Toddlers are BUSY. On one hand, they can do the same thing over and over again and not seem to get bored (I can’t count how many times I’ve listened to “You’re Welcome” from Moana #thanksdewaynewade). But on the other hand, they also seem to skip from activity to activity. The good news is that there is no shortage of free things to do with a toddler. That has been a pleasant surprise to me, since I have had some time off the past few weeks and have gotten to spend a lot of time at home with my favorite toddler. Spring weather however, can certainly be unpredictable, cleaving occasionally onto winter. It has necessitated a little creativity on my part to keep him entertained. I’ll admit it would be a lot easier if we were swimming in piles of money and I could just take him out to eat or discovery museums every day.free things to do with a toddler

  • Go park hopping (hit up several parks in a row. Think of it as like a bar crawl, except with parks. Go until you can go no longer.)
  • Find free days at your zoo and local museums. Almost all zoos have free days at some point during the year!
  • Collect rocks or leaves outside and count them and or make art out of them when you are done
  • Do a science experiment
  • Blow bubbles
  • Bake something.
  • Make and play with homemade play dough
  • Make a craft for a grandparent, relative, or friend.
  • Set up an invitation to play and see what your child does and follow his cues
  • Set up a water station in a bunch of different bowls and pans. It is going to get messy so don’t do it on carpet.
  • Clean. Involve your toddler in the chores– it teaches him important skills. It will be slow. Probably painfully slow, but it is good learning for him and you’ll get a clean house out of it.
  • Play “music” on pots and pans
  • Have a water balloon fight. Filling up the water balloons alone will probably be enough to keep him entertained.
  • Kid swap with another family. This will provide your pup with some play mates and will earn you a little of your own free time later.
  • Go on a “hike.”
  • Paint a picture–try to get them to copy one or something
  • Hit up the library. Usually they have fun toys with kids plus get books for later.
  • Make and play with puppets made out of brown paper lunch bags.
  • Take them to Petsmart or the pet’s aisle at Walmart so they can look at the fish.
  • Attend free workshops at Home Depot that cater to kids (hit up this Easter one on April 1st!)
  • Hunt for rocks in your backyard
  • Make and decorate paper airplanes
  • Build mini homes out of cardboard boxes
  • Go on a picnic
  • Have a dance party
  • Play a game (some favorites around here are Ring Around the Rosie, Hide and Seek, and Tag)

Have you tried any of the above items? What free (or cheap) things do you do to keep your little ones entertained? 

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free things to do with toddlers


  1. We do park hopping with our toddler son as well. One other thing we love to do is going to construction sites since the kid is interested in construction vehicles. We also like to watch the big kids/teenagers play cricket and football at the nearby park.

    1. YES! Construction sites are the best things to happen to parents with toddlers. I can’t think of anything that makes our little guy happier than seeing an excavator, haha. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Our oldest turns 2 in June & we have done a few of these things. Especially our local zoo’s dollar day special. She was more interested in the people than the animals. But, it was great just being outside and seeing something new.

    1. Haha. I am always amazed at the things I think my guy will like, versus what he actually likes (like noticing the people over the zoo animals). We went hiking with our man cub this weekend and there were lots of big waterfalls and caves and things to explore- but all he really cared about was being able to play with a stick in the sand.

  3. Great post! Weirdly, my son loves helping me with the weeding in the garden. I don’t complain this time of year, but like with the cleaning, it is slow progress 🙂

    1. Haha. It is definitely slow, but it is fun to have a tiny helper in the garden that is for sure! 🙂

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