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Updated January 3, 2021

How To Keep Your Two Year Old Entertained For Free

 

Are you looking for toddler activities, arts, and crafts?

Many parents find themselves searching the internet to find out how to keep a toddler busy.

It is not surprising toddlers have almost boundless energy and curiosity.

The good news is toddlers are not picky when it comes to entertainment!

  • A simple cardboard box can keep their attention for hours.
  • Unlike older children, toddlers are willing to try almost any activity.

So knowing how to keep your 2-year-old entertained is simply about choosing activities they like.

 

Toddler activities arts and crafts pin toddler painting

 

There are many free activities you can select to entertain your 2-year-old. Unlike sedentary activities such as sensory bins, busy boards, or puzzles, many free activities involve the outdoors where your child can engage in physical activity.

There is no better way to keep a toddler entertained than physical activities that they enjoy and the nap that follows makes it well worth the effort.

Toddlers develop sensory and motor skills as they observe the world around them. They are eager to start using their keen and curious minds to experience life to the fullest.

It is amazing to observe how toddlers develop the 5 senses so they can accomplish more complex tasks.

They have an insatiable desire to explore their surroundings.

This eagerness combined with their newly acquired mobility is why they need to constantly be involved with activities.

How To Keep Your Two Year Old Entertained For Free

The best way to manage this stage in your child’s life is to keep them busy with activities that keep their attention.

Activities that are challenging and engaging.

Playing is such an important part of toddler development.

Age-appropriate activities are a great way to ensure your little one is having fun while learning.

Toddlers interpret their world through the ongoing development of the basic senses.

It is important to allow your toddler to discover, create, and explore.

Benefits of play for your toddler:

Develops sensory skills:

  • seeing
  • hearing
  • touch
  • smell
  • taste

Develops motor skills:

  • fine motor function
  • gross motor function

The integration of sensory and motor skills leads to the development of advanced skills. Essentially any skill is comprised of a combination of the primary sensory and motor skills.

  • creativity
  • coordination
  • language
  • balance
  • cause-and-effect.

Social skills then develop when sharing toys with others.  Skills such as:

  • collaborative play
  • learning to compromise
  • social interaction.

 Toddler Activities Arts and Crafts:

Get Artsy with Your Toddler:

This is the age for getting them to produce their first art project which will quickly become a welcome addition to the baby book and grandma’s fridge door!

  •  Use big crayons for coloring

They are easy for toddlers to hold and make their mark without too much pressure.

Let them experiment with dotting, scribbling, and you can hold their hand to draw the first shapes together.

 

  • String painting

String painting is an easy toddler activity that helps develop fine motor skills.

 

Fall String Painting

 

  • Another favorite is painted hand and footprints.

Kids love experimenting with color and design, and these make cheerful pictures for the wall.

Older kids love to look back at their tiny hand and footprints, so be sure to put some of these aside in a safe place.

 

toddler hand print

Painted Hand Prints

 

  • Paint some large or small rocks

You can varnish these later and use them around the house and garden as a cheerful accessory.

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Help your toddler paint their name and date on the finished project to look back at in years to come!

 

How to keep your 2 year old entertained

Rock Painting

 

  • Snow painting

Snow painting is an easy indoor or outdoor activity your toddler can do during the winter months.

Snow painting is an activity our kids have always loved!

You can make the pain with food coloring and water or use paint.

We like to use watercolors.

Make plenty of brushes available. A spray bottle full of colored water is another knockout choice your toddler will love!

 

winter activities for toddlers

 

  • Put their pictures up in their room and around the house.

Give them a big response and let them bask in that feeling of pride.

This is a sure-fire way to keep your 2-year old entertained for free.

Toddlers love seeing pictures of themselves and placing them around the house will definitely get their attention.

You can get inexpensive plastic frames at the dollar store. This is a fun rainy day activity.

 

Sensory Play Activities For Toddlers:

  • Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are an easy and proven way to keep your toddler entertained at home. We love to offer sensory bins on rainy days or days when we have to work and need it quiet.

If you work from home, sensory bins are a life-saver when you need to keep your toddler busy.

You can find some easy DIY sensory bin ideas here.

sensory bins ducks

 

  • Playdough

Homemade playdough is painless to make. Add in some toys and other items you probably already have at home and you have an engaging and irresistible invitation to play for your toddler!

This is my regular playdough recipe.

Easy homemade playdough recipe:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup table salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable  oil
  • Gel food coloring

You’ll want to use a large saucepan for this recipe. Pour the flour, salt, and cream of tartar into a pot, add water and oil.

On low-medium heat stir until it starts to thicken. It takes about a minute or two.

Add food coloring when it starts to thicken and keep stirring until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and starts to stick to the spoon.

Remove the dough and place it on wax paper to cool.

When it is cool enough knead it for a minute or two and it’s ready to go.

Store in an airtight container or if you are like me, throw it in a Ziploc bag.

 

bugs and mud playdough toddler activities arts and crafts

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

 

bugs and mud playdough toddler activities arts and crafts

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

 

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

 

river playdough toddler activities arts and crafts

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

 

river playdough toddler activities arts and crafts

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

 

river animals playdough toddler activities arts and crafts

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

 

river playdough toddler activities arts and crafts

Image: Maternity Comfort Solutions

 

Learning with Your Toddler is Fun:

  • Let them try simple computer games

There are many computer games designed for this age.

