Lockdown is an alarming & daunting time for anybody, but the thought of having to occupy a toddler with activities, increases the pressures tenfold. Here are 40+ activities to keep your toddler occupied during lockdown, even if it is only for 10 minutes so you can have a hot cup of coffee.
Holes in a shoebox – This has probably been the biggest hit for my toddler during lockdown, she loves sitting with the shoebox between her legs pulling pipe cleaners out of the holes & putting them back in again… I even popped a few ball pit balls in the box for extra sensory play, which she looses her marbles over that.
Treasure box – My daughter loves taking things in and out of a treasure box. It doesn’t have to be just toys either, it could be buttons of dried pasta perhaps, anything to keep their little hands busy.
Spaghetti & food colouring – Toddlers love mess don’t they, it’s like they’re drawn to it (unfortunately); Lay a tuff tray or bin bags out and surround them in spaghetti and get them sifting it through their hands, they’ll love it I’m sure!
Cloud dough – Another potentially messy activity to keep your toddler occupied during lockdown. Cloud dough can be made by mixing plain flour with baby oil & measurements can be played with to create a stiff dough or a sand type texture.
Rescue the toys – Hold small toys hostage by cellotaping them into a baking tray, your toddler will instinctively try and reuse them, only it’ll take them a few minutes to get their head around the dilemma & you may manage that infamous cup of hot coffee.
Toys in jelly – Similar to the previous activity, only messier… And tastier!
Bottle shakers – Shakers have been a firm favourite in our house since Amelia was a baby & we did baby sensory classes. We have a couple of small bottles filled with water, pasta, glitter & pompoms and they’ve always been a hit, I should probably make some more.
Elastic bands around a tissue box – Otherwise known as a makeshift guitar. Unleash your toddlers musical side with a bit of elastic band plucking… Feel free to blame me if they love it too much & you don’t get a minutes peace.
Indoor soft play – This is another one of Amelia’s favourites; I pull all of the cushions off the sofas, pop them on the floor and let her climb all over them knowing she’s going to be 100% safe. She loves running from one end of the room to the other across the sofa cushions, plus it gives me chance to hoover down the back of the sofas. I dare you to check yours! Mine we’re minging!
Making a den – A simple den can be made by hanging a throw between pieces of furniture, or if you want to be a little extra you can use sofa cushions (after you’ve used them for soft play). This is another one of my toddlers favourites as she loves playing peekaboo & this is the perfect activity to do so.
Copy the king – Please tell me you get the Hey Duggee reference! We walk behind our toddler copying her every move, whether it be squatting, falling or twirling… And because it makes us laugh, it makes her laugh too.
Cleaning their toys – We’ve popped Amelia’s toys in her baby bath with a few bubbles and she’s loved swishing them around.
Ball pit – During lockdown we dug out our toddlers ball pit, something which hasn’t seen the light of day for a good six months or so but she loved jumping in and flinging the balls around everywhere…. She even tidied up after herself!
Colander & pipe cleaners – This classic is a given for keeping your toddler occupied & out of trouble.
Baking – If you can bake without your toddler eating half of the ingredients, then well done you!.. But in all seriousness baking has been brilliant for us, plus it’s a lovely little activity to bond over.
Colouring – All toddlers love colouring right? How long they last is another question, but if you can get a couple of jobs done while you’re toddlers colouring away to their hearts content, I’d call that a win!
Pebbles in a plant pot – Who’d have thought this would’ve been such a hit! There’s really not much to it, other than putting pebbles in a plant pot, taking them out, and putting them back in again.
Water table – Water tables are brilliant however if you don’t have one a baking tray filled with water popped on a low level table has the same effect. Amelia loves splashing & ended up soaked within five minutes. She was 100% living her best life!
Mud kitchen – We don’t actually have a mud kitchen for our toddler, however if we did I know for a fact she would love it! She loves anything messy & I know it’d keep her occupied fr such a long time, I’m just putting it off because of the clean up operation.
Gardening – My toddler has helped with quite a lot of gardening during lock down, I mean you’ve got to keep an eye on her to make sure she’s not pulling flower heads off, but generally she’s loved being outside & helping mum and dad. It’s been just the cutest!
Picnic blanket – Is anyone else’s toddler as obsessed with picnic blankets as mine? There doesn’t even have to be a picnic there… As soon as we lay the blanket out she bounds over to use it as a dance floor before crashing out in a weird breakdance style fall. I really need to video it!
