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Fun Ideas for Toddlers

Updated on January 1, 2018
Entertaining your toddler!
Entertaining your toddler! | Source

How to Entertain Young Children

Generally, toddlers are older babies who are physically active and very alert.

Babies who develop at a normal rate tend start walking between the ages of 9 to 15 months. On average, they start to take their first steps between the ages of 12 to 15 months. However some children may not want to do it until they are 18 months old.

As soon as you little one is up and about you need to be as alert as they are. Toddlers need stimulation as they are learning as a fast pace, so they will explore everywhere and get into everything!

Learning Fun

When it comes to finding ideas to entertain your child it may feel a little challenging. You may not want to sit them in front of the television for hours on end, and your child may not want do to that either! Small children have short attention spans and get bored easily, but soak up information like sponges. You need games and activities which are varied and interesting, which won’t cost the earth.

You must watch toddlers and young children with small objects as they tend to feel with their mouths, but by being sensible a lot of fun could be had by all!

Learning about the Environment

Some of the best ways to make things fun and interesting for your youngsters include taking them out and about to learn. It helps them to interact socially, understand the world around them and they can carry on the learning when they get home.

You can teach children about nature with the changing seasons or natural objects around them.

Ideas for the Children

When Autumn arrives, encourage small children to take an interest in crunchy colourful leaves on the ground. They will love to run and jump in piles of leaves as they learn from the sounds and textures. Collect up different types and tones of leaves to take home.

You can then be artistic with the collection with the children, depending on their age or ability.

At home gather all of the leaves and let the kids get messy! Use aprons to cover their clothes and newspaper on the table or floor. Using large pieces of plain or coloured paper, allow them to have the option to either glue them to the page or dip them in paint. Allow the activity to be child led so they can have supervised fun, but don’t let it become chaotic.

Wax Crayon Rubbings

Before you go out, put some chunky wax crayons and paper in your bag. Find interesting markings on objects, buildings and trees and place the paper on top. Next encourage the children to rub over it with the crayon and see the result. It works well on leaves and bark.

Nautical Theme

If you live close to the beach, then this is an exciting day out for children. Take a bucket and walk up and down the sand collecting up interesting finds. Shells of all shapes and textures are fascinating for small children. Let them find their own ‘treasure’ and put them in the bucket.

Pebbles, dead crabs and starfish are also great for learning. These can all be brought home to either create a beach scene picture or make a mini seaside in a tray with play sand and the finds from the day.

If there are rock pools, let the children explore with fishing nets. Teach them to put back live creatures though when they have finished looking at them.

Collecting Shells
Collecting Shells | Source
Make 'Gloop' with cornflour and water
Make 'Gloop' with cornflour and water | Source
Feel the mixture with hands and add glitter
Feel the mixture with hands and add glitter | Source

Make use of Items at Home

Expensive games and the latest toys are in demand when it comes to Birthdays and Christmas, but sometimes they just end up in a cupboard after a while.

Playing with pre-school aged children doesn't always mean spending extra money. You may have things at home to entertain them with.


This is an interesting substance for children. The texture is different as it moves like liquid but feels dry.

Simply mix some cornflour with water in a tray to make gloop. It needs to be a thick consistency for it to work.

Give the children a stick to stir it round and make shapes and patterns in it. When they pick it up in and run it through their fingers the mixture will run back in the tray, but when they build it up it will stay more solid.

Add some food colouring and glitter and play around with it!

Finger Painting

This is simple and something which will never go out of fashion. Get toddlers to feel the paint and make patterns with their fingers.Do hand prints and even foot prints. These are lovely to keep and remember how small your child was once.

Avoid mess by doing this out in the garden. Roll up trousers and put on old t-shirts and have bowls of water handy to wash in.

Ice Fairy Cakes

Another quite messy activity but kids love to get dirty.

Teach the children how to measure out the ingredients for fairy cakes and put them in a bowl for whisking. You will need 100g butter, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs and 100g self -raising flour. For natural flavourings, mix in a few strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.