They include songs, sounds, and images that are triggered by the use of the mouse.

These activities are a fun introduction to the computer and help your toddler learn the basics of mouse control.

 

How to keep your 2 year old entertained

Toddler Computer Games

 

  • Read books together:

Babies enjoy being read to. Toddlers want to become involved.

Buy books with lots of repetition, rhymes, sounds, and first words. Stop reading at a certain point and let them make the appropriate noise or say the next word.

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Get them used to turning the pages themselves and interacting with their book.

Reading is a lovely activity that brings you physically close together and enables you to build a foundation for your child to develop an interest in reading and the enjoyment of books.

By making reading interactive your child will retain a lot more information.

 

  • Play Music: Blast out some music and have fun singing along, and dancing.

Clap with the rhythm and encourage your toddler to express themselves in their own unique way.

 

toddlers dancing to music

Toddlers Dancing To The Music

 

 

  • Watch educational videos

Look for videos with songs about letters, numbers, animals, cars, etc. are often available at your local library.

There are many educational videos for toddlers and preschoolers that can keep your child’s attention for hours.

Here is a list of some of the more popular video series for early childhood development:

Though many of these educational videos will be available at your local library, you may want to purchase a video to secure endless hours of entertainment for your child.

This will significantly decrease the time you will spend making frequent trips to the library.

Fortunately, many videos have become very affordable since they were released many years ago.

Check out the affiliate links above, as they are attached to the more popular videos within each series.

One last option is to access educational videos through Amazon Prime Video.

  • Have a musical instrument session. Buy a small drum, xylophone, bells, tambourine, or any other instruments which you think your child will like.

Sit down together and have fun banging and shaking.

If you are good with crafts consider making an instrument with your toddler.

There will be little if no cost and having your child help to make an instrument will be a more rewarding experience.

The following video by DIY labs shows how you and your child can make 4 instruments:

 

 

Courtesy: DIY Labs

Outside Toddler Activities, Arts, and Crafts

  • Take A Nature Walk:

The local park is a great place to hang out, with more to do than play on the swings and slide. Think of all those different smells, sounds, textures, and colors – there is something to please all the senses.

Depending on the season, there is a range of things to do.

Get a selection of leaves and petals and examine their feel, shape, and smell together. Bring them home to take a picture with later. (Leaf rubbing)

In the Autumn, crunch through the leaves and throw them up in the air, watching them float back down.

leaf rubbing

Leaf Rubbing

 

When outdoors, do things which you may not encourage when out on the street; splashing in puddles, walking on the walls.

Let them experience physical freedom and enjoy the space around them.

 

  • Make checklists and go on a scavenger hunt

Checklists are a great learning tool. It can be a list of animal photos or things found on nature walks.

If the list includes animals, each time your child sees an animal on the list, such as a squirrel, bird, or dog … check them off on the list together.

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Take the time to have your child pronounce the name of the animal and answer any questions before moving on.

If you prefer to buy a book for your nature walk with your toddler, A Walk In The Forest by Jaye Garnett is a great choice.

Instead of a checklist, the book has a spinning wheel that will educate your child about the many plants and animals found in nature.

Smithsonian Kids: A Walk in the Forest

 

Free Scavenger hunt printables for Winter and Christmas:

 

winter scavenger hunts toddlers

FREE WINTER AND CHRISTMAS SCAVENGER HUNTS 

 

  • Pack a picnic:

Kids love to eat outside. Prepare a snack so when you go to the park it is more like an event.

Rather than a walk, call it a picnic or day camping exploration.

  • Chase bubbles:

To finish off the day, why not take a tube of bubbles with you and have your toddler chase them – a surefire way to raise a smile and get some exercise at the same time.

If you want to just set it and forget it check out this great deal:

Hicober Automatic Bubble Machine

 

  • Play in the water

If it’s hot out, use a wadding pool; if too cold, a warm bubble bath is perfect.

Put in some of your kitchen cups, the colander, jugs, funnel and watch your toddler have fun playing in the water.

Bring a few items that float too, perhaps a small, light ball, and push it along to each other.

Another favorite is using a drinking straw to blow bubbles in the water or shooting the water out (this one’s best for outside!)

Almost every toddler likes water activities. Getting your child comfortable in the water is always a good thing.

Most important is not to force any water activities if your child seems too fussy or upset.

As parents, the last thing we want to do is create an unpleasant experience as your child is getting used to water activities and ultimately learning how to swim.

 

Conclusion:

Toddlers are hard work, but at the same time, a lot of fun.

Knowing how to keep your two-year-old entertained for free with these simple activities can be a lifesaver!

Build some lovely memories together and enjoy this fleeting part of their lives.

You may not realize it at the time, but we all look back and remember what a very special time it was in your child’s development.

Take plenty of pictures and save their artwork for a scrapbooking session!

Get trinkets from places to remind you of the activities you did and places you visited.

Items you can put in a scrapbook:

  • badges
  • pictures
  • brochures
  • stickers
  • leaves

It might take years for your child to ultimately cherish these keepsake items,  but the day will come.

They are simply too busy making memories leaving them little time to enjoy them.