23 answers

What Are Some Great Activities to Do with My 18 Month Old Son?


Currently I'm having a problem with boredom in my house! Hard to believe with an 18 month old there is any such thing, but it has happened. We like to play outside a lot but with the seasons changing and the yucky weather the last few days, we've been trapped in the house. I'm looking for some new activities that we may be able to do inside. Currently the things we've tried and liked are: finger painting, coloring with crayons, play dough, reading books, giving the objects in our house names (ex: pictures/stars/bed/toys/bear, etc..), finding our body parts (head and belly are the only ones he really knows right now) and we have tried side walk chalk on the basement floor. Any other new ideas would be great as he is growing bored with the stuff we already do!

Thanks so much!

3 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

I appreciate the fantastic tips and suggestions from everyone! I plan on checking out some of the local attractions listed and made a list of all the other activities for when we do run into those random times of boredom!

My son is very good at entertaining himself, sometimes I feel like maybe he does it too much though and that is why I wanted suggestions on what to do to interact and entertain him....while educating him at the same time!

Thanks for all the tips and stories of successful parenting!

Featured Answers

Read, read, read! Bake cookies, go visit someone, go out and walk/play for a short time even if rainy (puddles are great, just allow time for a quick bath if necessary afterward). I'm coming late to this posting so I see you have many good ideas already. Enjoy--this time foes fast!

K. Z.

My sister takes her 2yrold to the local Library where they have story time once a week, they kids love it and they learn a lot too!

More Answers

They make coats for a reason. :-) Unless it's pouring rain, go outside for a little while everyday. Even if it's just for 20 minutes, you'll both feel alot better. My kids love playing in the leaves right now - even my 13 month old. They love this cooler weather because they can run around more and not get all hot and sweaty. I'm not sure where you are because we've have great fall weather here in central IN... temps in the 60s/70s and not alot of rain. Even when it does get 'yucky' in a few months most days are fine for playing outside. I have 3 young kids and they play outside year round.

If you want to stay indoors, just bring the outdoors inside. Get a small climber and put it in your basement. Heck, when my son was your son's age, we had it in the family room because he climbed on that thing constantly. We have the Kangaroo Climber from Step2. It's a small cube with a door, slide, and lots of ways to climb up, through holes, etc.

Buy an inexpensive dishpan and fill halfway with rice or dried beans or styrofoam packing peanuts. Use small shovels just like the sandbox. Kids love it! Yes, the beans are choking hazards but it's a supervised toy - only bring it out when you're watching (it won't be as messy then, either!). I make sure to put ours on the non-carpeted areas of the house, and usually put a newspaper under it to make cleaning easier.

Make an obstacle course. Pile all the pillows and cushions from the couch onto the floor and let him climb/crawl all over the pile. Fill the kitchen sink partway, pull up a chair and let him play in the water with scoops and squirters -- kids LOVE water play!

For sanity sake, leave the house at least once a day. Get a membership to the Children's Museum if you're in the Indy area. It'll be worth it once winter sets in. You can go for an hour and not feel like you aren't getting your money worth. I take the kids at least once a week in the winter. The Playscape area is perfect for toddlers and I'm sure your son would be able to spend >hours< there not getting bored with the water table, sand table, various building blocks, toddler 'obstacle course', climbing stuff, slide, etc. They also have music/song and finger play times almost everyday. And that's just one small section of the museum!

Malls usually have a play area, but I usually avoid them because they tend to get really busy, have alot of older kids who shouldn't be there, and it's too easy for the kid to get out of sight and wander off. Chik-fa-la's and McDonalds usually have indoor play areas... you don't have to have a real meal there, just go order a coke and sit while he runs around. The Carmel library and the Westfield library have a really nice kid section with toys, puzzle and computers for toddlers/preschoolers games. Not to mention the great storytimes and craft times they have. We're at the Carmel library at least once a week.

While you're at the libary, browse the books that have ideas for things to do (ask the librarian!). A book I had when my oldest was a toddler was The Stay-At-Home-Mom's Survival Guide (or something like that). It's full of very good info and ideas for 'boredom busters'.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know if this is the type of activity you are looking for, but here is what I have. My kids love animals, and when it is too cold or too hot for the zoo we go to the animal shelters and the local pet shops for an animal fix. Our local mall is very small, but we go there during the day to walk around, with not very many people my 2 yo can kind of run loose. We also go to the toy store and play with all the neat toys, and then leave them there; we do that so much when someone trys giving my 2yo a toy to take home she doesn't really understand that she doesn't have to leave it :) Hope those ideas help some.

