45 Simple Effective Ways to Entertain Your Toddler

Do you have an active toddler at home and you’ve often wondered how you can find different ways to entertain your little one? If you do, I’m sure you already know that toddlers possess an endless amount of energy and short attention spans. This often makes it difficult to keep them entertained for long periods at a time. Sounds familiar?

For those reasons, you will need various toddler activities to keep your little one busy when they’re awake. Your best bet is to find ways to keep them busy with various different, interesting fun activities. Remember they should be activities that are age-appropriate for toddler fun.

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The daycare centers are closed

In the recent past, your toddler probably attended a daycare center. It is likely that they spent a couple of hours there while you worked. Most daycare centers are well structured, and usually have age-related activities to keep toddlers busy while they are in their care at the center. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most daycare centers are currently still closed. The way things are unfolding at this time, no one knows when it will be safe again for your toddler to return to daycare. It’s therefore up to you to take care of your them all day, right? And admittedly, that’s a lot of hours for you to find engaging activities to entertain your toddler.

Oh well… so, you’re now at home 24/7 with your very active toddler. It’s my guess that it’s a challenge to try to juggle your motherly duties and also find effective ways to entertain your toddler all day, every day.

Toddlers get easily distracted, therefore, you need different activities that will keep them active and entertained all day. By having various activities, you can switch up your ideas and use them all over again and again throughout the course of a day.

Here are 45 simple ways to entertain your toddler with easy fun activities. For your convenience, I’ve set them up in two sections:

  • Indoor activities
  • Outdoor activities 

Bookmark this list so that you can always return to it each time you need to pick more activities to keep your little one busy, happy, and entertained.

Have fun!

Bookmark This List So You Can Return To It Each Time You Need To Pick More Activities

Indoor activities to entertain your toddler

1. Playing with soft cushions

Assemble a pile of soft cushions or bean bags in the middle of the floor for your toddler to jump and roll on.

2. Playing with toys

Entertain your toddler with toys
Entertain your toddler with toys
  • Bring out the cars, trains, building blocks, and bricks and let your toddler get to work. If your child is playing alone, remove small building blocks or toys with small detachable parts so that they don’t put them in their mouth.
  • You may even dig out a basket of old baby toys. Your toddler will be excited to play with them because it’s been a while since they last saw those toys.
  • At the end of this activity, your toddler will be occupied for some more time as they help to clean up and put the toys away. You should teach them the song “clean up” and sing along as they put away the toys.

CHECK HERE FOR TOY CARS FOR TODDLER

CHECK HERE FOR BUILDING BLOCKS FOR TODDLERS

CHECK HERE FOR BUILDING BRICKS

3. Read Stories together

Entertain your toddler by reading to them
Entertain your toddler by reading to them

Read to your toddler from a storybook that has pictures in it. The pictures can be of small babies, animals, numbers, etc. As you read, try to make funny voices mimicking the animals and babies in the picture book. This will make your reading time even more fun.

4. Chase them around

Kids love the “I’m gonna get you” game. Get down on your knees and crawl around chasing your little one around, while singing “I’m gonna get you”! Your toddler will be giggling and running, trying to run away so you don’t catch up with them. It should be a lot of fun for them.

5. Play hide-and-seek (peek-a-boo)

Play peek-a-boo with your toddler
Play peek-a-boo games

Peekaboo is a form of play primarily played with infants. The toddler version of this game is a variation where you sing “Peek a Boo”, then hide where your little one can easily find you. Your toddler will be giggling when they find you where you’re ‘hiding’. You can hide behind a couch or a tree, call your toddler’s name and sing ‘Peek a boo’.

  • When it’s your turn to seek and find them, your toddler will follow your cue and attempt to hide from you. Sing “Where’s Georgie?” while covering your face and looking for them. Of course, you’ll replace ‘Georgie’ with your own toddler’s real name or pet name. 

Now it’s your turn to find them, pretend to be short-sighted, and walk right past where they’re hiding. When you finally ‘find them’, uncover your face and excitedly say, “oh, there’s Georgie!”. 

As you both laugh and giggle, scoop up your toddler to add to the fun.

Add a fun toy or book to the game

6. Play a sorting game

  • For this game, you may also use a toy such as an animated peek-a-boo peter rabbit toy. At the push of a button, this battery-operated rabbit says “peek a boo”, and hides behind his red handkerchief before popping back out. The rabbit makes the activity more fun too.
  • You may also read any peek-a-boo book with your toddler. This provides added fun to watch them turn the pages of the book in excitement as they sing with you while going through the pages of the book.

