Are you a busy mom working from home, trying to prepare meals or clean your house? Do you ever feel guilty you’re not engaging with your children? No matter what your daily to-do list entails, it always seems to be a tad more difficult with a toddler… or two… at home.
Here are five activities your toddler can do that will keep them engaged and will enhance their developmental skills using ordinary household materials many of us already have at home so you can get the things you need to get done, without adding screen time or feeling guilty!
1. Ice Block Treasure Hunt
This might sound like cruel and unusual punishment, but I assure you, the kiddos LOVE IT!
Keep your little explorer engaged and on the hunt for hidden objects frozen inside ice. I love this idea on a warmer day because my little ones can sit out forever and chisel away to find just about anything - food pouch caps, legos, dinosaurs or other animals, and more!
Freeze their objects inside any container. You can use an ice cube tray and freeze items individually or put them into one block. Give them toy hammers, toy picks, and anything else they might need in their quest.
Have older children? Have them log their findings and turn their discovery into a written story!
2. Cloud Dough
Embrace the mess with this one (you can just sweep it away when they are done). This is a fun-filled sensory activity that your toddler will love!
- 8 cups flour (we used gluten-free flour)
- 1 cups Baby Oil or Vegetable Oil
Mix the two ingredients together. You might need to add a little more oil depending on consistency, but the dough should be looser than play-dough yet easily molded and hold it’s shape without being wet.
Add some trucks, cars, animals, or kitchen tools to add some sensory fun!
3. Food Play
Here’s another messy one that your toddler will enjoy, so just be prepared to give them a bath afterward, which is engaging in and of itself so this is a two for one idea!
Food play is a fun and engaging tactile activity for any age because it is edible! You can cook and dye spaghetti noodles, let them paint on their high chair with colored yogurt, or make jello and break it up into a sensory bin with small toys (or cereal, raisins, pretzels, etc for a completely edible option).
4. Homemade Bath Paint
Let’s face it… No matter how many times I tell my toddler to paint on the paper, it somehow ends up on them. This is a great way to let your little one explore their creative curiosity and love of painting… themselves… in a mess-free, completely washable, and engaging way!
- 1 cup Baby shampoo or body wash (clear or white in color is best)
- ½ cup Cornstarch
- Food coloring to ideal color
Mix shampoo or body wash and cornstarch together. Divide into small containers, ice cube trays, or foam or plastic egg cartons. Add a few drops of food coloring to create your ideal color. Mix until color is blended.
Kids can paint with fingers or paintbrushes on themselves or all over the tub as their canvas. The best part!?! It’s completely contained! Then when they are finished painting, add water to the bathtub and all is rinsed away, even from their little bodies! Both tub and kiddo are completely clean! Bath time will never be the same!
5. Early Learners Binder
Whether you are a homeschool mom or work from home mom, this 196 page printable Early Learners Binder is the perfect way to help your little one develop and strengthen their skills AND build and invest in your growing relationship with them at the same time.
Read all about the printable Early Learners Binder in this post!
This binder is so much more than just worksheets. Its lifelong memories made laughing together with the bonus of learning! I created this printable with my own preschooler and toddler in mind so I hope you love it as much as we do!
Have any more ideas? I’d love to hear them! What do you do to keep your toddler engaged so you can successfully get your work done at home without feeling guilty?