As much as fun it is to go out to a playground with your kid, sometimes you’re too tired/ too lazy (dressing yourself and your little one never took that long), the weather doesn’t let you or you simply cannot (coronavirus quarantine/ lockdown anyone?).
Personally I don’t mind staying in sometimes (London second’s name is Rain) but with an energetic toddler like my daughter it suddenly became a challenge. As I was thinking there’s limited things for us to do, I remembered me and my sister as kids and how creative we both were when entertaining our youngest sister, who was about 2 years old at that time.
Mixed with some new ideas I picked up from other mums, I suddenly had a long list of indoor toddler activities to entertain my daughter.
Today I will share with you 15 fun ways to play at home with your kiddo.
1. Pots&pans orchestra
Simple, free and how effective. No need to buy any toys- just take out your pots, frying pans and any other useful household items (that will make a sound once banged), place it on the floor and give your little one a wooden or a rubber mixing spoon.
You should join and experiment yourself- loud pan orchestra guaranteed!
2. Puppet show
Does this ever get old? My daughter loves when I’m giving her a little puppet performance.
You can buy a special hand puppet or use normal plush toys that you’re already have. If you’re feeling more creative take an old sock, sew on two buttons, maybe a little tongue out of a ribbon and voila! You’ve got your own handmade-homemade puppet:)
If your little one gets bored (or you will at some point), you can try switching on Baby Einstein puppet show- there are many episodes available on YouTube. All their shows are educational and captivating so I can really recommend them.
3. Bubble fun
Bubbles…is it more fun for us, parents, our kids or…our dogs? It’s hard to tell!
You can go for traditional bubble solution or buy a bubble machine (an automatic bubble maker), This is something any child will love. And it’s definitely hard to put away!
If you have a dog or a cat, it will be double fun as our beloved pets apparently like to ‘catch’ the bubbles as well.
4. Straw threading
Scatter several straws on the floor and show your toddler how to join them together. You can ‘build’ a house with them, teaching your little one different shapes such as triangles or squares.
If you’re using plastic straws, you can cut them into pieces and show your child how to thread the pieces together in different pattern of colours.
5. Cheerios and spaghetti
That’s one of my daughters’ favourites activities so far! What you’ll need is a colander, spaghetti and a bit of cheerios.
Put the colander upside down on the floor/carpet and show how to put spaghetti inside the wholes of the colander. Then start threading the cheerios onto the spaghetti so your little one could get the idea.
The ingredients are eatable so it’s fun and safe (and cheap) solution! It requires some patience and focus so it should draw your toddlers’ attention for a longer while.
6. Mini basketball
For this activity you’ll need to head to Amazon and buy a mini basketball hoop.
Although it’s probably most suitable for bigger kids and meant to be hanged on the door, I hanged it over the chair so that my baby girl could reach it.
Instead of throwing the ball she just approaches the basket and puts the ball inside. And she giggles every time she does it so I suggest you try it with your kiddo as well:)
7. Stacking cups ‘surprise’
For this little fun game you’re gonna need stacking cups (plastic mugs will do as well). Put 3-4 cups on the floor and find something small that will fit underneath the cup, for example a crayon.
Now start mixing the cups and let your toddler guess in which cup the crayon is ‘hiding’. You can expect lots of smiling and delight when s/he discovers the crayon:)
8. Dance and bounce
I believe there’s no need to describe this activity in detail. Play any music your both like, pick up a drum, rattles or anything that will make a sound (again you can use your pots and wooden spoons) and bounce to the beat.
Dancing is fun at any age so show your little one your moves…but don’t teach her twerking just yet 🙂
9. Pot fishing
For this one you’ll need to buy fish foam bath toys. Designed to be used in a bath but who says we can’t use them on a dry land?:)
Take out one of your larger and deeper pots, pour some water into it and show your little one how to fish! If s/he decides it’s not as exciting as you thought, splashing the water all around will definitely live up to her expectations.
You might want to put an old towel underneath your child, otherwise you’ll have a big cleaning up job (learn on my mistakes!).
10. Balloon drawing
Drawing itself is fun but drawing on balloons? Extra fun!
Give your toddler a marker (make sure it’s washable type) and show him how to make faces or simply draw lines on the inflated balloons. The sound of it might be a bit annoying but I’m sure it’s worth 5 minutes of peace for you 🙂
You’d probably want to go for larger balloons rather than smaller ones to have more spaces for drawing (which is the opposite of what you see on the pictures).
