Toddler Fun Basket – Keeping the Littles Busy While You Work

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As the homeschooling mother of many, trying to keep babies and toddlers occupied while I teach lessons is a part of my daily routine.

Over in the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas, I shared how we set up our homeschooling area to accommodate crawling babies and active toddlers.

Big Book of Homeschool Ideas
Some days are smoother than others, but I’ve learned that if I prepare fun activities for Maeve ahead of time, she will play close to us while we’re working on math or reading with the older children.

I love the concept of busy bags and have used them with the boys. Nowdays, since my time is at a premium, I just have a special box where I keep all of our fun ideas and toys.

Each evening, I pick out a few ideas and put them in our workbox drawers for Maeve to find.

I hope that these supplies bless your family, just like my own.

Check out our favorites! (I’m sharing links too, so that you can create your own fun box!)

toddler fun basket

Toddler Fun Basket Giveaway

Foam Stickers

Foam stickers are great for toddlers and preschoolers! They’re a great way to practice fine motor skills, counting, sorting and more!

Included here are Sports and Wild Animals We use these with the foam scrapbook and the mini notebooks.

Foam Shapes

We use these to create scenes with the foam stickers, but they’re also fun for counting and sorting. Maeve took her flower shapes and pretended they were lily pads!

Paper Plate Craft Kits

I like to be able to have everything ready to go at once, and these paper plate craft kits fit the bill. If we’re studying ocean animals, it’s great to have a craft ready to go that matches my theme.

This collection includes insects, ocean and zoo animals.

Foam Dice

We use foam dice as a math tool with the older children, so I needed to grab Maeve a set of her own. She loves rolling them, throwing them and pretending to count the dots.

Ice Tongs

Another fine motor skill tool – we use ice tongs for transferring pompoms from container to container. We tried them with the ping pong balls, but they weren’t quite flexible enough.

Pompoms

We use pompoms for counting, sorting and all kinds of activities here! Maeve loves pouring them into a bowl and ‘mixing’ them, or plucking them with a set of tongs.

Mini Writing Tablets

Grab crayons or some of the foam stickers and let your toddler play. Maeve likes to write or place stickers on the pages.

Sticker Assortment

Stickers are fun for counting, sorting, or wearing as temporary tattoos!

Jumbo Crayons

Included are: Doc McStuffins
Mickey

We’ve got jumbo crayons for boys and girls in this basket!

Take and Toss Containers

Perfect for snacks, or playing with pompoms, ping pong balls or water beads.

Mini Bubbles

Bubbles keep Maeve occupied for at least an hour. These tiny containers are perfect size for her, with minimal mess.

Bead Necklaces

We use bead necklaces in sensory bins, or just for fun. My kids love to take them on and off, over and over again.

Water Beads

If you haven’t tried water beads …. you’re missing out! These are tiny polymer beads that grow in water, then shrink back when dry. So much fun for sensory play!

Create a Town Sticker Scenes

Included are: Space
Firehouse
Grocery and Pet Store

We love these fun sticker scenes – I help Maeve identify the different parts of the town. Great for fine motor skills and literacy/vocabulary.

Color in Sticker Set

Included are: Doc McStuffins
Mickey

Let your little ones make their own fun stickers with this color-in sticker set.

Construction Paper Pad

Ping Pong Balls

I picked these up on a whim, and they’ve been a huge success. Maeve loves pouring the ping pong balls from bowl to bowl, ‘mixing’ them with a serving spoon, and counting them.

What’s your favorite way to keep your toddler or preschooler busy while you work with older students? I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. If you’ve got a preschooler at home, don’t miss our playful preschool ideas!

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Comments

  1. Cassandra lacey says:

    These giveaways are such a wonderful blessing. I know my little girl would love anything involving stickers. Thanks so much for the chance.

  2. Having an older sibling play with the toddler is usually a good way for me to find time to work with another child.

  3. Jumbo Legos and/or finger puppets work great around here. I love your gift basket! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  4. My toddler loves to play with trains. Pretty much would keep him busy for hours.

