Activities for Multiple Toddlers of Varying Ages

Updated on June 30, 2010
K.B. asks from Phoenix, AZ
11 answers


I am an extremely busy SAHM of 16-month-old boy/girl twins & a son who turned 3 today! My problem is I live in Phoenix, AZ & now that the summer is here we have limited outdoor park, no walks, etc. We swim almost daily but other than that we are indoors. Due to the economy we are on a super-tight budget, so we don't do many pricey activities very often & it is so hot that loading everyone up in the car has to be for something worthwhile :) so we are home a lot. Unfortunately my kids love TV, but I do not!! I admit its on sometimes out of absolute necessity - I do have to cook, etc. at some point but I don't like it much!! Can anyone give me some ideas on how to keep all 3 of them entertained & engaged? We play w/ toys a lot, we dance, sing, color, read, play chase, go to McDonalds playland, the library, etc. but it seems like someone is always tired, hungry, wet, poopy, so it makes it hard to just focus on all of them at once. I am desperate for things we can all do together for the summer & would greatly appreciate your suggestions!!! Help me please! ;)

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I just want to thank you for all the comments so far...I really, really appreciate it! I intend to try all of it!! Question...will shaving cream burn their eyes? Maybe I'll try it w/ whipped cream :) Please keep them coming!! You can never have too many things for busy toddlers to do!! Thanks again...I know you are all busy so I appreciate you taking the time to share :)

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answers from Phoenix on

here is a website that has lots of great ideas, and Rio Vista Park (dont know how far that is from you, Thinderbird just west of 101) has a free splash pad with grass area around it, way fun and its fenced in so the kids can run around and you dont have to worry about them getting too far away. Also Jump Street just opened on 59th Ave and Bell. Kids under 7 are $6 all day (indoor trampline park with kiddie area that has infaltable jump things). Hope this helps :)

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Spartanburg on

Large cardboard box, color it, decide what it is, build a space ship, travel to the moon.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Some ideas might include indoor water play. It can be nightmarish, but you might be able to pull off all three of them in swim bottoms in the bathtub (or naked). Let them have a strictly play bath with "no flooding" rules and put all the weird toys in your can think of. My boys love playing with their dinosaurs in the bathtub and they are not hollow so I only have to rinse them off.

Alternate your table crafts--melt ice cubes for the older child on construction paper and the younger ones can paint with water on colored construction paper. Assemble a lot of glass jars on the table with water and have "experiments" with dropping food coloring in. Let them guess what color you can make and watch the colors swirl (I did this around meal prep time when I worked with 12-24 month olds in child care and they loved it).

Do "science" projects with baking soda and vinegar, or put colored pieces of tissue paper in glasses of water.

If your furniture is arranged around the perimeter of your living room, put dining chairs in the gaps and let your kids go mountaineering. (Mine do this anyway and I have not figured out a realistic way to not let them--it is often too hot out here for them to be out much, too.)

Make a countdown to July 4th by having them each make a flag or make a different kind every day with different materials. They could make a collage flag with torn paper, cloth, crayons, paint, odds and ends they find, or color in a prinout. You can teach them the Pledge of Allegiance and, if you really want to give yourself a headache, "You're a Grand Old Flag." (A 3 year old I babysat sang that for about three months--it got old--and my older son loved saying the Pledge every time we saw a flag from the time he was about 2 1/2.)

Find a couple of moms in your area who also have air conditioning and see if you can have one "exchange" morning or afternoon and play at the other's home. The change in company and a novel play area can be great for kids.

We like to recreat small habitats. If you can find a 10 gallon aquarium at a garage sale or something you can let your kids go out in early morning or early evening and catch things and then find things that belong in that critter's habitat and try to set it up. Then you could do some research with them online to learn about them and let them go after a few days.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My daughter turned 4 today!! What a great day!! I would suggest kiddy pools with water toys, sidewalk chalk, and make your own toy icecubes (take any tupperware container fill it with fun toys and doo dads add water adn freeze. They then can watch them melt on the patio, driveway, pool, bathtub etc. These three things together should keep them entertained for a while because when they are bored with one thing they can move to the other but it is all in one location.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Pot and Pan Band! And make shakers out of cups with beans in them.


Kiddie pool, buckets, cups, shovels, dippers, spoons, etc.

Hullabaloo is a great game for that age. It speaks the instructions & keeps them busy so maybe you can cook a little.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

The library might be a good place, they do have a play area for kids, also they have storytime, but im not sure if they do that during the summertime, bookmans would be a good place to because they have books the children can look at and a place for them to sit down at without fussing. Try the malls to they have a play area as well. I dont know exactly where you live in phoenix but metro center has a great play area for kids.



answers from Phoenix on

I don't know what area of town you're in (pretty sure they do this city wide), but the Harkins Movie Theatres on the east side of town (Mesa, Gilbert, etc.) have discounted movies in the mornings. They're shown at 9:45 AM and are previously-released movies that are shown for about $1.00/ticket. We pre-bought ours for the summer, but they also sell them at the box office. Most people there have kids of all ages and are not expecting a completely quiet movie experience. You can buy a bag of popcorn and bring water, making it pretty economical. I would bring a friend to help manage the kiddos (my friend and I help each other with our combined four kids, which helps A LOT!). The best thing? Since it's so inexpensive, if they all start getting unbearably crazy, you can always leave without feeling bad for having spent the money. It might be worth giving a try! There are lots of other great suggestions from other moms here that I'm going to try! My two are 15 months apart and driving me (and each other!) crazy! :) Good luck!



answers from Phoenix on

I understand completely how you feel..I have 4 yr, 2 yr and 11mo old ..It is tough trying to keep them engaged especially when they are on different levels and there is stuff for me to do around the house. I found some ideas at the gym two older children love to get there face painted, they put shaving cream on the table and have them draw pictures and then erase it with their hands and draw something best advice is just hang in there it will get easier it seems that your doing all the right things. Keeping them all entertained and engaged is tough like i said I know...and this heat is horrible it does make just going in and out of the house a chore with three little ones.



answers from Phoenix on

I recently joined a mommy group & it has been the best thing for me. My son is only 4 months old so it's more for me now but soon he'll recognize what's happening & have lots of friends. Try the site Find a group in your area. My group has meetups daily & you can pick whatever you want that sounds appealing for your kids. The best part is that you don't have to plan any activities. And it sounds like you could use some adult conversation as well. I'm telling you it's the best thing for you & your kids. You will not be bored. There is a small yearly fee but it's worth it. Let me know what you think. Good luck.



answers from Phoenix on

Call different churches in your area. A lot of them have a mom and tots group that meet several times a month. You could give your kids something to do and meet some other moms at the same time!



answers from Phoenix on


Check out the library. The Scottsdale Public Library has the Culture Pass. I have been able to get free tickets for the AZ Natural History Museum, AZ Museum for Youth, AZ Science Center, Children's Museum of Phoenix and other places. I also found that several of these places have free days once a month. Also, the libraries offer free activities for kids, too. I would check these out.

Good luck!

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