Stuck Inside: Fun Indoor Play Activities for Toddlers

Most toddlers thrive when they can explore and move their bodies often, which can be difficult to safely allow indoors.

If you are a parent of toddlers and live in a place where you wind up spending a lot of time indoors during certain parts of the year, like the winter, you might find yourself feeling a little stir crazy after a while.

Here are a few things you can set up with your toddler to give them an outlet for all that energy they seem to never run out of. With any luck, you’ll even be able to buy yourself enough time to drink a hot cup of coffee!

Sensory Activities

Although sensory activities can get messy, sometimes the payoff is worth the cleanup. Play dough, kinetic sand, and pipe cleaners are all simple choices for sensory play. If you have the time to get a little more creative, try setting up bins of dried rice or beans that have small toys hidden inside for your toddler to find.

Or, simply give them a tub of dried beans and a few scoops of different sizes! Pouring, scooping, and stirring are not only fun for most kids, but they help develop hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness.

Water Play

If you want to keep things simple, run a bath and add some bubble, bath paints, or fun toys! No one ever said baths have to be limited to bedtime.

If you have the patience (and towels), you can get a little more creative with water play by letting your toddler pour water from one container to another, use a spray bottle of water in a designated area, or even paint with water on colorful construction paper.

Pillow Mountains

As you’ve probably noticed, toddlers love movement. Tumbling, rolling, kicking, and bouncing are all normal, healthy movements that can sometimes become a problem when you’re living in a small space.

Try clearing a section of the floor and helping your toddler pile all the pillows they can find into a mountain in the middle of it. Then let them do the rest! They’ll be able to get some of those wiggles out practice sticking those (nice and soft) landings.

Helper Time

If you don’t mind slowing things down a bit, one great way to engage your toddler is to simply invite them to help with whatever you are doing! Sweeping up? Let them practice holding the dust pan. Tidying toys? Make it a game to see who can throw the most into the bin!

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It may take ten times longer than doing it alone, but the learning and bonding your child can do while helping you around the house might just be worth the extra effort. 

Parenting toddlers can be tricky enough without adding cabin fever to the mix. As long as your toddler is fed, clean, and content, it’s okay to do what you need to in order to get through those long indoor days! Who knows… with a few new tools in your belt, you might even have a little fun along the way.

Bethany Robin

Bethany has been blogging about the struggles, pitfalls, and just plain insanity of parenting as a millennial since her oldest was born in 2015. She's also worked extensively as a doula and has four children of her own, including toddler twins.

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