Use a packet of colored candies such as Smarties to play a sorting game. Sift through the pile of candies and sort the different colors into separate small bowls.

Entertain your toddler sorting through smarties
Entertain your toddler by sorting through Smarties candies

7. Game of “One for you, one for me”

This is a perfect game that teaches your toddler how to share. Set out a pile of objects like crayons or your toddler’s favorite toys. Ask them to share the crayons between both of you while they say, “One for you, one for me.” Have a container to hold your growing collections and see how your toddler feels when your collection gets huge.

8. Activity songs

Does your little one have favorite nursery rhyme songs that they love when you sing to them? Do they sing along when you sing “The Eensy Weensy Spider” or “Baa Baa Black Sheep” nursery rhyme song? You can sing to them while you both clap your hands, jump up and down, etc. Let them listen and sing along to their favorite songs. 

9. YouTube Kids / YouTube videos

There are several awesome programs and channels on YouTube and YouTube Kids to help entertain your toddler. My grandson’s favorite channel is ‘Cocomelon’. What are your little one’s favorites? If you tune in to a channel that they already love, chances are they’ll sit still and be entertained for a long time.

10. Play with a rubber stamp

Get a rubber stamp with your toddler’s name on it. You may also use a rubber stamp with any other names, image, or symbols on it. Give them a blank sheet of paper and let them have fun making stamp imprints to cover the entire sheet of paper.

11. Puzzles

Puzzles are great games for toddlers. It helps them in their physical, cognitive, and emotional skills. Apart from being able to make the pieces fit, puzzles will teach your toddler how to be patient. Building a puzzle teaches your toddler about different shapes. They will boost your kid’s memory, and helping them meet simple goals.

Entertain your toddler with puzzles
Entertain your toddler with puzzles

12. Make a greeting card

Get a birthday card for someone in your family, and let your little one draw in their own picture on the card. You may also give them stickers for decorating the card. Watch them stay busy with this project.

13. Dance with your toddler

Dancing to entertain your toddler
Dancing with your toddler

Put on some music and have fun dancing with your little one. Do you have any favorite moves to teach them? Watch them follow your cues and repeat after you each time you raise your hands, touch your shoulders, or stomp your feet.

14. Make a tent

Make an indoor tent. You may also drape a sheet over a couple of chairs to form a tent. Let both of you lie under your tent and have fun.

Make an indoor tent to entertain your toddler
Make an indoor tent

15. Lay on the floor and let them play on you

Toddlers love this activity. Lay on the floor and let your little one play on you. Bring a few toys over and lay there letting your toddler climb and play all over you. They love this game.

16. Balloon popping phone app & other app games

There are several free balloon-popping apps that you can download on your phone or iPad to entertain your toddler. This one will keep them thrilled and busy for a long time.

Search for “balloon pop” in your play store or app store, and you’ll find several free versions of these interesting games. Download, and teach your toddler how to pop the balloons. You have just introduced them to a new exciting, and engaging world of balloon popping. This game will keep your toddler entertained for some time.

Phone apps to entertain your toddler
Phone apps can help keep your toddler busy

To add to the fun, you may download 4-5 different balloon-popping apps. Rotate the apps by letting your toddler play with a different app each new day until they’ve played with all the versions, then you restart the rotation. There are several other free, age-appropriate apps on your phone’s app store that you can try as well. I found the balloon popping app particularly engaging for my two-year-old grandson.

17. Make a colorful paper fan

Let your toddler cover a piece of paper with different colorful patterns. Help them fold the paper into a fan and show them how to use it to fan themselves. They’ll love to see they just created something, a fan. 

18. Make a photo album together

For this activity, you’ll need: 

  • Some family pictures. You may also cut out pictures from magazines for the activity.
  • A notebook
  • Glue.

Help your toddler to glue the pictures onto pages of the notebook.

19. Make open hand/palm drawings & paintings

Entertain your toddler with palm painting
Entertain your toddler with palm painting

On plain paper or in a notebook, let your toddler place their hand on the paper and draw an outline of the open palm using crayons. Make as many drawings of their palm as the paper will accommodate. Remember your toddler needs to draw with their dominant hand. Therefore, you should be coloring their non-dominant palm.