1 mom found this helpful


Go to this website to get all kinds of ideas! I am a grandma now but raised 4 children (very close in age). We used to make homemade playdough once a week and used plastic cookie cutters and a rolling pin! We made homemade instruments and played "band" - we played make-believe and dress up with clothes I could have thrown out but instead made a "dress-up" trunk - we built forts in the family room - Keeping a toddler busy is a tough but extremely rewarding job. We took pictures a LOT and made scrapbooks out of our fun and to this day, my twenty-something children love looking through them and talking about the fun! Good Luck and remember to ENJOY every moment!

This is what my grandson enjoyed at this age:
Sticker books, paint with water books, cutting out sugar cookies, walks in his stroller, building with wooden blocks- well, I built, he knocked down, and cars/trucks- we would roll them back and forth to each other, same with balls.

Hi, Do you have a YMCA near you? When all my kids were small (four) I enrolled them in the baby classes. They have swimming, gymnastics, dance. IT is great. Not only do you get an activity for your little one but YOU also get to socialize and maybe set up play dates or something. We also have a really cool nursery for the little ones to play while parents work out. I don't know how you feel about leaving him with other people but usually at 18 months they start getting attached and when preschool starts it makes it harder on both the child and parent. It has been 10 years since I started the Y programs and my kids are still envolved. It's such a great family atmosphere. Other activites are the library programs that are offered during the day. I hope I helped!! Good luck with getting pregnant again. Enjoy!! R.

a lot of malls now have indoor play areas just to get you out of the house. but for things to do sitting at home, my kids LOVED to play on the computet even at that age, we'd sit together and play all sorts of learning games. also check with other moms with preschoolers i know we have a couple organizations here, parents as teachers and help me grow that have different playdate times at different places where we can go talk to other moms and let the kids play, and it's free. anotehr idea just to expand on what he already likes to do have you tried making your own playdoh, finger paint, bath paints, i think i even have a recipe for flubber, just google for them and you'll find lots and most don't involve any cooking. also since you seem to be unafraid of messes paper mache is fun at almost ay age.

Not so sure where you live, but we belong to the Shaker familiy Center. There is a huge playroom and a gym which are open different times throughout the week. My son gets to play and run and I get a chance to talk to other moms. We also love the children's museum and we joined so that we can go for an hour or so here and there and not feel like we are spending so much. It really makes sense in the end. Playdates are good too, although don't expec them to last more than an hour or so. SOmetimes a trip to Target woorks!

S. - Find a local Chick Fil A, McDonald's, Burger King, etc. that has an indoor playground. That doesn't mean that you have to eat lunch there. Maybe take him there and get an ice cream cone or "treat"; and then let him run.

There are groups out there for other SAHMs; you might want to look at those.

Now that it's fall; go apple picking and then tomorrow make an apple pie or applesauce (involve your son in the making of this too). Or you could go to a pumpkin farm ... even if you just walk around it. Maybe find a farm that has animals he could pet.

Just some suggestions. Hope they help! :)

If you're stuck inside, help make another "world" for your child to play in with tents. Drag out some blankets and drape them over chairs, tables, couches... whatever works! They can crawl underneath and take their toys with them. Maybe you can even pack a snack so you can have a picnic with him under there. I know that me and my siblings loved to make tents when we were younger.
I personally think it's important to get out and do something every day. Some ideas: enroll in a musikgarten/kindermusik class, go swimming or take a swim class at the YMCA, go to the library, go to a play place, go over to a friends house for the kids to play and then swap places next time you want to get together, or my church has a mom's group that meets one morning a week with childcare provided. It's a nice time for kids to play together and for you to hang out with other moms.
Hope you can find plenty of ways to have fun with your little boy!

My sister takes her 2yrold to the local Library where they have story time once a week, they kids love it and they learn a lot too!

HI S.! I have found that when it gets cooler outside we get bored too. Do you have a small two person dome tent? We started putting one up in the house when our son was around 18 months old. He would go get his toys and drag us in to play, it was alot of fun. Now my kids are 9 and 7 and they look forward to the cooler weather because they know we are going to break out the tent. If you dont have a tent you can use blankets draped over chairs. I nkow it sounds silly but my kids love it. There are all kinds of 'adventures' you can have in a tent. If you have and ball pit balls they are fun to put in there too. I hope this helps. We have a blast with it.