  5. Puzzles or play dough are my go-to things. πŸ™‚

  6. Jessica W says:

    Sticker books, blocks, play dough, crafts! Anything to keep those little hands busy.

  7. Interactive toys (with music, sounds and/or lights) and stacking toys have been the best way for me to keep my youngest occupied.

  8. I love making crafts with them

  9. Play-doh! They can play for hours.

  10. I always reach for paints to entertain my little ones. Anything crafty!

  11. Mary Borgsmiller says:

    All of these items would be great for preschoolers also!! I would love to win!

  12. Joanne B. says:

    I get out my tray of measuring spoons. All plastic and loads of fun. Sometimes I grab a pot too and let them bang on the bottom of it with a wooden spoon.

  13. What fabulous ideas! Love it!

  14. Paola Collazo says:

    With two little ones this year, this basket will be so much fun! Thank you!!!

  15. I let my toddlers play with the math manipulatives others are using too.

  16. My little one loves to peel and stick stickers! Also found the stained glass paints and little shapes at Walmart can keep her busy for an hour ( plus, if you rinse them off right away, they are reusable!)

  17. Books. Lots and lots of books! πŸ™‚

  18. Older kids playing with the littles, puzzles, blocks, etc.

  19. Amiee Helbert says:

    These giveaways are so generous. My little one would love to win this!

  20. Melody Collins says:

    ugg did not finish before I hit return…

    with an 11y/o, a 15 month old and one on the way this would be a blessing. I am clueless on how to keep the little one occupied other than putting him in his jumper

  21. Legos, books, and trains are my toddlers’ favorites!

  22. We put on music and the little girls dress up, color or play with legos!

  23. I’ve created some busy bags to keep them occupied. I also use sensory tubs and have older siblings play with them while I work with other children. Sometimes we use art supplies like watercolor paints or clay with supervision.

  24. Melanie Dailey says:

    This looks like a FUN basket! My four year old would love this!

  25. Duplo LEGOs are a huge help keeping toddlers busy!

  26. My two busy toddlers can be kept busy for hours with paint! We also love play doh, stickers, and a cookie sheet with flour and measuring spoons!

  27. Michelle Kidd says:

    With lots of hands on crafts!

  28. Heathher White says:

    Pom pom soup! Pots and pans and pretend cook. I am sure this bundle of goodies could keep those hands busy

  29. i have at least two kids that would love this. probably all four would actually.

  30. What a great collection of fun items!

  31. What a fun basket! My 2 and 4 year old would love it!

  32. pretend play or finger painting

  33. Playing with siblings is a great way for toddlers to get entertained. Also a wooden spoon and some bowls and pots.

  34. Lesley M says:

    We sing songs and make our play educational and fun!

  35. Pompoms, stickers, play-doh, washing cars

  36. Tammy Jones says:

    Puzzles, trains and playdough!

  37. Bethany Furness says:

    Wow! This giveaway is full of things I’ve wanted to purchase but never have. It comes at a great time too, most of the items can be used while starting homeschooling with my oldest this year, and with a baby due in a few months I’ll have need of them in a year or so too! As for your question, I’m not really sure what I would use most to keep a toddler or baby busy since I only have one for now.

  38. What fun! I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old who would love this basket!

  39. Stickers have always been my GO-TO for toddlers and littles!

  40. My two year old loves cars, train tracks, pompoms with tweezers, and stickers.

  41. Rebekah Mick says:

    Older siblings, cooking, playing and reading

  42. Amy Lumley says:

    Letting them use their imagination outside (and letting the baby play with his older brothers and sister!)

  43. My little one loves books, puzzles and his mower πŸ™‚

  44. My son would love this!

  45. I pull out the paints…it’s messy, but it is the ONLY thing my very busy 3 year-old will do for more than 3 minutes!

  46. Egg cartons, multi-colored pom-poms and tweezers….so much fun!

  47. Brittany M says:

    My youngest loves anything with trains. It can keep him busy for a long time.

  48. Homeschooling my 7 year old and 4 year old this year!! Would love this basket!! And thank you!!!

  49. We use the iPad frequently.

  50. Charlene says:

    I usually get my older kids to help out with the little ones as needed. This basket would be so helpful!

