What Do You Do with Your Toddler Everyday?

Updated on July 27, 2011
M.P. asks from Orem, UT
15 answers

Since being laid off I now have tons of time with my son. Which I love, but I'm getting bored. We have crappy public transportation and I don't have a car to go places. I don't live near enough a library or anything fun to do. It's to hot in the afternoon to go outside and play (plus he overheats easily) What else is there? He colors for about ten minutes at a time, we read books, we tickle and rough house, we watch a little tv. I let him have his play time, then we have learning time. That takes up about 2 hours of our day. . . i'm sooo bored! I'm sure tings would be better if I had a car to go do things we need to do or wanted to do. Sigh.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Yeah, most of the day I do make him play with his toys, just I feel bad that I'm not doing enough.

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answers from Beaumont on

Board games? (i.e. Chutes and Ladders, Go Fish?) Baking, Cooking?, I involved mine in the things I was going to do anyway. He loved "helping" dust, vacuum, wash clothes. Anything you do together is fun for them...I know it seems boring but you'll look back and cherish the time you've had with him...

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you have a water table? You could even make one with a big storage tote, fill it with water, and then put in some bath toys, measuring cups, a squirt gun, a funnel, spoons, plastic animals, and kids usually can play with something like this for a long time!

What about craft projects? Get some washable glue, pom poms, googlie eyes, feathers, stuff like that, he can make a mess with the glue & make fun projects. Even kids paints are washable now. Take him to Michaels Crafts and have him help pick out some stuff for projects.

Do you have play doh? You can even make your own now, and use cookie cutters to make shapes.

We recently started playing board games with our 3 year old: hungry hippos, fishing game, memory game, matching game.

Good luck & have fun!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Here is how I occupy our day. I do everything you mentioned with my kids, but I also have every day living responsibilities as well, i.e., laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking, etc. I am sure that whenever I have to these things I have my children help me. I do remember when I had only one how difficult it was to keep him entertained and get anything done. I can honestly say the biggest mistake I made with him is not giving him any play time by himself. I was sure I occupied every second of his day and in turn he has never been a play by himself kinda kid (he is 11 now).

In your case, I would be sure to go outside in the mornings before it gets too hot, you can get at least an hour or more out there then come in and break up your time all day between chore type of stuff and play things for him. Chores take up an hour or two per day too so with outside for an hour, 2 hours of play with him, 2 hours of chores and I assume a nap of at least an hour, then an hour or more off an on of him playing or entertaining himself you have just consumed a minimum of 7 hours of your day. You may consider asking other mothers and their children over for play dates too.

Do you have a husband or significant other that takes a car for the day? If so, maybe you take him to work and use the car once a week for an outing day.

I have a car, but running short on cash flow so my kids and I very rarely go anywhere, we are home all day. The one thing I can say is we are not bored, it is just a matter of mixing the day up with fun and responsibility and you are good to go.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Get a bike and childs bike seat on the back or a griped we go everywhere with ours And my boys love it. You also need to get involved with your neighbors And do play groups good luck you could also cook together me and my boys pretend we do a cooking school

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'm so sorry you are stuck in the house. I think that would drive me crazy. I had to get out of the house every day (still do!)
Do you have any family or friends nearby, anyone that could come over to visit with you or take you and your son to a park or pool?
If not I think I would be working that public transportation for all it's worth, I assume that's how you got to work before you were laid off? I can't imagine being alone and stuck inside all day with a two year old.
Good luck momma :(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Today mine made one heck of a muddy mess under her swing while I got lawn work done and cooked on the grill. She loves to help me unload and load the dishwasher. She helps me wash the window and we sweep and scrub the floor together. She loves putting the laundry into the washer and then the drier. She folds wash clothes and helps me carry the laundry to be put away. She often times likes to go off and play on her own.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Make play-doh.