Lots of supervision and help will be needed to make the cakes but they will enjoy spooning the mixture into the cake cases.

Do not allow children near a hot oven but whilst they are baking in a pre-heated oven (for approximately 20 minutes) make the icing.

Butter icing is a combination of butter and sieved icing sugar whisked together. Use around 50g of butter and 100g icing sugar. You can also add flavourings if you wish, such as vanilla extract.

Be relaxed with the children as they play around with the icing. Help them to squeeze it out of an icing bag onto the cooled cupcakes, or let them spoon it on making textures and patterns.The idea is to make baking fun and involved.

Once all the icing is on add glittery edible sprinkles or flowers made of icing. They will love to taste the final result!

Indoor Picnic

Once you have made your fairy cakes you can add them to a selection of finger foods for a picnic. Have it in the garden or in the front room on a rainy day.

Good ideas for healthy finger food include:

  • Bread Sticks
  • Tuna or cheese sandwiches
  • Chopped up melon, kiwi and banana
  • Raisins
  • Cracker bread and cream cheese
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Vegetarian cocktail sausages
  • Cubed cheese

Potato Printing

This is another painting activity which is very cheap to arrange.

All you need is paper or card, water based paints in trays and potatoes.

The adult needs to be heavily involved in doing this as it means cutting shapes out of the potatoes, but you can be as creative as you like. Get picture ideas from books or the Internet and cut the potato in half. Next carve a shape into it. For simple designs cut out star shapes, crosses or flowers. For the more adventurous make animals, smiley faces, cars or paw prints.

Once the shapes are made, let the children have a play with them! Let them dip them in coloured paint and print away. Add glitter to the paints for an extra touch.

Measure the tallest Sunflower
Measure the tallest Sunflower | Source
Add colourful glitter
Add colourful glitter | Source

Plant Sunflowers

This can be done in the spring and is a fun competition for all the family.

Plant giant sunflower seeds in pots using compost. Get the children to plant their own seed and water it. Put stickers on the pot or even paint them beforehand so they look colourful and easy to identify.

As the seeds begin to grow encourage them to keep them watered and well looked after in the sunlight. They will need to go into bigger pots as the plants get taller and may need to be tied to small canes for support.

As the weather becomes milder and the flowers bigger and stronger, they can them be planted out. Put named labels by each one once everyone has chosen a spot for their sunflower.

As they get taller and start to flower, measure them to see which one is the tallest!

Role Play and Dress ups

This is great for early development and social skills. Most young children enjoy dressing up, so make a dressing up box out of old clothes, hats, scarves, shoes and wigs.

Children will naturally run around and play as they take on an alter-ego.

One way to encourage drama is to read a book to the children then ask them to act it out. Use fairy tales or your child’s favourite book at that time. This is a great way for them to get interested in reading as well.

Pasta Jewellery

Pasta is an inexpensive way of making things with little children. Use tube shaped dried pasta with holes all the way through.

Next roll them in glue then in glitter, paint or just leave them plain.

Leave them to dry if painted or glued, then thread them through string. Make necklaces, wristbands or anklets.

Add toys and bubbles to water
Add toys and bubbles to water | Source
Safe water play
Safe water play | Source

Water Play

Babies, toddlers and even bigger kids love to play in water. It is good for sensory play and children love to splash.

Always be careful for little ones when it comes to water and watch them closely, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy.

Fill a washing up bowl and let them play with plastic toys, fish and bricks. If you have a water table then use that. Children will play for hours with their toys in this way.

Add bubbles to the water and allow them to swish them round. Use baby bath or a mild liquid soap.

Fill a paddling pool on a warm day and let them sit in or splash around. If your toddler is still a little unsteady on their feet, keep them supported. Use warm water and bubbles.

Use containers and scoops to fill with the water and pour back and sponges to squeeze and rinse. Even give them a pot of bubbles to blow and watch them settle in the pool.

There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to keep your toddler amused. They are learning all the time and these are some ways to tire them out! Give them a try.