  51. Michelle C. says:

    Paint and crayons!

  52. By reading books and playing games with them.

  53. My son loves puzzles and toy cars so those are the usual go to items.

  54. My little one likes to take things off shelves. More work for me later, but it does let us get some things done. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the chance!

  55. thank you for the giveaway! Good luck everyone!

  56. Judith Martinez says:

    The best thing I’ve found to keep my toddler occupied is older siblings in turn.

  57. This is a tough one! I just try to use a big variety of things so nothing gets stale. Lots of crafty things, stackable things, and books and crayons.

  58. I would have to say pots and pans or a water table

  59. Michelle Downing says:

    I usually play Legos with my daughter. She is just learning to get them together. This would be a wonderful way to teach her.

  60. Magnets on a cookie sheet, sensory bins, puzzles.

  61. This is great! I definitely need ideas for keeping my little one busy during school.

  62. My daughter likes to draw/color while we are doing writing skills. She also likes to cut, paste, glue, and build while we are doing school

  63. Lots of books!

  64. YAY! I love homeschool giveaways!

  65. Reading books, painting, and puzzles are my daughter’s favorite things to do.

  66. Melissa O. says:

    Blocks. Any kind of blocks! Wooden blocks, Lego Duplos, Wedgits, Lincoln Logs, pattern blocks, Tangrams, rubber squeaky blocks . . . usually, if one of my toddlers is bored and getting under foot, all I have to do is drag the blocks out, and they’re drawn to them like magnets. We spend lots of time building things out of blocks! πŸ™‚

  67. books, trains, cars…feel like i lost my toddler superpowers though πŸ™

  68. Nichole Johnston says:

    Sensory play! πŸ™‚

  69. I certainly will be using many of the ideas with my busy toddler. One school day down and already he is all over paint.

  70. Danielle Hull says:

    I like to keep them busy with board books, egg cartons and items to go in them, like large pom poms! I try to keep extra printables on hand so they can join in and color, too.

  71. I LOVE letting my 2yo play with blocks while my 4yo and I work on things. The best part is when it’s reading time and my 4yo reads aloud to my 2yo. They LOVE it!

  72. I don’t have a favorite idea yet. I’m trying to put together busy bags to use this year. Lots of good ideas here!

  73. My 4-year-old loves the Bratz-globe which already taught her locate a lot of countries through the music section.

  74. jennyandcompany says:

    great giveaway, I’m excited to explore your blog more!

  75. Whatever the moment calls for!;)

  76. Books and busy boxes and busy bags – get together with friends and swap them.

  77. Erin Rothie says:

    Watercolor painting! Yep babies love it too!

  78. I include my toddler in school stuff, but at their level.During reading time if there’s a color page, I print one for the toddler. If he colors great! If he cuts it, great! If he plays with his toys,great!

  79. Great giveaway!!!!

  80. jenna tomaszewski says:

    I use shaving cream alot, messy but gives me time.

  81. I love puzzles and blocks for toddlers.

  82. Michelle H. says:

    My older kiddos.. and babydolls/dress up!

  83. this is a great give away! Thank you for the opportunity!

  84. I have lots of open ended toys for my toddler/preschooler and involve her in activities when she wants to and when it’s appropriate

  85. Amanda Sanders says:

    my toddler love music

  86. Shannon F says:

    Play-doh! My daughter will sit and play with play-doh while I make dinner or whatever. πŸ™‚

  87. I’ve been wondering what to do with my toddler! Great ideas!

  88. My toddler would love this!

  89. Puzzles and Stickers!

  90. I have to be honest the best way to keep a baby busy is keys! For a toddler soft and squishy is the way to go!

  91. My lil one love to play with dolls and doll houses for hours and hours.

  92. My youngest loves hot wheels and big blocks. He’ll play with those for quite a while!

  93. Stephanie Bondlow says:

    I love playing hide and go seek throughout the house. I love making tents and playing with legos.

  94. Michelle D says:

    My toddler likes to have “projects” to do like sister, so I usually give him paper and markers, play dough and play mats, or ANYTHING magnetic will keep his attention for a while.

