Mother and Baby

Toddler activities your little one will love

Toddler activities

Feel like you’ve exhausted every single craft idea and game in your cupboard? It's time to get extra creative at home. To relieve you from their boredom and give them something to do, we’ve put together some new and fun activities your kids can do at home that should hopefully keep them entertained for a few hours!  

From making petal perfume to customising old clothes, get inspired by these arty, adventurous and all-inclusive activities you can do indoors and outdoors whatever the weather. 

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Go paddling

When the weather’s warm enough, get the paddling pool out, throw in a collection of Tupperware boxes or stacking cups and let your toddler at 'em.
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Do some gardening

Stock up on some seed packs and let your toddler help you plant a seed, cover it in soil and water it. Try some easy to grow plants like sunflowers or something that your little one can enjoy eating such as rocket or radishes. If you don't have any grass in your garden, using a pot is just as good.
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Make a den/playhouse/fort

Arm your toddler with some cardboard boxes and old sheets and help him build an outdoor den that he can use as his outdoor play space.
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Create an outdoor studio

Set up a small plastic table in a shady spot, bring out a few pots of paints and let your tot use it as her al fresco art and crafts spot. Best part? You won’t need to worry about the mess.
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Plan a nature hunt

Give your toddler some photos of birds, bugs and butterflies and challenge him to find as many of them as possible in the garden. Yep, guaranteed to keep him busy but also may result in him insisting on keeping some creepy crawlies as pets.
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Have a treasure hunt

Put together a simple treasure hunt using very basic clues such as arrows or numbers. You can leave mini treats along the way (such as raisins, small toys and bubbles) and finish with one big treat. Great for when you’re hosting a playdate.
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Build an open-air theatre

Set up an area of your garden that can act as a stage and suggest your toddler puts on a show. You can make props and costumes together and invite friends and relatives round to watch it once it’s ready.
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Host a tea party

Take all of your tot’s favourite toys outside, put down a blanket and have a pretend tea party together. For a special treat, you can use real cakes and food, or even let her have her dinner out there, picnic-style.
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Take storytime outside

Take your usual indoor reading time outside and sit on a rug on the grass together looking at storybooks.
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Have a race

If you’re toddler seems to have endless amounts of energy to burn, challenge him to a race. You can try something fun and exciting like a one-legged race or a calmer game like an egg and spoon race – but remember to boil the eggs first to avoid lots of mess.
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Play hopscotch

If you’ve got plenty of paved space in your garden, draw a hopscotch grid with some chalk and show your little one how the game is played.
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Play with bubbles

Always a big hit with young children, it’s amazing how much delight one pot of bubbles can bring. Yes, you may need to blow them yourself (to stop your tot emptying the mixture on a nearby plant) but at least it’s an activity that you can do from sitting down.
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Build a sand pit

A childhood classic, a sand pit should be a garden staple and doesn’t have to be expensive to install. Simply use some pallet wood to construct a box and fill it with sand and your toddler can enjoy many summers of digging and sandcastle building. Just remember to cover it once your little one's finished playing to stop local cats using it as a toilet!
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Throw a festival

For something a little more special – or as a great birthday party idea – transform your garden into a toddler-friendly festival and get your tot involved in the preparations. Make some bunting from coloured paper to hang, plan some great garden games like apple bobbing and get a brilliant playlist ready to go.
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Make mud pies

Select a patch of ground and give your toddler a small spade to dig it up and fill the muddy hole with water. Your tot will have great fun watching the water disappear and then refilling it – but she’ll need a good scrub in the bath once finished!
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Get on your bike

Whether you’re biking along the Thames, through the countryside or simply around your local town, cycling is a fun family activity when the sun is shining – and a great way to tire the little ones out!
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Hide and seek

Even if it’s just in the garden, hide and seek is a game little ones never tire of. Keep it to a quick countdown of 10 or 20 and then let on you really can't see your three year old under the coffee table. You can get almost a full cup of tea downed in this time, trust us.
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Berry picking

