How to Entertain a 2 Year Old

Wondering how to entertain a 2 year old? Here are 33 things to do with your toddler, from arts and crafts to sensory play and learning fun!

How to Entertain a 2 Year OldI could barely walk from my bedroom to the dining room, much less take my son on outings. Toward the end of my twin pregnancy, the discomfort was so unreal that I thought it a cruel joke that I also had a toddler to care for.

At the same time, I didn’t want to deny him the attention he needed while he was home with me. As tempting as it was to plop him in front of the television all day, I didn’t want to have to do that. I needed to find things to do with him with little to no exertion on my part.

And that’s when I dug into toddler activities he could do, both while I was pregnant, and later when I was with the twins and needed to keep him busy.

As someone who literally couldn’t get off the couch to keep her toddler occupied, I know the need for easy activities. Whether you’re on bed rest, have a new baby, or just want easy things to do with your child, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, I list activities you can do at home that take little setup yet can entertain a 2 year old for long stretches. I also include outings for those days you want to get out of the house without much fanfare (and with plenty of time to get home for a nap!).

Some are timeless standbys while others are unique twists to common activities. I hope this list of easy activities can come in handy when you’re out of ideas and need some inspiration:

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1. Practical skills

Teach your child basic skills, from household chores to Montessori-inspired activities. The goal is to introduce her to certain skills, not to get the task done “right.” Here are a few activities to try:

  1. Wiping surfaces. Take turns spraying and wiping surfaces to clean using an eco-friendly cleaner. Spray the coffee table, and have her wipe it with a rag. Then, have her spray while you wipe.
  2. Sweeping. Show her how to sweep the floor using a child-size broom. Using painter’s tape, mark squares on the floor so she knows where to sweep the dirt into.
  3. Transferring beans. Place two bowls and a measuring cup on a baking sheet. Fill one of the bowls with dried beans, then show her how to scoop them to the empty one. This can also work with dried rice, large beads, pasta, or even snacks like peas or cereal.
  4. Squeezing water with sponges. Place two bowls on a baking sheet and fill one with water. Show her how to use the sponge to soak water from one bowl and squeeze it into another.
  5. Squirting water with a baster. Use a kitchen baster to pull water from one bowl and squeeze it into another. This fun activity helps develop her fine motor skills.
  6. Lacing cards. Practice basic lacing with lacing cards like these.
  7. Sorting pom poms. Grab several paper bowls and color the rims with different colored-markers. Then have her sort several colored pom poms like these into the bowls with matching colors. Incorporate math by counting each pom pom you sort.
  8. Kitchen supplies. Look for child-friendly tools she can use, from measuring cups and wooden spoons to small pots and pans.
  9. Letter of the week. Focus on one letter a week and create activities and games around that letter. You can write and trace the letter, find it written on signs around you, and come up with words that start with it.

Check out these Montessori activities for 1-2 year olds.

Montessori Activities for 1-2 Year Olds

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Free worksheets with learning activities for 2 year olds

2. Games and toys

Simple games and toys are those that don’t take much preparation but can entertain your 2 year old. Some do include your participation, but not so much that you’re running around the house. Take a look at these ideas:

  1. Matching cards. Grab a deck of cards, or one designed for kids like this, and play matching games.
  2. Bubbles. Find a clear spot to blow bubbles he can catch. Combine it with a bubble bath to make bath time even more fun.
  3. Magnetic doodle boards. My kids loved drawing and erasing on magnetic doodle boards.
  4. Catch or fetch. Toss a ball back and forth to each other. If the ball goes out of your range, have him run after the ball to burn energy.
  5. Magnetic fishing games. There’s a reason these toys are so popular—kids love making a “catch” and collecting fish.
  6. Balloons. Blow a few balloons to toss in the air and catch. Or, if you happen to have one filled with helium, weigh the string down so that the balloon is at his eye level and he can bop it back and forth.
  7. Dance party. Throw on a few nursery rhymes or even your favorite songs and dance in the living room. Even better: flatten a cardboard box and have him “tap dance” on it for cool sound effects and rhythm.
  8. Puzzles. My son spent 45 minutes playing with this door puzzle, not just the first time but several times after. Chunky wooden puzzles that come together to form a picture are also great for this age.
  9. Water play in the tub. Is bath time pretty routine for you? Mix it up by adding water-safe toys in the tub! Add bathtub-friendly paint and a paintbrush for extra fun.

3. Arts and crafts

Your 2 year old might not be able to create a polished work of art yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t nurture her creativity with arts and crafts.

Thankfully, you don’t need much to start or make complicated crafts with an “end product” in mind. In fact, I just make sure we have supplies around the house and let my kids take the lead. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Play dough. Make several shapes, mix colors, or pinch off pieces.
  2. Paint with a truck. Squirt paint onto a plate, roll the truck’s wheels over it, and “paint” tire tracks onto a sheet of paper.
  3. Crayons and markers. Introduce crayons and markers—just make sure to get the washable kind. Or for a mess-free activity, get Color Wonder, which uses only water.
  4. Glue sticks. Tear or cut 1-2″ pieces of paper and have your child glue them onto a larger sheet to make a collage.
  5. Chalk. Get sidewalk chalk to use outside or regular chalk to draw on a chalkboard.
  6. Stickers. If she struggles with getting the stickers off the sheet, help her by peeling an edge of the sticker and having her remove the rest. Reusable sticker books make it fun to move stickers around.
  7. Coloring books. Find coloring books with fun characters she loves, and don’t worry about coloring within the lines yet.

Check out these mess free activities for 2 year olds.

Mess Free Activities for 2 Year Olds

4. Outings

Check out these things to do outside the house:

  1. Libraries. Find your local libraries’ calendars and mark events geared toward the toddler age. They likely have activities like puppet shows and story time, or provide toys for your child to play with. Check with local bookstores to see if they offer story time activities as well.
  2. Parks. Scout your neighborhood parks and see which ones get the highest reviews online. Many also cater to toddlers, with playground equipment appropriate for their size.
  3. Petting zoos, conservatories, and farms. Introduce him to live animals! Many conservatories offer tours, and petting zoos and farms might let you feed them as well.
  4. Indoor playground. From bounce houses to trampoline parks, many places set aside an area just for toddlers.
  5. “Mommy and me” classes. The YMCA or your local city recreation likely offers classes like swimming and yoga for parents and toddlers.
  6. Out in nature. You might not go on miles-long hikes, but you can still spend time in nature. Playing with the sand at the beach or exploring a garden are excellent outdoor activities.
  7. Children’s museums. Look for museums that encourage hands-on exploring for kids.
  8. Local aquariums. Your city might have an aquarium with interesting animals to see and touch.


I hope you’ve gotten a few ideas to do with your 2 year old. Practice life skills, play games and toys, and create arts and crafts right at home. These activities can keep her entertained—even if you can barely walk from the bedroom to the dining room.

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Free worksheets with learning activities for 2 year olds

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  1. The Montessori-inspired activities are fantastic for early learning. I appreciate the outing ideas as well. Toddlers need to explore the world around them, and these suggestions provide great options.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Thanks Shumee, I’m glad you enjoyed the suggestions and ideas!