Play with Play-doh - cookie cutters, get molds and other play-doh toys

Make doggie treats for your dog or for your friends/neighbors (more cookie cutters. My son loves making doggie treats. PM me for the recipe. It's easy -flour, oatmeal, water, peanut butter. They bake for about an hour. Then your son could decorate a note to your neighbors and put the treats in baggies, helping you count.)


paint rocks for use as paper-weights for your husband

take silly pictures

bubbles and squirt guns when the sun goes down a little, or early in the morning

board games (I just started this one. See my old questions for a list of other mom's favorite board games)

get on the computer - starfall

does he have toys? My son plays with toys all day long. He's got a bright imagination. Play with him and teach him how to play by himself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

if you really cant get anywhere, then you can do projects. build things, bake things, create things. get some glue, tin foil, save up paper towel/tp tubes, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc etc, you can build cities, cars, robots, whatever. newspapers/magazines for cutting up and or paper mache, look on the websites for family fun magazine, wondertime magazine, parenting magazine, etc,,, tons of ideas of things to do, things to make, etc, and lots of ideas for using stuff around your house. play with water outside in small spurts,, a little kiddie pool or a sprinkler/hose and some measuring cups and tupperware etc.... you can plant things and care for them every day. you can make obstacle courses inside or out. get or make some puppets, you can put on shows. you can use paper bags. toys where you build things are ever changing and span many ages, you can have endless fun. magnatiles, magnasticks, lego, lincoln logs, model magic clay, bristle blocks, regular blocks, etc.... sing songs, have a dance time, play/make instruments....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You are right that there's only so much one on one time with a toddler that you can do. They are very good at entertaining themselves if you require it and have enough toys for them. When they are doing their thing, you can read, pray, watch a little tv for yourself, and of course you have Mamapedia and the internet. You really don't have to spend every minute of your day entertaining your child. I would take as much time as needed to keep the house in order, turn on some music and dance and have music going while you clean. Take up little hobbies, play in the water hose, show your son learning sites on the computer, try new recipes, invite some friends over... Being bored is actually a good thing. That means you have time on your hands and most of us would love to find a little more time in our day. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I stayed at home with my daughter for a year, we were always busy. Transportation helps, but you can paint, play music/sing songs, blow bubbles, go on nature walks/catch fireflys in the evening, play in the water (a bowl or the tub), take a ball out and play catch, most importanly let him help with the housework! My daughter loves to help with laundry, sweep and cook (I let her mix ingredients with me). Is there an airport nearby to watch the planes land? Some alone time is great for them too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think you have a good schedule going and good ideas in this post. As for your boredom, I hear you. I recommend trying to make some time for adults. Do you have a friend who can come over to hang out? Or know other kids you can invite for a playdate? Or you can walk somewhere and hangout and then have your husband pick you up on the way home?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I take my son for walks. We look for bunnies, kitties, frogs, and bugs. It keeps him interested. He likes to pick up rocks and sticks. Morning walks are great and so are sundown walks. Yesterday, it rained, so I got out my stash of umbrellas and he had a blast checking them all out. It's amazing sometimes what things will entertain a toddler.



answers from Norfolk on

On hot days, like here lately, I'd take my guys out early and play. They love to race, play baseball, they have motor jeeps (they r 5 and 4yrs). I found a cheep slip and slide. They had a sandbox, but they never kept the sand in it so we got rid of it. We have a swingset (thanx to grandparents). I have big tupperware bowls that they can play w/ water in, b/c they had a pool till i weed wacked it. lol. I have all different paints, play doughs (you can make at home), stencils, stickers for them. I am trying to get them to learn to write their letters, but they are fighting me on that. Even just playing in the bath takes up some time. :)



