Being a parent comes with so many rewards, but it goes without saying that it’s a ton of work. Between maintaining your home, going to work, and keeping up with everyone’s schedules, parenting is one of the hardest jobs — especially with a toddler at home.
So when your baby graduates into a toddler, it’s important to keep them occupied with diverse activities that help them develop in various ways — and help you tackle your to-do list.
Below, we’ve provided five activities to help keep your toddler entertained at home, including how each benefits your toddler and some parental pro-tips to consider.
1. Organized classes for physical activity
Any activity that allows your child to be active has countless health benefits, and it can lead to a long-term interest in the sport as your toddler grows older.
How this benefits your child: Not only are gymnastics and dance classes fun, but your toddler will gain gross motor movement can learn balance, strength, flexibility, coordination and self-confidence.
Pro tip for parents: When you think of classes for your toddler, remember mornings may be best.
And, remember: As your child starts to progress, sit back and enjoy the moment — don’t rush them to reach the highest level.
2. Toddler play dates
Scheduling a play date at least once a week is perfect for giving your toddler something different to do during the day. Play dates also allow you to meet other families in the neighborhood or at daycare, experience new local establishments, and watch your child interact with other kids their age.
How this benefits your child: Through play dates, children learn how to play, share, and communicate with other kids while growing socially, physically and intellectually.
Pro tip for parents: You shouldn’t be the only parent hosting play dates for your children and their friends. Instead, take turns with other parents — this can lead to lifelong relationships for you and your kids, not to mention some much-needed downtime.
We offer free open gym to currently enrolled students several times a week — perfect for easy play dates and no mess at home.
3. Music classes
No one is too young for music, and toddlerhood is a perfect time to introduce your child to everything music offers. Through music classes, your toddler can try out any instrument and even learn how to sing — and it’s a unique use of time for your toddler during the day.
How this benefits your child: The benefits of music are endless, but music especially helps your child to continuously learn, develop a lifelong passion, and foster creativity.
Pro tip for parents: Music classes aren’t just for your toddler. If your child is learning an instrument you’re unfamiliar with, learn with them. If you’re learning together, you can create some special moments at home when practicing together.
4. Educational field trips
Wherever you live, you probably have several destinations that provide educational backdrops for your toddler. Whether it’s visiting an aquarium, science center, zoo or even a park, taking your child on educational field trips can give them new experiences that they don’t get at home or in daycare.
How this benefits your child: Educational field trips benefit your toddler through hands-on experiences in real-life settings. Due to the hands-on nature of field trips, they’re more likely to understand what they’re learning and apply it while in school.
Pro tip for parents: Try making monthly schedules that include one field trip each week. Look online for special events that might give your toddler some hands-on learning opportunities. Louisville Family Fun has tons of information about family-friendly happenings in the area.
5. Sensory activities
On rainy or snowy days — or days that your to-do list won’t let you leave the house — you’ll need indoor activities to keep your toddler busy. Sensory activities provide those hands-on learning experiences that engage your child’s five senses: smell, see, hear, touch and taste. Plus, sensory activities are so fun that your toddler won’t even realize they’re learning!
How this benefits your child: Sensory activities stimulate your toddler’s five senses while providing an interesting way for he or she to explore and learn more about their world. Sensory activities have many benefits, but they’re especially known for memory development, treating anxiety and frustration, learning sensory traits, promoting creative thinking, and creating self-awareness.
Pro tip for parents: When incorporating sensory activities in your toddler’s daily schedule, think outside the box. Ensure that your activities aren’t related to just one sense — the more the merrier (and bonus points for all five!)