Another version of this activity is to make up a thick poster paint, then paint your toddler’s palms. Use different bright colors and get them to make handprints all over a blank sheet of paper. When the paintings are dry, you will have colorful artwork from your toddler’s handprints. This is a nice keepsake for both of you to enjoy looking at in the years to come.

20. Sticky stuff activities

Toddlers like sticking things, therefore show them how to make a collage. Use scraps of color paper cut into various shapes and sizes, candy wrappers, scraps of material, foil, cotton wool – anything that’s interesting that you can find around. They can use sticky tape or glue and make a collage.

21. Have a doll’s tea party

This is a fun activity for toddler fun. Spread a picnic rug on the floor and gather 2-3 toys and teddies. Serve real food and water or juice, and have fun with your little one.

22. Wash dishes

Toddlers love to play with water. Standing on a chair in front of the sink while the water runs on a trickle keeps them occupied. You may let them fill a cup with clean water and dump it out into a bowl repeatedly. Keep towels on the floor to catch their mess. 

Washing dishes to keep your toddler entertained
Washing dishes to keep your toddler entertained

23. Let them look at themselves on your phone

Take pictures and shoot video clips of your toddler and show those to them. I’m sure your toddler is already in the habit of grabbing your phone and playing with it. This time, show them pictures or videos of themself and watch their reaction.

Entertain your toddler with photos & videos of themself
Entertain your toddler with photos & videos of themself

24. Watch old home videos

Dig out old home movies and watch them with your toddler. Show them people that they know in the video and watch their reaction.

25. Make a mask

Draw an animal’s face on a sheet of paper and cut hole for the eyes. Cut out ears and stick them on top and let your toddler color the mask. Attach a straw to the mask so that your little one can hold the mask in front of their face like a mask. Take a picture of them holding the mask to their face and have fun looking at the photos together.

26. Make a hand puppet

Make a hand puppet from an old pair of socks, Cut out eyes, nose, and mouth from sticky labels.

27. Make a macaroni necklace

Thread lengths of string through tubes of uncooked macaroni pasta and make a necklace.

Making a macaroni necklace
Making a macaroni necklace

28. Play a board game

Your toddler may not understand the rules of a board game, but you can have fun playing board games with them.

29. Tidy your toddler’s room & old clothes

Put on lively music while you tidy your toddler’s room and put away their toys. You may also ask them to help you fold their clothes from the laundry.

30. Play with indoor basketball hoop

You should have fun playing basketball with your small indoor basketball hoop for toddlers. This is an interesting fun activity that will help develop your toddler’s motor skills and coordination.

31. Have indoor toddler trampoline fun

Entertain your toddler by letting them play on an indoor mini-trampoline. The toddler’s trampoline has a safety enclosure net, and it is designed for home indoor use. In place of springs, the mini trampolines have stretch bands that help protect your little one’s tender joints.

32. Make bath time exciting toddler activity time

Entertain your toddler at bath time
Make bath time a playtime

Put your toddler in the bath with enough water to play around. There are many exciting bath toys that you can add to the bath for your toddler to play with. You don’t even have to wash them, just stay with them and let them play in the water.

CHECK HERE FOR BATH TOYS FOR TODDLERS

33. Tickle your bored toddler

Tickling your little one is an interesting way to turn them into a giggling and laughing toddler. This activity may not go on for a long time, although it’s a fun activity that they’ll definitely love.

34. Play games of “find the toy”

Hide toys that make a noise behind the couch or under the couch and see if your child can find them and bring them to you.

35. Play with play-doh for toddlers

Playing with play-doh can be messy. It is, however, an interesting game to entertain your toddler. This activity will keep them busy for a long time, playing with assorted colors of non-toxic modeling compounds.

You can give them plastic forks or cookie cutters to cut and smoosh the play-doh. Alternatively, they may use popsicle sticks and beads to stick into it.

Entertain your toddler with Play-doh activities
Entertain your toddler with Play-doh activities

You may get a wide assortment of play tools and accessories for the play-doh. These come in different shapes and sizes that your toddler will find very exciting to play with.

CHECK HERE FOR PLAY-DOH, TOOLS, AND KITS FOR TODDLERS

36. Use old toys & gadgets

Do you have old video game controllers that your little one can play with? If you do, let your toddler play with it. Show them how to hit the buttons and keep them busy playing with the game controller. You can let them play with an old keyboard that you no longer use. As he watches you type on your laptop or computer, they’ll mimic your actions and gets busy on their own keyboard.

