How do you keep a toddler entertained all day? Activities

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Preschool-age boy playing with blocks
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Here are some super fun ideas for filling your toddler's days, from moms and educators.

Make It Interactive & Age-Appropriate

"Toddlers and preschoolers are like little sponges, soaking up everything they experience in their environment. Play should be the most important time of the day. Look for age-appropriate puzzles and manipulatives for toddlers, toys that reinforce their development, learning, and cognition. Make sure your toddler gets plenty of fresh air by playing outside, playing in a community park or going to a beach or a lake if you have water nearby. Toddlers and preschoolers can be taken through a...

"Toddlers and preschoolers are like little sponges, soaking up everything they experience in their environment. Play should be the most important time of the day. Look for age-appropriate puzzles and manipulatives for toddlers, toys that reinforce their development, learning, and cognition. Make sure your toddler gets plenty of fresh air by playing outside, playing in a community park or going to a beach or a lake if you have water nearby. Toddlers and preschoolers can be taken through a forest or park in a stroller or by walking; the adult should talk with them about what they see and hear during the walk. Bring a riding toy or tricycle. Bring other moms and children too!" -- Sue Stockman, early childhood educator, Caldwell, NJ

Switch It Up

"Keeping a toddler entertained is a combination of engaging them in productive play with intervention, and then facilitating play with a variety of choices and activities. Alternate movement with quieter activities, perhaps playing songs that encourage 'dancing' along, or repetitive movements, then bringing out art materials for a tabletop session. Follow this with a healthy snack, and then perhaps a trip to the playground or an errand. The mundane can be fun for toddlers! A trip to a...

"Keeping a toddler entertained is a combination of engaging them in productive play with intervention, and then facilitating play with a variety of choices and activities. Alternate movement with quieter activities, perhaps playing songs that encourage 'dancing' along, or repetitive movements, then bringing out art materials for a tabletop session. Follow this with a healthy snack, and then perhaps a trip to the playground or an errand. The mundane can be fun for toddlers! A trip to a grocery store can be a learning experience and toddlers can 'help' by finding colors, shapes, or even words that they recognize." -- Debbie Propper Lesnoy, teacher at Helen Troum Nursery School and Kindergarten, Fair Lawn, NJ

Follow Your Toddler's Lead

"I find that I have the most fun with my son when we're just hanging out and playing on his terms. He comes up with some of the funniest things, and when he lets me play with him I feel honored. Use this time to be silly. We do the goofiest dances in my living room that would make me die of embarrassment if anyone caught me."

Make Bird Feeders

"We like to spread peanut butter all over pine cones and roll them in wild bird seed. Next, we tie a string to the top and hang them in the trees for the birds to eat. It's so easy and costs hardly anything."

Go Fishing in the Tub

"Put magnets in the tub and tie another one on the end of a string tied onto a stick. So fun!"

Make the Most of a Rainy Day

"We all have rain boots and rain jackets, and we go on walks to the park in the rain and find the biggest puddles we can. Sometimes we'll go on a bike ride in the rain and try and find big puddles to ride through over and over again!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.