What are some toddler boredom busters that are easy to set up before you pull out your hair??!!
Toddlers are busy and can get into everything. Often they'll go off and play independently but sometimes they need a little help getting started. These simple activities are sure to help you survive those days when you're just trying to make it to bedtime.
When I have all four of my kids home from school, they all entertain themselves pretty well and I spend most of my time refereeing here and there, but they can almost always think of something to do.
Meanwhile, once my big kids are at school, my youngest occasionally goes through a phase where she can't think of anything to do.
She just wants to watch TV or have a friend over.
Toddlers rarely say, "I'm bored." But they'll whine or get frustrated.
For us this usually happens the most after a vacation where my toddler is used to having the big kids around to play with.
I love Netflix and use it as a tool when I need it, but most of the time, devices are off at our house. I find that my kids are much happier and creative when screens are off.
I also love having friends over, but sometimes I just need to get stuff done and not supervise a bunch of kids.
So now that screens are off and there are no friends, what is there to do?
Ideally, I'd love to just say, "go play" and have my toddler run off and play by herself. Almost 90 percent of the time she actually does this... but many kids don't or need to be taught to play independently.
To get kids started, I love to set up some simple activities.
The goal of these activities is for kids to eventually be able to set them up for themselves or use them as a jumping off point for their own creative play.
Basically, I want to work myself out of a job as toddler or preschooler entertainer.
50+ TODDLER BOREDOM BUSTERS
Here are 50+ simple toddler boredom busters to pull out when you need them! These are grouped by the categories or types of activities we like to do that most often.
Toddlers love simple activities. So do parents. There is no need to do all of these. Just pick a few you love and repeat.
Toddlers LOVE repetition!
RELATED: These indoor boredom busters HERE are great for big and little kids.
Sensory bins are my saving grace as a parent. They work great for kids of all ages and are immediately engaging. Kids can scoop, dump, pour, sift, etc. Some bins are tidier than others and it is important that you set up clear expectations before you get started and stick to them!
- Simple Toddler Trucks & Oat Bin by Toddler Approved
- Wash the Dishes Sensory Bin by Twin Mom Refreshed
- Color Hunt & Sort Bin by Toddler Approved
- Oobleck sensory bin by Toddler Approved
- Trash Truck Cereal Bin by Toddler Approved
- Bug Bin by Toddler Approved
- Farm Bin by Toddler Approved
- Pete the Cat Bin by Toddler Approved
- Foam sensory bin by Toddler Approved
- Rainbow Rice Filling Station by Busy Toddler
- LEGO & bean sensory bin by Toddler Approved
- Color Lab sensory bin by Toddler Approved
- Car Wash Sensory bin by Toddler Approved
- Lemon Sensory bin by Days with Grey
- Baking Sensory Bin by Toddler Approved
- Snow Trucks Sensory Bin by Toddler Approved
I love hunts because they give me a little breather to take a seat and relax. First I hide whatever object we are using... then I chill while the kids hunt for it. Repeat. You can do this with any theme and you can repeat these again and again.
- Toy Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Color Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Heart Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Number Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Gold Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Bug Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Pet Store Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Rainbow Name Hunt by Toddler Approved
- Flashlight Hunt (hide toys or whatever you have on hand)
- Glowstick Hunt (basically hide & seek with glowsticks, no tutorial needed)
These vehicle activities include boxes, sensory bins, trains, trucks, and cars.
- Bubble Trucks by Busy Toddler
- DIY Train Table by Toddler Approved
- Trucks & Playdough by Toddler At Play
- Car Parade by Busy Toddler
- Car Ramp Science by Toddler Approved
- Noodles & Trucks by Happy Toddler Playtime
- Build cardboard ramps by Toddler Approved
- Transportation Sort by Days with Grey
- Painters Tape Roadway by Mama Papa Bubba
- Pom Pom Construction Site by Happy Toddler Playtime
- Car & Truck Color Sorting by Mama Papa Bubba
Sticky walls need contact paper (aka clear shelf liner), painters tape, and then another item or two depending on which activity you pick below. They don't need to be complex! These are a great way to explore the concept of "sticky" with your toddler and have a fun sticky sensory experience.
- Alphabet Sticky Wall by Toddler Approved
- Spider Sticky Wall by Toddler Approved
- Sticky Table by Toddler Approved
- Sticky Alphabet Tree by Toddler Approved
- Rainbow Sticky Wall by No Time for Flashcards
- Textured Sticky Wall by Toddler Approved
- Nature Sticky Wall by Busy Toddler
- Sticky Pom Pom Drop by Happy Toddler Playtime
- Sticky Stick Wall by Teach Investigate Play
Science doesn't have to be complicated or hard to set up. Some of our favorite science activities just use baking soda and vinegar or water and ice. These can be repeated again and again.
- Fizzy Drips by Toddler Approved
- Sink or Float Bin by Toddler Approved
- Fizzy Ice by Toddler Approved
- Ice Bath Play by Busy Toddler
- Giant Rain clouds by Toddler Approved
- Alphabet Cookie Cutter Science by Toddler Approved
- Mixing Colors by Busy Toddler
- Love Potions by No Time for Flashcards
RELATED: Find more awesome simple Toddler Science activities HERE.
Balls are great for helping kids work on large motor skills and hand eye coordination. These activities only use a few materials but get kids moving and active!
- Build a ball launch by Toddler Approved
- Ball drop (If you don't have PVC pipe, just use jumbo red solo cups and cut off the bottom)
- Ball tunnels by Toddler Approved
- Build a Ball ramp by Toddler Approved
- Ball Box Push by Child Central Station
- Baby Ball Drop by Busy Toddler
- Egg/Ball Roll in a Box by Toddler Approved
There are so many other ways to keep toddlers busy, but these are our favorites because they are easy to set up, don't require too many materials, and kids love to play them again and again!
I'll bet you have some others you could add?
What are your favorite simple toddler boredom busters?