Feeling a little lost with how to fill up your days with a toddler? You're not alone. Maybe you are in a rut doing the same things all the time. Or you've been worried your toddler has been getting too much screen time. Or the weather has been bad. Here are some easy activities to do with toddlers. You CAN break out of the boredom rut.
Get Out of the House!
- Find a 'mother's day out' program nearby, drop off your child for one or two sessions a week so you can get some self-care time.
- Join a gym with free or affordable childcare, drop them off to play with some new toys/friends while you get a workout and shower in. Or sit in the gym hot tub and read a book!
- Go to a fast-food restaurant for a treat, let your child play in the play area.
- Go grab a schedule at your local library or community center and see what they have in terms of child activities. Or check our Monkey Mashup event listings for local child classes.
- Go to meetup.com and join some local SAHM activity groups, sign up for the next open playdate so you can get out and meet other parents!
- Join the nearest Moms Club or MOPS to meet other moms going thru the same life stage as you.
- Go to the nearest zoo, museum, playground, aquarium, go on a hike
- Go in the backyard or walk around the neighborhood- look for bugs, turn over rocks, collect sticks, paint pine cones, etc.
- Take them along on errands.
- Find a local indoor play space or indoor bounce house to go to periodically.
- Go to the grocery store or farmer's market.
- Go to a local pet store and watch the animals.
- Pack a picnic lunch and spend all morning at the park or beach.
- Go fruit picking depending on the season.
- Aim for one outing a day, one outdoor chunk a day and one project a day. Consider the in-between time as downtime, time to play with toys, time to get chores done, etc.
- Go for a walk! Listen to a podcast, stop by a store or friend's house, etc.
Plan a New Activity
- Join the Productive Parenting Facebook group for tons of new ideas on enriching activities to do with toddlers.
- Sign your child up for a weekly activity at a gym like Mommy & Me, tumbling, dance, music, swimming, etc.
- Let them help you cook- a great way to get your child to try new foods!
- Try a "theme" approach to the month, for example, October can be 'Fall" month where you focus on reading books about fall, walking around neighborhood looking for different colored leaves, paint leaves, go to the pumpkin patch, paint pumpkins, make pumpkin pie, roast pumpkin seeds, draw or paint about fall, etc.
- Browse Pinterest to get ideas about sensory or enrichment play for your child's age group. But don't be too hard on yourself if you're not up to many of the projects! Pick one to try, or aim for one a month, etc.
- Get into a daily activities routine:
- breakfast -> activity -> lunch -> nap -> activity -> dinner
- Bake a cake or muffins
- Plant a vegetable garden, your child can help you dig in the dirt, look for bugs or water the plants.
- Home Depot or Lowe's kids classes.
- Focus on one sense a day- one day, concentrate on letting your child smell all different things - flowers, an orange, etc. Another day, focus on showing your child different textures. And so on.
- Get a calendar and when its National Ice Cream Day, plan to make ice cream, or on the first day of fall, plan a walk to see lots of different colored leaves, etc.
Stuck in an Activity Rut?
- Really make a point of trying to shower every day, to keep your sense of sanity. Put your baby in a portable bassinet or other safe spot where you can see them from the shower, or get your shower in when your partner is home in the morning or evening.
- Try to focus on only one or two chores a day if you are overwhelmed. Or, do your cleaning in small chunks throughout the week using a cleaning schedule, so eventually everything gets done but you're not overwhelmed throughout the week.
- Look for another child to watch once or twice a week for extra socialization for your child, they will play together and you will have a little extra time to sit back.
- Pick up a new hobby you can do while baby sleeps or plays on their mat, like scrap booking, resurfacing furniture, crafting, etc. Think hobbies that you can leave out or stop and start easily.
- Find a playgroup you can join and switch off days hosting at your home. This can be a great time to discuss childcare issues you are all having, child development issues and give your children a chance to socialize with other children.
- Color in adult coloring books while your child scribbles or finger paints in their high chair.
- Learn baby massage or take baby into a warm bath with you.
- Dance around the house for a while.
- Put baby in a stroller or somewhere they can watch you do things around the house.
- Chalk on driveway, water play stations
- Set a certain time of day where your child can get used to playing alone. Maybe late afternoon so you can get a household chore in and start dinner, etc.
Remember, you don't need to entertain your baby or toddler with activities all day long. Some parents prefer their children have idle time so they can learn to play independently or use their imaginations to create new games for themselves. Find some activities to do with toddlers, try to do some, and remember- do your best and don't worry about the rest!
Activities To Do With Toddlers Near You: