Working from home with a toddler under three can sometimes leave you trying to figure out ways to keep them entertained so they can be happy, and you can focus on your work. They have such busy minds and watching you use your headset and talk on the phone can get a little boring for them after a while. They are learning every day and finding ways to help them develop their skills while still enjoying themselves is very important. I have let my daughter pretend she’s typing with me or pretend she’s taking calls, I’ve even bought her, her own toy laptop so she can feel like she’s helping mommy but there have been times when I just needed her to be in her own little space enjoying herself so I can focus on my job without risking any errors with my job. Here is a list of 15 things you can easily do at home to help keep your toddler busy and help your workday go a little bit smoother.
You can purchase crayons, markers, coloring books and blank sheet books and let your child’s imagination run wild. Chances are they won’t be coloring in the lines but that won’t matter at all, they will enjoy running the colors all over the pages and it can keep them entertained for a quite a while especially if you encourage them to keep going and let them know how nice of a job they are doing. You can let them hang their colorful masterpieces all around the house and color with them as well.
Stickers are not only one of the best rewards when your little one does something to celebrate, they are also a fun activity to give them to stick on whatever they want. If they have a bucket that they put their toys in or a bookcase or really anything, you can give them a few pages of stickers to put wherever they like. They may also enjoy putting the stickers all over themselves or you.
Give your toddler a few fun colors a few brushes and some painter paper and let them have a blast. You can check Pinterest for fun ideas to do, where they can use their fingers or toes or get ideas on how to incorporate other craft items that will add texture and more creativity to their masterpieces as well.
Pull out the bubble machine and your toddler will love trying to catch the bubbles and run through them. If they aren’t ready to dip and blow the bubbles yet themselves, they will still enjoy seeing the bubbles and watching them pop all over.
5. Create a water station or purchase a water table
You can fill empty containers, cups or bowls with water that they can pour back and forth into a big storage bin, or you can purchase a water table that is made to fill with water and comes with different toys they can scoop the water with. If your little one loves to splash water this can keep them entertained for quite a while. The water table can also be used with play sand or crushed cereal if you would prefer them not to splash to much when in the house.
There are many puzzles that you can purchase that let you know what age they are made for, and you can show your little one where the pieces go and encourage them to follow your lead. This is a great opportunity to teach them shapes, animals and colors.
7. Encourage them to clean
It may sound a little funny to ask your toddler to pick up after themselves, clean the floor or wipe the wall but some of them surprisingly find it enjoyable. Give them a broom, sing the cleanup song and they might enjoy feeling like a grown up for a little while. You can also grab their toy bin and encourage them to get all their toys in the bin before their time runs out.
8. Imaginary games with cardboard boxes or storage bins
Children have such great imagination that you can pretend a cardboard box, or storage bin is anything. It could be a bus, a train a fort, whatever you and your little one can imagine. The both of you can even draw things on the boxes or bins to help make them come to life more.
9. Play dress up
Your toddler might enjoy dressing up as a princess, a superhero or even dress up as you. You can get them all types of costumes to dress up as whenever they want. You can also purchase different props or look for ideas to make props out of things you already have in your home. Playing dress up is not just for Halloween. If your little one likes to try on your shoes or clothes, they will have fun running around the house as you.
10. Plastic cup stacking
You can get a bag of plastic cups from your local dollar store and encourage your little one to stack them as high as they can then knock them over and do it over and over again. They will have fun seeing how high they can stack and have fun finding ways to knock them down.
You can blow up a few balloons that you let float around on the floor or you can have some balloons with strings that float to the ceiling. Your toddler will enjoy picking up the balloons and throwing them all around the room, shouting out the different colors and chasing them as they fall or if they are up high, they will enjoy pulling them down and hitting them.
12. Educational television shows
The television can be very helpful when you’re working from home, and you need a very fast way to entertain your little one while you work on your tasks. You can find fun and educational shows for them to watch that teach them nursery rhymes, numbers, animals, letters or even sign language. You can monitor their screen time and encourage them to learn by engaging with them as they watch.
13. Let them dump the toys
It may be a bit of a mess for you to clean up or for your toddler to pick up but allowing them to have a free for all and pick whatever they would like to play with whenever they get bored of one toy will be helpful for you, so you don’t have to keep looking for the next fun thing. They move on quickly so having it all in front of them will help keep them entertained.
14. Make a sensory bin
A sensory bin is a plastic bin that you can fill with different materials to help stimulate your toddlers’ senses. It helps to really stimulate their sense of touch and keep them entertained. You can search sensory bins on Pinterest to get a ton of great ideas to help keep them entertained for hours. You can also have a lot of fun being creative with these yourself and have them prepped the night before to pull out while you’re working.
15. Get a tent or make a fake one
Alot of toddlers love to hide or have a space that they feel is just for them. Purchasing a fun tent in a theme they enjoy will give them a fun place to crawl into and play with their toys or read their books. If you don’t want to purchase one you can also try to create one with pillows and sheets. Remember they have the tent for just in case they like to play hide and seek because chances are they will be tucked away in there giggling waiting for you to find them.