Trying to find something to keep toddler busy without a screen always feels good!
As moms we often find times where we need to get things done, but our toddlers or little ones want to be held. Attached to mommy’s hips no matter what she needs to get done.
…or your toddler is happy while you are working on dinner or cleaning. But, they are getting into mischief coloring on the walls or getting into food in the pantry.
Hopefully this post will give you some quick ideas to get your toddler entertained just long enough for you to tidy up the living room, cook dinner, or get some focused work done if your a work at home mom like me.
Why is my toddler so busy?
Toddler’s are busy because they are learning. They learn through exploration. So, it makes sense that if you don’t give them something to do they will get into mischief.
Toddler Sensory Bins
There are tons of tips below for keeping your toddler entertained. But, one of my favorite is toddler sensory bins.
Sensory bins are easy to put together with large bins, colored rice, kinetic sand, scoops, and toys. They will keep your toddler entertained for ages and you can easily switch out the toys each time they play with them or keep different themed bins ready to go.
Here are some things to get you started making sensory bins:
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Play Sand – 2 LBS of Sand with Castle Molds and Tray (Blue) – A Kinetic Sensory ActivityKinetic Sand The Original Moldable Sensory Play Sand, Green, 2 LbKinetic Sand Squeezable Play Sand, Brown, 2 lbs, Ages 3 & UpRoylco R-21145 Sensory Rice, Assorted, 6 Colors (Pack of 6)Roylco Colored Rice, 1 Lb. BoxKarma Keepers Colored Rice 20 Pound Rainbow 30 Color Mix Non ToxicMelissa & Doug Sandblox Sand Shape-and-Mold Tool SetCharmed Triple Wheel Sand and Water Toy Set with Sifter, Scoop and Sand molds. Colors May Vary (Sand Wheel)Terra by Battat – Wild Animals – Assorted Miniature Wild Animal Toys & Cake Toppers For Kids 3+ (60 Pc)Safari Ltd On the Road TOOBSafari Ltd Ocean TOOB Comes With 12 Different Hand Painted Animal Toy Figurine Models Including Sea Lion, Eagle Ray, Starfish, Turtle, Penguin, Octopus, Humpback Whale, Sperm Whale, Moray Eel, Hammerhead Shark, Tiger Shark, and Dolphin For Ages 5 and UpSimplay3 Kids Indoor Outdoor Sand and Water Activity Table with StorageChildren’s Factory Small Sensory Table & Lid Set Classroom Furniture (1132)Children’s Factory Large Sensory Table and Lid Set, 36STERILITE 17511712 6 Quart Clearview Latch Storage Container with Plum HandlesDinosaur Play Sand Kit – 2 Bags of Sand and 34 Pieces – Feels Like Wet Sand Without The Mess – Comes with Bin, Lid, Dinosaur Figures, Dino Molds, Trees, Fences – Safe, Sensory Experience for KidsEdushape Water & Sand Play Indoor/Outdoor See-Thru Activity Tub, ClearCarl & Kay [1750+ pcs] Arts & Crafts Supplies | Craft Supplies for Kids | Toddler Crafts & Sensory Items | Toddler Art Supplies | Craft Supplies for Adults | Busy Box & Sensory Bin ItemsKidoozie Sand ‘n Splash Activity Table with Storage Compartment and Lid
How do I entertain my toddler all day?
It may feel like your toddler needs to be entertained all day, which can be frustrating. Especially during meal time or if you have to work from home.
As a work at home mom I know this struggle. Feeling like I’m a horrible mom if I’m ignoring my toddler’s need for entertainment to try to meet a work deadline on my computer.
Also, the struggle of actually keep them entertained while not glued to the floor with their eyes fixed on a TV screen or electronic device.
Whenever possible it’s great to keep your toddler engaged and learning, even when your busy.
Here are some non-screen toddler entertainment ideas:
- Toy Swap– Keep small toy bins hidden in a cupboard or the garage and pull them out to keep your toddler busy. We have a large ottoman where I will set out some toys my toddler hasn’t seen in a while and he plays for hours. I usually keep it the same theme (cars, action figures, barbies, blocks, crayons). Just leave them there when they aren’t looking and let them discover it… then get to work!
- Food– Sit your toddler down in a high chair or at the table if they will stay with some breakfast or lunch. LET them get messy with yogurt, spaghetti noodles, or cereal and milk. They might need a bath afterwards, but this will give you 30 minutes-1 hour to get something done.
- Art– Same idea as food. Put your toddler in a high chair with something they can safely make art with. Some non-toxic finger paints or toddler friendly crayons.
- Music and Stories– I am in love with our Google Home Mini because I can ask it to play children’s songs or to tell a story to my toddler. They get entranced with it, usually dancing around the living room for a good 30 minutes while I get a few things done.
- Go Outdoors– Get a playhouse, water table, or sandbox for your kids to play with outside. This is a great place to go when I need to get some work done for my home business. Toddler is contained in the fenced in yard and it is a nice refresher to work for a while outdoors.
- Sorting– Give your toddler some different color items to sort into the same color cups. Toddlers love learning activities like this.
- Dress Up– Keep a dress up chest and get it out when you need to get things done. Your toddler will love trying on different clothes and getting things out of the chest.
- Pots and Pans– If you are trying to cook in the kitchen get some pots, pans, and spoons out for your toddler. They will love making music with them and being close to mom at the same time.
- Large Puzzles– Buy some large puzzles and matching games for your toddler to play with in a pinch.
- On-the-go bags– Put together some on-the-go bags for your toddler to play with while travelling or at a doctors appointment. You can include crayons, paper, or toys to keep them busy.
Some of our favorite products to keep toddler busy:
Curious Columbus Quiet Book. When I Grow Up. Fabric Busy Book. Educational Activity Toy for Toddlers, Preschool and Pre-K Early LearningMelissa & Doug Soft Activity Baby Book – What Should I Wear?Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube Classic Wooden Toy, Developmental Toy, Easy-to-Grip Shapes, Sturdy Wooden Construction, 12 Pieces, 5.5″ H × 5.5″ W × 5.5″ LMelissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board (Developmental Toy, Sturdy Wooden Construction, Helps Develop Fine Motor Skills, 15.5Banana Panda – Suuuper Size Puzzle On the Farm – Large Jigsaw Floor Puzzle for Kids Ages 2 Years and UpBanana Panda – Suuuper Size Memory Game – Educational Game for Kids Ages 2 Years and UpStep2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water TableEcho Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa – Heather GrayCrayola My First Palm Grip Crayons, Coloring for Toddlers, 6ctCrayola My First Finger Paint for Toddlers, Painting Paper Included, GiftMelissa & Doug Easel Paper Pad (Top-Bound Pad, Premium White Bond Paper, 2-Pack with 50 Sheets, 17 × 20 inches)
More tips to get things done with a toddler?
Use some of the tips above to make sure your toddler is entertained. If you are working or need to clean, cook, or just need a break follow these tips.
- Nap Time is a great time to get a nap for yourself. You can also take a chance to get a power hour at work or cleaning.
- Take advantage of times where you have your spouse or a family member available to help babysit your toddler.
- Make sure your house is baby proof, so your toddler can’t get into harms way while you are trying to work around the house. Check out these expert baby proofing tips!
- Try to work your toddler into your routines when you can. Try putting your toddler in a baby carrier while you clean or looking at a book on your lap while you work. Sometimes when the “busy activities” aren’t working you have to get creative.
- If you have to resort to screen time try educational shows that engage your toddler in song and dance. I love Sesame Street and The Wiggles for this!
When do you struggle with keeping your toddler entertained? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!