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When my oldest was a toddler and then along came her sister, there were days when I’ve reached the end of my rope. Not only was I overwhelmed with having to care for both a toddler and a newborn, but I never had enough ideas to keep my toddler engaged while caring for my baby at the same time. Activities that required a lot of prep work just didn’t cut it. Sure, I could put something together during my baby’s naptime or do some prepping the night before, but it’s much easier to do something that doesn’t require a lot of planning. If you have both a toddler and newborn to care for and are having the same struggles, here is a list of 35 easy activities that will keep your toddler entertained while you take care of your baby.
1. Go to the park. Toddlers have a lot of energy to work off so head to the park for some fun. Let your toddler play and explore while you watch from the comfort of a bench with your baby.
2. Take pictures together. You’ll want hundreds of pictures of your new bundle so let your toddler enjoy taking those pictures together.
3. Go on a color hunt. Help your toddler learn colors. Have your child find things around the house that are certain colors while you care for your baby.
4. Read together. Both babies and toddlers can benefit from story time. Make reading an active part of your day.
5. Play iSpy games. Foster your toddler’s imagination by telling them what you see and having them go find it.
6. Listen to fun music. Music is comforting to babies and is a great way to keep toddlers entertained. Dance with your toddler while holding your baby and have a blast.
7. Play with pasta. Let your toddler sort pasta by size, shape or color. You can also give them some string and use the pasta as beads to make a necklace.
8. Use stickers for play. Toddlers love stickers and you can provide them with hours of fun with some inexpensive dollar store stickers.
9. Play pretend. Get out a baby doll and have your child do what you do with the baby. This helps them feel more involved with their new sibling.
10. Use magnets on baking sheets. Get some letter and number magnets out on baking sheets for some educational fun.
11. Get out some puzzles. Puzzles are great for calming down a hyper toddler—especially if you’re trying to get your newborn to sleep.
12. Do some painting. Toddlers love painting so get out some colors and let your toddler get artistic.
13. Play with sensory bins. Want to keep your toddler busy? Build them a fun sensory bin with water, colored rice or sand. You can also add your toddler’s favorite small toys.
14. Blow bubbles for absolute fun. My kids can spend hours playing with bubbles. It’s amazing how entertained toddlers will be with bubbles.
15. Let them help with the baby. When you’re at a loss for something to do with your toddler, let them help with the newborn Have them grab a diaper or anything else you need.
16. Clean the house together. Toddlers love to be mommy’s little helper. So, hand your toddler some wipes and go to town cleaning together while your baby naps.
17. Build a fort. Get some blankets or bed sheets and place them over some furniture and build a fort that the three of you can camp under.
18. Watch their favorite show with them. Sometimes just sitting back on the sofa and watching show with them is what you both need. Never feel guilty about giving yourself a break and allowing the TV to help.
19. Utilize your iPad. When my kids were toddlers, iPads and tablets were life-savers. Utilize technology as possible, especially when you have a newborn and still have to get laundry done, dinner cooked and other household tasks.
20. Have a play date. Some mom time plus a little playmate for your toddler can be just what you need.
21. Let your toddler play alone. There’s no rule that says you have to play with your toddler all the time. Let your toddler entertain themselves while you care for your newborn.
22. Get out the play dough. This stuff can keep your toddler occupied for hours.
23. Have Phone time/Facetime/Skype with family. Toddlers love talking on the phone. Set them up to talk to grandparents, aunts and uncles…anyone who would love to have a conversation with your little one.
24. Bath fun. Swaddle your baby while your toddler has some fun bath time. Place some bath toys in the bath and let your toddler splash around.
25. Visit the public library. Public libraries often offer free programs that include story time, children’s theater, workshops and more.
26. Go to a play place. Many family-friendly restaurants have play facilities. These places are great because your child can play on a playground setting with other kids and they’re safer than park playgrounds and less crowded (especially during off times).
27. Go to a children’s museum. They create learning experiences through hands-on exhibits and different programs.
28. Go to the zoo. Take your baby on a stroll while your toddler is entertained by all the fascinating animals.
29. Have a picnic in the park, backyard, or living room! Pack a blanket and some finger foods for your toddler and enjoy a sunny afternoon. If the weather isn’t agreeable, just have an indoor picnic.
30. Have chat time. While you’re cradling your newborn, hang out on the sofa with your little one and tell them stories about when they were babies or even about when you were a child. Kids love listening to stories!
31. Go on a nature walk. Have your toddler go on a nature scavenger hunt and look for some items while you take your baby on a stroll down a local trail.
32. Have a sing-along. Sing songs that include your toddler’s participation, either through motions, like Itsy Bitsy Spider that your toddler can do while you sing, or through words and sounds like Old MacDonald. Your baby will also find your voice very soothing.
33. Do some coloring. Set your toddler up with crayons, a coloring book or pages—or better yet, with a large cardboard box to decorate.
34. Play Simon Says. Play a round of Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light by saying “Stop, Go.”
35. Have a tea party. Set up a tea party or picnic on the floor for your toddler’s dolls and stuffed friends.
Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.
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