Skip to main content

5 engaging activities you can do with toddlers to keep them entertained

If you’re the parent of a toddler — congratulations! You’ve made it to an exciting new stage of parenthood. The giggles and the hugs are the absolute best things on the planet. The energy they manage to find every second of every day is another thing. They’re probably stealing it from you while you sleep.

All parents who have a toddler in the house have to have a list of activities to keep them entertained. Whether you need to keep your toddler busy so you can get some work done or want something you and your little one can do together, we can help keep everyone happy. Here are five engaging activities to keep those hands busy.

A mother and child playing at the park.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Park time

When you want to take advantage of the weather

If you want an activity that will wear everyone out, the park is where it’s at. Your little one gets a full-body workout and will maybe go to bed at a decent time (and not wake up 394 times in the night). You’ll also get fresh air and move around a bit.

From things your toddler can do alone to parts they’ll need your help with, it will be a delightful time for everyone. Check out your local parks and try a new one every so often to keep your toddler engaged. Kids have never turned down a park day in all of history. The only downside about this activity is trying to get them to leave and go home.

Holiday crafts

When you want to celebrate a holiday

Your parents still have the Christmas ornament that you made in grade school and put it on the tree every year. If you need to tame a rowdy toddler for a bit and there is a holiday around the corner, grab that art box. You can make a craft just for you guys or make a full day of it (or a few days) and create something that you could gift to the family.

It doesn’t matter if you guys love Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day, there’s a craft for any holiday. Having those items to look back on and take out every once in a while will be a nice reminder of your time together when they’re grown and won’t make macaroni necklaces with you anymore.

A father and child baking in the kitchen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cooking

When you want a treat at the end of the activity

Baking with a toddler is the most adorable thing. They love to help so much. Children gain confidence and learn independence when you let them loose in the kitchen. Whether it’s baking or cooking, let them mix the ingredients or pick the recipe. Your toddler will light up helping.

You might be able to whip up those pancakes or make those cookies in a flash, but slowing down and going over every step in detail will make beautiful memories for both of you. And if the food turns out edible, then it’s a win for the whole family.

Toy bath time

When you want your toddler to help clean

Thankfully, toddlers don’t quite get that cleaning is work yet. Making a game out of cleaning toys is the best way to finally get whatever that is off of their dinos while keeping them busy and engaged. Gather up any hard toys that don’t have a battery pack, a giant tub or bucket, soap, a little scrubber (we use toothbrushes for tiny hands), and let them get to work.

Make the water super sudsy and tell them the goal is to get the water to change color by giving all of the toys a bath. Because when was the last time you actually looked at those giant blocks? Sneaky and effective.

A toddler doing crafts at the table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Edible sensory bins

When you need them engaged but you alone

If you need to keep your toddler busy for a bit without worrying about what might end up in their mouth, then try a sensory bin. But in this case, make it edible. Use things like dry cereal, freeze-dried fruit, yogurt melts, and different cooked (and cooled) pasta to minimize any choking hazards.

You can also make this as messy as you want and use things like jello and frosting since you’ll be doing the cleanup. Set your toddler up with their sensory bin and let them play and snack away while you drink your next cup of coffee.

Organize any of these toddler events for your tiny tot to keep them occupied. If you want to do something other than tossing your child crayons and don’t want to walk in on another wall covered in marker, rotate these activities in the mix.

Not every parent is great at coming up with creative ideas for their kids. Toddlers don’t always listen and that’s just fine. We love being able to help make life just a tad easier for parents, especially to help tame those wild and unstoppable creatures that are toddlers.

Editors' Recommendations

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
The best party games for your sports-loving kids
These best party games score big with sports lovers
Kids running with each other at a party.

Got a sport-loving kid with a birthday coming up? Hosting a sports themed birthday party for your kiddo is a super easy way to score a touchdown. Whether you've got a kickball fanatic or a budding soccer star on your hands, choosing the birthday party theme for your sports fan is a lot easier than scoring in a shootout. There are tons of sports party games that are a slam dunk.  You don't have to stick to one sport either when choosing the activities for your little one's big day. From soccer-themed games to kickball games to an Olympic theme, there are a ton of options for all your guests whether you are hosting indoors or out. Now, let's hear the starting lineup for the best party games.
Sports party kickoff
Before we get to the best sports party games to knock it out of the park to celebrate your child's special day, let's not forget about the warmup. It's a big part of any sport as all athletes know. So, a fun way to get all the kids excited about a sports-themed birthday party is to kick it off with a warmup.

Have an adult dress up as the coach and lead the kids in some useful and silly stretches. Play upbeat music to pump them up. The theme from Rocky is a timeless choice. Then, have the coach give the partygoers tips for the games ahead before concluding with an introduction with a cheer for the birthday guy or gal.

Read more
10 cool talent show ideas for kids so they can wow their audience
Get ready to applaud, audiences will enjoy these fun talents show ideas for kids
Girl performs in a talent show

Talent shows like NBC's American's Got Talent have never really gone out of style. Audiences have always loved the format where everyday people show of their respective talents. Talent shows are also popular with the kiddos who aren't shy about performing.  As a parent though, you may wonder if your kid's talent can stand up to a more seasoned competition where the audience is not made up of just family members. If your child has signed up for a talent show either at school, camp, or your community center, don't worry. There are a lot of fun talent show ideas for kids to wow an audience.

How to decide on a talent show idea for kids
The first thing to do when your child tells up about an upcoming talent show is to say congratulations. Making the decision to take part in a talent show takes a lot of courage. So, be sure to be encouraging despite any reservations you may have. Next, it's time to come up with a number for the talent show.

Read more
7 of the best fast-food items for kids you can feel good about grabbing
Make healthier choices at the drive-thru with these foods
A toddler reaching into a bag of fast food in the car

Let’s face it, fast food isn’t usually synonymous with healthy eating. Grabbing a Happy Meal for a hungry toddler isn’t something most parents like to do often, but sometimes it's necessary. On those race-against-the-clock days when you’re juggling errands, doctor's appointments, and the sacred nap schedule, you may not have the luxury of preparing a meal for your baby at home.

Fortunately, most fast-food restaurants have expanded their menus to include more options than just the standard burgers, fries, sugary sodas, and deep-fried fare that have given them a bad name. Whether you’re on a road trip or just in the middle of a busy afternoon, it is possible to keep your pint-sized passengers satisfied with a quick and affordable drive-thru meal. We've compiled some of the best fast-food options for kids to help you when you're looking for healthier options.

Read more