How to Keep Toddlers Busy

Are you looking for ways to keep your toddler busy indoors? If so, you’re not alone! Developing activities that entertain curious and active toddlers can be challenging. From indoor play structures and creative art projects to fun sensory activities, there are endless possibilities when it comes to keeping toddlers indoors without any screens.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or just need some ideas for rainy days, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for some valuable tips on how to keep toddlers busy!

How to Keep Toddlers Busy

In this blog post, we’ll provide an array of ideas on how to keep your little one engaged and out of trouble while they stay at home. Read on for our top tips on providing your toddler with plenty of entertainment—without having them spend hours in front of the TV!

What Will You Need?

Before we dive into the activities, it’s essential to make sure you have some basic supplies on hand. These can include common household items such as follows:

  1. Craft materials like paper, glue, crayons, and paint
  2. Basic kitchen ingredients like flour, salt, food coloring, and baking soda
  3. Toys such as building blocks, puzzles, cars or dolls
  4. Books for reading aloud or picture books for toddlers to look at on their own
  5. Music or musical instruments
  6. Household items for exploring, such as pots and pans or cardboard boxes

Having these items readily available will help you to avoid any last-minute scrambling. And remember, not all activities require a lot of preparation. Some ideas are perfect for on-the-spot fun!

10 Easy Steps on How to Keep Toddlers Busy

Step 1: Create a Daily Routine

Easier to Transition Between Activities

Toddlers thrive on routine! A predictable daily schedule can give your child a sense of security and structure, making it easier to transition between activities. Your routine could include meal times, nap times, periods for indoor play, outdoor play (weather permitting), creative activities, and quiet time.

Having a routine doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible—it’s more about creating a predictable sequence that your toddler can get used to, which can also help manage their expectations.

Step 2: Implement Sensory Play

Sensory play is a fantastic way to engage your toddler’s curiosity and keep them occupied. This involves activities that stimulate their senses—touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight, and hearing.

For instance, you can set up a sensory bin filled with different materials like rice, beans, or water beads. Add spoons, cups, and small toys to enhance the play. Sensory play keeps toddlers busy and significantly aids their development and learning.

Step 3: Promote Creative Play

Encouraging creative play is another effective method to keep toddlers busy. Provide them with craft materials like colored papers, crayons, safe scissors, and glue. Let them unleash their creativity by making collages, drawing pictures, or crafting paper animals. You can also introduce them to play-dough for sculpting figures.

This keeps them occupied, stimulates their imagination, and enhances fine motor skills. Remember, it’s not about the end product but the process of exploration and creation. Always supervise to ensure safety while they’re using crafting materials.

Step 4: Embrace Outdoor Play

When weather permits, encourage outdoor play. This can include simple activities like blowing bubbles, going on a nature walk, or playing in the sandbox. Outdoor play is vital for your toddler’s development, as it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence.

Activities Like Blowing Bubbles

It also offers opportunities for them to interact with peers, which can enhance their social and communication skills. Remember, safety should always be a priority. Always supervise your toddler during outdoor play and ensure the play area is safe.

Step 5: Incorporate Active Play

An active toddler is a busy toddler! Physical activities not only keep your little ones entertained but also help in their overall development. Incorporate games that involve running, jumping, or dancing in their daily routine. Building an indoor obstacle course using cushions, boxes, and furniture can also be a fun and engaging.

Alternatively, simple activities like playing catch, doing a dance-off, or just free play can keep your toddler busy and help burn off excess energy. Always ensure these activities take place in a safe and supervised environment.

Step 6: Introduce Pretend Play

Pretend play, also known as imaginative or make-believe play, is a great way to keep your toddlers engaged for extended periods. It allows them to explore different roles and scenarios, which helps develop their creativity, social skills, and understanding of the world around them.

Provide props such as dolls, stuffed animals, kitchen sets, doctor’s kits, or costumes to stimulate their imagination. Encourage them to enact different roles, like being a chef, a doctor, a superhero, or a teacher. Pretend play can be a solo activity or a fun game with siblings or parents. Remember, the key is to let your toddler steer their play within a safe and supervised environment.

