16 Ways to Kill 20 Minutes With Toddlers

16 Ways to Kill 20 Minutes With Toddlers
Image: pinterest

Ahh, toddlers, they're cute, say the most hilarious things, have the most epic tantrums and the shortest attention spans. Trying to do any sort of long art/craft/building/learning project with a toddler is just not going to cut it. Any mom who needs a little time to herself (or to, you know, make lunch and stuff) needs to have an arsenal of activities that'll occupy a toddler for a short period of time. 

Whether that's easy activities with shaving cream or setting up invitations to play around the house, luckily for all us harried moms, there's a slew of ideas out there on the world wide web (do people even say that anymore?) And fortunately many of these activities can be done with items you already have around the house -- or better yet, nothing at all but a little imagination. So get ready to enjoy some alone time with these sanity-saving ideas to buy you 20 minutes (or more if you're really lucky!)

busy toddlers

  • Colander & Pipe Cleaners


    It doesn't get any easier than this. Toddlers can spend time developing their fine motor skills -- and giving mom a break -- with this simple activity. Simply turn a colander upside down, give the kiddo some pipe cleaners and let the little one go to town poking them in and out of the holes. No pipe cleaners? No problem! The kid can do the same thing with uncooked spaghetti noodles. Just expect more of a clean-up since some of them will inevitably break.

  • Kinetic Sand


    Let's be real, what little kid doesn't love kinetic sand? And it's infinitely easier to clean up than real-life sand. As long as the little one in question is past the stage of trying to eat everything, it's a guaranteed winner of an activity.

  • Easter Egg Bath


    This is for when mom really needs some alone time (ahem, 15 minutes to scroll through a phone, no judgement.) Fill a bathtub with water and some bubbles and drop in all those Easter eggs that have been sitting in the garage with nothing to do. Voila! It's a giant sensory bin that they can sit in -- and get clean at the same time. Score!

  • Play Dough


    Whether it's the store-bought version, or the DIY kind, play dough is always a toddler winner. To really take it up a notch, and potentially add some more minutes to this activity, give them small(ish) objects they can press into the dough or wrap the dough around. 

  • Contact Paper Stained Glass Window


    Cut some contact paper and tape it onto a window or sliding glass door, sticky-side up. Little ones will love sticking on pre-cut out scraps of tissue paper to the sticky surface and watching the sunlight filter in through their creation.

  • Good Ol' Fashioned Tubs of Water


    There's nothing toddlers love more than playing with water. So find some plastic bins, fill them with water, and toss a bunch of random things in there like measuring cups, plastic toys and a spoon. Just be prepared for an outfit change and lots of water on the ground -- or better yet, do it outside!

  • Finger Painting


    Yes, this will get messy. Very messy. But they'll have a total blast - and isn't that all that matters? Finger painting is a childhood classic for a reason: it never gets old and always entertains. Just have those wet wipes handy.

  • Egg Carton & Popsicle Sticks