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How to entertain a toddler

How to entertain a toddler: Five simple, cheap ideas for an afternoon of entertainment for your wonderful, energised toddler.


Toddlers are a lot of fun with their ever inquisitive minds, mindless chatter and endless energy, however, sometimes it can be a challenge to try creative ways to channel the endless energy into stimulating and creative play! My two year old, like most toddlers, has a time limit inside the house before he gets bored and play time turns destructive.


We love getting out and about frequenting local parks, the library, day trips to the zoo and the beach, going away camping and play dates, however, since Sonny’s baby brother Andre arrived, I have found the co-ordination of getting out much more difficult! We still manage to get out most mornings on a little excursion but the afternoons we find chilling at home much easier, which, has required some brainstorming on activities we can do in the backyard. Here are some tried and tested ideas that we have discovered:

  1. Treasure hunt: sometimes we think we need to have the latest toys and gadgets before we realise that the simplest of things can provide plenty of entertainment for the imagination of a toddler. Grab a bucket, bug catcher or just a tupperware container and walk around the yard with your toddler picking up items that peak some interest and imagination. Our treasure hunts normally include a feather, some kind of stick that we call a snake (hoping we never come across a real snake as this kid has no snake awareness or fear!) some rocks, different coloured leaves, flowers, basically anything you stumble across! They pick up the game quickly and love playing and talking about their ‘treasure’ and this is great for imagination and language development.
  2. Chalk: chalk is cheap, easy to clean and develops great fine motor skills. It works best on a bit of concrete; we have a concrete patio but a driveway or footpath could do the trick! It is great due to the ease of set up and clean up, especially when your attending to baby number two!
  3. Animal ice rescue: This requires pre planning but can be done very simply. All I did was freeze some dinosaurs I had lying around (as you do) in a Tupperware container, added a little blue food colouring for effect and let it freeze (a half a day was long enough for a small container). I then basically let him at it with a rock. Sonny had great fun working out how to free the dinosaurs!
  4. Water the garden/pot plants: toddlers love to mimic you and also get very proud of themselves when they can complete a task. I recently got a little watering can for Sonny as was sick of him soaking me when he was let loose with the garden hose ( however, this is an option too!). We walk around watering the plants and I also get him involved with the vegetable garden and talk about all the greens he won’t eat but that I’m hoping he will one of these days!
  5. The shell: This thing is gold, it will probably set you back $15 from Kmart or Bunnings and is worth every cent. We have so much use out of the shell. We have one side with sand and balls in it and fill the other one with water. Sonny seems so much happier after cooling off and doesn’t seem to mind the size of it! Advantages of the small size of the shell is that you can tip out the water after use, not too much water is used and you don’t have to get in the ‘pool’ with them.


Hopefully these have sparked a few simple ideas for backyard play with your adventurous little toddler.

Jenny xx

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