As we spend more and more time indoors this year, many parents are struggling to keep their little ones out of trouble and entertained. Saying goodbye to a long walk in the park or a trip to the playground isn't easy. That's why we've come up with ten innovative ways you can keep your child entertained, active, and learning while you're stuck indoors for the next few months.
1. Dance Party
Nothing beats a toddler dance party for getting your little active and entertained. Create a playlist of your favorite toddler songs, and set up the living room like a toddler "club." Spend some time choosing your dance party outfits together, then head downstairs. Make the event feel super special for your little one, and it will keep them entertained for hours.
You could even consider setting up a karaoke station with a toddler-sized microphone. Let your little one sing along to their favorite songs. Be sure to give them a huge round of applause when they’re finished.
The greatest part of a toddler dance party is that it's sure to tire your little guy or girl out. If your child seems to have lots of pent-up energy, this activity will sort them out in no time. Plan to hold the party right before bedtime, and your child is sure to nod off as soon as their head touches the pillow.
2. Fashion Show
If your little one enjoys strutting her (or his) stuff, why not set up a toddler fashion show? Move some of the furniture around in your living room. Set up a catwalk made of fabric or a long plank of wood. If you can, create a curtain at the back of the catwalk where your child can make her grand entrance.
Help your little one get changed into all of her favorite outfits. This is a great excuse to get out all of the cute party outfits she only had a chance to wear once. You could even splurge on a few new outfits to make the fashion show extra special. If you're looking for affordable and adorable options, try the Bitsy Bug dresses for toddler girls. You’ll find a wide range of stunning dresses at Bitsy Bug that your daughter will love taking down the catwalk.
Once your daughter hits the runway, be sure to have your camera at the ready. You're bound to get some good, adorable, and priceless photos at your makeshift fashion show.
3. Relay Race
For a super active, sporty kid, try setting up a relay race. This is a great alternative to outdoor sports and will help to tire your little one out before bedtime. Set up different challenges throughout the house that your toddler has to complete before moving onto the next challenge.
Ideas of fun challenges include drawing a self-portrait, putting on all of their sweaters at once, spinning in a circle, hopping on one foot, and so on. Cheer them through the race as they go. If you have multiple children, or even a willing partner, set up two racecourses. This way, your toddler will have some competition.
4. Activity Stations
For the more artistic, quiet child, try an activity station relay race. Instead of having your child do physical tasks, set up various crafting stations throughout your house. This will keep them occupied for hours.
You can try a craft station, a book-reading station, a drawing station, and a toy station. Your toddler will love the variety of all of the different activities. Plus, when they get bored with one, they can move onto the next one. Just think how happy your toddler will be to see all of their activities laid out for them to use (and how happy you'll be to clean them up at the end of the day)! Here are some great toddler craft ideas.
To keep your toddler entertained as they go from station to station, try including a coin flip, a dice roll, or even a homemade spin-the-wheel to decide which station they head to next.
5. Crafting with Cardboard
If you’re feeling particularly artistic, why not try creating a fort or a playhouse out of cardboard boxes? You don’t need to spend tons of money on a fun playhouse for your toddler. All you need is some old boxes and paints.
Create a castle, a cottage, or fort out of these old boxes. Cut in some windows and doors and create a removable roof. Make sure the structure is big enough for your little one to play in and set up her own little world.
Once you've completed the structure, get to work on painting your construction. You can even let your toddler help you decide which colors to use. If you can, get creative and try using fake flowers to make pretty windowsills or make a ribbon flag for the turret of the castle. Your toddler will absolutely love their new cardboard abode, and it's sure to keep them occupied for days and weeks on end.
6. Indoor Bowling
If you can't get out to a bowling alley, you can always create your own in your living room. All you'll need are some softballs and some soft bowling pins. Set up a long alley with the pins at the end of it. You can use toy blocks to mark out the alley and make the game a little bit easier for your toddler.
Then, take turns rolling the ball and trying to hit down the pins. Be sure to keep score and celebrate your toddler’s inevitable win at the end of the round!
7. Target Practice with Tape
Another fun game you can imitate in your home is darts. We know what you're thinking - darts and toddlers don't sound like the right combination. However, it's easy to create a simple and safe version of darts that your toddler will love to play.
All you'll need is some tape, some soft cotton balls, and a wall. Draw a large target on a piece of paper, then cover different areas with double-sided tape. If you want to make the game more personalized, try drawing your toddler's favorite Disney villain. Put this picture up on the wall and get ready to hurl some cotton balls! Whoever gets the most cotton balls stuck to the picture is the winner. Try coloring the cotton balls with different colors of highlighter to remember who threw which cotton ball.
8. Backyard Picnic
Just because you can't get to the park doesn't mean you can't enjoy a relaxed afternoon lounging in the sun with your little one. If you have a backyard, plan a surprise picnic for you and your toddler. Set up a blanket, pack up some snacks, and bring some games and music out into the sunshine.
While picnics in the park can be fun, you might even enjoy the backyard picnic more. In your own backyard, you’ll be free to play your own music and run around without worrying about disturbing others. You’ll also be able to relax a little as you won’t have to worry about your toddler wandering off.
9. Toddler Spa in the Bath
If your little one has been feeling stressed (and yes, even toddlers get stressed of something), why not set up a mini spa in the bathroom? Do exactly what you'd do for an adult home spa. Light some candles and place them somewhere safe. Fill up the tub with lots of bubbles. You could try using a colored bath bomb to make the experience a bit more exciting.
After the bath, give your toddler a few at-home spa treatments. Maybe try a mini massage, or you could paint your little one's nails. She will love feeling all grown-up after her spa day with mom.
10. Family Yoga
Even though you're cooped up inside, it's still important to stay active and fit. With a toddler running around, you may feel as though you haven't had the chance to do all of the exercises you'd have liked to. Yoga is a great form of exercise for the whole family. Have you ever noticed how much your toddler loves to roll around and go upside down? She was born for yoga!
Set up a short, easy yoga video on the TV or computer. There are plenty of videos made for children. Get two mats and dress your little one up in a cute little exercise outfit. Help her through the poses. Don’t worry if she loses interest or starts doing her own thing. The more you make a habit of doing yoga with your little one, the more she’ll learn to love it.
Entertaining a toddler indoors for days on end can seem pretty daunting. It can be tough coming up with new things to do to keep them active, happy, and tantrum-free. We hope these ten ideas have given you some inspiration. Try mixing up these activities, so that your toddler is always kept busy. Hopefully, once he or she gets engrossed in these activities, you can also get some of your own work done, too.