  95. Angela V says:

    Love the collection of goodies!! My guys love to do anything with scissors!

  96. Transferring activities – laundry (into washer/dryer), sorting cutlery, watering plants, cut up veggies into the pot for dinner, fruit into the colander to be washed. My daughter loves to do what I do.

  97. Danielle C. says:

    Puzzles and books!

  98. julia cosgrove says:

    I love to use puzzles and easy crafts.

  99. Alicia Crenshaw says:

    I recently gave my 1 1/2yo daughter a small basket. She will spend up to an HOUR at a time filling it with my 5yo son’s hot wheels cars, carrying the basket 5 feet or so, dumping it out, then starting over again. She even made up a little song. When I saw those ping pong balls, a light bulb went off. I’m getting her a dozen or so for her fill-it-up game. I would have never thought of those as a great toy. And they make a cool sound when they bounce.

  100. Samantha says:

    I have a 10, 8, 3, and 1 yr old. My favorite way to keep the littles busy during school is finding what works for them. My 1 yr old loved being with us and was content to sit in pack n play with a few toys. My 3 yr old was another story. He played toys in his room, watch a couple cartoons, and played lego duplos. He wasn’t interested in any school things. Wouldn’t even play with the Lauri toys I had bought him. Hoping this year I can find some things that will interest him enough:)

  101. Jessica B. says:

    We’d love to have this basket around our house!

  102. Jessica B. says:

    Our favorite toddler busy activity is play dough.

  103. Julie J. says:

    My toddler daughter loves stickers so she spends a lot of time putting stickers on things while we do school. She also loves to copy her older siblings and do the things they do so I keep “worksheets” that look like theirs for her to draw on. She enjoys feeling like she’s a big girl.

  104. This is a wonderful giveaway!! My little is 18 mos. and she is very active πŸ™‚

  105. My favorite way to keep my little busy is to give her a ziploc bag full of paint splotches. She loves watching them swirl together when she presses the bag.

  106. My little guy loves play dough, puzzles, Legos, and coloring.

  107. I need ideas! HELP, I’ve had 3 kids in 3 years: ages 2 1/2, 16 mo. and 2 mo. I use puzzles, pom-poms, blocks, and markers/crayons. I need more ideas. . . glad I found this page!

  108. My toddler son is deaf and loves learning new signs. Right now, he is obsessed with learning the signs for letters and numbers, so we practice them throughout the day. He also loves coloring and puzzles.

  109. Play-doh and stickers!

  110. Leah Williams says:

    I usually let them use the (age-appropriate) stuff that the bigger kids are using. Naptime tends to be busy time for non-nappers πŸ˜‰

  111. I love to keep my littles occupied with busy bags I got from participating in a busy bag sway with our local homeschooling group.

  112. Gears and Duplos are great.

  113. Always looking for a way to occupy the little while working with the bigs. Great giveaway!

  114. My littles would love this basket!

  115. My toddler is very into duplos right now.

  116. shannon alexander says:

    This woiuld be AWESOME for my youngest that are not quite ready for “school”. My kids really like reading so that is one way to keep them busy…it just doesn’t work when I am trying to teach the older ones. My oldest reads to the youngest as well, and that is really helpful.

  117. The only sure way is to give them something sImilar to what I’m doing or working on with my older kids. They like being included all the time:)

  118. Jennifer says:

    Play-doh and crafts will keep my kids busy all day!

  119. My toddler thinks she should be able to do what her 7 yo sister does. She gets into more things than I can think of.

  120. Molly Cash says:

    My favorite way to keep the littles busy is to give them a board book with bright colored pictures. πŸ™‚

  121. Shellie M says:

    I big bowl from the kitchen and a few big plastic spoons, and of course a couple balls.

  122. Elizabeth B says:

    I’m always looking for more ideas, but we use play-doh, cutting/tearing paper, and just plain coloring.

  123. Emilie Sellers says:

    I must admit….I cheat….my husband’s grandmother lives with us. She’s a GREAT toddler distractor! πŸ™‚

  124. Sensory bins!!

  125. Laura H. says:

    Thanks!

