  Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).

Key Elements of a 12-18 Month Toddler Schedule

  • 13-15 total hours of sleep. Goes from 2 to 1 nap between 15-18 months. Drop the morning nap and keep the afternoon nap. I have bedtime at 7, but the ideal window is 6-8pm.  Decide what works for your family and how to your toddler gets the hours they need.
  • Switch to whole milk- recommended to not do 2% or skim etc until after 2 years old.
  • 3 meals and 2 snacks- eat what you eat, but you can pre prep food that is nutrient rich for ease of use or have simple finger food meals on hand.
  • Movement milestones- walking, kicking a ball, pulling toys behind while walking, climbs up and down furniture, starts to climb up and down steps (supervised, still not steady).
  • Builds towers, throws balls, fits items into shapes and holes, scribbling and painting, begins make believe play.
  • Language- Says 5-10 words by 15 months and 15 words by 18 months, follows simple instructions, repeats words overhead in conversations.
  • Start more routines- Getting in the house- we take off shoes, hang up coat, and wash hands. You are more active in carrying them out at this age, but slowly they will take over and it creates more predictability.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Toys for 12-18 Month Old Toddlers

What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!This singing and dancing robot doll was so fun for both my boys! Now I buy it for a lot of my friends and their baby’s first birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!Make believe toys- doctor set, cars, dolls, dress up clothes, pretend kitchen, and pretend cleaning set (My son loves this broom! I’m hoping it turns into a passionate desire to help me around the house.  A mom can dream!)

 

 

 

 

 

Activities for 12-18 Month Toddlers

  • Talk to your toddler- describe everything around them and what you are doing.  They are soaking everything up- even if they aren’t very verbal yet.
  • Read everyday if possible, or as often as you can
  • Early painting classes or craft projects at home
  • Pretend play
  • Music classes- play with instruments
  • Play dates for socialization
  • Park or open play spaces to run around and learn large motor skills

What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!

What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!Some of our favorites classes that we have explored with Pearachute are music classes that include dance and various musical instruments.  Early painting, beginning soccer, broadway and me plays and open play rooms.

*Try your first month of Pearachute for free(4 credits)!   đź™‚  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=URBANMOMTALES

Sample 12-18 Month Schedule

7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk

7:30-8am | Play: Story time, sensory bins, building blocks or nesting toys, singing songs, or listening to music while playing instruments (xylophone, drums)

8-8:45am | Breakfast

8:45am | Start nap soothing routine- Example: Dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers or nursing, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine.

9am | Morning Nap (This nap fades out between 15-18 months)

10:30am | Wake Up- Sippy Cup of Milk

10:30- 11am | Snack

11- 12:15pm | Play time: Large motor development- park or open play, push and pull toys, riding cars. Social development- play dates or reoccurring music or art classes.

12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch with Water

12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

3:30-6pm | Play: Start easy paint or craft projects. Go outside at least once a day for fresh air.

6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of soothing routine)

6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.

7:00pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep to help baby develop self-soothing practices.

What do you do all day with your one year old? This 12-18 month schedule goes over activities, toys and even a free sample schedule you can download!Download your own printable copy below! Check out the 18-24 month schedule for lots of new milestones!

Why You Need a Routine (with Sample Baby Schedule Printables)

I searched constantly about what activities to do with my babies and how to schedule their days. Constantly because I would search again at every new month, from newborns to 6 months and so forth. And I still do as we get to new milestones and changes, the next one being preschool!  I’m nowhere near Type A, but routines work wonders for babies and kids so I wanted to know why and how to create one.  It’s always helpful to see examples of how others have organized their babies’ schedules, which is why I have put together a sample baby schedule for every age range to help you create your baby routine.Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years. 

Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years.

Last week, I wrote an article about how my day looks like with a toddler baby schedule (an almost 3 year old and 12 month old).  But I know that is not everyone’s situation! To share everything I’ve learned on creating baby daily schedules and what to do with your babies at different ages, here is an overview of how and why to create routines and infant daily schedules, as well as a series of posts dedicated to each age range. Each age range article has developmental milestones, a list of activity ideas and a free sample baby schedule printable!  

Why Make One?

There is a lot of literature out there on the importance of routines and infant daily schedules.  And I spoke a little bit about it in my toddler and baby schedule post.  It is essential enough to recap here.  Structure is a huge comfort to babies and toddlers.  They are still figuring out a lot and require stability to feel truly secure in this crazy world.  Kids feel a sense of security when they know that they will sleep, be fed and have all of their needs met throughout the day.  With a set routine, there is no concern if or when it will happen. It doesn’t mean that complete spontaneity is gone forever, but a framework will help you AND your baby, I promise.  

