The Best Toddler Activities

How to keep your toddler busy during quarantine.

Toddlers are always busy. They are tiny humans with their own agendas. If you dare throw a wrench in their wheels, be prepared for a lot of huffing and puffing. Fortunately, most toddlers are easily distracted and can be coaxed to try something new, but only if it catches their eye.

These are tough times, as schools are closed and jobs are on the line, leaving many families learning how to make more out of less. 

With fewer activities that take us out of the house, my home has become the world. 

Instead of going to the library for storytime, we introduced afternoon storytime to compliment our standing date at bedtime. Since we can’t go to soccer practice, we get active with yoga or a dance party.

I have made it a point to ensure my children are not glued to screens by the time we emerge from self-isolation, but the oneness is not on them alone. As a parent, it is my responsibility to enrich my children’s lives with experiences that allow them to bloom and flourish.

Here’s how we’re doing it.

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Cheap and easy toddler activities

Messy Toddler Activities

It doesn’t take an art degree to come up with a few DIY projects to keep your toddler busy. In the early days of self-isolation, I would take one day and plan out a week’s worth of projects and activities around various subjects, such as farm animals, plants and nature or dinosaurs. I repurposed used coffee pods by turning the coffee grounds into ‘dirt’ for our farm animals. My son had a good time digging his fingers into the dirt to ‘rescue’ the farm animals. He gave them a bath in a separate container before allowing them to resume their normal activities on his farm.

Another idea is to pull out the finger paints to create one-of-a-kind pieces that may or may not resemble family members. We turned finger paint into a seasonal craft, making four leaf clovers with footprints, before adding a sprinkle of gold glitter for good luck.

Messy toddler activities

Toddler Approved Baking Activities

I love baking and apparently so does my son. He learns how to follow instructions, how to be a helper and how to be patient when in the kitchen with me. Although I enjoy baking for the end result, I see that there are lessons to be learned in having your busy toddler lend a hand. In the past few months we have baked sugar cookies from scratch, cupcakes and spring marshmallow cookies.

Watch the full playlist here.

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Learning Activities for Toddlers

There are very few things that will make a toddler sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. If you ask for that attention magnet to also be educational, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re asking for too much. Well, that’s the mindset I had before I tried ABCMouse.com. The commercials don’t do it justice – it’s one of those products you have to try to believe. My son has already learned his colors, can recognize his letters and most numbers, but ABCMouse.com is supporting learning through play. Even if I spend half an hour on the tablet with my son, playing games, I have the comfort of knowing that he is learning.

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Get Moving to Keep a Toddler Busy

My son is a little fireball of energy and we have no issues with letting steam off. But since we’re mostly at home now, it’s best to keep physical activity somewhat under control. In order to get our daily dose of action, I try to incorporate a few different activities. There are yoga routines for kids, and even toddlers, available on YouTube – the world’s greatest free resource. We like Cosmic Kids Yoga for fun, easy-to-follow routines and stories. My son loves to watch me work on yoga poses, before trying them himself. 

Another fun take on physical activity is a dance party – and this one can get the whole family moving. Put on your favorite family-friendly playlist and let loose. From my experience, this activity is best done way before its time to wind down for bed. 

As with most of the activities in this list, the mere fact that you are spending precious time with your little one is reward enough in their eyes.

How to Keep a Toddler Busy with Bubbles

Whether you have a fancy bubble machine or a good old fashioned bubble wand, it’s amazing what bubbles do to toddlers. I can’t imagine anything that brings me so much joy as an adult, but when those little eyes see the first bubble break free, the joy and excitement is palatable. We also started thinking outside the bottle when it comes to bubbles. When it’s hot outside, we add a few squirts of dish soap to our water table, for the perfect car wash that you don’t have to clean up afterward. Cars and hands stay clean!

Calm Activities for Toddlers

Some days are harder than others. Creativity and motivation can be hard to come by when there’s no end in sight for self-isolation. On days like that, I like to cuddle on the couch and put on a good kid-friendly movie. Thank goodness for our streaming subscriptions! We also have a DVD player as a backup measure, but thankfully we haven’t had to put that into use yet.

Busy toddler activities. Cheap and easy activities.

I hope this list helps to take part of the burden off of your shoulders. The days may feel long now, but I hope we will one day look back on this experience as of the greatest blessings in disguise for all of the extra time we get to spend with our children. Stay safe!

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