30 Ways to Distract a Toddler
Got a tiny toddler on your hands? Find yourself looking for endless ways to entertain them? Read on, my friend!
1. Play dress up
Kids enjoy wearing clothes that are too big on them. You can get your toddler to dress up as mommy or daddy with old hats, scarfs, beads, coats or any other clothing item. Why not pull out some old Halloween costumes? Or fancy dress clothes? Let them go wild!
2. Sweet temptations
Treat them to their favourite chocolate bar or packet of crisps. This one works wonders for the sweet tooth lovers. Although remember to do this within reason. Moderation is key!
3. Treasure hunt
Not only is this a great distraction, but also young kids love to go on treasure hunts. It keeps them entertained and motivated. Give them a list of things to find either around your garden or items around the house. This could include a type of flower or a piece of jewellery around the house.
4. Play with a football
Kick it, roll it, throw it and catch it! Maybe you have the next David Beckham on your hands?!
5. Give them a job to do around the house
This doesn't have to be child labour. However, you can give your little one a few easy jobs around the house such as getting them to help 'sweep' the floor or even doing a little bit of dusting.
6. The classic blanket fort
This is one even we remember from our childhood. Get a duvet or sheet and put it over a table or chair so your toddler will have their very own indoor playhouse. They can use pillows, blankets, books and toys that give them hours of endless fun.
7. Watching television
This is a great distraction within reason of course. If you are looking for a quick way to keep your toddler entertained, put on their favourite TV show or movie while you catch up on a few things about the house.
8. Playing with balloons
Blow them up. Let your toddler throw, kick it, squeeze - or even get a short piece of string or ribbon and attach it to the balloon so that your little one can pull it around after them.
9. Playdoh and printing
Playdoh is a great distraction with young kids that can keep them easily entertained for hours. Get them to print shapes with the Playdoh using beaded necklaces, lego or plastic stencil shapes.
10. Giving a baby doll a bath
This will keep both young girls and boys entertained. All kids love a tub of bubbly water, so get them washing their baby doll with soap and towels. Bubbles are great for sensory development too!
11. Give them a puzzle
There are plenty of different puzzles that you can distract your toddler with. Pick one of their favourites, which could include spot the difference, word searches or even get them to play with a jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles are also great for exercising your toddler’s brain.
12. Building lego and blocks
Toddlers will get great fun from building with lego. They can build whatever they would like; this can include props for their dolls or cars. Not only is it a great distraction method, but also it can help your toddler develop their creativity and motor skills.
13. Blowing bubbles
This is great fun for young kids and an easy distraction. Get them to see how big they can blow their bubbles. It will keep them entertained for a while. Make sure you keep some washing liquid stashed for emergencies.
14. Rice and beans bin
This will require a medium to large sized bin with rice and beans poured into it with some cups or scoops. This will distract your toddler and their playmate all at once and will provide them with hours of sensory play.
15. Cardboard box and colours
Give your child a large cardboard box and get them to sit in it with a box of crayons or markers. They can colour the box while you're busy with some household chores.
16. Put on some music
Put on some music so they can have a dance and sing song. Pick a CD or DVD soundtrack from one of their favourite Disney movies!
17. Play traffic lights
Play some games with your little one. The rules of traffic lights are simple. Mommy/daddy play the policeman and they play the car. Shouting red means your child has to stop and green means they can move again. It's great entertainment for both parents and toddlers.
18. Invite one of their friends over for a play date
Toddlers love having a companion to play with, so why not invite one of their friends from play school or maybe even one of your own friend's child?
19. Race cars
Brmm, brmm, brmm! There is nothing to add to playing with race cars except the imagination of a toddler. They can roll them across the floor, wall and other surfaces.
20. Race cars on tape
Create a racetrack for your toddler's race cars by using masking tape on the floor. This will keep them easily distracted.
21. Bring them for a walk
Bring them for a walk to the park, they can bring a football or a ride-along toy and maybe bring along a picnic if the weather is good. Point out all the things you see along the way, like trees, birds, buildings and so on.
Toddlers love sticker art activities. So why not buy them a roll of stickers so that they can stick them in their scrapbooks, clothes, hair or even card making.
23. Bring them swimming
Take them down to your local leisure centre and sign them up for toddler swimming lessons. The lesson centre will have extra equipment for young children such as floats or balls.
24. Play hide-and-seek
Play hide-and-seek with your toddler. When it's your turn to do the seeking, look in the places you know they are not hiding even though they are clear in sight and act surprised when you do find them.
25. Get them to play games
Give your toddler an easy board game to play with. Snakes and Ladders is a great example to play when a playmate is over. Other games include dominoes and the Lady Bug Game.
26. Bake sweet treats together
Get your toddler to help out in the kitchen. Especially when it comes to baking cakes or cupcakes. They can roll the pastry and help with the decorating. It keeps your little one entertained plus you have a little helper.
27. Tell a story together
Read some stories with your toddler. By reading more books to them, it will get them interested in reading books themselves. Put on different voices for different characters to add a bit of humour.
28. Get them to paint in their water book
Water books are a great distraction for toddler. They simply wet the coloured part of the paper in the water book and they are a great novelty for parents.
29. Matching Games
It's a pretty easy game! Get them to match different items around the house such as coloured pasta; matching same coloured skittles or jellies together. A game that is fun and easy for them to play. (Maybe they could even help out with matching socks?!)
30. Play with old telephone and keyboard
Get hardware items around the house that no longer work, such as an old telephone or computer keyboard. They'll love pretending to make calls and sending emails!
Remember to supervise your toddler at all times when playing these games, especially those involving water, small objects or small pieces of string etc.