Toddler activities: 10 ways to keep your toddler busy

A variety of hands-on activities using household items can help to keep your toddler engaged and out of trouble.


Fun toddler activities: 1-3
When it comes to taking care of kids, toddlers are arguably higher-maintenance than both babies and school-age children. Kids five years old and up will sit, play games or read books. As for babies, well, they need to be fed and carried around, but they're usually happy enough.

But with toddlers, look out: Turn your back for a moment and they'll be scurrying up stairs or rummaging through a garbage bin. That's why you have to keep them busy.

"Toddlers love hands-on activities," says Janet Loo, a schoolteacher in Toronto with three years of experience teaching kindergarten. "They like anything to do with baking, play-dough, muddy sand, even filling a little bin with water," she says.

Whether it's your own tyke you have to occupy on a rainy day or it's someone else's bambino you're babysitting, here are Loo's helpful tips and fun activities that will keep a toddler occupied using household items.

1. Plan multiple activities
"Toddlers are all different, but most of the time, activities can keep them interested anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. If they like the activity, they will do it for longer than that," says Loo. "It's always nice to give them choices so they can anticipate another activity later. You can let them know that after this one, they can do another one later." So share your plans with them.

2. Let them play dress-up
Take out some old items of clothing and accessories you don't mind getting dirty or mangled, and let them dress up, says Loo, who teaches children as young as three years old.

3. Build a fort
Pull down the sofa cushions, bring out a blanket and help the tots build a fort. Even the youngest of toddlers usually enjoy this activity. "Or put the blanket on the floor and have a picnic," she suggests.

Page 1 of 2 – Discover four more great games to play with your toddler on page 2.

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