11 Fun Ideas to Keep Toddlers Busy When You’re Stuck Inside
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Stuck Indoors? Try These Awesome Indoor Activities for Kids!
Finding fresh ideas to keep toddlers busy is no easy feat! And I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready for this cold snap to be over so we can get back outside.
Not only has it been freezing cold outside, but we have a new baby in the house. So as you can imagine, we’ve been cooped up indoors for the past few months.
Between taking care of the new baby, working remotely, and trying to keep the toddler busy, I’ve had my work cut out for me!
The first few weeks after baby #2 was born, my firstborn had a hard time sharing my attention. After all, she was used to having me all to herself.
So I’ve been tapping into my creative side the past few months, trying to come up with fun activities to keep her occupied until we can get outdoors again.
I’ve put together little activity boxes using cheap plastic totes (the size of a shoe box), and we have a lot of fun activity books as well. I’ve even put together random household items for her to play with.
Below are some fun indoor activities for kids at home. You can utilize these ideas to keep toddlers busy in the winter. (Or on a rainy day, or just when you need to get them out of your hair for a little while.)
1. Prepare Edible Sensory Activities
You will find dozens of sensory activity ideas online to keep toddlers busy and learning, but my favorite by far is crispy rice cereal.
I can give her a container of dry cereal and let her go to town. Hide little treats like fruit snacks (or freeze dried fruit if you want a healthier option) inside the cereal and provide smaller containers for scooping.
Fair warning: it does get pretty messy. Thankfully, we have a vacuum cleaner of the canine variety to clean up the mess.
2. Keep Toddlers Busy Learning With Wipe Clean Books
Many of the wipe-clean books are a little advanced for a two-year-old, but she still has fun drawing and tracing the letters in our wipe-clean Alphabet book.
These books are great because kids can reuse these books over and over again!
Pro Mom Tip: Don’t use just any dry erase marker. Trust me, your toddler will manage to destroy every piece of clothing she owns.
Instead, I ordered a pack of WASHABLE dry erase markers from Amazon; they come in several different colors, and they will wash out of your kids’ clothing.
3. Burn Energy With an Indoor Trampoline
We gave the girls an indoor trampoline and a slide this past Christmas. We’re hoping it will help them burn off energy on days when we’re cooped up indoors.
Of course, you need to have plenty of space for the trampoline; the slide is lightweight and can be easily stored.
They were relatively inexpensive, totaling less than $100 for the two items combined at the time we bought them.
4. Try Holiday Themed Crafts
In the below photo, we were making popsicle stick star ornaments, but we have done a few other holiday-themed crafts this winter as well.
When I need a craft idea, I just look on Pinterest and find the easiest project that requires only materials I already have on hand.
We have made other simple projects using construction paper. I have even given her kid-safe scissors to practice her cutting skills (of course, I put them out of reach after we’re done!).
5. Get Some Play-Doh and Kwik Sand
Kwik Sand (otherwise known as kinetic sand) is a really fun, albeit messy, activity that keeps kids occupied for a long time.
Play-doh is another go-to in our house. Rolling pins, cookie cutters, plastic knives, and various play-doh tools make it even even more fun!
We have a few rules at our house:
- Play-doh and Kwik Sand do not leave the table
- Only one color at a time to keep Play-doh from getting mixed
- They need to be put away as soon as they’re done
Pro Mom Tip: Put your young toddler in a high chair to keep the mess contained!
6. Get Wipe Clean Cards and a (Washable) Dry Erase Marker
A few wipe clean cards, a washable dry erase marker, and a piece of paper towel will reward you with a few minutes of quiet time.
The pictured cards are Usborne’s 100 Things for Little Children to Do on a Trip, but you can always grab a pack of these wipe-clean flash cards on Amazon.
My toddler even likes to wipe each card clean after she’s done drawing on it!
7. Play With Reusable Stickers
Regular stickers are the worst. They end up all over the house, stuck to EVERYTHING!
But reusable stickers are good for many, many uses.
The sticker book pictured below is from Melissa and Doug — it has five scenes with a set of stickers for each scene.
Pro Mom Tip: To keep them together, I labeled each page with a number and separated the stickers into sandwich baggies, labeling each bag with its corresponding number.
8. Bake or Cook With Your Toddler
My daughter LOVES to help in the kitchen. Cooking and baking are great ways to not only keep your toddler busy, but to teach valuable life skills.
Of course, you have to keep their tasks age-appropriate.
This means she helps hold onto the handle of the measuring cup when I’m scooping and dumping flour. And she stirs the batter (with very close supervision!).
Pro Mom Tip: You’ll never run out of things to bake together when you subscribe to a monthly baking box curated just for kids!
9. Allow Some Water Play
Water play isn’t just an outdoor summer activity! It can also be a fun indoor activity for kids when it’s not possible to get outside.
Give them some buckets of water and bath toys, and let them go to town. I’ll occasionally give my little girl some soapy water and washcloths so she can give her toys a “bath”.
Yes, you’re going to be mopping up a lot of water, but as long as you’re not on carpet or a wood floor, you’re good to go.
Great way to occupy a toddler indoors for a half hour or so!
You might also enjoy: Fun Winter Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
10. Redirect Meltdowns With “Busy Books”
Usborne offers “busy books” like the Busy Bug Book pictured below, as well as Busy Train, Busy Car, Busy Helicopter, and so on.
Just pull the ladybug back, set her on the track, and let her go! She will zoom around the pages of the book as she makes her way home from visiting her friends.
Not only is this a fun indoor activity for kids at home, but also a great way to stop toddler meltdowns in their tracks!
11. Get Paint Sticks for Mess-Free Artistic Fun
Paint sticks are awesome! You can apply them similarly to a marker or crayon (onto any type of paper), but they kind of look like watercolor paint once they hit the paper.
Even better: there’s no dry time. And if your little one paints on the table? No worries, it clean up easily with water.
They’re fun for everyone from toddlerhood to preschool age and beyond. (To be honest, even I enjoy using them!)
Ideas to Keep Toddlers Busy
Are you cooped up in the house and unable to get outside? Understandably, kids can go a little stir crazy when they’re unable to run around outside.
So, which of these fun ideas will keep your toddlers busy today?
(Didn’t find something new on this list? No worries! Check out the articles below for more ideas to keep your kiddos busy.)
More Activity Ideas for Toddlers: