Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.
Kids depend on us for their entertainment. We are their source of learning, skill-building, guidance and we help stimulate their imagination.
They entertain us with their first smile, first word and first step. It's our responsibility to nurture their skills with our imaginations.
Be clever. Be creative. Be enthusiastic. Most importantly have fun making memories.
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend or daycare worker it's your responsibility to keep toddlers entertained. Your interaction with the little ones helps to stimulate their development.
Raising a child could be costly. The items sold in stores to supposedly "stimulate a child's development" are overpriced.
Back in the day those items didn't exist and the baby boomers seem to be quite successful.
They didn't need Baby Einstein to nurture their imagination. A wooden spoon and a bowl were enough to teach them they were rock star kids.
I've researched a list of 50 fun, free ideas to entertain toddlers. If you have any additional ones please add them to the comment section for other parents to find useful...
In addition some ideas require that you click on the link for step-by-step instructions or additional details. Have fun making memories with your children.
Play Dates are a fun toddler activity
Go fly a kite...
Activities for toddlers, kids, children
- Blow bubbles, lots of them. Have a bubblicious time chasing, popping and blowing them. Make your own homemade bubbles!
- Clap to nursery rhymes. Keep it old school with Miss Mary Mack.
- Have a staring contest. No blinking. End the contest with an arm wrestle. Of course your toddler will win.
- The next time you are at the pediatrician ask for some extra latex gloves and make hand puppets. Blow them up and draw faces on them using a permanent marker (parents task).
- Start a garden. Plant seeds in a container or in the ground. Their expression is priceless when growth begins.
- Take a stroll around the neighborhood and pick flowers or weeds. Be one with nature. Talk about the changes of seasons.
- Visit a local grocery store and teach them about the many fruits and vegetables that they should be eating.
- Have a bucket of chalk and create artistic works of art on the sidewalk. Write "Have a Nice Day" to neighbors and passerbys. Your message will brighten someone's day until the next rain washes it away.
- Bake a cake, cookies, cupcakes. Have your toddlers use their hands to decorate with icing. I didn't say they had to be edible, they are more for fun.
- I have a collection of 2" rubber balls. I place about 8-10 in my hands and drop them mid-air at once. My granddaughter and I rush around to see who could retrieve the most balls first.
- Make paper airplanes! Using a single piece of paper your toddler could become a pilot.
- Use washable markers to draw on outside toys. Use a sponge or the garden hose for clean up.
- Sweat farts. Dad lays on a tile floor with a sweaty back, when they lift up their back it makes a squeaky sound. My grandtwins laugh out loud!
- Have them turn on the vacuum cleaner and watch them scream with fear at the noise. My son-in-law is a bit devious, but his girls adore him.
- Play hide and seek. Instructional video is available, just click here.
- Build an indoor tent. Place a large sheet or blanket over four chairs and they could use their imagination for the rest.
- Peek-a-boo is a classic favorite for all to enjoy.
- Take some stale bread to the local park and feed the ducks, swans, seagulls...etc. We have a family of ducks who walk around our neighborhood and they appreciate the snacks.
- Have a dance party. Have your video camera ready to record the droopy diapers bouncing up and down to beat of the tunes!
- Stock up on Body Paints and have a colorful bubble bath!
- Play Duck, Duck Goose! It's still one of my favorite games even as a grandmother. If you aren't sure how to play, just click here.
- Have a pinata party! Fill the pinata with useful toddler toys. Have your toddler and friends break it open, with a little help from an adult.
- Make some oobleck! Using 2 cups of cornstarch to 1 cup of water and mixing well. The concept of creating this fascinating project will be well remembered by your toddlers.
- Mimic animal sounds together.
- Install the free iTunes app Talking Tom Cat. The cat repeats everything the child says. Adults will enjoy it also, It's one of my favorite apps.
Use Your Imagination To Entertain Toddlers
26. Use voice animations while reading books. Your toddlers will think you are a genius!
27. Visit animals at a pet store. Consider how excited the lonely pets will be and it will teach your toddler how to show love to a furried friend.
28. Create your own version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey...Pin the Diaper on the Baby!
29. While working on a puzzle together, hide the final piece...yet make it accessible for your toddler to find, their expression is priceless. It's like they won the lotto!
30. Recite a make believe story together. You say the first line, toddler the next line and so on...until one of you falls asleep or becomes a published author!
31. Using household items such as pillows, chairs and boxes (etc) construct an obstacle course. This is your time to shine parents. Use your imagination and score some points.
32. On a cloudy, yet sunshine filled day...grab a blanket and toss it on the lawn. It's time for "I Spy Clouds". Each of you take turns on telling each other what the clouds resemble. You might see a giraffe, a truck, a doll or even spaghetti and meatballs.
33. How about "Guess Which Hand?" Place a small toy in the palm of your hand and have your toddler guess which hand is the correct one. I tease around a bit with this game, but it's so much more fun. You'll understand once you try it.
34. Make your own fingerpaint. Squirt some corn syrup onto a plate. Add a dash of food coloring. Mix together and you have homemade fingerpaint. It's sticky, but cheap and easy.
35. How about the old school plastic bowl and wooden spoon? You never know your toddler could become the next world famous drummer due to your influence. Earplugs are available at your nearest retail store.