  126. Michelle Devlin says:

    Crayons and paper!

  127. Michelle S says:

    Older siblings!! πŸ™‚

  128. Colleen T says:

    Perfect basket to entertain my little guy!

  129. Music, blocks, playdoh, and safe kitchen items like measuring spoons and plastic bowls keep toddlers busy for hours!

  130. Blocks and trains!

  131. Stephanie says:

    I’ve got a toddler that needs entertaining! Really fun basket!

  132. I have a box of random things that I only bring out when I need them occupied.

  133. Playdoh, crayons, and holy cards

  134. Kathy Johnson says:

    Just found this blog. Looks like a great place!

  135. Containers! πŸ™‚ Cups, spoons, boxes, paper bags, etc. Add a few things to sort like play food, legos, balls, and he’s good to go!

  136. These are great ideas! Hoping they work for my toddler as we start school this week.

  137. My toddler have 4 older siblings so she is often entertained by one of them while I get things done. They also enjoy sensory play, I give them a big bowl of dry beans and some scoops and wooden spoons and this keeps them busy for quite a while.

  138. Jennifer Akers says:

    Ohh, I’m going to need this stuff to keep my 2nd daughter busy while I teach the older one! Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  139. Melissa Squires says:

    That is an amazing basket. Would love to win.

  140. Books!

  141. Jessica Medina says:

    songs, hands on activities

  142. Kari Simmons says:

    My 2 year old loves doing her own ‘school’ while the older sisters work. She loves do a dot art and worksheets. We also have fun with counting bears, pattern blocks and play dough. This basket would add to our choices quite a bit!

  143. Diana Cote says:

    art. I love using our easel with just the chalk for a less messy option and letting my daughter draw what she thinks or feels, she tells me a little story of what she drew. she also loves her wooden mini pose-able dolls, she will pretend for hours. the other thing she loves is music and instruments. πŸ™‚

  144. Sandpaper!

  145. I love simple things to entertain my toddler. We like simple things like sorting items into cups and rice play

  146. April Pachuta says:

    I love our sensory table to keep a toddler busy. I switch items out often and that helps keep them interested!

  147. Heather B says:

    I keep my son busy with sticker activities, play dough and sensory tubs. This looks like a great package to win, thanks!

  148. Emily Copeland says:

    Puzzles and preschool workbooks from the dollar store are great. They usually buy us about 30 minutes of contentment.

  149. Heather Dawn says:

    A play kitchen and some play food keeps my toddler busy!

  150. Stephanie Ciji Fetzer says:

    Good idea!

  151. I love putting small activities in plastic shoe boxes. They can get one out at a time. πŸ™‚

  152. Crayons, play dough, legos and anything he can put things into and dump out again.

  153. I love to use activity bags to keep them busy.

  154. Kristin Albee says:

    Puzzles are the current favorite!

  155. We have an indoor sand box made with baby oatmeal. My toddler loves it as to the bigger kids.

  156. I am always looking for fun ways to keep my little guy busy while my daughter is doing school. I hope I when this if not i will be doing some of your ideas. thanks

    • i guess i should have opened the thing first my boys favorite toy right now are keys. Which i will listen to be able to keep so that works great for us. A real pen and a pad of paper are great to keep him busy for more than like 30 seconds. it will last like 2 minutes.

  157. Rosie Root says:

    Put them in the highchair with a snack or toys as I am busy with supper preparations.

  158. With my granddaughter I love to sing and clap. She loves it too! :p

  159. Dawn Keenan says:

    I am an avid finger painter and colorer when it comes to keeping little ones busy.

  160. Such a fun idea…my little one loves to have her own work to do while I am working with her older siblings. She loves the teddy bear counters and will play with them for a long time!

  161. Kaitlin L says:

    What a great giveaway that all of my kiddos would enjoy! Our favorite ways to keep preschoolers buys are busy bags!

  162. Kelley Maki says:

    Great basket!

