Keeping a toddler entertained can be challenging, especially when the weather is bad. However, there are many ways you can keep a curious toddler busy and spark their amazing imagination without leaving the house.
Whether you are looking for a fun way to spend time with them or an activity for toddlers that will keep them entertained while you cook a meal or finish some housework, we have some great DIY ideas to entertain a toddler at home for free.
Below are some great activities you can do around your home, which all involve household items or toys you already have. From educational games for toddlers to fun DIY activities we have a great list of ideas to keep even the most energetic toddler occupied.
Build a Cushion Castle
Toddlers will love making a castle out of cushions; if your sofa cushions are removable, they make for a great fort. Let your toddler help you create a castle by piling up cushions or creating a den with a bed sheet as a roof. You can extend the fun by serving their lunch inside the castle or acting out their favourite nursery rhyme.
Make a Cardboard Car
Turn a large cardboard box into a car by drawing wheels on the side, a number plate, and lights on the front. Let your toddler help you decorate the box, and then you can let them role-play driving a car or push them around in the box as one of you makes engine noises. If you have any paper plates these can be turned into a car steering wheel.
Set up an obstacle course in the living room
An obstacle course is a great idea for an energetic toddler and it will also help with a toddler's need to move and be active. Get creative when setting up an obstacle course, cushions can become stepping stones, and blankets can become rivers. Mark a start and finish line and challenge your toddler to complete the course.
Send them on a treasure hunt
Engage their minds with an educational colour-themed treasure hunt. Write the names of three colours on pieces of paper using a crayon of the same colour, and place them on the floor. Then ask your toddler to bring objects that match the colour and place them in a pile. This will engage your toddler and help reinforce the names of different colours they see around them.
Messy play with soap bubbles
If your toddler enjoys messy play, but you don’t want a big mess, use soap bubbles instead. Add water and soap to a bowl and shake the water until bubbles appear. Using a straw let your toddler blow the bubbles, just make sure they blow and don't suck up the bubbles. Add natural food colouring to the water to make it bright and colourful. You could extend the fun by setting up their toys for a car wash or a toy bubble bath.
Set up a sensory tray
Toddlers love to experience the world around them through touch and often like to touch things they shouldn't around the house. Engage their curious minds by setting up a sensory tray with safe items that they don't usually have access to. This could include a hair brush, a clean make-up brush, a clean sponge, or even whole fruit or vegetables. Let them explore the items on the tray and talk to them about their uses as they play.
Set up a shop with their toys
Set up a pretend play shop using their toys as the products. Assign your toddler a role as either the shopkeeper or the customer and play out a shopping game. You could even make pretend money out of paper and turn a basket into a shopping cart.
Making time to play and engage with your toddler will help to form a secure bond with you and will keep their mind engaged and body active.