Indoor Activities to Do at Home with 21 Month Old

Updated on August 24, 2009
J.J. asks from Studio City, CA
18 answers

Hello fellow Mamas! I am currently a stay at home mom, now in Central California. My only child, is a sweet little girl who is 21 months old. Just recently, I have felt a little bored and she has too. We are pretty active, as much as the hot weather and a small town will let us be. We walk with our dog every morning, go to the park, go to the zoo, visit daddy for lunch at work, swim in our backyard, play in our backyard and much more. However, after doing these things 7 days a week it gets a little boring and my little gal is at the age where she wants me to be involved in everything, which can be a little exhausting. We have gone to a moms group a couple of times, but I just didn't click with the moms after a few attempts. She has friends that she sees almost every weekend, lots of weeknights and a cousin who is close by that often plays with her (she's 3 1/2).

All of that to say, I am looking for ideas to keep my little gal busy indoors. She has TONS of books, building blocks, dolls, scarves, colored pencils. coloring books, musical instruments and much more that can keep her busy. She watches Sesame Street once a day, sometimes not at all, sometimes more if we are in a bind, busy packing before a trip or something. She asks to see "Elmo" several times throughout the day. I guess that just is what it is? Is there anything that you do indoors with your toddler that he/she loves? I'm thinking of fun activities, crafts, really anything I'm open to. Do you have a website(s) that you go to for fun ideas? I guess I just need some new ideas, because often mornings I wake up, look at her and think to myself "What are we going to do today?!"

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answers from San Diego on












PRINT ACTIVITIES - Kid Printables: Worksheets, Puzzles & Mazes

DLTK's Crafts for Kids




answers from Los Angeles on

What about some simple puzzles or board games? They have memory match games that a 2 year old can play and puzzles with big pieces that will help with fine motor skills. There are a bunch of puzzles with alaphabet and numbers and animals so she can learn while she puts the puzzle together.

Hope this helps.

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answers from Honolulu on

You can always enroll her in some toddler classes... ie: Gymboree etc.

To me, actually, your girl seems to have a real full day... already. It is just that she has a routine, and perhaps she/you are bored of that. Its okay. That is life... and actually a child can 'learn' from that... that not every second is entertainment 'for' them. That sometimes quiet time and just doing nothing is valuable too. And actually, they (the child experts) say that many children are actually "over-scheduled" and they haven't learned to entertain themselves or to have self-reliance or self-directed/motivated moments. Kids learns TONS from just being non-busy too.

My daughter and I would love to just lay out in our yard, on a picnic blanket, looking up at the sky and talking about anything... mainly my prodding her imagination... about what she hears or sees or HOW she can describe it. We made a game of it. And sometimes, we would just read and lay out... or I would just read and 'let' her just be in her own thoughts... and if she had a question she could ask me anything. She told me she actually "liked" doing nothing sometimes and hearing her own voice in her head (ie: in her thoughts). She said it felt 'less crowded' and nice and quiet... to be just hanging out without "having to" go anywhere or do anything. It was actually our "special" time together and our quality time. I now do that with my son too.

For me, I like that my kids actually have nothing to do sometimes.. and then I challenge them to think of something on their own and then they do... often constructing things with whatever we have in our living room... Or making up their own games and then they 'teach' me their games and we all play together.

try playing Simon Says... or charades with your girl. Even at this age, you can adjust it to their age level and its tons of fun.

Sometimes my girl will tell me its "boring" and I tell her "yes, sometimes it is... but its how you look at it...that's life. and then I tell her "I bet you can be resourceful...." and then her wheels turn and I see her "invent" new games and crafts ideas and then she is SO proud of herself. I sometimes "on purpose" do NOT entertain the kids... just to see what they can do on their own or come up with... or to help their ability to think on their feet.... and be resourceful. And it gives them good thinking processes...

Just my thoughts. But yes, I know some days are just that "what now?" and I get that way too. But I have realized, now with 2 kids, that I don't "have to" entertain their every second just to be a "fun" or "good" Mom. Sometimes not being busy is just so great too.

All the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Visalia on

I am a SAHM living in the Central Cali, as well. Those hot, hot days make it tough with kids. We spent a lot of time at the library (renting a new video, books with ideas for you, as well), just walking around the mall or favorite stores (pet store was a hit), going to indoor activity places- the kids loved the inflatables. They helped make homemade play-doh (after it cools, a bit), no bake cookies, and any recipe that did not require the oven to avoid adding additional heat.

