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Keeping Toddlers Busy (Not Destroying Your House)


My youngest is 2.5 yrs, and BUSY. She is too young for much solo imaginative play, and lets be honest, “playing” with her older sister doesn’t always work out well either. I keep thinking that one day they will start paying Barbies together for hours at a time, like my sister and I did. But it hasn’t happened yet.

One day I left our big box of crayons out on the counter and she climbed up and started peeling the wrapper off the crayons. Instinctively I thought to myself, “No! Don’t ruin the crayons!” (Don’t you just love fresh, sharp crayons?!?) But then I remembered that I had bought them for like 20 cents at a back to school sale. Was a few minutes of peace worth 20 cents?


Keeping Toddlers Busy (without destroying your house!)

She sat and peeled for close to 30 minutes. A mom can get a lot done in 30 minutes! Since then, I’ve sat her on the floor at church with a handful of crayons to peel, and was able to actually pay attention to what was being taught. Then again last night, she peeled two packages of the free crayons at the restaurant we went to, while the rest of us enjoyed a surprisingly peaceful meal. It.was.AWESOME.

Keeping Toddlers Busy - peeling crayons!

Its better to get her “peeling fix” with crayons, instead of books. Grrr… This is just a sampling of her work.

Keeping Toddlers Busy - not destroying your house! (or books!)

Crayons are cheap.  Who cares if she “ruins” them. All those peeled and broken crayons can still be used for coloring, right? Peeled crayons can also be turned into other creative melty-crayon projects like sun-catchers or chunky recycled crayons. Or one of these 27 ideas to use broken crayons.

Or my personal favorite: dump them in a big box with your kid and let them go to town!

Keeping Toddlers Busy - drawing in a box

Source for simply genius idea: Berry Sweet Baby

Keeping Toddlers Busy – More ideas!

I thought I’d round up a few other “keeping toddlers busy” ideas I found on Pinterest (follow me!) to give you some more ideas. I’ve tried all of them, and found them all successful (entertained kids, not too much mess). Enjoy!

Keeping Toddlers Busy - sticky window project

Source: Kara’s Classroom

Keeping Toddlers Busy - watercolor bath idea

Source: Tinker Lab

There are lots of easy projects you can set up for toddlers using pom-poms and dot stickers. Organizing by color, matching, practicing using tongs or tweezers to pick them up. I will also search online for “Do A Dot coloring pages” to print out and then set them out for my toddler to decorate with the dot stickers or pom poms. A lot of these ideas are also in my Quiet Bag Ideas post, where I share quiet things to keep kids busy at church or traveling.

For more FANTASTIC ideas on keeping toddlers busy, also check out or on Instagram (@busytoddler). She is a genius at coming up with simple simple activities for toddlers that require minimal prep or fancy setups.

If you liked this post, you should also check out my posts on:
How to Fix Picky Eaters
How to Fix Your Child’s Attitude
More Love – It always helps

Keeping Toddlers Busy (Not destroying your house)

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Karelien Kriel

Monday 29th of February 2016

Love the kid in the box idea. That saves the walls and the floor and anything else you can think of.

The Browns

Thursday 10th of July 2014

LOVE this! Thanks for the tips!


Friday 21st of February 2014

Thanks for including sticky window!


Tuesday 25th of February 2014

What is the little girl putting on the window?

Linda had a little lamb

Sunday 5th of January 2014

Thank you so much for these ideas and their sources.


Thursday 19th of September 2013

Great ideas! I love the matching game with the bottles! :) Thanks

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