We just recently had our second child (yes, now I have two under two!), and I am needing my toddler to independently entertain herself sometimes. Below are some of the activities that she can successfully play independently or semi-independently. She still likes to be around me for some of these activities but doesn’t need me to be as hands-on as with other activities. She may need prompting or praise and validation, but is capable of doing most of it herself. I also wrote a post on how I am handling a toddler and a newborn.
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Independent and Semi-Independent Toddler Activities:
- Crayons for coloring
- Puzzles (especially this singing Baby Shark one)
- Books, especially lift-the-flap or pop-up books (see our favorite lift-the-flap books here)
- Toy tea set (we got this food grade one). I fill the teapot up with water, give her a towel for a tablecloth, and she loves pouring and drinking the water. If she makes a mess, I give her another towel and we clean it up later once I have hands again.
- Play Kitchen – there’s such a variety out there! There’s fancy large ones, wooden ones, or small plastic ones.
- Stickers (I recently bought these reusable sticker books to try) but my toddler also enjoys any stickers. I have a lot of stickers from my childhood that she sticks in a notebook.
- Watch a movie – screens are a great tool for those extra hard days. Our favorites are Daniel Tiger on Amazon and Winnie the Pooh on Disney+
- Watch videos of herself on my phone
- Water no-mess coloring books
Outside toddler play that is still hands-off (though it should probably be supervised):
- Toddler Slide inside or outside
- Mud kitchen outside
- Water table outside
- Sprinkler or splash pad outside
- Chalk outside