So, you've got an adorable, energetic, chaotic toddler at home? And you're trying to do ALL the things — Zoom calls, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. These toddler activities just might save your sanity!
If you have a two-year-old whose favorite hobby is unfolding laundry, welcome; you've found your tribe. We get it, mama. Whether you're working from home or just trying to get a few chores done, we know that sometimes it feels like a chore keeping the toddler out of trouble.
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If you're looking for fun, cheap, free, and creative toddler activities, you've come to the right place! We've done our research and enlisted the help of our Freebs nation to round up a list of 10 ideas you and your little will love. Let's do this!
5 FREE DIY TODDLER ACTIVITIES TO TRY
Want to keep your tiniest family members amused without spending a dime? Well, if you have kids, you know that the fanciest, most expensive toys can't hold a candle to a free box. So, let's use that same logic to keep those toddlers busy with things you already have at home!
FILL AN OLD STORAGE BIN WITH TOYS & HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
You know all those bins you used the last time you packed up for a big move? Or the storage bins you've been keeping in the garage or attic? Grab the biggest one you can find, and round up some old toys and other oddities. Here are some household items you can add to the mix:
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Wooden Spoons
- Old Takeout Containers
- Old Cellphones
- Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tubes
- Old Wrapping Paper
Once you have that storage bin filled to the brim, put it in a safe space and let your toddler go to town! From our experience, this activity will buy you at least 15-20 minutes. Get dinner started, unload the dishes, or send those emails while your toddler has fun exploring!
SET UP A TUPPERWARE DRAWER JUST FOR THE TODDLERS
Does anyone out there have a toddler who doesn't love rummaging through the kitchen cabinets and drawers? Invest in the magnet locks. They're a game-changer. But, it's also a good idea to designate one drawer or cupboard as a kid-friendly zone. Fill it with Tupperware and other kid-safe items, like paper plates and cups, and let them reorganize while you get work done in the kitchen.
Pro Tip: Don't toss those takeout containers! We fill our kid-friendly cabinet with freebies and keep our best freezer storage items in a safe place. Cool Whip containers are perfect for the kiddos, too.
BIG BOX + CRAYONS = ONE OF THE EASIEST TODDLER ACTIVITIES
The next time Amazon delivers a big package, keep the box! Round up a bunch of toddler-safe crayons, and challenge your kid to create some art! Just put them in the box with those crayons and a few stickers (if they're old enough) and let them explore their inner artist. They will love it, and your carpet, furniture, and walls will breathe a sigh of relief.
FILL A LAUNDRY BASKET WITH OLD CLOTHES
Before you donate that big bag of clothes, see if there's anything your toddler might enjoy folding (or unfolding). Round up some old socks, t-shirts, or sheets and place them in a basket. The next time you need to fold laundry, give your little one their own laundry to fold. They'll have so much fun “helping” you, and you'll get your work done in half the time!
PASTA PLAYTIME = ONE OF OUR FAVORITE TODDLER ACTIVITIES
We know you've got a ton of pasta in the pantry! Pull out a box of spaghetti and round up some bowls and a colander. Let those little ones push noodles through the holes, snap and bend the pasta, put it in bowls, and have some fun! You can pull that activity together in no-time, and it's actually a really great way to help them develop their fine motor skills.
5 CHEAP TODDLER ACTIVITIES
Okay, we're not done yet! If you have a few bucks to spare, here are five more toddler activities that are sure to provide plenty of entertainment for your busiest little family members. Carve out a little extra in your entertainment budget for the month; it will be worth it!
BATHTUB MARKERS = THE HOLY GRAIL OF TODDLER ACTIVITIES
Order a set of bath markers and crayons from Amazon, and then thank us later! Put your kiddos in the empty tub, then hand over the markers and let them go crazy! This is the perfect toddler activity for cleaning day. You can mop those bathroom floors while they keep busy with their own project.
INVEST IN A TODDLER ACTIVITY BOARD
This Montessori Board from Amazon is a steal! It's got thousands of five-star reviews and is designed to help toddlers hone their fine motor skills while having a ton of fun! They can zip, latch, and tie while you're on that Zoom meeting.
FILL A KIDDIE POOL WITH BALLS
Buy a cheap blowup or plastic kiddie pool and bring it inside. Instead of filling it with water, round up all the balls you can find! If you have a beach ball, throw it in! Some ball pit balls? Perfect. Tennis balls? You know what to do. Toddlers love exploring different textures, so the more, the merrier.
BUY A TODDLER ACTIVITY CENTER
There are TONS of toddler activity centers for just about any budget, but here's one we love from Amazon. This Baby Einstein Curiosity Table gets rave reviews from toddler parents, and it's right around $50.
The table includes music, lights, and all sort of gears and pulls. Plus, it's adjustable, so it will grow with your toddler. That's a win in our book.
GET A TODDLER SENSORY TABLE
You know those genius water and sand tables they have at preschools? You buy one for home, too. There are options for just about any budget, ranging from $20 to $200 or more. Decide what's important to you, and save up if you'd like to splurge. Here are three highly-rated options from Amazon:
- Budget-Conscious Option – This sand and splash center costs just $19.95 but still looks like tons of fun to us!
- Mid-Range Option – If you have a little more money to spend, this $60 Splash ‘N Scoop table scores hundreds of five-star reviews. And it's eligible for free shipping with a Prime membership. Score!
- Splurge Option – Want to invest in a toy that will last for years? This four-square sensory play station can hold so much more than just sand and water. It's one of those toys that all your kids will enjoy!
Pro Tip: If you like a DIY project, you can make your own sensory table, too. Just round up a large clear storage bin and some PVC pipe. A Teaching Mommy has a tutorial that will show you how to make a sensory table in 30 minutes for $30.
The next time the babysitter cancels, you're drowning in emails and wondering how to keep your toddlers busy, you'll know what to do. With a little creativity, luck, and planning, you can conquer those Zoom meetings and that pile of laundry with a lot less stress.
Do you have a busy toddler at home? Tell us how you keep them entertained so you can get some work done! Drop a comment below or stop by our Fun Cheap or Free Facebook page to say hi.
Looking for more parenting hacks?
- Make sure you check out our behavior chart and grab the free printable!
- Want to raise capable kids? Here's a list of age-appropriate chores.
- Here's a massive list of indoor activities for kids, including screen-free options.
You've got this, mama!