Many of us are currently working from home while caring for our children full time due to COVID-19 and social distancing. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought, “How in the world can I manage work and my toddler at the same time?” the first week of multitasking my toddler and my job.
Don’t stress mama, I’ve got you covered with lots of fun indoor activites to do with your toddler to keep them entertained and learning during your work day.
Let me first start by saying, don’t stress yourself out trying to be the perfect teacher and employee, all at the same time. Just do the best you can and be patient with yourself and your child while we all adjust to this new way of life.
Patience and flexibility have been critical for me when balancing work and parenting.
On my busier work days, I give my 2 year old independent play activities and we focus on learning during my lunch break and after work. On light work days we get lots of one-on-one or two-on-one (with hubby) time play time together. My husband and I also tag team our son for play time between phone calls and meetings. It’s all a balancing act for us.
Alright, let’s get started with the 11 indoor activities that keep my 2 year old entertained while I’m working from home during social distancing. Hope yall enjoy!
This is a fun and simple game for toddlers to play independently. The best part, is that it doesn’t require you to purchase anything, all you need is a couple of cups or bowls and some water.
Sit 1 empty cup and 1 cup with water in front of your little one. Then demonstrate pouring water from one cup to the other. In the beginning they may need some guidance, but after a while they’ll get the hang of it and won’t require assistance.
If it gets too messy, put a container underneath the cups so the water goes into the container instead of the floor.
You can also change the materials to keep your little one engaged. We started with water but after a couple of days moved on to pom poms, and then beans. I should note, my little one is 2 years old, he knows not to eat off the floor so I don’t have to keep a close eye on him when he’s doing this activity.
This activity will help with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
I place pom poms and 1 sheet of colored paper (for each color) on the floor. Then JC will tell me what each color is and place the pom pom on the appropriate sheet of paper.
If you don’t have colored paper and pom poms, you can color on a regular piece of paper and have your little one place objects of the same color around the house such as puzzle pieces, blocks, cars, or legos.
Reading is one of the best activities you can do with your toddler for brain development. It has helped JC with object identification and grwoing his vocabulary. It’s also a great way to enjoy quality time together. Here are a list of JC’s favorite books.
Reading opens a world of infinite possibilities. The illustrations, sounds and different tones will all help to keep your child captivated while expanding their imagination, vocabulary, and language skills.
Transfer with Tongs
Another simple activity with objects that are laying around the house. All you need is:
- pom poms (you can substitute with cotton balls)
- 1 bowl
Place the container and cotton balls (or pom poms) on your little one’s table or floor. Then demonstrate grasping the pom poms with the tongs and placing them in the bowl. Once your little one gets the hang of it sit back and enjoy the quiet time.
To switch it up, you can also use ice cubes and a spoon instead of tongs and pom poms.
*Excuse the messy background, I swear we tidy up his room like 5 times a day. I’m sure you feel my pain lol*
Shape Sorting and Puzzles
Shape sorting and puzzles are a great way to keep your child learning. They help to develop problem solving and fine motor skills.
We have a ton of puzzles at home, but this one keeps my 2 year old entertained the longest. He will literally play with it for 20-30 minutes straight every 2 or 3 days. We all know 20-30 minutes is like 2 hours in toddler time!
In additional to the problem solving and fine motor skills, this puzzle is great for identifying shapes and colors.
Playdoh is a fun open-ended sensory activity. There are so many fun things kids can do with it such as:
- hide objects (such as little cars) inside
- roll it into shapes for your child to identify
- drive cars over it to make tire tracks
- stamp animals on it to make foot prints
- name the colors
- create art such as a tree, the sun, a smiley face
Just make sure they know not to eat it.
Letters & Stickers
This is a nice quiet activity when you need your child to play independently. It’s super simple, all you need is a piece of paper, something to write with (pen, pencil, crayon or marker), and a sheet of stickers.
Draw something simple like the sun, a shape, or outline a letter. Then ask your child to identify your drawing and give the stickers to place inside your master piece. They’ll have fun peeling the stickers off and placing them on the paper and likely on themselves as well .
Bubbles are a fun and inexpensive way to keep children entertained. They love to see, blow, and pop them.
Here is my favorite no-spill bubbles. They’re great because my 2 year old can entertain himself with these bubbles and I don’t have to directly supervise him or hold the bottle to make sure he doesn’t spill all the bubbles.
This is best when Mommy and Daddy aren’t on a Zoom or WebEx video conference . When you don’t require quiet time, let your toddler enjoy some music. This can be music playing from your phone, sound books, singing songs, playing an actual instrument, or just banging on pans. It’s fun for them and trust me when I say, this is a good way to keep your child preoccupied.
Legos and Blocks
Building with legos and blocks is an excellent activity that your child can enjoy with you or independently. This activity allows your children to build things and develop their imagination.
When building with my son, we also take the opportunity to practice our colors, Let’s put the blue lego on top of the red lego. Later on, we’ll move onto using Legos to learn patterns (red, blue, red, blue).
Not sure what to build? JC’s favorites are spaceships and robots. With blocks, you can also outline shapes.
This is a great quiet activity for your toddler. You can use an actual coloring book or draw on a piece of paper for them to color on. My son doesn’t care if there’s a drawing or not, if there is a blank sheet of paper, he’s coloring on it!
Just keep your little one in your view, I don’t want any comments about your kids drawing on the walls lol.
Educational Shows or Apps
Yes, I said it…I let my two year old watch shows and play on my phone. It’s not an all day occurrence, but when Mommy and Daddy have meetings and need JC sit quietly, this always does the trick. Sometimes it’s Sesame Street, other times it’s the TinyTap or Smart Shapes app.
It seems like there’s this societal message going around that screen time is the worst thing you can do with a child. From my experience, as long as you are conscious about the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen, they’ll be fine. JC hasn’t missed a milestone, speaks more than the average 2 year old, and is very well rounded.
Okay so that’s my list of go-to activites to keep my toddler busy while working from home.
If your toddler doesn’t gravitate toward an activity right away, don’t fret. I’ve found some activities are more successful during certain times of the day. Other activities require more engagement and guidance from Mommy or Daddy. While some things (like arts and crafts) my son just didn’t like, even after the 5th try. Just in case you’re wondering, I only included activities that my son enjoyed in this post.
Follow me on IG for more fun toddler activities. I have a special IG highlight for fun activities that keep JC busy and happy. If you post your little ones enjoying these activities, use hashtag #ModernMomsenseToddler so I can see .