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24 Ways To Entertain A Toddler For More Than 5 Seconds

If your looking for some activities for toddler fun, then this is just the list you need when it comes to entertaining toddlers. These activities will show you how to keep a toddler entertained, whether you’re wondering how to keep a 1 year old busy, how to keep a 2 year old from climbing EVERYTHING or how to keep a 3 year old occupied.

Toddlers are busy! I don’t know how they can go and go and seemingly never be tired, but I guess if we were learning to do new things everyday, we would be just as energetic and enthusiastic and utterly exhausting.

See Amazon’s Top Products That Keep Kids Active.

If you have a toddler, having a go-to list like this is a necessity. Maybe your toddler is getting into everything. Maybe your toddler can’t focus on an activity for more than 5 seconds. (The normal toddler attention span is from 1-8 minutes.

Busy Toddler Activities

Coming up with ideas to entertain toddlers everyday can be exhausting.

You might need this list because you simply need a mom break from the constant-ness that is raising a toddler.

These activities to keep a toddler entertained should help. They are guaranteed to engage your toddler, to entertain your toddler at home and keep your toddler busy for a long time.

Many of them are educational activities, too. And if you’re looking for activities to do with your toddler, I’ve got those, too.

This post contains affiliate links.

How To Keep A Toddler Entertained

1. Take the 7-Day Activity Challenge

I took this challenge from the blog Hands On As We Grow with my kids over Christmas break. It was so nice to know that for that whole week, I had a different activity for each day that I didn’t have to come up with myself or find on Pinterest

For 7 days, you get fun, unique and simple (no-prep!) activities to get your toddler moving and active sent to your inbox.

2. Complete a Letter Craft

Letter crafts keep my toddler busy for a long time. I love these letter crafts because they are printable and I don’t have to find supplies like googley eyes and pink construction paper. You simply print and craft!

3. Play Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck, Duck, Goose is a big hit with my toddler. She asks to play it all the time. We do it a little differently to make it more fun and engaging. Instead of saying “duck, duck” we say silly things like “dragon tacos” and “blueberry pizza”. It’s so fun to see what silly words and phrases my 2 year old comes up with.

4. Do a 30 Day Activity Challenge

The toddler 30 day activity challenge will give your toddler one physical activity to focus on each day. It also includes printable badges to give out when your child finishes each activity.

5. Stacking

Toddlers love stacking and you should love it to because it’s great for developing hand/eye coordination. Blocks and stacking toys are great, but simple plastic cups work great, too.

My kids are obsessed with these oversized cardboard blocks from Melissa and Doug. We’ve had them for months and they still get tons of play (and are in great condition). 

6. Help Mommy

Toddlers are the best little helpers ever. Well, except for the fact that they don’t really HELP. But they try really hard to, and that’s almost as good. Why can’t this toddler trait last forever?

Anyway, if you need to mop the floor, hand your toddler a spray bottle and a rag. If you need to dust, put a fuzzy sock over your toddler’s hand and let her go to town. My toddler also LOVES cleaning the tub (also with a spray bottle of water and a rag).

7. Have a Jello Dig

Victoria from the Modern Homestead Mama has this awesome Jello Dig activity (which is just what it sounds like!). Just make sure to set your toddler up on a giant plastic tablecloth (or better yet outside!) because we want your child to stay busy so that you can get stuff done. Having to clean up afterward would kind of defeat the purpose.

8. Create Spin Art

Spin art is so much fun for all ages, but my toddler could literally do this for hours if I let her. And if you don’t have a spin art machine, you could use an unused salad spinner. Find out how to do Salad Spinner Art.

9. Play with Play Doh

how to keep toddler busy

Play Doh is another activity that never, ever fails. I love giving my kids some real kitchen utensils to use with their play doh (think measuring cups, spatulas, a potato masher). And you could make the activity last even longer by first making some of your own DIY play doh

10. Play Twister

Toddler learning activities

You may not think of Twister as a toddler game, but it can teach your toddler so much. We loved the Disney Jr. Super Stretchy game, which is a toddler version of Twister.

My 2 year old is completely obsessed and we play every single day. It also keeps her active, and reinforces body parts, colors and shapes.

Unfortunately, it’s not sold anymore but Twister Shapes is very similar.

Discover more of my recommended best board games for toddlers.

11. Hula Hoop Crawl

This activity is perfect for toddlers because they are so small. Simply take two hula hoops and join them together (like a sphere). Have your toddler try to crawl through it without touching the hoops.

Related: Easy Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

12. Read

If your toddler likes reading, then there’s nothing more beneficial than reading to your child.