answers from Fort Collins on

I agree with Tiffany .W .I do like you do too .Plus my kids help me do the chores too .My third is the toddler and will help folding wash cloth and his baby sister onesies while i fold the rest (of course it is often more unfolded than folded but it does occupied him enough most day that i could fold the rest).And yes with four kids i do laundry and dishes everyday at least once so i am not so overwhelmed and it is also a good routine and schedules for the kids.I am actually in the same situation as you with more kids. We are a one car family and my husband takes the car to work.So i do have to be very creative sometime to entertain my children. I also do not feel guilty about using the T.V if i have done lots of stuff with them today for instance.I do walk a lot with the double stroller and we still go places with no car .It just takes us twice as long as people driving.Here is how my day went today if you want some suggestions:
6am baby awake nurse take my shower(or i won't get one:-)
6.45 -7 am Everybody awake husband goes to work.
7 -8 am kids help me cook breakfast baby in the swing.We made cinnamon toast and they are actually more likely to eat whatever they made.At the toddler stage they do love stirring and pouring.
8 to 8.30am i have my toddler "help me " with the dishes .Or all 3 of them clean the window with sprayer filled with water and wash cloth to dry .My kids just love to play with water.
8 .30 to 9 am i had to nurse the baby and they were getting restless (yep at 9 am already ) so i stuck them in front of the T .V So i could nurse in peace.I didn't feel so guilty as it was an eductional video about firemans .My two boys are really into car trucks and trains and of course firetrucks.
9.30 am I told them that if they clean the playroom ,we will go the park and have a lunch there before it gets too hot.
I put the baby in the exersaucer and start fixing lunch and snack and sippy cups and water cups for everybody.Since we do not have a car and it is hot and we are usually gone for longer because of the no car situation i always prepared two cups for everybody one with milk or juice usually and the other ones with water.I know they will get thirsty and start whinning about it if i am not prepared.
10 am they still haven't clean the playroom and just play in it instead .I remind them that if they don't clean it now .It will be too hot to get outside as they still have to get dressed.They asked to clean with music.I say sure but it does take them longer to clean with music as they dance on it.i figure i could nurse the baby in the mean time.
11 am playroom clean kids dress and baby fed. i decided to pump for our outing just in case as i thought about running errands after the lunch at the park.
11.30 am we get out i started a load of laundry before we go and they all help hunting the clothes.11.30 to 1.30 pm playdate at the park ,our neighbors with kids decided to join us on our lunch at the park.1.30 pm walking to the grocery store stucking a bottle and sippy cup in the baby and toddler mouth as they usually both fall asleep that way as it does take about 20 mn or so to walk to the grocery store.Older children complains it is too hot i told them i buy them popsicle at the store if they stop whining which i do at the grocery store .so the babies are asleep the two older in the car cart sucking they popsicle .And i can shop easily trying to ignore the looks of strangers looking at me as i push the stroller with one hand and the grocery cart with the other. It is easy that way then trying to wake up the toddler and the baby to make them all fit into the grocery car cart.
4.pm we are back home .I bought them cheap water cans so i filled up the pool and they play with it in the backyard as i nurse the baby.5pm time to come in for the baby in the swing older children and toddler still play outside i go donwstairs put the laundry in the dryer and star super. 5.30 to 6 30 pm super time.older children eat and i help baby and toddler eat.
6.30 pm i am dead tired and would like for them to go to bed but of course it is too early so i told them got get dressed and we will get out on a walk agin as it is cool enough now .they were all back in underwear or diaper for the toddler from the water play.7.30 back home and so his daddy. snack time with daddy. and in bed by 8,30 pm .daddy and i watch T.Vor talk or do chores or are intimates.We watch T.V.today and i do the dishes at commercial.10 .30 pm daddy goes to sleep .i go downstairs start another load of laundry and i stay up knowing the baby will wake up between 11 0r 12 am so i am answering you and reading mamapedia stuff as my relaxing time 11 .30p.m she just woke up so i go get her and will be in bed by 12 am and back up at 6 am again.others fun stuff i do with the kids ariun the house;dance to music,storytime ,craft time,school time,homemade popsicle .buble eatable play dough ,sand box pool a lot .cooking while the baby is asleep and playing board game sometimes while the baby and toddler are asleep,riding bikes, going to the library ,farm (for us with no car it is a field trip day that involved fixing lunch and everything,)parks,.I haven't try the splash park or the public pool by myself yet as i am a little apprehensive still with the baby and none of them except the oldest (8) know how to swim yet.but hopefully it is coming soon.
hope this helps .



answers from Denver on

We bought the game Toy Story Yatzee at Target. I am sure you could find it anywhere. It's easy to play (I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old) and they LOVE to play it. We play every morning. We also have Leggos and have "building contests". I know what it's like to be stuck at home. My husband and I share a car. I (before I was laid off last week) would work in the morning and my husband works in the evenings. I take the kids for wagon rides or bike rides in the bike trailer before or after dinner...whenever it cools off outside. We also take walks around the block and search for "treasure". They help me cook stuff too. We have a kids recipe book, and sometimes for dinner, I will have them pick dinner out of there and we cook it. We build forts under the kitchen table and dance to music around the house, as silly as we can. I hope this gives you some ideas!!! Good luck!

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