One for the pot, one for me…picking (and gorging on) fresh berries is a fun way to get your little ones to enjoy the Great Outdoors. You can even have a go at making some tasty blackberry jam with them after.
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Flying a kite

Head up your nearest hill and teach your little one the art of flying a kite – an activity that transcends any generation. Just remember you did buy that kite for your kid, right?
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Have a picnic

Head to your nearest green space for a sunny picnic with friends. Play games of chase, read some picture books – and even bring the teddies along. Guaranteed fun!
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Make petal perfume

Little ones will love to make their own signature smell with rose petals from the garden. They can even come up with fun perfume names.
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Pooh sticks

We still find it hard to resist a good game of ‘pooh sticks’ every time we cross a bridge. Drop sticks into the water and see which one wins the race downstream.
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Dancing

There’s nothing like a good boogie to keep kids occupied and wear them out in time for bed. Lots of dance schools and professional dancers, like Strictly’s Oti Mabuse, are doing live Instagram classes for all ages during lockdown, too. 
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Fitness classes together

YouTube has plenty of play-along kid's fitness classes, all for free. You could also get your little ones involved in P.E with Joe Wickes every morning at 9am – grown-ups can join in too, if you like. 
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Tent or den building 

You don’t even have to have a tent to do this one – why not task your little ones with creating a pillow fort using blankets or cardboard boxes? 
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Gymnastics

There are plenty of kids gymnastic tutorials online, perfect for keeping active kids busy for a while. You could even invest in a kids gymnastic set, including equipment you can hang from doorways or set up in a playroom. 
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Film and popcorn 

A super easy option for rainy days or exhausted kids (and mums). Plus, making your own popcorn is a fun activity in itself, if you have saucepan with a clear lid you can even watch the kernels explode into popcorn. 
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Netflix

Netflix has pretty much every film option you could possibly need – there's a special kids section too. So snuggle up under a blanket and dig into an episode (or five) of Peppa Pig, or enjoy a classic like Hook. 
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Themed dinner and a film 

This would be a great replacement for a kids birthday party, too. Try a Disney themed dinner night with a soundtrack and fancy dress code fit for a Prince or Princess. Think Mickey Mouse shaped pizzas, Frozen-themed blue cupcakes and Snow White themed apple snacks. 
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Electronic gaming on ipads, consoles 

Sometimes, only the Ipad will do. There are some great games out there that’ll keep kids occupied for a while, including Miximal, an app that lets your little one create cool monsters with mix and match body parts. 
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Storytime

For budding bookworms, reading is the perfect way to keep kids occupied inside. If you haven’t had the chance to introduce your kids to classics you loved as a child, like The Hungry Caterpillar or Cat In The Hat, now is the time! 
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New streaming channels 

You’ve probably heard a lot of fuss about Disney+ recently, but it truly is a great new streaming channel, especially for keeping kids entertained. Get your kids onto classics like The Little Mermaid, Hercules and Lilo and Stitch. 
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Movie marathon

If you’ve recently invested in Disney+, Netflix or you just have a big collection of DVDs, now is the time to have that movie marathon you’ve been talking about. Turn the lights down and create your very own cinema with popcorn and surround sound. 
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Colouring

Colouring books are a great way to keep kids entertained for hours. You can even get colour-in table cloths for longer colouring sessions, just make sure to protect the table underneath with a tablecloth or extra piece of paper. 
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Drawing

Budding artists will love this activity. You could also try getting out into your garden or any green space to create drawings of nature, or rubbings of natural materials. 
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Mixing paints

There are lots of guides online for mixing colours for kids, and often all you need is a few different containers and some paints. This activity would also be perfect for an at-home art lesson for creative kids. 
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Knitting 

You might think knitting isn’t for kids, but there are plenty of great sets out there. Hobbycraft offers some great sewing and knitting kits, allowing kids to knit their own cuddly toys. 
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Clothes customisation 

If you’ve got a pile of clothes destined for the Charity shop, they could be used for indoor activities like clothes customisation instead. Teach older kids how to applique and sew on buttons, or use iron-on patches. 
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Play-doh 