© 2012 Emma Kisby


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    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I totally agree! Children need to get out and about as it's good for them. They sleep better too after good old fashioned fresh air, which makes them less grumpy the next day!

      Thanks for your comment and stopping by :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Congratulations on HOTD! As a mother of 4, I found that it was pretty easy (and fun) to keep a toddler busy. One of our favorite activities was outside play. There is nothing like fresh air and sunshine to keep a child healthy. Outdoor fun makes for better indoor behavior too; they blow off so much steam!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you so muh mary615 for the vote and share, I appreciate your kind comments.

      I will have a read of your hub, it sounds very interesting indeed. I will comment afterwards :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Emma Harvey. I can see why this Hub was awarded HOTD! You did a wonderful job here with all these great ideas. I have a toddler living in my house now. I wrote a Hub about her when she first came as an infant. It's called "I have an angel living in my house". I invite you to read mine when you have some time.

      Toddlers are so much fun, but it can be hard to keep them entertained, so thanks for all the good ideas.

      I voted this Hub, UP, etc. and will share.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks daisyjae - indoor play is great when it is cold outside. Gloop is great for kids - it's very unusual.

    • daisyjae profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      I like your ideas. Especially the indoor picnic one for wintertime. And i will have to try your gloop recipe, sounds like fun.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Rusti - even bigger kids love to get creative! It's nice to do things with them and let them see the results at the end of it. They start with a day out seeing and collecting the leaves then end up with a colourful picture to put up on the wall.

      I hope your grandson enjoys this activity!

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 

      6 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      These are wonderful ideas I used to be a teacher in an elementary school. We did the leaves and put paper over then rubbing them with crayons, they loved it. My grandson is just a little bigger than a toddler and I'll refer to this hub when he comes to visit!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      When you have more than one child to entertain, you need to make it diverse and interesting for them. When my son was little, he'd spend ages putting toys and objects into a bowl of water. Just one activity can do lots of different things!

    • Francescad profile image


      6 years ago from London

      A few of these I have already done with my VERY active three-and-a-half year old and some I hadn't thought of, so thanks! With 10 month old twins to look after, it can be quite a challenge to constantly keep my older daughter entertained without spending loads.

    • GoForTheJuggler profile image

      Joshua Patrick 

      6 years ago from Texas

      This is a cute Hub of the Day - congrats! Voted up, useful, interesting!

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Never heard of "gloop" before. Must try that - even for me! But I am sure my eldest grandchild would love to help me with it too. I liked your idea for wax crayon rubbings too, that sounds easier than pencil rubbings.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Entertaining young children can be a challenge, but it doesn't need to be complicated. Expensive toys are such a waste, when you can use whatever you have in the house or simply take them out and about.

      It's all about being imaginative and enthusiastic, and everyone can have fun! Thanks again for all the fantastic comments.

    • Pfennig profile image


      6 years ago

      Congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day honors. Loved reading this... like a walk down memory lane. Some we did with my Mom, Some with my Sons... Now I look forward to doing some of these with my Grandchildren.

    • joyfuldesigns profile image

      Valerie Garner 

      6 years ago from Washington State

      I'm a nanny and these are such great ideas!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congrats on HOTD! I did a lot of these things when my kids were little, and they loved it all. But, whew! From my current status as a granny, I'm tired just from reading about all that activity! ;-)

      Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared.

    • Relationshipc profile image


      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      What does that say for my age Sherry? 34 must be a fun age as well, as I'm entertained by such simple things. Way more entertained than sitting around talking about politics and current events with my family, or a number of other 'adult' activities.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      What a great list, such a fun age when they can be entertained by such simple things.

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      What could be more fun than an indoor picnic on a rainy day? It's an activity that older kids might enjoy also. Go HOTD!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We cannot believe no one mentioned making your child's dental visit fun!

    • LA Elsen profile image

      LA Elsen 

      6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Congratulations on HOTD! I have four kids under five and I am always at a loss by the end of the week for activities. Usually I am trying to scrap something together to keep them happy and not whining. I definately will reference this hub for those days!

