How to Entertain a Toddler at Home

18 ways to help entertain your toddler at home

Toddlers need to be entertained. What with their endless energy and short attention spans! Here are some activities that you can do to entertain your toddlers both at home and outdoors.

1. Play with water

Most toddlers enjoy playing with water. When the weather is warm, you can put a kiddie pool outdoors where your toddler can have wet fun.

When the air is chilly outside, you can bring your kiddie pool indoors. Just make sure to put it in a room with a waterproof floor.

You can give your toddler cups and funnels to play with. They love filling bottles with water and to mix bowls of water with spoons and whisks.

To add a new twist to their play, you can bring in containers of water with drops of food coloring. This allows you to teach the names of colors and it adds to the fun of their play.

Don’t fill your indoor pool with water so that you don’t have a problem emptying the pool. Also, you don’t want your toddlers to become excessively wet and chilled. Keep the water in the pool shallow and maintain constant supervision to keep your children safe.

Use warm water for your pool and make sure to have fresh water for drinking so that your toddler will not drink the water they are playing in.

Surround your pool with towels so that spilled water can be absorbed. This will help you to clean up the room easily. It will also prevent your toddlers from slipping and falling when they climb in and out of the pool.

2. Sandbox

It is good to make your toddler play in a sandbox both indoors and outdoors. If you make them play outdoors, make sure to put a plastic sheet under the sand so that your toddler will not dig through the sand and into the soil. This will make the sand dirty.

If you are putting your sandbox indoors, make sure you put it on an area rug that is tightly weaved. If sand spills on it, then you can simply lift it and dump back the sand that has spilled into the box.

3. Playdough

This is something interesting for a toddler to play with. You can give them some tools like a cookie cutter or a fork so that they can cut and make the playdough into shapes. You can make them use popsicle sticks or beads to stick into it. Your toddler will have a lot of fun with playdough.

Another fun activity you can do with playdough is to play baking. Make them pretend that they are baking in a toaster over. You can buy a second-hand toaster oven for a cheap price at your thrift store or yard sale. Make sure to remove the power cord so that they don’t get tempted to plug it in the wall.

4. Drawing and coloring.

You can use sheets of large poster paper or lining paper to cover your kitchen table. Then make them use a box of felt tips so that they can draw there any time.

Markers don’t require much force to make a mark so it is easier for toddlers to color with them than with crayons. Buy markers that are non-toxic and washable. To make your toddlers have more fun, give them a tape or stickers to add to their art project.

5. Play in a tent

You can improvise a tent by using two chairs and an old blanker. Or, simply buy a play tent.

Playing in a tent is something new for toddlers. In the tent, you can add some pillows, blankets, and toys. They can have fun crawling and playing around in this new environment. Tents can be used both outdoors and indoors.

6. Cooking

Many toddlers enjoy helping their moms cook or bake because they can have some tasty bits like chocolate chips while mixing the ingredients.

You can make them help by measuring beforehand the exact amount of ingredients and letting your child use a teaspoon to measure the ingredient into the mixing bowl. So, the child can just dump the ingredients but you are sure that the proportions are correct.

This will be a messy experience but you know that your toddler is having a fun time.

7. Animal hide and seek

You can make your toddler look for animal toys that you have hidden in your garden among the plants and bushes or indoors among potted plants. Make sure not to hide the toys too well or they won’t find them. Just make them see a little part of the toy so that they can find the toys easily.

8.Cardboard box playhouses.

Making playhouses out of large cardboard boxes is another activity you can make your toddler do. You can make a simple playhouse or an elaborate one.

You can use large boxes that can fold flat when not in use. Or for added fun, you can use several boxes, connect them to make tunnels leading to other boxes.

9. Refrigerator magnets

You can purchase many different kinds of refrigerator magnets. The most popular in stores is the alphabet magnets. However, you can make your magnets that feature things that your toddlers are familiar with like having the faces of family, friends, and pets on them.

To make your refrigerator magnet, find any lightweight object that is flat on one side like small stones, Legos, familiar pictures, small plastic animals, and more. You can use button magnets or thin, magnetic sheets to glue your objects on.

Make sure the back of your object is clean so that when you glue your magnet on it, it will stick well. Place glue on your magnet and press your object down into it. Let the glue dry up before letting your toddler use the magnets.

10. Color matching game

In this activity, you can use a plastic tray, paint swatches, pom poms, and 4 colored balls. Tape the paint swatches to each section of the plastic tray.

Then give your toddler 4 colored balls. Tell the name of each color of the balls one at a time. Let him find the matching color swatch. Your toddler may take a while to catch on especially if this is something new to him. Eventually, he will know the color names and how they look like.

