Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Toddler Activities for Working Parents

Working from home or trying to get anything done with a toddler around can be impossible sometimes!

Trying to hop on a conference call, put in a load of laundry, or finish typing an email to a client can be difficult to do with a toddler right next to you, asking for your attention.

Inside this post I'm sharing 25+ pretty simple to set up "sit beside me" activities that you can use when you need to get your toddler out of your hair for a few minutes so you can get some work done.

Sometimes when you're all stuck at home together and you don't have the luxury of having a nanny or another parent to entertain your child, you just need to pull up a chair or set them up with an activity nearby.

Hopefully one or more of these activities will help you make it through a busy day when you need your child to play "quietly" (as much as toddlers can) and let you get a few things done. 

Have you ever heard the quote, "Play is the work of childhood" by Jean Piaget? 

Just like you have work to do, kids have work to do too. Why not set them up with their work before you start yours? 






25+ Sit Beside Me Activities for Working Parents

There are a lot of types of working parents and a lot of different jobs. Hopefully you can use some of these ideas to make working from home a positive experience for both you and your toddler.

No activity with toddlers will fill up a whole hour (at least not usually), but having a plan and a few activities prepared can help you try!

Most of these activities shared below require very little set up and very few materials.

One tip: Often when you take a few minutes to connect and play with your child BEFORE you need to get something done, you are able to fill their attention bucket and they are much more capable of leaving you alone for a few minutes to do their own "work" once that has happened.


Click on the title of each activity below to learn more.



1. Save the Dinosaurs inspired by Busy Toddler/Days with Grey



2. Stickers on boxes (fun anytime of the year!)

3. Clip Clothespins by Hands On As We Grow 

4. Books & sticky notes by Happy Toddler Playtime

5. Paper & stamps (or mailbox & stamps) by Toddler Approved

6. Foam stickers- just have them peel and stick these onto big paper! For littler toddlers, you can pre-peel the backings partially so that they can do the rest.


This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.


7. Post It Pull by Teach Investigate Play

8. Ribbon Push by Hands On As We Grow 

9. Sponge Towers by Toddler Approved

10. Pipe Cleaner Push by Hello Wonderful


11. Paint with Water on Cardboard by I Can Teach My Child


12. Edible sensory bin by Toddler Approved

13. Playdough and dinosaurs by Toddler Approved

14. Painting in a high chair with yogurt paint (yogurt plus food coloring for the win!)



15. Pom pom sticky wall by Toddler Approved

16. Card slot drop by Busy Toddler

17. Sticky Wall (or table) by Happily Ever Mom




18. Paint with Water books

19. Felt Faces by Toddler Approved

20. Puzzles (or even a puzzle hunt)

21. Listen to a Podcast or Book on Tape (with headphones)

22. LEGO (this one is my daughter's current favorite)

23. Magnatiles

24. Magnet Dolls

25. Pom Pom Grab & Drop by Busy Toddler

26. Velcro Sticks by Powerful Mothering


For littler ones... don't forget to use your high chair!

Set them up with an activity in their high chair and let them make a mess. Don't forget to strap them in. 


What about screen time?

Screen time is a great tool to use when you really need to get something done and nothing else works, or you just don't have the bandwidth to try activities.

No judgment. 

No guilt. 

Do what you need to do. 

Your toddler watching some Paw Patrol or Daniel Tiger while you get an important work project done is not the end of the world. 

Don't let anyone make you feel like it is.

Now, I'm not guaranteeing your child will love all of these activities. As we all know, toddlers can be pretty finicky when they want to be. But you never know what will be that activity that reels your little one in and keeps them playing for a long time... so you might as well try some!


Also, don't forget to grab our free printable resources for busy toddler parents HERE, including this printable sit beside me activity page.




What are your favorite sit beside me activities for busy toddlers? How do you keep your toddler occupied when you need to get work done?

Please tell me in the comments so others can learn from you!

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