Search the internet for free games, printables, teaching tools for younger children. is would be great if she loves Elmo. The TV gets a little old but if you can find other things that have her favorite character it may distract from the TV. My kids also loved listening to music and dancing around.

I am also involved in my church. I go to Bible studies where child care is provided. Playtime for them. Also, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is a great organization. Check local churches. You don't have to be a member of the church or a christian, it's a great way to be encouraged as a mom.

Hopefully this might give you a few ideas. Cooler weather is on its way. Hang in there.



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know if you are up for this and as I do this I often wonder if other moms do it. And you may totally laugh at me. I play hide and seek with my girls. it is a great way to tire them for a nap. Its nothing too intense, we just hide around corners or in closets and jump out at the other one with a boo or a rarhhh. With my 21 month old the boos and rarhhs are more funny than scary. we just take turns. it can also reinforce her counting. Even if it is you counting from afar for her. its not like we are trying not to be found. Happy play time! =0)



answers from Santa Barbara on

My daughter is a bit younger, but we have dance off days where we take turns dancing and then clapping for each other. It's pretty hilarious, and a good workout.
Maybe get some kid-friendly workout/yoga DVDs that she can do with you.
I also clean and keep used food jars to use for other purposes - collecting leaves, flowers, bugs, etc on our excursions outside.
I try to have her help with household chores/activities. Keeps her busy and helps me get stuff done. There are plenty of good websites to find kid-friendly recipes/crafts that you can do at home.

Have fun and enjoy the time with her!


answers from San Diego on

Hi J.,

I haven't read all of the responses so this may have been suggested already, but you should check out, they have daily/weekly craft activities and more.



answers from San Diego on

Some of the stuff is more relevant to Orange County but sometimes this blog posts up some fun stuff to do indoors with the kids.

Some indoor kitchen crafts, etc...check it out...



answers from Los Angeles on

Wow J.,
Your life is identical to mine, but my little girl is 27 months old. We do the whole park thing, play gym, cousin visits,friend visits. Plus all my errends I do through out the week. Theres not much else to do. I do however work with her with flash cards, and other educational things. You don't have to be busy every minute of the day. Sounds like you already fill her life with things to do.
But, I will be looking at your responses myself to get more ideas. Thanks for writing in about this!
Take care!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello My name is C. witherow and I see you have a little problem, Well I hope I could help u. I was a preschool teacher and a director for the past 26yrs and I have learn a lot in my time teaching and talking to other parents that have the same problem that you do, the answer to your question is you might want to find a co-op with other parents that do lots of things with there child at the same age of your child, I have a 17teen month grandaughter and she is a busy bee and gets bored easy and when I visit her we do lots of things that her mom would not do with her. I live in Riverside ca and she lives in Escondido,ca and I see her once a month but speak to her every day besides she goes to child care and my grandaughter has learn what a circle time is and art time and even science, experiment with your daughter with things around the house, have her do some gardening with u get her some play garden tools like her own rake,shovel etc and have her plant seeds or a plant. go to musems for kids and the free things from family magazine or parents have. see what is going on for that week from the newspaper that u can take her to. take her to and animal shelter to see all the dogs or a bird farm maybe even a childs zoo. whatever you find to do it would be different and I know you will be great so keep up the good work and if you have any more questions write to me at my e-mail [email protected] and I will come up wlith some more ideas for you, good luck C..



answers from Los Angeles on

Miss J.~
Oh I know all too well the hum drum days. One of my best sources for new and fun ideas is it has thousands of ideas. From crafts to cooking. You can can choose cratfs by age, materials, or even cost. They also have a cooking wih kids section. I hope this helps. I would also try the mommy and me play dates again the turn over in groups like this is pretty high.Old members drop while new members join. You can go to for groups in your area. Try to keep in mind that you may not click with the other mom's but it's for your daughter and if she enjoys being with the other kids it's well worth it right. You can also check your local YMCA, or other community programs for kids activities.I hope this will help you tackle some of the hum drums. = )



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is 28m and we don't watch tv w/him much, maybe 20min a month.
Playdough, water color, finger paint w/paints or pudding..., simple crafts

Look up toddler classes through parks & rec
library story and play, music, craft times



answers from Los Angeles on

My favorite thing to do with my little boy is getting white pudding and putting them in different containers. Mix them with different colored food coloring and letting him finger paint. He loves it and gets to snack at the same time. We also make necklaces that he can eat with cherrios and string. He wears them all day and snacks on them as well. One more thing is shaving cream. Put some on your floor and let the little one play in it. Its great for teaching textures and ur floor will be super clean. Hope this helps.



answers from Los Angeles on

have you tried Find your city and find some groups to join. You can join moms groups, family groups, hobby groups almost anything in your area.

