13+ Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy

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Who here is a mom that is pulling her hair out trying to keep her toddler busy (and out of the super glue)? 🙋‍♀️

At the time of writing this blog article, I have an 18 month old daughter that is desperate to get into everything her older brother has. This can be particularly frustrating when I am trying to go through the fundamentals of reading with him, and all my daughter wants to do is throw the letter magnets all over the house.

In a desperate plea for help, I reached out to my fellow blogging moms, and they graciously sent me over a bunch of activities to keep her busy while I’m trying to homeschool my son (or, you know, take a shower for once 😂).

Without further ado, here are a few activities that you need to try if you’re trying to keep your toddler busy.

Soap Foam Sensory Bin

Who doesn’t love playing with soap?! I will admit, that even at my 32 years of age, while I am doing the dishes, I love to play with the soap.

And my kids love to help, especially when I blow soap bubbles around the kitchen.

So when I saw this soap foam sensory bin, I knew this would be a winner for my daughter.

While it is messy (my daughter tends to splash the soap water ALL over the kitchen), it keeps her busy. And it gives me a head start on mopping the kitchen floor 😂

Messy Farm Play Sensory Bins

This website has 5 different messy farm play sensory bins (talk about bang for your buck!).

There are a few that I opted to set up outside for my daughter, given her propensity for throwing things all over the house, but there were a few sensory bins that worked out well inside (like this one pictured here).

All in all, they worked out well for me, so I encourage you to give them a try!

Fine Motor Skills Activities

Here is another great post from Bravery & Belonging that has a treasure trove of fine motor skills activities for your young kiddos.

I tried out a bunch of ideas she had listed, and they worked out GREAT for my daughter. I especially loved the idea pictured here. My daughter spent about 30 minutes unsticking all of the animals off of the tray (I may have used stronger tape than Lizzy did for her model 🤫).

If you have a toddler, you know that 30 uninterrupted minutes is GOLDEN, and it really allowed me to work one-on-one with my son without worrying that my daughter was trying to choke out our kitten.

So, definitely give this post a read if you’re looking for that free time you’ve been missing.

Cute Animal Coloring Pages

My daughter has finally transitioned from the “markers are yummy” phase into the “hey, these things actually make colors appear like magic” phase (well, mostly), and so I was super excited to introduce actual paper into her activity repertoire!

She loved these cute animal coloring pages, and she actually managed to color most of them before moving on to my table and walls! 🎉

If you’re looking for some cute animal coloring pages for your kiddo, highly recommend that you check these free ones out.

Play Dough Number Mats

I originally thought that these pay dough number mats would be a bit beyond my daughter; at 18 months old, she’s really more interested in how much she can destroy in any given day, but I decided to give these a go.

While she did generally smash more play dough than she did sorting the balls into the ten frames, she did like the mats in general, and I will definitely be using these in the future when she starts to learn her numbers.

Toddler / Preschool Busy Binder

When the mom from Two Pink Peonies originally sent over this busy binder for my daughter, I wasn’t totally interested because I had already created one for my son.

HOWEVER, the one that I had put together for my son, I had to pay for, and this one from Two Pink Peonies is free. So I knew that I had to include it in this post for the moms out there who don’t already have a busy binder set up for their kiddos.

Because again, this one is free.

And my kids absolutely love the busy binder. My daughter loves matching up the shapes and otherwise playing with the velcro, and it did wonders for my son when he was learning his basic skills.

So if you don’t already have a busy binder, head over to this post and print yours out.

Farm Animals Dot Marker Printables

I have just recently taken the foray into dot markers (because honestly, before I thought they were just too expensive to really justify having), and when I saw this post from Two Pink Peonies, I knew that I had to include this in my list.

For my 18 month old daughter, this activity fell into the category of the coloring sheets above (that is, she somewhat got the dots on the paper, before moving on to my table and the walls), but my son absolutely LOVED these sheets.

So if you have a slightly older kiddo who needs something to do, I definitely encourage you to go print out these free farm animal dot marker sheets.

Frugal Sensory Bins

I wasn’t really into sensory bins for my two oldest boys. I’m honestly not quite sure why, I think I was under the impression that they would cost a butt load of money to put together, so I just never had sensory bins for the boys.

BUT, for my daughter (with her uber destructive tendencies), I decided to do some more research into sensory bins. I tried one out, and she LOVED it.

So when the mom behind Saving Talents sent me over this post with ideas for inexpensive sensory bins, I knew that I had to put these together for my daughter.

And guess what?

She loves them!

So if you’re looking to put together a few sensory bins for your kiddos that won’t force you to eat Ramen noodles for a month (ah, throwback to my college days, am I right?), check out this post.

Alphabet Play Dough Mats

These alphabet play dough mats fell into the same category as the number mats above (more smashing play dough than doing the activity), but my daughter did love the pictures on the mats, and I think these are great to start exposing your young kiddos to the alphabet in a fun way.

Fun Number Play Dough Mats

At the risk of repeating myself too many times, these pay dough mats are geared more towards older kiddos than my young daughter.

HOWEVER, my son absolutely loved these mats and I thought there were a fun variation on the typical “trace the number in play dough” mats, so I knew I had to add these into my list.

Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough

I included so many different play dough mats in this post, that I knew I had to include a recipe for home made play dough!

I love this recipe because it is edible (which is basically a requirement with young kids that still shove everything into their mouths) and it’s super easy to make!

My daughter loves playing with this play dough and it’s not a big deal if she decides to eat some (hey, it’s just extra protein 😂).

Check out this post to get the recipe so you can make some of your own.

60+ Taste Safe Sensory Bin Fillers

I’ve also talked a lot about the magic of sensory bins for keeping my toddler busy, so I knew that I had to include a few ideas on sensory bin fillers that your kiddo can put in their mouth without you freaking out.

This post by Sacha at The Craft at Home Family has a TON of ideas on inexpensive taste safe things you can use to put together your next sensory bin, so definitely go check it out.

And that, my fellow moms, wraps up this article. I hope that by reading this post, you have found at least a few ideas to keep your toddler busy for a few minutes while you try to finally take that shower, or meditate, or otherwise take some time to yourself.

If you have any ideas or suggestions that I could add to this list, please leave a comment below!!

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I’m a mom to two kids, and I am super passionate about sustainable, clean living.  My husband and I are building our dream self-sustaining homestead, while homeschooling our kiddos.  Have a look around my site for ideas for your homeschool or homestead, or find some new delicious homestead-friendly recipes.  You can also check out my About Me page to learn more about me and my website.

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