Sleep

Knowing how much sleep and when is the skeleton of each baby daily schedule, and helping your babies get into a good routine is the first mission.  Babies, toddlers and people in general develop sleep associations. Things that are consistent every time they go down to fall asleep.  They (and we) develop regular sleep windows, where they are most likely to fall asleep. If they go past the window, they become overtired and is more difficult to get a good rest.  You may have noticed this in your own schedule.  

Kids don’t understand all of the feelings their body may be telling them yet.  They rely on us for that. Having a consistent sleep window and sleep associations helps your baby and toddler be better rested. I started with newborn sleep training, but if your baby is older- it’s never too late!Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years.

Behavior

In turn, rested babies and toddlers behave better!  It’s not that they want to have tantrums or cry at every situation.  They may be overtired or overstimulated by a new environment.  It is usually a sign that they are not coping well with what is going on around them.  Read more about positive discipline for two year olds here.  

Change is hard for some adults, and it’s incredibly hard for young kids.  A routine gives them a framework of knowledge: they understand what will happen when and can be happier as a result! If you are doing something different, tell your toddler ahead of time to ease the transition.  Also, try your best to schedule activities or outings during awake periods and not nap time.  I know it’s not always possible, but as often as you can!

**Also, must mention that my second son, even while on a consistent routine and sleep schedule gave us a run for our money! He is strong willed and determined, great qualities for his future but not for parents of him as a two year old.  I’ll devote a whole post to how we had to revamp our discipline tactics with him.  All that to say, don’t feel bad if you have a tight schedule and are still battling behavior.  It is part of parenting toddlers! You are not alone. 🙂

Makes Sure that Everything gets Done

In the toddler baby schedule, I spoke about the weekly planning method I use to organize my week.  I write my events, goals and to dos for the week and assign them for certain days and times.  This way, I’ll actually do some housework because it has a designated time.  The fact that each thing is at the same time everyday makes it easier to remember, and now my 5 year old can go through his daily routines on his own. 

*Update 2019: I have 3 kids now, I wish my schedule was this organized still and plan to get back to it ASAP.  Still believe it makes me run a lot smoother, but life has hectic phases like 3 young boys to take care of. 

How to Create a Routine or Schedule

Routine and schedule are used interchangeably because there are lots of people that cringe at the word schedule.  It sounds suffocating and hard to maintain a super regimented baby daily schedule where each minute is planned.  That is not what you need.  

All you need is a rhythm to your day, it can be as relaxed or as strict as you want to make it.  Same way with planning your to do lists- there are many different ways people accomplish tasks and organize their lives.  You need to find the best way for you.  Because the most important thing about creating a routine is that you can keep the routine going everyday.  That may seem obvious, but it’s a reminder to not create an infant daily schedule that doesn’t flow well with your personality or way of doing things.  

It may be tough at first to remember, but it becomes second nature.  I’m pretty much a zombie in the morning before coffee- I don’t get up before my kids even though it’s highly recommended.  It’s just not something I have figured out how to make work for me since I stay up late to work.

But even though I haven’t had my triple espresso (haha, yes, that’s a lot of caffeine, blame my parents), I go through the morning routine with both boys and my dog as my coffee is brewing.  They get hugged, kissed, changed, use the potty and set up with milk and toys, dog gets taken out and given breakfast. This ties them over until I’ve gotten my coffee in, then we eat breakfast together.  Only possible because it’s a set routine, since my mind hasn’t completely turned on yet.  

What to Consider when Creating One

    • Sleep, food, and activities are the main parts of a schedule for babies and toddlers.  Then you decide how you want to transition to different things.  
    • Decide if you want a more rhythm based routine, instead of a time based.  The sample schedules are time based, but a rhythm based schedule is doing everything in the same order but not necessarily tied to a certain time.
    • If you want a time based schedule but not sure if you can remember all of the things, set a timer or alarm on your phone to remind you of key times.  
  •  
    • Print the sample baby schedule at home or make your own to hang up on the fridge.

Click on the age for a sample baby schedule, developmental milestones and activity ideas:

Make a Great Toddler Baby Schedule that Works for You!

A routine or schedule isn’t a regimented, strict schedule for every minute of your day.  It won’t make your life mundane or boring.  Actually having a routine will help you NOT have to plan every single minute, because your organization helps free up some time.  It also contributes to being a happier stay at home mom when your day has structure.  What a schedule does is help regulate your baby and toddler’s sleep, mood, behavior and overall well being.  Creating a toddler baby schedule may feel daunting but it doesn’t have to be!Make a great toddler baby schedule that works best for you and your family! Includes sample schedule and steps for creating your own baby toddler schedule.

Being consistent in how things are done daily will make caring for two kids easier. Once you have a routine established, bending it here and there won’t completely throw them off.  We do the same things in the same order but if we have an activity that pushes nap or bedtime by 30 minutes every once in awhile, it won’t ruin their sleep or daily rhythm.  