I'm not trying to be a smart alec (sp?) but what you really should be teaching him is how to occupy himself. If he doesn't learn how to do this he will be miserable when you do have to be busy doing household chores or whatever. I have 5 children ranging in ages from 30 down to 4 and am grandmother to 10 and foster parent to 4. We've had over 200 foster kids over a 12 year period. Playing with him is great but he should also know how to play alone.

BOX forts are ALWAYS fun. Tents our of tables and chairs. My daughter loves pouring water from one container to the other. Lay a big towel on the ground and let him pour. Maybe even bring in some rocks from outside to put in the water. Painting on rocks is fun too. Make your own playdough or clay. Let him mix the dough. Stickers are GREAT fun too.

Puzzles! Magnets in the bath tub. We have soft balls from wal-mart and we play dodge ball with our 23 month old...

good luck!


Head for the kitchen! You can make music with pots and pans, stack plastic storage containers, look at canned goods and name what's in them, make pudding finger paint, arrange magnets on the fridge, or play cards on the table! My kitchen is, and always has been, the center of my family.
Have fun!

One idea is to join your local Preschool PTA. You'll find lots of stay at home moms there. They have organized playgroups, parent and tot outings, Family outings. You'll be able to meet alot of new people.
Look into your local library for free, fun events. Story time, make a craft. Good luck

It can get difficult on days when the weather doesn't like to cooperate. If you son is into cars/trucks there are those throw rugs that you can line them up, like they are on the streets. You could even just let them line them up on the rug or floor without the mat. My son to this day has hundreds of matchbox cars in a rolling bag that he played with. Now I keep them for when my nephews come over. You might want to try some blocks or puzzles. Kids like to put things together. Hope this helps. I'm sure the weather will warm back up and he can then play in the leaves! Good luck.

Check with the museums in Columbus and see which ones are free or reduced price on certain days, then go visit a different museum once a week. That ought to kill an entire morning before you take him home for naptime! You also expose him to a lot of culture and variety.

Read, read, read! Bake cookies, go visit someone, go out and walk/play for a short time even if rainy (puddles are great, just allow time for a quick bath if necessary afterward). I'm coming late to this posting so I see you have many good ideas already. Enjoy--this time foes fast!

K. Z.

Let your little one play with pots and pans. Plastic and wooden utensils, too! They can get so creative with that stuff.
If you have magnets that are not too small, get out a cookie sheet and let him play with magnets on it. Letters and shapes are fun, so let him see what he can come up with.
If you don't mind the mess it can create, let your little guy take the cushions off the furniture, grab some blankets and build a fort or tunnel to go through. That one used to keep my kids busy for hours! Once the "fort" is built, grab a flashlight and read stories in there.
Hope this helps a little; have fun!

Repetition really is good at this age (my dd is 19 months). She wants to do the same things over and over again. I get bored silly, but she seems to have a good time. Right now she's on a Baby Einstein kick. We're slowly working our way through the sign language videos. I always watch them with her and we practice the signs together. Hide and seek is a good one too. I will "run" and throw a blanket over my head. She then "finds" me. She could play that game 100x a day! Chase of any kind is good. Have you tried puzzles? They can be a little messy, but lots of fun. My dd loves to look at picture albums. She can name almost every in my immediate and extended family. Hope that help! :D

AHA! A Hands on Adventure in Lancaster. It is $5 a person, no matter the age. Lots of fun! It is only open to the public on certain days. Check the website!

Go to the library! Read, read, read! To him and with him! There will be programs there for you and your little one, and you can go the adult section and look for books for adults - try the ones for Preschool - Early education teachers. Also, you will find ideas in magazines: Parents, Family Fun, etc. that will also be in your local library. And, as someone stated - you may be bored, but your little one may love to repeat the same things every day - establish a routine and have one "section" every day that changes - you will be less "worn out" and not run out of ideas too quick.

Puzzles (ones with the big pieces), building blocks or the big legos (in fact I have the wagon of them put together to sell right now and 2 additional containers of them), a farm set, dance with him to Veggie Tale or Disney Songs.
Just a few of the things we did as well.
Have fun, this time goes so quickly.

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