Play-doh is a classic. Why not task kids with creating playdough versions of their favourite Disney characters or even (if you’re brave) asking them to model you. 
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Slime

Slime creates endless fun for little ones, you could even get a slime kit and create the slime from scratch. Experiment with colours and textures with your kids for hours of slimey fun. 
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Clay modelling

You can get some great at-home clay sets that allow kids to create their own bowls, mugs and other clay creations. Simply create then bake in the oven for home made clay ornaments, crockery or toys. 
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Baking cakes

Get your kids involved in the kitchen by making yummy cakes, we love the recipe for these Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes from Mary Berry. Butterfly cakes with hundreds and thousands are also a great option, or even just decorating some shop bought cupcakes is the perfect way to entertain kids in the kitchen. 
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Biscuits 

There are plenty of biscuit recipes out there perfect for kids, if you don’t want to deal with the washing up of baking, you can simply decorate a plain rich tea biscuit with icing and sweets. 
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Make believe café or restaurant 

You might not be able to get out to your favourite café or restaurant right now (or since before having kids, if we’re being honest) but you can recreate the magic at home with food and furniture you already have. A small set of drawers makes the perfect cash register in a pinch. 
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Cooking dinner 

If you’re feeling brave, why not get the kids involved in making dinner? Jamie Oliver has some great kid-friendly tutorials on his Facebook page, including a scrummy scrambled egg recipe and even easy pizzas. 
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Making faces 

If you were lucky enough to grab an online shopping slot, why not use everyday ingredients to create silly faces? Plus it might introduce your little ones to more unusual foods, and (just maybe) encourage fussy eaters to try new things. 
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Board games

There’s nothing like a classic board game to keep us occupied when cooped up inside. Scrabble, Monopoly and Catan are great family classics that’ll keep you entertained for at least an hour or two. 
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Educational games 

The BBC has a great resource of free educational games for kids, perfect for home schooling or just keeping keen learners occupied during the school holidays. We also love education.com for a huge range of computer-based education games for fun that’s basically like school. 
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Puzzles

There’s a wealth of puzzle books online for kids of all ages. We’d recommend some wash-out felt tip pens though, if the puzzles involve colouring. No-one wants a scribbled-on sofa during lockdown. 
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Dusting 

Dish out the microfibre clothes and create a dusting race – who can get the surfaces squeaky clean the fastest? Rainbow feather dusters are also a great way to make dusting a little bit more exciting for kids. 
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Paint a mug

You don’t need to visit some fancy pottery-painting workshop to give your favourite coffee cup a lift – your tot can do it at home for little to no cost. Granted, it may not be a masterwork, but give it to granny as a gift. She’ll appreciate the personal touch.
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Play dress up 

Allow yourself to be the victim in your tot’s dressing up games and act as a life-size doll for an hour – your child will love it.
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Make a sensory garden

Aside from looking and smelling great, loads of everyday plants (and even weeds!) have interesting textures to explore with your kids. Blowing the fluffy seeds off budding dandelions is loads of fun, and can be an opportunity to teach your child about pollination. The foliage known as cotton lavender has a fun texture to play with, and the fuzzy leaves on Elephant and Lamb’s ear plants are great too.
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Painting plant pots

Even if you’re not the most green fingered parent and your own attempts at creating a thriving flower bed need a bit of practise, you can still add colour to your garden with the help of your little ones. Cheap terracotta pots are the perfect canvas for child friendly paints, and getting artsy in the garden means no worrying about splashing paint on the furniture.
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Fairy house

If your children love arts and crafts, the garden can stimulate their imagination in new and exciting ways. Collect household items like lollipop sticks, buttons and glitter and get to work creating pretty fairy houses to put up in the branches of bushes or around the bases of trees. Make sure to bring your fairy house inside over night to stop wildlife eating it and potentially becoming ill.
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Jumping in puddles

Thanks to Peppa Pig and her love of ‘muddy puddles’, you’ll be kitting out your little ones in wellies even in the height of summer. Put your parker on and let the kids make the most of the local park – rain or shine.

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  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

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