Keeping Toddlers Busy

What materials do you have laying around the house? Here are a few ways to keep your toddler busy with common household items.

1. Shoe Box Poke


  • Shoebox
  • Cotton Swabs

Step One

Take your pen or pencil and punch holes into the lid of your shoe box. (I spaced my holes evenly around and purposefully around the design of the lid… because I’m crazy.)

Step Two

Just kidding, there is no step two. You’re already finished!

You can easily provide a good fifteen minutes or so of entertainment for your toddler by bringing out this shoe box. My daughter loves to poke the cotton swabs through the holes, lift the lid, pull them out the other side, and store them in the bottom half of the box.

This DIY toy is good for fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination!

2. Vertical Maze


  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Toilet Paper Rolls

Has quarantine left you with a ton of paper town and toilet paper rolls? Tape them to your wall to create a vertical maze! You can drop anything in here: pom poms, Styrofoam balls, etc.

In addition to dropping them down the tubes, my daughter likes to see where they are going to come out and then chase them down the hallway when they go rolling! (I tried putting a cup at the bottom, as pictured, to catch the balls – but she just kept stealing the cup!)

3. Washing Machine


  • Cardboard Box
  • Knife
  • Marker
  • Basket (Optional)

Step One

Tape the entire box shut.

A box with a solid bottom is best but I didn’t have one like that. Therefore, there is a crease in the door that I created but with enough packing tape, I was able to keep it sturdy!

Step Two

Draw your washing machine!

It’s up to you how fancy you want to make it. I didn’t even scrape the packing sticker off all the way because ultimately, it doesn’t impact the functionality and my daughter likes it just fine with it there – so why drive myself crazy peeling?

Step Three

Cut the door open.

I used an Exacto knife and cut all by a small portion of it open. The small portion that’s not cut allows the door to swing open and closed.

Step Four

Provide a laundry basket.

You don’t have to do this but I think it’s more fun if you do! If you have a basket laying around, you can use that to transport the laundry! My daughter loves to take the clothes from the basket, put them in the washing machine and then take them out of the washing machine to put them back into the basket, repeat x1000. The basket I gave her was an extra from the dollar store. Also, the clothes she plays with are clothes that she has outgrown! Keep it simple, keep it easy!

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