    • GiancarloLorenzo profile image

      Ray Williams 

      6 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Whenever I have my first child, I will keep this in mind. Definitely bookmarked.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks guys - these ideas are really fun to do. I did most of these with my child and when I worked with children and they loved to get messy and creative!

      It is lovely to keep what you have made or take photo's as you go along. Then you can make an album or diary or simply put photo's up on the wall.

    • Relationshipc profile image


      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Wow! I don't have kids, but I do have nieces, and this will keep us busy for the whole year together!

      I like them all, but I like the wax crayon one the best. I'm excited to see what it looks like myself, and it's something they can take home and remember.

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 

      6 years ago from Norwich, CT

      Pasta jewelry was always a favorite of mine! Great hub and Congrats on HOTD!!!

    • itsmonkeyboy profile image


      6 years ago from London, UK

      Congratulations on your Hub of the Day! It's very well done, a great hub with great ideas.

      Keep up the good writing.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you everyone for all of your comments. I am overwhelmed I have got Hub of The Day!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great ideas! My niece and nephew are still under 2yrs old, but I will definitely be back to use some of these ideas you gave.

      I relly love the idea about gloop :)

    • Traci21 profile image


      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Great ideas and congrats!!

    • Riverfish24 profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Congrats on HOTD! Nice work!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      All great ideas. One thing I'd add is what my mother-in-law told me when I had my first of three children. She was the mother of five. She said it was a good thing for a child to learn to play on their own for part of the day. It encourages the development of their imagination and teaches self-reliance and confidence. She was right. Watching a toddler entertain themself for a half hour or so in the morning and evening is a facinating thing to watch.

      Best of luck and enjoy this time with your child.

    • alphonse george profile image

      alphonse george 

      6 years ago from Kerala,India

      You have thought of very excellent ideas.Keep it up.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Congrats on getting HOTD! You have shared so many simple, age appropriate ideas here. This is a great resource for both parents and teachers.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      6 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      These are all great ideas for kids fun. Like the cornflour gloop idea the most.

      Thanks for sharing, and congrats on the HOTD award!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      These are so much fun. Many of these I do with my precious grand boy. I have not made fairy cakes. O, what fun we will have. Toddlers really are very easy to amuse. Everything to them is new and interesting.Thank you for sharing it. It is filled with lovely ideas of ways to amuse our toddlers. The whole thing about expensive toys is so true. My daughter and I often say we will just give my grand boy a box for his gift as he always likes the box best. Congrats on hub of the day.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      6 years ago

      Fantastic hub! I have 2 toddlers so this hub is especially useful for me. I had no idea about gloop or how to make it until now, so I will have to give it a try. Thanks.

    • dobo700 profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Great Hub, congratulations on hub of the day

    • KenWu profile image


      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Those are some great ways to make a child occupies. Just for the good sake, we can keep away the iPhone, iPad, PS, etc. :)

    • Silver Fish profile image

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Some amazing ideas here. Also show you don't have to spend a lot of money to keep little ones entertained.

      Well done for Hub of the day. Voted up and shared.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      We love making rubbings of leaves on our hikes - the boys have a great time doing that! We've made gloop and homemade playdough, too (we make some that smells like pumpkin pie - love that recipe in the fall)!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Simone - I miss doing some of these things with my son who is a bit bigger now! But we still collect stuff from the beach and get creative at home with paints and glue.

      It's so important for toddlers to learn in such a fun way!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      I absolutely love all these ideas! I remember making gloop as a kid, having indoor picnics, collecting shells, and crafting... these were the highlights of my childhood. Here's hoping toddlers will ALWAYS be doing these things!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks CassyLu1981 - I remember using 'gloop' in my childminding days, but my 9 year old son (who is ASD) loves it still! Kids just love to be messy!

      Thanks for sharing :)

    • CassyLu1981 profile image


      6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      All of these are excellent ideas! I have used many in my FCC and with my kids :) Great hub! Voted up and useful and Shared!!!


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