How to Keep Your High-Energy Toddler Busy on a Rainy Day

How to Keep your Toddler Busy on a Rainy Day (without electronics!)

Having your toddler outdoors is one sure way to get them worn out while having them explore nature, but if it’s rainy or too cold to be out, it sometimes can leave you stuck on what to do to keep them busy. 

I enjoy taking my twins on walks or letting them run around in our cul-de-sac, but when it’s frigid or raining outside, I would rather be indoors. But, as you may already know, keeping toddlers busy can be difficult.

First, I’d suggest keeping yours entertained in short timeframes, then moving on to something else. They don’t have the attention span to sit for long periods, especially younger toddlers.

So, here’s my list of how to keep your tot occupied during a rainy or cold day:

1. Play in the sink

A father and daughter at the sink in the kitchen.

I’ve done this with most of kids, and they LOVED IT! 

Toss in a plastic container and spoon with some dish bubbles, and watch them have the cheesiest grin. They likely won’t like when you stop this activity, and a meltdown may come, but that means you’ll have to transition to another fun activity. 

Just be sure to lay down a towel, and be prepared for soaked clothes if you decide to keep them on. 

2. Cardboard boxes

Hold off on throwing out those Amazon boxes. Children at this age are minimalists, so pull them out and fill them with random items: scarves, plastic containers, their favorite toys, etc.

Hand them a crayon and let them scribble on the box. If yours are like my twin boy, he’d rather, stop eat the crayon, color, eat the crayon… so supervision is encouraged.

Hide their toys under one box, and move around the boxes to see if they can guess which box it’s under. Here you can work on developmental skills like pointing + speech development.

3. Read Books

I’m a big supporter of books! Theirs nothing like them, and they can learn so much by sitting down to read, but (again) toddlers aren’t still for long. That doesn’t mean you have to stop reading. 

You can catch their attention by singing the words or make a silly voice while reading to keep their attention. 

I love books with animals as characters because then you get to name them and make animal sounds, too. 

If they’re running out of the room while you’re reading, it’s okay to try again later.

Just keep at it! 

You might have a toddler who loves books so much that they want you to read them over and over and over! That’s fine too, but quickly transition to another activity if your patience wears thin..

A toddler looking at a picture book.

4. Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is another simple activity that toddlers enjoy!

My twins can’t get enough of the bubbles, then my four-year-old has to come and play, too. Teach them to pop the bubbles using your pointer finger to model; you can do hand-over-hand as well.

 I like saying, “POP!” as we pop the bubbles. It’s truly a bunch of fun for them, and it’s so inexpensive!

Did I mention, it’s wonderful for speech development and hand/eye coordination.

5. Coloring

Coloring is probably one of the simplest go-to activities for many moms, but if you’ve run out of options, let this be your last resort.

Have them draw a picture of you. Act ridiculous when they show you what they think mommy or daddy looks like in their mind, and be sure to hang it on the fridge to make their day.

Draw some simple shapes and let them color them in, or you can download my free coloring bundle.

An up close picture of a container with crayons.

6. Raise Little Helpers

It’s never too early for this. Training my children to want to serve the Lord starts early. I typically spot clean throughout the day, and trust me, my kids are watching me.

My one-year-old girl loves grabbing the broom out of the pantry and pretends she’s sweeping. She even takes baby wipes and starts wiping the floor. 

Let them pretend to do things like that. 

If you have a small trash can in your house, let them help you empty it. If you have a dust cloth, let them help you dust. Verbally praise them by saying, “Good Job!” or give them a physical praise like a hug, kiss, or a sticker!

When my oldest girl was two to three, she loved when I handed her our wet clothes to toss in the dryer. You can make it even more fun and name whose items of clothes they’re putting in for you.

The cutest thing is that my daughter (now nine) remembers doing that! 

Now you’ve killed two birds with one stone, right? And this is preparation for when they are older. It will be a treasure to have that extra help!

Now, will they always be encouraged to help as they get older? That will continue to be a part of their training, too.

7. Burn off some energy

You may not want to burn off some energy, but your toddlers sure do!

So, why not do it with them? Grab an empty clothes basket, put them in, and push them around the house.

Jump up and down, turn around, wave your arms, + clap your hands. Just be silly! 

8. Bowling/Stacking Cups

If you’ve got some plastic cups, stack them as fast as you can before your toddler knocks them over. If they’re old enough, they might want to help you stack them. 

Use the same cups to make pretend bowling pins, then use a tennis ball or dryer ball and roll the ball to knock them over. Keep going back and forth to work on taking turns.

This is a fun way to work on hand/eye coordination. 

9. Puzzles

This is a lovely activity that can greatly improve hand/eye coordination, fine motor skills, and speech development.

I learned so much working as an early interventionist for four years that if a parent asked me what toys I would recommend, I would say puzzles or books! 

Just be sure to put the puzzles up somewhere out of reach when they are done, or they will go missing. I have learned this the hard way!

10. Make a sensory bin

At this age, your little one loves to touch and feel.

Most of the time it’s something they shouldn’t be touching, but you can find simple things around the house to engage all of their senses.

Again, grab an old Amazon box and toss in a couple of scarves, different types of fabric, a water bottle filled partially with rice, and take an old sock and fill it with rice or pasta.

There you go!

If you have the energy to get through these, it will be snack or nap time before you know it! Don’t hesitate to take a nap along with your toddler if needed. 

(Tip: Box up some toys for about a month, and take them back out. They’ll be just like new, and you’ll be glad you did it!)


Sharonda XOXO

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