FREE Toddler Friendly Activities

Being a nanny, sometimes the hardest part of my job is deciphering what to do during the day to keep the baby happy! Filling 9 hours of fun activities that will keep a one year old entertained is sometimes easier said than done. So, what do I usually do during the day?

1. Parks. Lots and lots of parks! There is countless fun to be had at the park! The best part, it’s FREE! We enjoy building sand castles in the sand (and just as quickly demolishing them), swinging, going on the equipment itself. Always a good choice!

2. The Zoo: Such a great option if you have a zoo near you! If given the option, ALWAYS get the membership! Most times, within two visits you will have paid for it and then some. Luke and I go to the San Diego Zoo at least twice a month. Not only is it so much fun, but it’s a great learning opportunity, and good exercise walking around to the different exhibits! Luke can already tell me the sound the lions, ducks, monkeys, etc. make because of our time spent at the zoo!

3. The Beach: Okay, this one is not as realistic. Most aren’t as lucky to live a mile from the beach, but, if you are, children seem to love sand and water. They love eating sand, throwing it, playing with it, etc. We put our feet in the water too which gets Luke excited.

4. Play Dates: If you don’t already have a close cirlce of friends with kids, FIND SOME! NOW! I cannot begin to express how much FUN play dates are! Not only does it give you the chance to have grown up time (YAY), but, the kiddos get to interact with children their own age. It lets them observe, be crazy, and most times, you will be presented with many ‘teachable moments’ on how to share, why we share, etc.

5: Your Own Backyard: There are going to be days when you just don’t feel like leaving the house and that’s okay! I like to bring plastic containers outside, a ball, toy trucks, etc. in the backyard. Really want to keep your child entertained? Fill a small pool with water and put some small toys or containers in it. For some reason, kids LOVE this. So simple, but I guarentee it’ll keep them occupied for 30 minutes!

6. Creative Play: I’m a HUGE advocate for imaginative play!  Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees and have fun! I love giving Luke horsey rides on my back, or pulling out some bowls and a spoon and letting him pretend feed his stuffed animals in his high chair.

7. Stickers: This has been a fan favorite. We can look at stickers, put them on us, on paper, on the walls, it doesn’t matter, he loves them.

8. Read Books: Always an easy go to. I don’t think I’ve ever met a child who doesn’t love reading stories! I feel like it’s so easy for them to get absorbed in the story, and it’s a great time for you to talk to your kiddo and expand their vocabulary.

9. Go for a walk: This is actually a special treat for Luke. We’re always so GO, GO, GO, so when we get the chance to take our time and walk somewhere (like the park) he gets so excited. We explore rocks, flowers, and any animal that happens to walk within eye shot of him. It’s also a great time to teach your children SAFETY! Luke understands that before crossing a street, he needs to hold my hand, we have to look both ways for cars, and when it’s all clear, we can cross. Plus, fresh air is always good!

10. Arts & Crafts: I know this is pretty vague. This can be anything from coloring, stickers, painting, fun projects, etc. Don’t be afraid to let your child get messy. That’s half the fun! I make Play-doh from scratch. It’s all organic and extremely easy to make. This can be a fun activity for your child to be able to learn how to make something cool.

11. The Library: Our local libraries are fantastic. They offer a wide variety of FREE activities for children of all ages. On any given week we participate in story time, baby sign language, toddler music, or baby yoga. All available for the low cost of FREE at our local library. If you have multiple libraries within your area, try to obtain the events calendar for all of them. Most will offer a variety of stimulating activities so that you can pick and choose which are most suitable for your child’s age and development.

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