Being a SAHM is exhausting. And trying to find ways to constantly keep these toddlers entertained and occupied instead of destroying the house or watching Daniel Tiger all day long is tough! I was recently talking with a friend who has decided to stay at home with her kids instead of going back to work. While we were talking, we started going back and forth about ways we entertain these busy little toddlers all day long.
Our conversation inspired me to put together this list! I’m always looking for more ways to entertain the kids during the day so if you have any idea, drop a comment below! I’m sure I’m not the only mom who would appreciate the ideas!
Here are a few ways I entertain my kids throughout our days!
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million more times: sensory bins are amazing! I love how open ended and simple they are. They’re easy to put together and they’re easy for the kids to explore. They leave so much room for imagination and free play, plus give you some time to drink a cup of hot coffee or fold some laundry without the kids unfolding it all for you! Find some Sensory Bin inspiration here!
Puzzles have been a huge source of entertainment for my toddlers over the past few weeks! They’ve been a great way to keep the kids in one spot and out of trouble while staying with Grandpa and Nana. Melissa and Doug have some awesome options for little ones and the kids have been loving the Crocodile Creek floor puzzles! Check out some fun options here!
One of the easiest ways to not only kill some time, but also tire out the kids is to go on a walk. Instead of the same old boring walk with the kids in the stroller or wagon, sometimes we like to let them wander and explore the neighborhood. They are free to collect different things they find along the way and throw into their buckets to look through when we get back home. And they can take as long as they want (within reason obviously) to walk and explore. It’s always fun to see what they find once we get home and they dump out their buckets!
This is one of our favorite things to do around the house, on walks, and in the backyard! Check out these awesome Scavenger Hunt Cards on Amazon and read more about why we love them here! The kids love challenging each other to find all of the fun objects on each of the cards.
Paint Some Ice Cubes
This is an activity that I saw on Instagram (I can’t remember which account shared it, but once I find it I’ll be sure to link it for more inspo!) and we’ve done it a handful of times now. The kids love it and I love how easy it is to set up and clean up! All you do is toss some ice cubes in a big bin (we use the same size as our sensory bin) and use paint brushes and water color to paint! They have so much fun and it usually keeps them entertained for a good chunk of time!
Take It Outside
Kids love being outside and the fresh air is a great remedy for anytime you feel like you’re going to go crazy trying to figure out what to do to entertain them next! Check out our list of Backyard Activities here!
As I’ve said in the past, Oliver loves cooking. And Emmie loves whatever he’s into, so lately she’s loved helping out in the kitchen, too! To help foster and encourage this great life skill, I’ve started letting the kids help put together more snacks and lunches in the past couple weeks. When we were at our old house, I tried to bake something a few times a week. Whether it was banana bread, cookies, brownies, I just loved having some homemade sweets on hand, plus it was a great opportunity to relax and unwind while the kids napped. Now that we are at my in laws and the kids seem to be boycotting nap time, they help out a lot more with either pretend baking or actually helping prep stuff for snacks!
Build a Fort
We loved building forts as kids and the kids have always been into it as well! We’ve been able to construct some awesome blanket and pillow forts over the past few weeks and its a great way to get the kids to stay entertained, problem solve, use their imagination, and stay in one spot! A few weeks ago, my sister in law and brother in law came over to watch the kids for a few hours for us. Oliver was not feeling up to having anyone other than mom around so he was not in a good mood at all. Luckily my brother in law whipped out his fort building skills and Oliver’s mood did a total 180! He was so happy with Uncle Sully’s fort that he fell asleep in it!
Both of the kids love a good art project, but to be completely honest I’ve been real low on creativity and the idea of sitting down to do a project with them sounds exhausting. Luckily, we had a giant roll of butcher paper and some markers laying around. I rolled out the paper, had each kid lay down, and I traced an outline of their bodies. Then I sat back and relaxed as they went crazy drawing their own outfits, faces, hairstyles, and more! They had a blast and I got a mini break. Win Win.
Everyone loves a good dance party, especially toddlers! Grab a speaker, put together a playlist of their favorite songs, and dance it out! If they’re old enough to understand, try Freeze Dance!
Pro Tip: have them help you put together the playlist. It helps them feel like they’re part of the decisions and gets them excited!
Floor is Lava
The idea is simple: the floor is lava and you need to figure out a way to avoid it as you try and move around the room. When our dogs were intimidated by the stairs, we got them these pieces of carpet to make the stairs a little easier for them to get up and down. The kids have decided that the carpets are better used as stepping stones to get across the sea of lava (the hardwood floors). They use these carpets to create paths around the house from one boat or island (area rug and couches) to another. It’s fun to play along with them or sit back and watch how they problem solve and create paths around the room.
We love Pixar’s Cars. For a long time, the kids only wanted to be race cars and Oliver refused to get out of his Lightning McQueen pjs (he set a record for the same pjs for 9 days straight). To turn this obsession into a way to entertain them without watching the three movies on repeat everyday, I decided to turn the living room into a race track. Make a starting line and a finish line out of masking tape on the floor and explain the way the course is set up. Then let them have fun racing and running around! Sometimes we turned it into Red Light Green Light to make it a little more fun!
Choo Choo Train
Using the same carpet squares from the Lava adventure (or chairs, stools, pillows, etc.), create a train for the kids to sit on. Let one of them be the conductor and decide which way the train turns, if it stops, or goes! It’s way more fun if you get into it too- lean the way the train is turn and be dramatic in the starts and stops! They’ll love it! Sometimes our train turns into a bus, a truck, an airplane, and even a boat…
Hide & Seek
Everyone knows this classic game! The kids have been loving playing Hide & Seek lately and especially in the backyard. They’ve been able to count 1-10 (with some help) and have been really creative in their hiding spots. We sometimes switch it up and play Hide & Seek Tag where the kids can run to a “home base” after being found to avoid getting tagged out!