When my daughters were little I LOVED taking them to the store on a scavengetr hunt. We would spend about an hour cutting out pictures from a flyer, then go to that store and have her find all the items she picked out. We made it colourful, fun and educational. The grocery store was the first place we started doing this. I remember the first day we did the grocery store, it was wonderful. There was Rydel, 3 years old, with her scavenger hunt paper in front of her, 5 items to find, she was brilliant. She could figure out what aisle she needed quite quickly. She jumped for joy, screamed at the top of her lungs I FOUND IT I FOUND IT jumping smiling, everyone around her laughed.

You can do a scavengetr hunt for ANYTHING. PS it activates so many brain functions in a child i can't even begin to tell you. Have fun.

Family Wellness Coach



answers from Los Angeles on

My boy is a little bit older (29 months), but we just started playing with play-doh and painting with those little water-color paint sets. He paints on paper or in a coloring book. He also loves to play in water, so he'll play in the bathtub with containers or in a plastic baby pool on our deck. I also make him finger paints for the bath with 99-cent store shaving cream and a drop or two of food coloring.

Here are a few online sites for games and such. We do computer only sparingly, but from the time he was about one, my son loved the fisher-price site and by 18 months he knew the ABCs because of their ABC Zoo game. They can hit any key, so they don't need to use the mouse. He also loves the Thomas site. He can do the matching game by himself, now that he is learning the mouse and does the emotions game with my assistance.

If you can get out some, a pet store or tropical fish store is always good and when I was little I loved going to the Hardware store, believe it or not! I loved all the little things in tidy little boxes. My son loves going, too. I just make sure he puts the stuff back and we don't get hassled. I explain, to the best of my ability, what the things are for.

Down in Orange County, our county puts out books called Kid Builders which are full of activities for the whole kid (mind, body, etc.). One is for babies, one and two-year-olds and another is for 3, 4 and 5-year-olds. Here is their website: There is info on there on how to obtain them.

Good luck in finding fun things! Enjoy the rest of your summer.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would let my toddler son take all the cushions off the couch and make a soft mountain out of them on the floor and climb to his heart's content, then we would stack them against each other to make a fort/cave/tunnel - this is especially fun with another kid (her cousin maybe?) I turn on kid music and we dance like crazy! Finger paint (with paint or pudding!) Just have a good old wrestling match - maybe boys are more into this one ;) Use masking tape on the carpet to outline a road and play cars. Get easy mix muffins/cornbread and bake with your toddler. Go to payless and let her try on all the pretty sparkly shoes (if you know that with a prior explanation she will leave without a tantrum without all the pretty shoes! My son was happy to leave the shoes, knowing we would be back to do it again another day, but not all toddlers will agree to this!) This isn't really the right time of year, but you could start a garden - maybe an herb garden indoors (or maybe just a chia pet!). Pop her in the bath tub - it never seems to get boring to my kids. Squirt shaving cream on the table or bathtub wall and let her paint with it. Hope this is helpful - another place you can get ideas is if you visit a teacher supply store that has curriculum books for toddler teachers - TONS of ideas that are age appropriate :)



answers from Las Vegas on

This site has great ideas for activities for all ages, by age, I haven't used it much, but probably should.



answers from Los Angeles on

Sand box, play doh, fingerpaints (or even with shaving cream or peanut butter (you can google them, peanut butter playdoh or peanut butter fingerpaint). Games. Hoppity Hop. Give multiple directions (go to the toy box and pick up... then go to the couch and put it down and pick up this. etc.). Introduce her to the computer. There is the sesame street website that has lots of games or She can sit on your lap and enjoy it. My kids were starting to navigate when they were two and knew what the mouse was for.

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