Paddling pool – On the sunnier days, we’ve had the paddling pool out. Amelia loves anything water related, so this is an easy one for us to keep her occupied.
Paddling pool with ball pit balls – Paddling pool 2.0
Paddling pool with ball pit balls & bubble bath – Paddling pool 3.0
Nature hunting – While we’ve been gardening, our toddler has developed a penchant for nature, she loves looking at worms, prodding worms & picking worms up… I mean, we’re a little grossed out by it, but if she likes carrying worms around, who’s to stop her.
The hose pipe – I don’t know why, but my child loves being chased around the garden with the hose pipe. Obviously the water flow isn’t on full pelt as I’m pretty sure it’d blow her away, but she loves being sprayed with the water, it gets so many giggles out of her.
Bring the inside out – It sounds super simple, but sometimes just playing with inside toys, outside gives them a whole new lease of life & will occupy your tiny human long enough for you to grab a hot drink. We’ve been taking things like the walker & rocking horse, things that she doesn’t normally bother with inside & she’s fallen back in love with them outside.
Making binoculars out of toilet roll tubes – You know after you’ve hoarded all of those toilet rolls *insert eye roll here* why not make them into something. As my toddler is still only relatively young there’s no point building the Eiffel Tower out of loo rolls (which I could totally do btw), instead we’ve made binoculars; A simple alternative which is sure to keep your little one occupied.
Drawing on a roll of paper – Amelia loves drawing and I’ve found the easiest thing to do is buy a roll of Kraft paper, lay it out on the laminate flooring & letting her loose with it… Much more fun than standard colouring books.
Ripping up paper – After they’ve drawn on their roll of paper, why not get them to rip it up. My toddler loves ripping things, in fact I’m sure she’d rather rip up and destroy paper rather than draw on it.
Water mat – I’ve currently got a water mat on order & am waiting for it to arrive; I can’t wait to see Amelia’s face glow in amazement as she watches the water pens turn the mat into colours.
Potato printing – Potato printing is a classic, although it’s something we’ve not done yet as we’d much rather use them for chips!
Make cards for loved ones – It’s a bummer not being able to see family, but it’s even more of a bummer your family not being able to see your child. To try and bridge the gap we’re going to be making hand & footprint cards to send off to our nearest and dearest.
Colouring cardboard boxes – I saw this on Pinterest, but if you have a cardboard box big enough, pop your toddler inside with a bunch of colouring crayons and let them make their marks.
Stickers – I bought Amelia a sticker book not too long ago & although she doesn’t enjoy using the actual book, she loves sticking the stickers on pieces of paper.
Pat mat – A pat mat is a laminate pouch ironed on all four edges filled with water and pieces of confetti or small toys. We made ours after a baby sensory class & Amelia’s loved patting it, beating it & moving all of the shapes around in the pouch.
Disney + – As much as we all want to be ‘Pinterest mums’ creating wonderful arts & crafts to keep our toddlers busy, sometimes popping them in front of the telly is 100% okay. I’m not the biggest Disney lover out there, but we’ve watched so many films whilst snuggling on the sofa, it’s been lovely, and I’ve sussed that Moana is definitely her fave!
Dancing to youtube videos – It’s only in the last month or so that my daughter’s started ‘dancing’ or doing what’s otherwise known as stomping around in circles. She has her favourites, but we could literally put any form of music video on the telly and she’s straight up dancing; It’s the most gorgeous thing to watch.
Facetiming grandparents – It’s sad to think that Amelia hasn’t seen her grandparents for four weeks now, especially seeing as though she’s changing so much now & learning so many different things. Thanks to FaceTime, Amelia’s nana has been able to see her running around in the garden & has heard her say so many different words.
Ipad games – Before becoming a parent I thought I would’t use the TV or iPads to occupy my child… Now I have my toddler however it’s a different story. I do try and limit screen time, but I 100% look at them as an educational tool. We have a bubble popping game on Dans iPad aimed at toddlers & Amelia loves pressing & popping them as they’re moving around the screen – Amazing for hand eye coordination.
I hope these activities will keep your toddlers busy & gives you mama’s a bit of a break, because lord knows we need one! How have you been coping so far during lockdown?
PS. Did anyone actually believe me when I said I could make the Eiffel Tower out of loo rolls?