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

You can bring a few toys and lay there beside your toddler. You can make him climb and play over you. This is great for toddlers who don’t take naps, and for those who don’t like being left alone. And this is also good for you if you are tired and out of energy.

12. Bubbles

You can buy a cheap bottle of bubbles and teach your child how to blow bubbles. You can also make your bubbles from washing up liquid.

Toddlers enjoy playing with bubbles. You can let your toddler chase the bubbles. Chasing bubbles will help them improve their gross motor skills. It is a fun way of letting your small kids get moving and burn off energy.

Another activity you can do with bubbles is to let your toddler try to catch one without bursting it. This can help develop their fine motor skills. They will need to slow down and focus on the activity.

13. Bowling  

You can set up a bowling alley by using empty plastic bottles. Use ten of them and a softball and let your toddler play bowling.

You can let them watch you knock down the pins or bottles first and see them get excited over it.

First set up your bowling alley by using tape on the floor to mark it. then set up your pop bottles. Take a ball and roll it towards the pins. Let them take their turn to roll the ball and hit the pins. If they can count, you can have them count how many pins they have knocked down.

If they don’t want to use a ball to knock the bottles down, then allow them to knock them out themselves.

14. Planting

If you save a few seeds from lemons and oranges or any other fruit, you can teach your toddler to plant them in yogurt pots. Visit your pots each day to see if they have grown.

Or, if you have planting plot in your backyard, you can let your toddler help you with softening the soil before planting. Give your kids trowels so they can help you with the soil. Let them crawl on the beds while spreading the soil.

Let your toddler then help you plant the seeds. This can help develop their fine motor skills like poking seeds into the ground or sprinkling small seeds. You may not have a straight garden row but it is something fun for your toddler to do.

15. Color dot sticker sorting activity

This activity teaches your preschool child the names of colors, sorting, and fine motor skills. This activity can be done with only three items and you can easily create one in a few minutes. You will need white construction paper, 4-color sticker and 4 markers to match the stickers.

Draw two lines on the white paper to make 4 sections. Label each section by writing the color name in the color marker. A preschool child can then associate a color with the color name.

Give your child the dot stickers. Make him place the stickers in the section that matches the color. Let them use as many stickers as they can. Then count the sticker in each section. This can also be a helpful way of teaching your preschool child how to count.

16. DIY Sensory Box Activity

This activity can promote brain growth in a child. This is a sensory activity for toddlers but it can also be done for younger kids.

In this activity, you will need scissors, a small empty box, and a variety of random items that you can choose from around your house. Make sure you choose items that don’t pose a choking hazard for your toddler. But you need to supervise this activity while it is being done.

Make sure to put random things in the box with different textures. Anything can be put in the sensory box.

Wrap the box with wrapping paper, then carefully cut slips in the top so that your children can reach their hands inside. They are to feel the item inside without seeing them. When the child touches an item, he is to feel it and try to guess what the item is. After they have made their guess, the item would be removed from the box to see if their answer was right.

If you are using this game for toddlers, then you can give clues if they are not able to guess it at first. This can give them a lesson on the importance of our five senses.

17. Race cars on tape

Use masking tape to create a race track on the floor. Then bring out the toy cars and let your toddler play quietly with cars on the track.

If you have older kids, you can make them exercise their creativity by making them build the race track themselves for them and their younger siblings to play on.

Simply use masking tape to create your racetrack. What is great about masking tape is that it sticks to any surface, even carpets. It can twist and turn for curves in the road. And when you need to remove it from the room, the tape easily comes off with no residue.

You can let the race track reach any part of your home. And you can put objects to represent gas stations, parking garage, movie theater, and more.

Your toddler will have hours of fun running his toy car in his new race track.

18. ABC Learning activity

This is good for preschool kids who are preparing for kindergarten.

On a large piece of paper, write random letters of the alphabet. You can write the letters at least twice in a random pattern all over the paper.

Teach your child the alphabet song, then sing through it before playing this game. As each letter is mentioned in the song, point to the letter so that they will know what it looks like and what it is called.

Say a letter and let them find it on the large piece of paper. Let them use a marker to color over the letter.

This activity is a fun way of learning letters.

About the author
Daisy is a writer, mom, and expert on all things toddler-related. As a parent of three young children, she's experienced the highs and lows of parenthood firsthand, and she's passionate about sharing her insights with others. Through her website, The Toddler Life, Daisy offers practical advice and tips on everything from potty training to picky eaters. She's not afraid to get real about the challenges of parenting, and her honest and relatable writing style has earned her a loyal following of readers.