Some of our toddler favorites have been

  • The Book With No Pictures- I adore this book because it’s 100% engaging (even to toddlers!) without having any photos. It’s also interactive and prompts your child to answer questions along the way. Your toddler will love it because it will make YOU say some pretty funny stuff. Click here to look inside this book. 
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar- You can’t go wrong with Eric Carle. Click here to look inside this book. 
  • Mother Bruce- This is a book sure to give your toddler the giggles. It’s about a bear who loves to eat eggs. One day, he collects some goose eggs to eat, which end up hatching. They call him “mama” and follow him wherever he goes. Click here to look inside this book. 

This post of the best books for 2-year-olds has video read-alouds, too. They will definitely engage your toddler in a positive way for a while.

And if your toddler’s just not into books yet, pull them out and read to her when she’s playing. My second child couldn’t sit still long enough to read a book until she was 18 months old. At that point, she went from hating to read to being obsessed. Just keep trying!

You could even try playing an audiobook in the background for your toddler while she plays.

13. Searches

First Look and Find books are awesome activities to hold a toddler’s attention, but they are also great for cognitive development. 

14. Paper Towel Band Aids

free toddler activities

My daughter actually made up this activity, and I must say, it’s pretty brilliant. Kids are OBSESSED with band aids, and while my kids would love it if they had an endless supply of band aids at their disposal, band aids are EXPENSIVE.

And these are actually just as cool. Just rip paper towels into strips, fill a bowl full of water, dip and wrap the paper towels like band aids. Genius, right?

15. Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is another classic game that never gets old (unless you’re a mom playing it with your kid).

In our house, we also like to hide objects. If your toddler is a little older and is starting with number or letter recognition, it’s a great idea to hide foam letters and numbers to have your toddler find and identify.

16. Cardboard Box

Put a cardboard box out on your living room floor, throw some markers in it, and watch your toddler’s imagination come alive. Don’t have a box? Why not create an amazing pillow fort with blankets and pillows.

17. Have a Designated Kitchen Cabinet

Keep a designated kitchen cabinet unlocked for your toddler. Fill it with safe kitchen items, like bowls filled with dry pasta, Tupperware, measuring cups, etc.

Make sure to get your toddler a durable wooden play kitchen that will get serious play for YEARS.

18. Water Play

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood include playing in water. My grandmother (who literally had NO toys in her house), used to set me up at the kitchen sink with a sink full of soapy water and an old-fashioned hand-crank egg beater.

Kids love water! Set your toddler up with some toys at the sink with a toddler safe stool. Or put your toddler in the bathtub just to play around. My kids also like to put water in the sink of their play kitchen sometimes.

Creating a pouring station is also a great water play idea that will keep your toddler busy.

19. Snow Play

In the winter, get your toddler outside and create a fun and simple obstacle course in the snow.

20. Paint

For some reason, painting is simply more fun than coloring (at least in my house). When I set my toddler up with paint, I can always expect her to be occupied for a while.

Toddler-friendly edible paint

I love this edible marshmallow paint (doesn’t that just sound… oddly delicious?  This way your toddler will be occupied helping to make the paint, then using it!

21. Doorway streamers

If you have a leftover plastic tablecloth from a party, cut it into strips while keeping the top strip in tact, then hang it from a doorway. Your toddler will have a blast running through the streamers.

22. Play with Legos

Legos are such a timeless toy, and the great thing about them is that every kid in the whole wide world (okay, maybe I don’t have those stats, but it’s likely) loves Legos. We love combining Legos with other toys such as our Magic Tracks.

23. Bake with your Toddler

Chances are that your toddler loves to bake, but it’s also possible that you never bake with your toddler. Because holy crap, baking with a toddler is possibly one of the most stressful activities. I’m getting anxious just talking about it.

I suggest taking a deep breath, and just enjoying the process. Sip a little wine if you have to. With the right mindset, baking with your toddler can actually be a lot of fun. Don’t these No-Bake Fruit Pizzas look like the perfect toddler friendly recipe? 

baking with a toddler

24. Play Restaurant

When my toddler is causing trouble, sometimes I simply redirect her by asking her to cook me something. This usually turns into a marathon of play kitchen cooking.

Make it more fun by including a cash register and some real coins.

PS- Have you seen the Melissa And Doug Freestanding Grocery Store?! *Insert surprised emoji face*. If I had this toy when I was a kid, I would never have played with anything else.

25. Practice Cutting Skills

Give your toddler some safety scissors and paper (or a magazine) and let her free cut. When she’s done, give her a big paper to glue her cut paper on.

You can also help her fine tune her scissor skills. This scissor skills activity pad is perfect for developing those fine-motor skills.


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