When you’re under an official stay-at-home order with your toddler for days on end, it’s easy to quickly run out of things to do.
You can only do so many sensory bins and play with so much playdoh before you’re both ready to pull your hair out.
It seems like we’ll be stuck inside for the foreseeable future, so it’s time to start thinking outside the box with some new ways to have fun at home!
Here are 10 new ideas for quarantine activities that you probably haven’t heard yet. This list will help you and your toddler stay social, happy, and active from the comfort of your home!
If you have any other unique or creative ideas for stay-at-home activities, please comment below so I can add them to the list!
Related Post: 12 Easy Indoor Activities (to do at home!)
10 New Quarantine Activities to Try With Your Toddler
1. Make homemade cards for family and friends.
When was the last time you actually mailed someone a letter?
We’ve been staying connected with friends and family via FaceTime, but my grandparents don’t know how to use that.
They are also living in the epicenter of the pandemic in New York and cannot get out at all, and I know they would just love to hear from my sweet toddler!
Grab some crayons and let your toddler color a picture for a loved one. You can print a sweet message to color in, make a no-mess smush painted greeting card, or just freestyle!
Maybe even consider uploading a few photos to an online print service and having them delivered to your house to include in your snail mail – you know you have a thousand on your phone just waiting to be printed!
2. Organize a neighborhood bear hunt.
Neighborhoods across the entire world are organizing “Bear Hunts” for children everywhere. The idea stems from the popular classic children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.”
With so many countries on lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, neighborhood walks are one of the only things we’re allowed to do outside our homes.
Make your walks special by posting in your neighborhood Facebook group or on the NextDoor app asking neighbors to place teddy bears in their front facing windows. As children go on their daily walks with their families, they can search for new teddy bears and count how many they find!
Just one more way for us to come together while we have to stay apart. <3
3. Go on a virtual safari.
The Cincinnati Zoo is offering free virtual safaris everyday at 3pm! Each day a new animal is featured. They even include a free follow up activity to complete afterwards. Most are more appropriate for your older kids, but there are a few that could be done with your toddler! Otherwise, it’s fun to just watch and talk about the animals!
To join the safari, just hop on Facebook and head to the Cincinnatti Zoo page. The safaris are posted via Facebook live, so if you miss it you can still watch it later. If you do join live, they take questions through chat and answer them at the end.
You can find a collection of all the past virtual safaris and activities here!
4. Create a sensory nook.
We’re living in stressful times. In addition to being worried about the health of ourselves and our loved ones, many of us are also dealing with major financial strain as a result of this pandemic.
Toddlers might not understand why we are stressed, but they definitely sense when something is wrong.
Sensory play is a great way to calm emotions (for both you and your toddler!). It’s also highly beneficial to toddler development for so many reasons.
Choose a corner of your house to set up a little area where you can send your toddler for some calming, independent play. Consider including a soft blanket or pillow, a tent (or DIY fort!), and a calming sensory bin. Beans work great for an easy sensory bin – they have a nice weight to them and make a soothing sound when played with.
5. Get outside DAILY.
Going outside is so important to your physical and mental health – both you and your toddler. Research shows going outside leads to reduced stress, improved focus, better sleep, and an overall healthier life.
I know it’s still early in the year and the weather isn’t great yet in many parts of the world.
Do it anyway.
Bundle up, put on your rain boots, and get outside.
Jump in mud puddles, go for a walk, look for birds, pick flowers, or just play in the yard for a little while.
Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, if you can.
You’ll both feel so much better!
6. Find or host a virtual storytime.
Many of us are missing our weekly trips to the local library for storytime now that we can’t leave the house.
Luckily, tons of organizations are now offering free virtual storytimes to help us keep our kiddos entertained and learning!
Many libraries, such as the Brooklyn Heights Public Library, are hosting their regular storytimes online. Is yours?
If not, a great place to start is ReadTogetherBeTogether.com. Originally scheduled to launch this summer, the Read Together Be Together campaign has kicked off early to support families everywhere during this pandemic. You can find the daily schedule of celebrity read alouds on their website, along with a list of other virtual storytimes offered at different times throughout the day.
Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams have kicked off their own #SaveWithStories campaign, another celebrity read aloud program designed to help us through our time at home. You can tune in daily on Instagram @SaveWithStories.
Finally, consider organizing your own virtual storytime on Zoom! Our weekly playgroup has been hosting storytimes this way. Zoom is easy and free to use. Gather some of your mom friends and take turns each week reading aloud to the kiddos via webcam. It’s a great way to let your little ones see their friends while allowing yourself to stay social, too! (Mimosas with storytime, anyone?)
7. Teach your kids to cook.
There are so many developmentally appropriate ways toddlers can help in the kitchen. Scooping and pouring with measuring cups, mixing, pushing the button on the mixer – all important life skills that toddlers love to practice!
Even if I just need to do dishes, my toddler loves to stand on her tower and “help”. Something about standing up there on my level makes her so much more cooperative about spending time in the kitchen!
8. Schedule virtual playdates.
Round up some mom friends for an interactive playdate on Zoom. Plan a craft or activity for the kids to do, and let them complete it together, virtually!
We did this with our playgroup this week and I was surprised at how excited my 21 month old was to see all her friends doing the same craft she was! (And by craft, I mean coloring on black paper with sidewalk chalk – keep it simple for the win!)
Of course the added bonus is getting to chat with your all your mom friends for a bit while your toddler is entertained!
9. Start a garden.
Many states are under stay-at-home orders right now, but did you know many gardening stores are considered “essential businesses”? After all, they do involve food!
Lots of local businesses are now offering order ahead options with curbside pick up. If you’re not comfortable going out at all, not to worry – you can order your seeds and supplies off Amazon!
Regardless of what is going on in the world, spring is upon us, so get out there and plant some veggies! Your toddler will love digging in the dirt and helping to water the plants each day – and eating some new veggies, of course!
10. Take a yoga class together at home.
If you’re looking for a way to get moving on a day when it’s just too rainy to get outside, try having a mommy-and-me yoga class at home!
Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube has TONS of free yoga classes for kids of all ages. For younger tots, I recommend starting with something like Yoga Time! On the Farm – it’s not too long and the farm animals will (hopefully) help to hold your little one’s attention.
They also have the Going on a Bear Hunt Yoga Adventure for those of you participating in neighborhood bear hunts!
Your toddler might not fully participate the first time and that’s okay – mine mostly just climbed on me and laughed hysterically. But guess what? We got moving and we had fun, and that was the goal.
Make yoga a part of your quarantine routine and your toddler will be a little yogi pro in no time!
What stay-at-home activities are you doing with your kids?
Comment and let me know so I can add them to the list! Follow along with us on Instagram @happytoddlerclub and share your activities by tagging us and using the hashtag #happytoddlerclub!
Stay Safe & Stay Healthy!