1.Matching colored popsicle sticks with colored paper. This kept the girls entertained for a long time. They would sort all the popsicle sticks onto the correct color, and do it again.
2. Gluing random shapes onto paper. Glue sticks have pretty minimal mess too. Added bonus: kept everything contained within this plastic container to make clean up easier.
3. Pipe cleaners. Sticking pipe cleaners into strainers is fun, if you are a toddler. Again, kept them entertained for a long time.
4. Colored puff balls. This was both a sorting and pouring activity. Also the baby loved trying to eat them.
5. More fun with pipe cleaners. And also painting.
6. This was a Pinterest idea. Looks simple right? Put the paint into a baggie and tape it over a white piece of paper. The writer claimed it would be days of messy-free fun (DAYS she claimed!) We made it about 15 minutes before they ripped the bags open and wanted real painting. Looked cool though, right?
7. The rice table. We used to do this all the time at the daycare where I worked in college at the sensory table. It obviously gets messy but it's a cheap and easy activity that really does keep them interested for a long time. We left this out for a week or so and they kept coming back to it and really having fun. Side note: the baby tried really hard to shove fistfuls of uncooked rice into her mouth.