 Enact Roles Like Being a Superhero

Step 7: Encourage Reading and Storytelling

Cultivating a love for books from a young age is a wonderful way to keep toddlers busy and foster their learning. Start by having a dedicated reading time each day. Picture books with vibrant illustrations are particularly appealing to toddlers.

Read aloud to them, pointing at the pictures and discussing what’s happening in the story. Alternatively, they can flip through books independently, fostering curiosity and imagination. Storytelling doesn’t have to be limited to books.

Using toys or everyday items as characters, you can also make up stories together. This keeps toddlers engaged and enhances their language skills and creativity. Always ensure this activity is conducted in a safe and supervised setting.

Step 8: Utilize Musical Activities

Music can be a wonderful tool to keep toddlers busy. Simple activities like singing songs, dancing to music, or playing with musical toys can provide them with much entertainment.

You can also introduce them to basic musical instruments like toddler-sized drums, xylophones, or maracas. Music keeps toddlers engaged and helps improve their rhythm, coordination, and listening skills. Furthermore, music can evoke emotions and provide a medium for self-expression. As with all activities, supervision is essential to ensure safety while exploring musical instruments.

Step 9: Introduce Educational Apps

In the digital age, educational apps can be a helpful tool to keep toddlers busy while also fostering their learning. Look for apps designed for toddlers and focus on alphabets, numbers, shapes, colors, or even basic coding. Games that enhance problem-solving skills or creativity are also highly beneficial.

Educational Apps Helpful Tool

While screen time should be limited and always supervised, well-chosen educational apps can provide meaningful and interactive learning experiences. Remember to ensure your toddler interacts with the physical world and engages in other forms of play.

Step 10: Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine can be an effective way to keep toddlers busy and balanced. Regular schedules provide a sense of security and structure, helping toddlers understand what to expect at different times of the day.

The routine could encompass all the abovementioned activities, like sensory play, creative play, outdoor play, active play, pretend play, reading and storytelling, musical activities, and educational apps. However, the routine should be flexible to accommodate your toddler’s mood and interests on any given day.

Including downtime in the routine for relaxation and independent play is also essential. As always, oversee the activities to ensure a safe and stimulating environment. By following these steps, you can keep your toddlers busy and entertained while also promoting their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. Remember to be patient and have fun with your little ones as they explore the world around them!

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Over-scheduling: While keeping toddlers busy is important, packing their day with back-to-back activities can be overwhelming and counterproductive. It’s essential to allow time for free play and relaxation.
  2. Relying Solely on Electronic Devices: While educational apps and shows can be beneficial, they should not be the only source of entertainment or learning. Physical activities and interactive play are key to a toddler’s development.
  3. Neglecting Hands-on Activities: Toddlers learn best through tactile experiences. Avoid giving them activities that don’t involve hands-on learning, like coloring, playdough, or building blocks.
  4. Ignoring Their Interests: If a toddler is interested in a particular topic or activity, try incorporating that into their playtime. Ignoring their preferences could lead to disinterest and inattentiveness.
  5. Lack of Supervision: Even while keeping toddlers busy, avoid situations where they’re left unattended. If improperly supervised, toddlers are curious and can quickly find themselves in risky situations.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your toddler’s busy schedule is filled with enriching and appropriate activities to aid their growth and development.


The journey of parenting a busy toddler is filled with creative thinking and energy-filled activities. You don’t need much space or money to entertain your toddler; you just need passion and dedication.

Kids pick up on the joy their parents bring to activities, so if you make it fun for yourself, your toddler will enjoy even the simplest of tasks. And, in the end, seeing your little one explore and learn new skills can make it all worth it!

Hopefully, the article on how to keep toddlers busy has given you some new ideas and insights on how to keep your little one engaged, curious, and happy. Remember to mix up activities, allow free playtime, and pay attention to your toddler’s interests.

With this knowledge in mind, you’ll be able to navigate the busy world of toddlerhood easily! Happy parenting!

You Can Check It Out To Keep a Diaper on a Toddler

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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