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How to Keep Toddlers Busy & Entertained

If you have a toddler at home, you know how hard it can be to find ways to keep them busy. Whether you’re trying to keep them entertained or you just need a few minutes to get the dishes done, these creative ideas will help keep toddlers busy at home, outside or in the car.

Keep your little one from needing your constant attention and out of trouble with toys and activities they’ll love!

Keeping Toddlers Busy Indoors

1. Puzzles 

Toddlers LOVE puzzles. Chunky pieces that are easy to hold onto are perfect for this age group. Their inquisitive minds will work on placing the pieces while you throw the laundry in to wash. Make sure you check resale or second hand shops for puzzles. You’ll be able to save some money since they’ll only be used for a year or two.

2. Stacking and nesting toys

There are so many great options when it comes to nesting and stacking toys. From plastic stacking rings to wooden blocks, your toddler will love trying to stack them as high as they can. These type of toys also help with developing their fine motor skills.

Toddler wearing a yellow long sleeve romper with white polka dots, playing with a wooden rainbow puzzle.

3. Magnetic tiles

Magnet tiles are a great way to keep your toddler busy and entertained. They can build towers, houses, and cars with the different shaped tiles. You can even spell out words with letters for them to copy and repeat to you.

Use a metal tray to keep the shapes contained. You can also set up your toddler in their seat to keep them contained for a couple of minutes. Magnetic tiles give you a way to introduce shapes and colors to your little one in a fun way!

4. Ball pit

A ball pit is a great way to keep your toddler busy and entertained. They can jump in, throw the balls around, and crawl through the different tunnels. You can even make your own ball pit with a kiddie pool and some plastic balls.

5. Play music together 

Does your toddler love music? Turn on your favorite music and start dancing with your toddler. Show them your best moves. As soon as you show your toddler how to dance, they’ll learn to dance on their own. Simply turn on their favorite music and let the fun begin. 

6. Snack time 

There is probably not anything else out there that distracts toddlers like food does. If you find your little one (or you!) needs a little break, a snack is a great way to get them to sit still and have a bit of quiet time. Picking out their own snack and drink is also a way to let them feel like they are in control of their choices.

7. Drawing time 

Creative drawing or craft time is always fun with toddlers. It helps with fine motor skills, gives them a sense of accomplishment and you’ll have a new piece of art to hang on the fridge!

Toddler playing in a bucket of water outside.

Ways to Keep Toddlers Busy Outside

1. Paint with water

This is such a simple way to keep toddlers busy and it’s practically mess free! All you need is some paper, a paintbrush, and a cup of water.

Set your toddler up at the table or in front of the fence with their own cup of water and let them go to town painting. The best part is that the “paint” will dry quickly in the sun so they can start all over again.

2. Sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk chalk is another great way to keep toddlers busy outside. They can draw pictures, write their name, or just color on the pavement.

3. Water play

A water table or bucket of water is a great way to keep your toddler busy on a hot day. They can splash around in the water, play with toys, and use their imaginations. Just make sure you supervision as they play.

If you have a driveway, they can even help you wash the car with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge.

4. Sandbox

A sandbox is a great way to keep your toddler busy when the weather is cooler. They can scoop the sand, build castles, and bury their toys. Just make sure to cover any sand up when it’s not in use.

5. Sprinkler

Spend time in the yard with a sprinkler or even a small blow up pool. They can run through the spray, jump in puddles, and cool off. Just make sure you supervise kiddos as they play near water.

Toddler sitting in a car seat in a minivan for a long road trip

How to Keep Toddlers Busy on Long Road Trips

1. Busy bags for toddlers 

What happens if you’re on the road and you need to keep your toddler busy? Busy bags are the way to go! To make these, you’ll put toddler-friendly activities into a bag. Then every hour or so, your toddler will have something new and interesting to do or play with.

Items can vary from mini crayon sets with a coloring book, to a puzzle, a special snack or some small toys to play with. When you’re on the go, it’s nice to have an activity already ready for your child to play with. 

2. Magnetic letters

Magnetic letters and shapes also work well in the car. Because they stick to a metal tray, they tend to be a safer choice than other toys or manipulatives. They are a great way to keep your toddler busy while they learn their ABCs or make fun designs.

3. Sing Together 

Singing songs is a great way to keep your toddler busy on a long road trip. They can sing along with you, clap their hands, and dance in their seat. You can even make up your own songs about the things you see along the way. 

Songs are a great way to learn too!

4. Play I Spy

I Spy is an entertaining game to play with your toddler on a long road trip. They can look for things out the window and tell you what they see.

The best part is that it’s a game that everyone in the family can play. It’s an easy way to not only entertain kiddos, but practice color and shape recognition without feeling like a lesson.

5. Listen to audiobooks 

Audiobooks are a fun way to spend time on a long road trip. Kids can listen to the story and follow along with the book’s pictures. This is a great way to introduce them to new stories and different worlds.

Finding ways to keep toddlers busy isn’t always the easiest task in the world, hopefully these ideas will help.

With some smart preparation, you can keep your toddler entertained at home, outside, and even on a long car trip or plane ride. What is your favorite activity to do with your toddler?

Want to visit this post later? Pin it to your Toddler Ideas board so you can find it easily when you need it.

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