36. Play tug-of-war using your dogs pull toy. You should probably sit down to play this and be sure there is a pillow behind your toddler just in case they pull too hard. Ouch!
37. Visit a Chuck E. Cheese and be a kid again! If you don't have a Chuck E Cheese nearby visit the website and have a blast!
38. Make your own homemade playdough! There are tons of recipes and most of the items are probably already in your pantry!
39. How about a magic trick? These tricks were created for grandparents, but parents could play also. All you need is a pencil, deck of cards and a salt shaker!
Facepainting is fun...
More Ways To Entertain The Youngens
40. Play dress up! Have a tote filled with costumes and assorted clothing. Dress up dad as a princess and mom as a prince. Role playing is always interesting and amusing.
41. Explore your creative side and have your toddler beam with pride when you create a collage together. Using tissue paper or cottons balls you could create a masterpiece!
42. Explore your creative side making homemade facepaint. Basic ingredients needed are cornstarch, cold cream and food coloring,
43. Make funny faces and laugh until you can't laugh anymore, then laugh some more!
44. Create your own version of the iTunes app Paper Toss! All you need is a small trash can and a scrunched up piece of paper. Imagine your toddler's delight when they score a shot!
45. Make "hidden veggie" smoothies. It's perfect for the picky tots who won't eat their veggies!
46. Play "Flashlight Fun!" Dim the lights. Have a lightweight flashlight available for your toddler and one for you. Hide objects around a room and using the flashlights guide your toddler to the hiding spot. Using you are hot, warm or cold as the guide words. Use your flashlight if your tiny tot begins to get a bit frustrated.
47. How about playing "Big Bugs!" Using a plastic magnifying glass explore the outdoors and watch in amazement as your toddlers expression changes when an ant is magnified 100x.
48. Have a tea party. Tea time teaches a toddler sharing, offering and to be gracious. Have finger sandwiches available.
49. Count fingers, toes, crayons...familiarize your tiny tot with numbers.
50. Most households have a family pet. Whether it's a dog, cat, fish or turtle. Have your toddler help with the care of the pet whether by feeding, petting or bathing it. Make it family fun time.
Stop by a pet store and visit with the puppies...
Take the kids to Chuck E Cheese
© 2012 Linda Bilyeu
Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on January 10, 2016:
Thank you all for your comments!
Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 18, 2014:
Kids are so entertaining! Loved your photos! I could not think of anything to add to your list; I think you covered them all.
Voted UP, etc. and shared.
Nell Rose from England on July 16, 2014:
Love this one Linda! Always makes me smile!
Suzie from Carson City on June 24, 2014:
Babies and Toddlers can have FUN at Gramma Sunshine's Birthday Party TOO!!
Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on May 25, 2014:
Yes...Kids keep us young. It's always an adventure with them.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 13, 2013:
An awesome list for sure. Aren't. Kids fun?
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 13, 2013:
Awesome and creative ways to have fun with kids. Enjoyed reading. Voted way up.
Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on November 11, 2013:
Hey Y'all! I'm glad you were able to pick up some tips to entertain the little ones and thank you for sharing your tips!
Stephanie Henkel from USA on August 22, 2013:
Oh, my, you must be the most fun grandma on your block! I remember well the days of tents and "hideouts" in the living room with blankets and tablecloths draped over the furniture. The best thing about grandmothers is that they don't care of the house is a mess if the kids are having fun!
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 14, 2013:
This list makes it easier for dads like me. Thank yo so much. Hide and seek is one of my daughter's favorite activities.
Dianna Mendez on August 14, 2013:
As a teacher and parent, I can verify that finding things to do with toddlers is a real challenge. You have really made the job much easier with your list.
Jools Hogg from North-East UK on July 06, 2013:
Another great list Linda though thankfully I don't have must cause for entertaining toddlers yet! Nice to know I can come here when I do :o)
Mary Craig from New York on July 06, 2013:
Your lists are always spot on and helpful. Your mind must be racing all the time GF! I'm sure lots of young parents will find some new ideas here.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.
Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on July 05, 2013:
Some I babysit for my sister. I should perhaps couple of these to entertain my nephew and niece.
Maria Alicia Cardenas from Spain on July 05, 2013:
very good ideas Sunshine625! my kids are not toddlers anymore but is never too late to learn more useful things!!!
Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 05, 2013:
MM ~ Daisy ~ Michelle ... Thanks for your comments! :)
Michelle Liew from Singapore on May 09, 2013:
You bring out the child in all of us. Thanks for sharing, Linda!
Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on May 09, 2013:
You certainly are the List Diva! No matter the subject, you can come up with a list!
Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 09, 2013:
Adorable, Linda. I can surely tell you are a kid at heart!
Voted UP and across the board. Love, MM
Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on May 09, 2013:
That's always fun to do Nell. I've noticed some weird, yet funny things while spying clouds. Thanks for sharing! :)
Nell Rose from England on May 09, 2013:
I spy clouds! lol! oh I remember this one very well! my son used to drag me out doors and lay on the grass. I always said the clouds looked liked faces or animals, he of course being a boy would say monsters and horrible bugs! lol! great hub Linda, voted up, and tweeted!