Outdoor activities to entertain your toddler

37. Play in your backyard

Let your toddler play in your backyard. They can play with toys or dig in the dirt. If you have a backyard pool for kids, let them play in the pool with toys. You can sit in the pool with them and play or read a book.

Play in a backyard pool
Playing in a backyard pool

You may also let your toddler play on an age-appropriate outdoor trampoline for toddlers.

CHECK HERE FOR BACKYARD POOLS FOR KIDS

CHECK HERE FOR TRAMPOLINES FOR TODDLERS

38. Play with bubbles

Buy a bottle of bubble solution and bubble wands or bubble blower. Teach your toddler how to blow bubbles and watch them have a lot of fun doing so.

Playing with bubbles
Playing with bubbles

CHECK HERE FOR BUBBLE SOLUTIONS AND BLOWERS

39. Walk with them to the mailbox

Take your toddler the next time you walk to your mailbox. If possible, hold them up so that they can help you remove the mail from the mailbox. On your walk back, let them carry some of the mail, maybe one or two envelopes, or a small magazine.

You can actually make several trips to the mailbox in one day. Allow your little one to make laps around the mailbox to get them to burn off some energy.

40. Take them for a walk in their stroller

Put your toddler in a stroller and go walking. After walking for some time, you may let them out of the stroller. Let them walk for a short while before putting them back in the stroller. As you walk along, entertain your toddler by pointing out to them the different things you see and hear on your way. If you want them to stay entertained longer during your walk, take some snacks, water, and toys on your walk.

CHECK HERE FOR STROLLERS

41. Run errands with them

Due to the pandemic, you may not be comfortable taking your little one to the grocery store. However, you can take them along when next you use the drive-thru to pick up your medication.

Also, if you’ve recently been ordering groceries from your local grocery store or pizza for dinner, choose the pick-up option at checkout, instead of delivery. That will give you an opportunity to run an errand with your toddler to pick up your orders.

42. Go for car rides

Take your little one out for a car ride for about 45 minutes to an hour. You may drive slowly through country roads and have the windows down so that your toddler can look out of the window and view the scenery around. 

Take your toddler for a ride
Take your toddler for rides

On your drive back, if they’re not already asleep, put on a sing-along video for them to watch while you sing with them. You can attach a mount holder to your passenger side headrest in front of your toddler and mount your phone or iPad on it. This way, they’ll be watching their favorite program and staying entertained as you drive home. 

43. Visit a garden center

Visit a local garden center and let your little one wander around with you, checking out the different plants.

44. Take them to the park

Entertain your toddler at the park
Entertain your toddler at the park

If there are parks around where you live, entertain your toddler by taking them to one. If there are swings, let them have fun playing on swings. Entertain your toddler with any other activities at the park that your toddler can safely play with. Let them run around, climb, and play to get their energy out.

You may also take a ball or a ride-along toy to the park to add to the fun.

CHECK HERE FOR RIDE-ALONG TOYS

45. Enlist your friends, if possible

Plan a playdate or meet with some of your friends at the park so you can have some adult conversation while your toddlers entertain each other. You may also trade babysitting with a friend so you can take turns getting stuff done or take a nap without any kids. This option may not be immediately possible during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic lockdown while everyone is social distancing.

Each of the activities mentioned above may only entertain your toddler for a couple of minutes at a time. Some may last longer than others. You should therefore have a few of the activities lined up for quick rotation. Try and use your creative imagination to add variations to each of the activities listed here and formulate personalized versions that work best for your child.

14 thoughts on “45 Simple Effective Ways to Entertain Your Toddler

  1. Teaching toddlers valuable life skills are important to incorporate in these activities. Thank you so much for your feedback.

  2. This is a great list of activities for toddlers. I particularly like how many teach them valuable life skills and aren’t just purely “play”. And yet masked as fun! Thanks for sharing such an extensive list.

  3. Awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing these tips. Gonna pass this post to my sister who’s got two toddlers!

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article.
    I hope it helps parents of toddlers keep their toddlers busy during the pandemic.

  5. I don’t have a toddler but you brought back a lot of memories. Your list is amazing. All the activities are perfect for the toddler age who is so curious about the world and loves bubbles, paint, puzzles, and still loves “peek-a-boo”.

  6. Great ideas. I have a toddler at home and your list has reminded me of some activities I’d forgotten about and given me some new ones to try.

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