Keep Any Active Toddler Busy With These Ideas

by Kelly Sundstrom

Keep Any Active Toddler Busy With These Ideas
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Toddlers seem to have endless energy that can often leave you desperate for ways to keep them occupied. Instead of using the little bit of energy you have left to search for ideas, arm yourself with these toddler activities.


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Yogurt Art

Who says you can't play with your food! Let your toddler paint delicious works of art with yogurt. Pick out a few different colors of yogurt, and pour small portions of each flavor into separate bowls. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper, and let your toddler go to town making finger paintings. The best part: if some "paint" goes flying, it's easy to clean up and doesn't leave stains.

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Homemade Salt Dough

Little children love to play with salt dough, but they also love to help make it. Creating a batch of homemade dough requires very little effort, but it has a huge payoff. It will entertain your little one for hours! Pour 2 cups of flour into a big bowl. Add 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water, and let your toddler mix it until it becomes a ball. Then watch her sculpt to her heart's content.

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Bathtub Painting

Toddlers love to splash and play in the tub, but you can push the fun to a whole new level with bathtub paint. Simply mix together two parts baby wash with one part corn starch, and pour the mixture into a few separate plastic containers. Add one to two drops of food coloring into each container and mix well. Hand your toddler a big paintbrush so he can paint a masterpiece all over the tub. And don't worry, bathtub paint rinses right off.

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Animal Prints

Short on craft supplies? No problem! You can put together a craft activity using your toddler's hands and feet. Lay a sheet of construction or printing paper on a table. Trace around your little one's hand or foot using a crayon, washable marker or a pencil, and help her cut out her prints using toddler-safe scissors. Have your toddler color them in to look like animals, flowers or people.

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Toddler-Friendly Gardening

Little kids love to dig in the dirt, so what better way to keep your toddler entertained than to create his own garden? If you don't want to disrupt your yard, just place a lightweight planter on your porch or patio. Instead of a sharp trowel, give your toddler a plastic sand shovel to fill the planter with potting soil. Help him plant a few seeds of plants that you know he will enjoy watching grow, like carrots, radishes or tomatoes. Your child will love watching the plants mature and eventually picking fresh food out of his very own garden.

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Mommy-and-Me Baking Party

Toddlers always want to help, especially when it comes to making food. Encourage your toddler's interest by allowing her to produce a real recipe, such as chocolate chip cookies, and let her do as many steps as possible. She can break eggs, pour in the flour and help stir the cookie dough, while you handle the more dangerous work around the oven.

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Camera Safari

Wouldn't you love to know what the world looks like through your toddler's eyes? When you take your child on a camera safari, you can! Equip your little one with an inexpensive digital camera or phone. Walk around your backyard, through your house or in the grocery store to allow your toddler to take pictures of the world around her. You can print your favorite snapshots, frame them and hang them in your toddler's bedroom.

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Exploring Textures

Sometimes the best toddler activities require the least amount of effort. Everything seems new and interesting to a little child, and kids love to touch and feel anything they can see. Let your kiddo explore different toddler-safe materials that he can immerse his hands in, like a big bowl of flour, ice cubes, cotton balls or sand. Try to pick out materials that offer a variety of textures and temperatures.

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Paper Explosion

Has your toddler ever unraveled an entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom? Little children love playing with paper, and if you don't mind cleaning up afterward, let your child create a paper explosion in your living room. Get out a few rolls of toilet paper, paper towels and tissue paper, and have a blast unrolling them and tossing them all around the room. After all the paper covers the floor and the furniture, pretend that you and your toddler just entered a winter wonderland.