30 Non-TV Toddler Activities

Random Observation/Comment #658: I grew up watching TV to distract me while my parents had better things to do. Look at me; I turned out just fine.

Why this List?

We’re blessed that the major role we play in this pandemic is to (1) not get sick and (2) not spread sickness. At home, we’re mainly just parenting and trying to stay sane while doing so. Our main way to keep some structure that Evie had in daycare, is to put together a set daily schedule:

8am – Breakfast / Screen Time
9am – Clean up / Free play
9:30am – Activity
10:20am – Snack
10:45am – Outdoor play or Yoga
11:15am – Art
12pm – Lunch
12:30/1pm – Read and Nap
<Nap>
3pm – Snack
3:15pm – Activity
3:45pm – Outdoor Play
4:15pm – Activity
5pm – Screen Time (probably a movie while we cook and eat dinner)
6:30pm – Bath
7:30pm – Read and put to Bed
<Mommy-Daddy Drinking Time>

Just Kidding, we’re not that organized. We’d be lucky if half of this happens and drinking doesn’t start at 4pm. At least we try not to just plop her in front of the TV the whole day.

  1. Give her a random toy to get a few minutes of wonder – see 30 Random Toys for Evie
  2. Morning yoga or push-ups routine
  3. Magna-tiles and Lego blocks building
  4. Jigsaw puzzles – She’s been able to do one in 10 minutes or so
  5. Train set – Process of building a loop, running a car through it, and then putting it away can take 20 minutes
  6. Draw numbers of items on a whiteboard
  7. Draw things starting with letters on whiteboard
  8. Trace letters and numbers on whiteboard
  9. Stickers book – You can make a sticker collection of your favorites
  10. Sing a song together that gets them involved
  11. Dance party – we love the Trollz soundtrack
  12. “Find and Count XYZ” game – We have some workbooks, but this works with some online pictures
  13. Ask her about different kitchen items and groceries around the house (lots of pantry goods learning)
  14. Hide and seek inside a room – We take turns counting and finding each other (she’s gotten too good at hiding)
  15. Hide and seek with stuffed animal – We take turns hiding the stuffed animal and finding it (this is actually pretty challenging)
  16. Walk around with her sitting on my shoulder – I wind up doing some squats and lunges
  17. Play in the backyard – Kick a ball around
  18. Sidewalk chalk drawings of animals or hop scotch – Make a rainbow
  19. Daily walk – Usually 15 minutes of running and then 15 minutes of sitting on Daddy’s shoulder while walking home. We point out numbers for her to count out loud (trying to teach her 3-digit numbers)
  20. Outdoor ride in the wagon or stroller – This is good for getting some fresh air and listening to a podcast
  21. Ride on a scooter – She also looks cute in a helmet
  22. Tag – Although saying “I’m gonna get you” is a little weird
  23. Glue shape cutouts onto paper plates
  24. Healthy screen time Scholastic books readings
  25. Play a boardgame with dice – we wind up just trying to count the dots of the dice for totals
  26. Miss Winnie’s live music class online – Instagram
  27. Draw all over the cardboard box – we disinfect the box first
  28. Fill out our magnet calendar which helps with numbers and days of the week
  29. Video call grandparents! We try to do this at set daily times like around 5-7pm.
  30. Free play (A.K.A. I need to use the phone for a bit)

~See Lemons Entertain the Toddler