11. Indoor cycling
Who said kids cannot ‘cycle’ indoors? Of course, they can, even if you live in a small flat.
This toddler bike with no pedals is designed for your little one to learn how to keep her balance while pushing herself from the floor. It will prepare her for the real cycling outdoors in the future and she’ll probably get a hang of it much quicker than other kids who learn how to ride a bike from scratch.
12. Magnet fun
It’s simple and yet so engaging! Get yourself some fridge magnets, scatter them across the floor and make your toddler attach them to the fridge one by one.
For my daughter the biggest hit out of all the magnets we have is this funny monkey– she giggles every time we play with it.
The monkey has 4 small magnets (around hands and feet) so you can throw it at the fridge from the distance and every time it will end up ‘grabbing’ the fridge in a different position. Super fun, especially when your kid is trying to throw the monkey herself:)
13. Pom Poms tunnel
This activity should engage your toddler for more than 5 minutes! You’re gonna need to collect at least 6 toilet rolls tubes beforehand and get several colourful pom poms.
Take a sellotape and attach each tube together to make a quirky tunnel (or a slide if you prefer). Now cut some more tape and attach the tunnel to the door in such a way so your kiddo could reach its top and show him/her how to put the pom poms inside. Short preparation time and so much fun:)
Your child will most likely find other creative ways to play with the pom poms- for example, my daughter loves to sort them into colours and shapes, put them into bowls or put them inside of my bag!
14. Marbles/confetti sorting
During this activity we’re going to use small items so you have to be sure they don’t land in your little one’s mouth. I was using marbles so I had to supervise my daughter all the time. That’s why I suggest getting a safer option instead, such as party confetti or pom poms from previous activity.
If the weather is appropriate and it’s generally warm inside your house, you can also replace the confetti with ice cubes. Your kiddo will love playing with something that melts!
Take 2-3 bowls (if you have plastic ones that’s probably better), put the confetti inside one of them and show your little one how to take few confetti dots/squares on a spoon and transport them into the other bowl. Or you can simply let him use his hands!
15. Hide and seek
Another game that never gets old (or boring). No need for explanation, right?
My daughter simply loves hiding behind the curtains and I always pretend I don’t know her secret place… Hours of fun and laughter!:)
16. Home-made barn
You and your toddler will love this activity if you’re a fan of DIY. It would be good if you had some farm animal toys ready (but you could also make them yourself, if you’re more talented that I am!).
To make a barn I used a small carton from Amazon delivery. I cut a couple of ‘doors’, drew few lines and used different colour marker pens to make it look pretty. If your toddler is big enough, you should involve him in the colouring part.
And voila, the barn is ready! My daughter really likes pretending the animals actually live in there:)
17. Tent playtime
Kids love hiding in tight spaces so why don’t you build your toddler a tent?
Take couple of chairs, put them next to each other in a big circle and cover them with a sheet or a large blanket. Leave some toys inside the ‘tent’ for your little one to play with. For the evening, you could put some LED confetti inside to make it even more exciting. Simple and fun, should give you some time to relax without your child attached to your leg:)
Alternatively, if you don’t have enough space for the ‘homemade’ tent (and you don’t mind spending some money), you can always buy a foldable indoor tent. It will definitely look much more neat than the one I made!
Books are always a good solution to make your child listen, learn and have fun at the same time!
The lift-a-flap ones are a must-have for toddlers who don’t seem very interested in books. They’re interactive and will definitely catch your kids’ attention.
Toys to save the day…
If you’re out of ideas on how to entertain your toddler, toys are always there to help you! Since there are so many of them, I created a separate post describing my top picks for developmental toys for babies and toddlers.
One last suggestion: make sure you don’t present all the activities to your little one on the same day. It’s like with opening new toys at the same time- if you do that, your child will get bored with them too soon. And that’s the last thing you want!
So, present maximum three new things each day and continue with other games you’ve played before.
I hope you enjoyed this post and you’ll use some of my ideas in your busy schedule. If you know any other fun games/ activities for toddlers, please share it with us in the comments. I’m sure many parents (including me) will be looking for something new, especially now at the lockdown times.
Take care mamas and stay healthy!