Structure is a proven comfort to children, and in turn moms and dads! Because if structure makes their moods and behavior more regulated, then that is a clear blessing for you as well!  Make a schedule that works for you, which is what I have done. I’ll share an example of my daily toddler baby schedule and steps for creating your own.

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The following schedule is for a 9-15 month old (two naps a day) and a 18 month to 3 year old toddler (one nap and able to participate in structured activities, but not in preschool yet).  Right now my sons are 12 months (Ellis) and 34 months (Miles) and we’ve been following this schedule since Ellis went to two naps around 9 months.  

Scroll to the end for steps on creating your own schedule and modifications for younger babies!!

7-7:30 Wake Up and start the day!  Change diapers/pull ups.  Get dressed.  Boys get milk and play independently, while mom makes and drinks coffee.  While they play, make sure baby Ellis doesn’t eat the dog food or toss dog water all over the kitchen floor.  Make sure Miles doesn’t run Ellis’ toes over with toy motorcycle.  

8:30-9 Make and have breakfast together.  Cereal with fruit on unambitious, ok fine, lazy days.  Or we’ll have eggs with toast, pancakes with fruit or oatmeal with fruit.  

9:30 One year old Ellis goes down for nap. Miles used to come with me but for some reason (maybe because he’s a two year old) he doesn’t understand the concept of whispering while a baby is trying to fall asleep.  So I set him up with a puzzle, blocks or magnetic book that will take his attention for at least 15 minutes.

Involve toddler in your housework

After Ellis is down, I convince Miles to help me with some housework or cooking. He loves to help, even though it can take a lot longer when he is helping.  It’s better than having him get bored with his toys though and it’s great for his development!  If it’s not something he can really help with, he’ll have an hour of iPad time or PBS.  I unload/load the dishwasher, start or completely prep dinner depending if I’m using the crockpot and start a load of laundry.  

Ugh- I hate laundry and dishes.  Putting them everyday helps them not pile up and be a complete burden.  To be completely transparent, some days this happens and sometimes not, because I rather make a gourmet meal then do laundry.  For sure my area for growth!

10:30-11 Ellis wakes up and we get ready to hit the road! Make sure diaper bag has all the essentials, change baby and get toddler to use potty.  This is my favorite part of the day and the ideal time for both of them to have an activity.  When Ellis drops his first nap, I will plan their outing earlier and push nap up to 1pm.  I do it this way so Ellis can have his nap at home and be fully rested.  His first few months, he could have it on the go and still have two more naps at home.  The naps on the go are never as effective as home- just like when we sleep in the car or on a plane, never the same.  

Activity Ideas

We use this amazing service called Pearachute to schedule many of our outings.  They have it in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Kansas City.  It’s a service to drop in to various kids’ classes all over the city, instead of going directly through one business where you may have to buy a multi week session. 

*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free!   đź™‚  Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY

I sign up the week before so I know what I have going on the coming week: Bookworms (reading and art) at 11 on Monday, Mr. Dave Music on Wednesday at 11:15,  and soccer at 4pm on Thursday.  I shoot for 2-3 a week and leave the other days for errands like the grocery store or house projects.

The best classes for a toddler and baby together are music classes hands down!  They both benefit from it so much and we try to go at least one a week.  I can’t wait until Ellis is 15 months because it will open up other options for him like art and then more sports classes at 18 months.

Right now I take him along to a lot of Miles’ classes and we play on the side, which he is usually pretty happy with (I may bribe him with snacks if he gets bored, lol).  Our favorites are art classes, soccer, book readings and music/art class combos.  Chicago favorite spots are Mr. Dave Music, Easel Art Studio, Super Soccer Stars and Lil’ Street.

Other options are the park if it’s nice which Miles loves to do or an open play session at an indoor playspace.  We have a park a few blocks away so that is usually our post nap venture since it’s easy to grab the stroller and go.  Chicago favorites for indoor playspaces include Little Beans Cafe and Bubbles Academy.  Really they are the closest to us, because I’ve heard great reviews of many other spots!

12:30 Lunch together! If I’ve done my monthly prep of baby finger foods, I pull out something from there to feed them.  Many times I give Ellis eggs- it’s my go to protein for one year olds because it’s so easy!  I’ll also create my own “lunchable” by cutting up cheese, turkey and some whole wheat crackers or toast.  Then add a little fruit on the side.  PB&Js are also favorites for Miles.  If we have leftovers from the night before, that is my first choice.

1:30-2 Go down for nap.  Miles gets a pull up and Ellis a diaper change, we get into the reading corner and read one book together.  They’ll sleep 1-2 hours.  I usually work on my blog instead of folding that load of laundry I did earlier.  Hey, we have clean clothes- that’s a win for me!  This is a good time to do house stuff, but also get some rest for you since you’ll have to gear up for the post nap/dinner/bedtime shenanigans.  

