Before dinner. After bath. You don’t need long to enjoy these toddler activities

The toddler stage is both exciting and challenging. It’s incredible to watch tots foster their curiosity, lean into their personalities, and make strides toward independence. It’s also, let’s face it, exhausting to keep them entertained and tantrum-free on a regular basis. So whether you need ideas to add to your daily schedule or a quick fix in an emergency, these 10-minute or less toddler activities are easy ways to have bursts of fun anytime, anywhere.

a toddler dances in a yellow dress in front of her dad, toddler activities
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1. Have a Dance Party

Throw on some music and dance it out. Choose from our roundup of the best Spotify playlists, and spike your heart rate to a family-friendly tune. It’s also a great way to shake things up when your little one is feeling grumpy.

2. Act Out a Book

While reading a book together is always a good idea, acting one out could be even more fun. If your toddler has a favorite book they’re obsessed with, dig into the dress-up box and have them try to act out a live-action version.

3. Play Simon Says

Play this old favorite but with a twist. We love using Simon Says to help pick up a messy room. Simon says, “Put your toy in the chest” is a parenting hack that clears clutter while entertaining toddlers.

5. Act Like an Animal

Get wild with this one! Ask your child what their favorite animal is and encourage them to play a quick animal action game.  Challenge your child to move like the animal, running, crawling, leaping, lumbering, or slithering like a furry, feathered, or scaled friend.

a toddler activities with stuffed animals, girl hugs stuffed animal she found while her mom laughs
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6. Play Hide-and-Seek with Stuffies

If you don’t have the energy to squeeze behind the couch or want to play hide and seek in a small space, try playing with one of your toddlers’ favorite stuffed animals.

7. Throw a Bath Party

Ain’t no party like a bathtub party! Turn off the lights, toss in the glow sticks and bubble wands, and crank the music.

8. Play Eye-Spy

It’s a time-tested classic and a traditional game that just about every child plays at some point or another. It’s also easily adaptable, requires no materials, and takes almost no time to complete. Put a twist on the same old game and set up your “I Spy” with a theme. Pick a letter (all things that begin with “B”), a color (only purple objects), or any other focus that your kiddo can dream up.

9. Have A Puzzle Marathon

Break out two or three of your toddler’s favorite puzzles and set a timer to see how fast you can complete them all.

10. Play Florist

Collect branches, ferns, and a few blooms and arrange them in a pretty vase or jar. Toddlers also love playing shop, so make believe you’re their first satisfied customer.

11. Play Follow the Leader

Get creative with the classic “follow the leader” game. Choose a theme (such as acting like animals or moving like snowflakes), create super-silly walks, or explore outside with a follow-the-leader nature walk.

a little girls with pigtails sits by a painting with a sun and paints, toddler activities
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12. Create a Card for a Loved One

Surprise a friend or relative with a homemade card from you and your toddler. They’ll have fun stamping, coloring, and creating a fun design, and the recipient will be thrilled with the surprise mail.

13. Wash Windows Together

Their willingness to help with household chores wanes as they get older, so take advantage of your toddler’s excitement for spraying and wiping and get some sparkling windows in the process.

14. Tic Tac Toe

When it comes to toddler activities, the paper and pencil version of this classic is always fun. Or try spicing it up by hunting for objects to serve as x’s and o’s.

15. Play Red Light, Green Light

Strengthen their listening skills with a quick game of Red Light Green Light. In addition to being fun, you can talk to your toddler about the importance of following instructions, a skill their preschool teacher will certainly appreciate.

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