Playdough. Role-play with plastic animals. Diggin in the garden. Sticking, painting, hide and seek.
My DS wasn't much good with lego at that age (still isn't, really). Doesn't have the fine motor control or patience.
gluing. I cut up old greeetings cards, leaflets that come through the door, old magazines etc and using pvc glue or a prit stick dd sticks them on the paper to make pctures. We also stick cotton wool, glitter, pasta shapes, milk bottle tops etc.
mask making - cardboard, paints/crayons and a bit of cotton/string
baking - jam tarts and gingerbread men is a good one
helping to make tea (sheling peas is good at this time of year as no knives invoved you just have to ake sure the peas end up in the pan and not in little mouths)
Making apple (or other fruit) crumble is good, they can cut the fruit/cooking apples with a child's knife, put apples in pot (if you boil them first), add the water, watch it cook, mix the crumble up with their hands....
Making popcorn is fun, too, if you have a pan with a glass lid.
apart from playing with her toys my dd paints, draws, plays with play dough, dresses up as a fairy etc, sings & bashes her guitar she flicks through her books and makes up her own stories. she loves helping with cooking & housework.
My son's current favourite activity is sprinkling coloured sand from a salt shaker onto a tray. When it runs out he draws pictures in it with his fingers, then we collect it up and start all over again! Other fun messy things are oats / rice or similar with some sieves, jugs etc. on a large tray or sand table - if you have an outside area the mess need not be too awful.
Singing and dancing is fun and burns off a lot of excess toddler energy - we play "Can you dance fast / slow / big steps / tiptoes / stand on one leg etc." We play drums, trumpets, march around the room like fools! Afterwards he is happy to sit and have some quiet time with books or playdough. Will see if I can think of some more things tomorrow, it's funny how your mind goes blank when asked "what do you do all day?"
i need ideas too, cos I've reduced ds's hours at nursery being on maternity leave. On Monday I did all sorts with him before 10.30 (fairy cakes, racing cars, tent, picnic, drawing with chalk on patio, thomas dvd) and had run out of ideas by then - luckily the paddling pool and hose were out from the weekend. I think getting him to wash up plastic cups is a good one - he was there for hours - just shows me the simple things are the best!
dd loves drawing on her whiteboard/chalkboard but I also get her outside to draw on the concrete path with chalk - when the day is done - just hose it off.
Also put her play table outside and pour some shaving cream on the table with a few drops of food colouring and she mixes it in and then draws shapes.
she loves being chased through the house ( being winter here) I pretend I am a tiger - cue lots of growling etc and chase her through the house and then it is her turn to chase me - she does a fab tiger!!
lots of singing nursery ryhmes with sctions - like wheels on the bus, old mcdonald, wind the bobbin, etc. I have her favourite songs laminated and on a key ring and she can choose which ones we sing.
going for a walk down the street....
she loves tea party stuff - pretending to bake with my saucepans and spoons etc. then we pretend to eat what she has cooked.
Get her to help me with baking things - she loves the stirring and licking the spoon when finished!!