3-4pm Wake up and snacks.  Ellis usually gets up first and I’ll have at least 30 minutes to play alone with him.  Then Miles is up by 4 at the latest.  In the winter, I hate post nap activities because it gets dark around 4:30- we at least try to get a walk around the neighborhood in our stroller.  

The summer is a lot nicer so we may do a second outing.  It could be walking to a park near by or we have soccer on Thursdays.  In the winter, I put together a craft corner in Miles’ room so post nap is a perfect time to do a little craft project or play in a sensory bin (my favorite ideas are in this book).  

Try and get outside at least once a day because sun is beneficial for babies and toddlers, plus it helps them sleep better!

5-5:30 Finish dinner if needed.  Listen to music or Spanish videos on youtube.  

5:30-6 DAD IS HOME!! YAY!!!  This is me and the kids’ reactions. 🙂 Daddy play time!  I wrap up dinner and work out at either 6 or 7.  I didn’t always exercise while I was working full time and I see now that it really helps me recharge and ready to tackle the next day.  

6:30 Kids eat and we sit down with them (or my hubby does if I’m at workout class),  my husband and I eat at 8pm after the kids are down and I’ve worked out already.  Eventually, we’d love to all eat together but this is working for us right now.

7pm Miles cleans up his toys.  Bath time by Daddy!! ( I use a lot of exclamation points for the activities led by Daddy, I’m sure you understand)

7:15- 7:30 Ellis is dressed in pjs, relaxing lotion, read 2-3 stories, cuddle time and put down with lambie white noise machine. Miles gets a little extra bath time play, then gets the same routine but we’ve come to a conclusion of 3 stories- no more per our rules, no less per Miles’ rules, so he can’t manipulate us to stay awake longer.  đź™‚ Except when he gets me to come back in because he has to go “potty” again.  Working on that one…

8pm Miles is down while Mommy and Daddy get some adult dinner time talk and wine of course!  

Night time is when I work on my blog, because I’m naturally a night owl.  My husband usually goes down around 9:30 to get up early and do his workout before work, so I stay up until about 11 working on the blog or watching binge worthy shows on Netflix (if I’m being honest).

Baby 0-9 months

Having a toddler and a baby with more frequent naps changes things a little bit.  For newborns, I followed this sleep training strategy where Ellis would sleep after 1-2 hours of wake time.  This gives you a little less flexibility than when they are older.

To create this schedule- we’d stick to home a lot more or I would have Ellis take one nap in the stroller or car seat.  Around 3 months, he started to have a consistent 3 naps a day schedule so we could go to our morning activity with him sleeping on the go for that first nap.  Walks around the neighborhood or trips to the park were always great.  He was entertained with just staring at the leaves on the trees and people walking by.

Create Your Own Toddler Baby Schedule

How do I keep it all straight? The routines are easy to remember because you do them daily (you just have to decide what yours are and stick to them), but then you have to organize all of the other stuff.  I used this system by Suzi at Start a Mom Blog to organize my week in terms of events, appointments or big goals for the week.  I modified it a little bit to fit my life, and update it every Sunday. 

We are in a small condo with no real office or dining room, so the desk planner just wasn’t working for me.  I have this hanging in my kitchen and really like the visual reminder as I’m running around.  Also, I like that I can grab a post it and move it to a different day or time if it doesn’t work out when I originally planned it.  Make a great toddler baby schedule that works best for you and your family! Includes sample schedule and steps for creating your own baby toddler schedule.

Using a desk planner works also! This happy planner is adorable and I hope to get one some day when I have a home office or desk area.

My 4 main buckets are (assigned to different color post its):

  • Events/ Kids Activities
  • To Do Items
  • Blog
  • House

Decide what your main priorities are for the week and make sure they are scheduled first. Mine are enrichment activities for the kids, exercise classes, meal planning to keep with our budget and lastly because I have to in order to stay sane- housework.

Fill In Top Priorities First

Make a great toddler baby schedule that works best for you and your family! Includes sample schedule and steps for creating your own baby toddler schedule.I reserve 30-45 minutes every morning for housework of laundry, dishes, and dinner.  I have to write this down to get me to stick to the habit, instead of brushing it off for something else.  (Notice a trend here??)

The routine activities I listed above aren’t here because they are the same every day.  But I add in our activities scheduled through Pearachute and then make 2-3 house goals for the week beyond the regular dinner, dishes, laundry, and general clean up.

After that I write in my workout days, blog objectives and list what is for dinner on a large post it.  If other things come up, I can look to see where I can fit it in.  If you notice, Saturday is not on here at all. Family time is on Saturdays and we try to keep that.

That’s it! Cross off your activities when they are done and be amazed at how productive and organized you’ve been!