Toddlers need highly active activities in addition to quiet time. Here are 11 Easy Toddler Activities to tire them out so you can finally get some rest. Most of these can be done both indoors and outdoors, and require almost no prep time. Plus get the FREE printable for Indoor Shape Hop Scotch!
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If your kiddo is anything like mine, he or she doesn't sit still. I am always looking activities to tire my boy out (but is that really different than all other parents??).
There are a ton of "quiet time" activity ideas out there on the internet, and those are great. But they last all of 5 minutes in my house, and then my son starts trying to throw himself off the couch upside down again. So I always need to redirect him to safe and constructive activities that will help him get all his energy out.
I mean, look at how he watches TV... is it any wonder quiet time activities don't work for him??
By the way, if you want to see a few ideas for open ended and fun toys with the hopes of some quiet time, check them out here: Open Ended Toy Ideas, FUN Gifts for Toddlers and Preschoolers
And if you're looking for sensory play ideas to keep toddlers busy, try these two holiday-themed activities:
But back to the toddler activities for crazy little active toddlers...
Most of the active toddler activities listed below can be done indoors and they don't require any planning or prepping.
Some of the activities below are more fun with the parents involved. I know, I know, all we want to do as parents is lay down on the couch and close our eyes for just 5 minutes. But it can be great to get in on the crazy fun that your toddler is into.
My son LOVES it when my husband and I get crazy and run around and jump around with him, or when we get down on the floor and chase him on all fours. He gets such a kick out of it and has a lot more fun playing with us than playing alone. Plus it's good exercise.
But don't worry, a lot of the activities here are good for solo toddler fun, so you can relax a bit once you show your toddler what to do.
10 Easy Toddler Activities to Tire Them Out
A trampoline has been a lifesaver for us - I don't even know how we dealt with all this toddler energy before we got a trampoline.
Let your kid bounce up and down to get all their energy out! This little trampoline is perfect for toddlers with its handle and foam-padded springs for safety. My son's daycare has this one and all the kids love it!
We have this bigger trampoline that works for adults too (because it only cost a few bucks more and my husband and I can use it also!). It has an adjustable height bar which my almost-3 year old is juuust barely tall enough for. So if you have a younger toddler or one who is shorter than other kids his or her age, go for the little trampoline. Otherwise, go for this one. It folds and can be stashed away under a high bed (although we keep it open ALL. THE. TIME!)
2. Party Curtain
Tape party streamers (crepe paper) to a doorway and show your kiddo how to run around underneath it. Sometimes this activity doesn't last as long as I would like and my son tears down the paper. But sometimes he plays for a long time!
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You can get crepe paper (aka party streamers) on Amazon here if you don't want to go to the store.
3. Shape Jumps - Free Printable!
This game is similar to hop scotch, and there are lots of different variations. Get some chalk and draw some shapes, letters, or numbers and show your kid how to jump from shape to shape. Have them yell out the different shapes or letters as they jump so they can learn something along the way too.
If you're near a beach, draw the shapes or letters in the sand with your toes.
If you're indoors, draw shapes and letters on construction paper and stick it to the floor with tape.
You can also print this game out if you don't feel like drawing shapes. Just print it on colorful paper (here is some on Amazon, if you don't want to go looking for it in stores) and tape the shapes, letters, and numbers to the floor. The free printable is a bonus I offer as a thanks for signing up to my newsletter. To sign up for helpful parenting and picky eating posts and get the printable, click here or on the image below:
4. Race Across the House
We all line up on one side of the house, either by a door or a wall. My son says "ready, set, GO!" and we all "race" towards the other wall. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat again, because toddlers. It's more fun than it sounds!
When my son was younger, all he could say was "weady" instead of the full "ready, set GO!" Now that he is older, he can say all three words, and LOVES telling us exactly where to stand to start the next race. We call him "muchacho bossypants."
5. Stepping Stones
These stepping stones are so neat. They help your toddler gain some balance, build their imagination, and get some of that never ending energy out. The cool thing is that they can be used indoors and outdoors. So if you want to sit on your deck and enjoy a margarita, bring these outside and let your kids hop and jump. Or use this time to them colors and the concept of "bigger" and "smaller."
Related post: 7 toddler cleanup songs - to get your toddler to clean up after playing!
6. Dance Party
"Alexa, play dance music" is all that it takes for our family to break out our dance moves. My son is a little too young to understand lyrics, so any dance music works for now. As he gets a bit older, I'll have to make a kid-friendly playlist. It's nice to listen to "real" music instead of the "wheels on the bus" for a change.
Yes, yoga might not seem as fun as running around the house like a crazy person, but surprisingly kids love yoga, especially if they get to copy their parents. It's a good physical activity that will teach them balance and help them gain some strength, and might actually calm your kids down while at the same time allowing them to be active. So get out those yoga mats and start doing some easy yoga or stretches. Make sure you put a mat out for your kiddo too. There are a ton of fun yoga mats for kids. If your kid ends up loving yoga, it's definitely worth it to get them their own mat. Personally, I would recommend doing regular adult yoga and seeing how much your toddler will follow you. Don't pressure them, they'll probably show an interest if they see their parents on the floor in downward dog.
If you don't have time or don't feel like yoga, you can try this toddler yoga video. It's a bit too colorful and cheesy for my taste, but it will definitely entertain kids.
8. Go on a Bear Hunt
Watch the video below. My son LOVES to go on a Bear Hunt. He is 2, so he can't quite keep up with the pace of the song (yet!). This is actually a good thing, because there is room for him to learn and get better as he gets older. Plus it teaches pretend play, the concepts of over/under/through, and is just lots of silly fun.
A couple of quick tips for a successful bear hunt: 1) Watch this by yourself and learn as much of the song as you want to, and then sing it to your kid. If your kids see the video they might demand to see the video every time they see a browser open, which gets annoying real quick. 2) This is most fun with another adult if your toddler is on the younger side. My son doesn't talk enough yet to repeat this song, so it's much better when my husband repeats after me and my son tries as best as he can.
9. Simon Says
Simon Says can be LOADS of fun if you get silly. If your kid is still young, then play a literal version of Simon Says (without trying to trick them), where they do what Simon Says. Mix up the usual prompts with things like: Simon says "spin around!" Simon says "jump up and down!" Simon says "stand on one leg!" Simon says "dance!" Simon says "shake your bum!" Simon says "wiggle!" Simon says "act like a monkey!"
10. Play fetch
It's not as mean as it sounds. Kids LOVE chasing after balls, and this gives you a break. Just make silly noises every time you throw or kick the ball. Throw the ball in different directions. Try "Can mama throw it as far as that tree? Oh NOOO! She can't!" or "I'm going to throw it so high!" "I'm going to roll it on the ground" Just get silly with it. You can try using crazy shaped sensory balls such as these for extra fun because they bounce all over the damn place.
Just blow bubbles and have your toddler try to pop as many as they can. This never gets old. Bubbles are a lifesaver. The cheapo dollar store bubbles are just as much fun as fancy bubble machines, so this is a great activity for all budgets. I always have a small container of bubbles in our stroller in case we need to entertain my son when we are out and about, but we also do bubbles indoors too. We just make sure we are on a carpeted area so that the floor doesn't get slippery.
Looking for some quiet time activities so your kids can rest after all this activity?
- Water play ideas for toddlers - my son will play with water quietly for hours!
- Free printable sequencing puzzles for toddlers
- 12 Educational TV shows for toddlers
So what do you think? Will your kiddo enjoy any of these activities?