- Keeping kids busy while working from home!
- Toddlers’ attention span
- Keeping toddlers busy while working from home
- Busy books are keeping kids busy!
- Busy board
- Puzzles are keeping kids busy!
- Scissor practice
- Color matching
- Bubble wrap is keeping kids busy!
- Building blocks
- Bathing toys
- Peeling is keeping kids busy!
- Washi tape
- Sensory bins
- Activity trays
- Hideout for keeping kids busy!
- Indoor trampoline
- Water table
- Sidewalk chalk
- Scavenger hunt
- Screen time for keeping kids busy!
- About The Author
Keeping kids busy while working from home!
Leaving the 9 to 5 and working from home can be a dream come true for many. But when you’re a mom and you need to find out how to keep a toddler busy so you can focus on your work, things can get a bit more complicated.
Lucky for you, we’ve collected a long list of activities for keeping kids busy while working from home!
Disclosure: While the listed toddler activities generally require low supervision, it is best if you still keep a close eye on your toddler, especially when the activity involves small parts that can be swallowed.
Toddlers’ attention span
Before we dive into the different ways to entertain a toddler, let me make one thing clear.
There is no magical activity that will keep a toddler busy for hours at a time.
And that is simply because toddlers have a short attention span. For a 3-year-old that’s about 6 to 15 minutes. After that, you’ll need to engage with your kid either by helping them refocus or by changing the activity.
What can help you, however, is to have your own arsenal of engaging toddler activities that you can prepare once and rotate when needed.
So without further ado, here’s our list of keeping kids busy while working from home!
Keeping toddlers busy while working from home
Busy books are keeping kids busy!
When it comes to talking about keeping kids busy, the first thing that comes to my mind is offering a busy book.
One of the best tools for quiet toddler activities, busy books contain multiple laminated pages on which the toddler can sort shapes and colors, count, match different objects, practice tracing a line with a washable dry erase marker, solve a puzzle, and so much more.
And the great part is, once they’re done, you can just wipe the pages clean and the book’s as good as new.
Busy boards are commonly designed to develop the fine motor skills of your toddler. However, they also promote learning life skills like how to tie shoelaces, how to handle buttons and zips, etc.
On the downside, busy boards can be quite heavy and take up a lot of space when not in use.
Busy boards are a great way to keeping kids busy while working from home!
Puzzles are keeping kids busy!
Puzzles work miracles for children of any age. Just pick some age-appropriate sets and let your toddler figure them out.
Personally, I prefer wooden puzzles with a handle on each piece for younger toddlers and thick no-handle pieces for 2-3 years old.
Yes, scissor practice is a legit skill your toddler has to learn at some point. And once you’ve shown them how to hold and operate the scissors, you can sit them next to you on the kitchen table and let them cut while you work.
And if they seem to be getting it, print some lines or patterns on a few pieces of paper to make the activity a little more advanced.
The variety of activities that can be associated with matching colors is extraordinary. Here are a few ideas:
- Get a bag of assorted pompoms and ask your toddler to sort them in different bowls.
- Paint clothespins in different colours and let your toddler pin them on a matching colored sheet of paper.
- Print a color wheel with the colors in your building blocks set and let the toddler build a tower of the same color on each section of the wheel.
These are all great activities to keeping kids busy while working from home!
Playdough can be a source of fun for quite a while.
Want to keep them occupied for longer? Add a small rolling pin, plastic knives, and some cookie cutters. Then let your little one explore all the possibilities.
Playdough is one of the best ways to keeping kids busy so you can work for a longer period of time!
Bubble wrap is keeping kids busy!
Who says bubble wrap is just for adults?
Show them how to pop it by walking over it first. And when they get tired, they can sit down and try to finish it by hand.
Toddlers love to build and stack. So let them pour the whole bag on the floor and get creative.
After that, you can ask them to pick them up which can buy you 5 more minutes to wrap up your current task.
If you don’t mind a little water mess on the kitchen floor, fill a basin with water, add some bubble bath, and all the rubber toys you can find.
Give your toddler a cleaning brush and let them bathe all the toys.
Note: This is a good indoor activity to keep them busy if you’re working in the same room. Keep in mind that at some point, the floor will get wet and slippery so you need to be able to keep an eye on them.
Honestly, any type of water activity will be great for keeping kids busy while working from home!
Peeling is keeping kids busy!
Give them an orange or boil them an egg and let them peel it before they eat it. It should buy you at least 10 minutes.
Sounds simple but it’s actually a great gross motor exercise and is on the Montessori list of life skills a young kid should learn.
My toddler loves stickers but she gets so frustrated when she cannot get them herself. And then we found washi tape.
All you need is a few rolls of tape and a big sheet of paper or cardboard.
It’s easy to unroll, easy to tear, and most of all, easy to remove from walls, counters, and the like.
We can assure you that washi tape will always be keeping kids busy.
Sensory bins are one of the most common Montessori activities. Mainly because they are easy to set up and very entertaining.
I honestly believe all kids love sensory bins. It offers them a hands-on approach that challenges both their creativity and fine motor skills.
You can fill sensory bins with pretty much anything. Still, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Beans, lentils, and rice to sort or move from one bowl to another.
- Kinetic sand, shells, and beach-themed toys.
- Blue-colored rice with marine-themed toys.
- Green-colored spaghetti with forest or insect themed toys.
Other fillers could include regular sand, salt, colored pasta, dirt, water beads, aquarium rocks, even plain water.
Pro tip: When done, put the themed toys or the fillers in separate zipper bags. This way you’ll be able to set the bin quickly every time inspiration hits you.
Activity trays are another great way to encourage independent play.
They are similar to sensory bins. You basically set one up and just give it to your toddler.
The difference, however, is that while sensory bins are aimed towards exploration and free play, with activity bins you usually have something more specific in mind.
Here are some ideas we use to entertain a toddler:
- Musical tray. No, not battery operated toys but actual musical instruments like a xylophone, harmonica, maracas, castanets, etc.
- Art tray. You’ll need a few pieces of paper and a few different drawing options like color pencils, finger paint, dot markers, or whatever your toddler likes to use.
- Crafts tray. You can add some color paper, toddler scissors, stick glue, stickers, feathers, cotton balls, etc.
- Color sorting tray
- Counting tray
- Building blocks tray
Activity trays are one of our favorite ways to keeping kids busy while working from home!
Hideout for keeping kids busy!
Want to know the jewel of quiet toddler activities? You guessed it. It’s having their own hideout.
Make them a hideout in the corner of the room where they can take their favorite toys or play pretend.
It can be something fancy like a teepee tent, or simply like a big bedsheet over two chairs. Either way, they’ll have tons of fun inside.
An indoor trampoline can be a great investment if you have the space to place it. It will help them burn tons of energy and prepare them for quiet toddler activities after that. They’ll be just too tired to keep running around.
Pro tip: Get one with a safety net. Otherwise, you may be too distracted watching over them instead of focusing on your work.
Keeping kids busy with an indoor trampoline will help you get a lot of work done.
Are you lucky enough to have your own outdoor space where you can sit down and work? Yes? That’s awesome!
In this case, let me give you a few ideas on how to keep a toddler busy outdoors as well.
In the summer and fall months, water tables can bring your toddler tons of fun. They will get wet for sure, but it can buy you up to a whole hour of (almost) uninterrupted working time.
How to make it even more fun? Get a double table, where you fill one section with water and one with sand and let your kid explore what happens when they mix.
Like we mentioned earlier any time of water activity will be keeping kids busy for longer periods of time!
Is your toddler at the stage where they can only draw lines and circles? Mine is. But she still loves drawing with sidewalk chalk.
You can either let them unleash their creativity or draw them a hopscotch board, show them how it’s done and let them get properly tired.
Print a list with images of things that can be found in your backyard (or your working area) and ask your toddler to find them all. You can find one online or create one using a free platform like Canva.
To give you an idea, here are some items you could add:
- a flower
- a green leaf
- a butterfly (this one can take them a while)
- a bucket
- a stone
- a flowerpot
- something you can eat
- something yellow
Scavenger hunts are a great way to keeping kids busy for long periods as well!
This article of advice from other work-at-home moms can also help you keep your kids busy!
Screen time for keeping kids busy!
If nothing else works, a little screen time wouldn’t hurt so much.
Still, if you don’t want them watching cartoons all day, here are some mom-approved YouTube channels you may check:
- Sesame street. It’s a classic. And after so many years it still helps young kids learn about the world around them in a safe and fun way.
- Cocomelon. I’m absolutely serious. Their nursery rhymes are so engaging that they make learning basic stuff like animals, shapes, and colors very easy.
- Super Simple Songs. My 2-year-old loves to dance and sing along to these. And English isn’t even her native language.
As you can see, it’s not so difficult to entertain a toddler. The hard part is to keep them busy long enough so you can get your work done.
What I strongly recommend is to be prepared to switch activities once they lose focus. Get these zipper bags, take one afternoon to fill each one with different activity props, and then just grab one when you need it.
Now tell me, which are your favorite quiet toddler activities?
Do you know of any other ways you are good at keeping kids busy while you are working from home? Tell us in the comments!
About The Author
I’m a mom of two girls, a baby and a toddler. I’ve been home with my kids for almost 3 years now and I love being able to spend quality time with them.
My passions are writing and getting creative. That’s why several months ago I decided to start a blog where I share all the struggles I’ve faced and overcome as a mom, different activities we do with the kids, and printables that help me stay productive and organized.
Want to pay me a visit? You’re welcome at Mom’s Daily Diary!
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