  163. We have farm animal finger puppets and a larger old McDonald glove puppet that our little guy loves.

  164. This would be wonderful with my 5 year old and 1 year old.

  165. Jessica Carlson says:

    Play dough, Legos, crayons and coloring books, chalk and chalk board, dry erase pens and white board, little play cars are all things I’ve used with my daughter

  166. puzzles and other sensory activities work great for my toddles

  167. The little ones like to color while I read to my school boy.

  168. Well, I used to keep her busy in the play yard but now that she can crawl over it she keeps me busy by chasing after her πŸ˜‰

  169. I like sensory bins. Actually I love them, my daughter not so much.

  170. Markers and books during school time because he loves to do what his brother does.

  171. I like to put my baby in the high chair with toys tied to the frame of the chair. She can throw them off the tray and then grab them via the string they are tied with! She also loves spoons and plastic bowls.

  172. Just found your blog recently, LOVE it!

  173. Jennifer mathesz says:

    crafts are my fav way to keep anyone busy

  174. Play doh usually keeps my little busy for a while when I’m trying to get things together for lunch.

  175. This would be amazing! I am starting out homeschool for the first time this year with my toddler and this would be so helpful!

  176. My son loves trains, play dough, coloring/drawing, veggie tales movies. These work great for him. I would love to win this, that way he has more and educational things to do.

  177. Rebecca Xavier says:

    My daughter loves to read books and listen to music.

  178. Deanna Kieliszek says:

    Thanks for the chance to win a basket full of toddler fun!

  179. Stickers! πŸ™‚

  180. Kristin Gideon says:

    What a great giveaway!! Right now, stickers have been working for my toddler. Sometimes various art supplies and a pom pom stuff activity.

  181. We go outside A LOT, or he plays with his toys.

  182. Tanya Riley says:

    My son likes to play with water. I can keep him busy with a pan of water, cups, and floating toys

  183. Playdough and books are my little guys favorites! Thanks for the chance to win!

  184. Clay!

  185. Julia Black says:

    Snacks always work for us. LOL. But also plastic Easter eggs to put in an egg carton are a favorite.

  186. My two year old loves to play with duplos and Mr. Potato Heads while I get school done with my older ones. I’m sure he would love everything in this basket too!

  187. With his own school work and supplies like the “big kids” or hands on games like Operation.

  188. I usually find some kind of arts and crafts for them to do

  189. great idea!!

  190. My kids have always loved playing with art supplies – crayons, paint, stickers, etc.

  191. Casey Brown says:

    This would be great for us!

  192. My little guy loves Playdoh, looking at books, and playing school along with his older brothers.This basket would definitely keep him entertained.

  193. My favorite way is giving them a bucket to dump out and clean up again.

  194. What a great basket!

  195. Brook Vernon says:

    Playdough, paint, markers, blocks, Connect 4 and sensory items. Thanks for hosting!

  196. What a bunch of great items to include! I’ve been trying to gather ideas for my almost 2 year old while we begin our first year of homeschooling.

  197. Michelle J. says:

    We love Play-doh!

  198. My little one would love this.

  199. My kiddos love their blocks and cars with tracks!

  200. Maggie B. says:

    Finger paint!!

  201. Honestly my kids think cardboard boxes are just as fun as any other toy out there !

  202. My favorite way to keep babies & toddlers busy is big floor puzzles. The ones I loved as a kid are still super popular, even if Snuffleupagus isn’t on Sesame Street these days. πŸ˜‰

  203. Free play time!

  204. amanda whitley says:

    we like to keep busy by coloring and playing with stcikers.

  205. Drawing and coloring

  206. Painting!

  207. I’m here because I haven’t figured out quiet, busy work. Love the ideas in your basket!

  208. Kathryn G says:

    My littles stay busy outside with dirt…digging, digging, digging. More work for me, but so good for them.

  209. what a great giveaway! my daughter would love the stickers and pom poms!

  210. I find that if I have some “school” set up for my preschooler he is happy while the older ones do their lessons. Sometimes it may be Montessori type activities or coloring sheets. Some times it is some preschool printables or even just picture books for him to “read”.

  211. stickers (for toddlers)

  212. Randi Brickey says:

    You’re an inspiration!

  213. Toys, board books, snacks, depends on the day/moment!

  214. looking at books

  215. Am I the worst mom ever if I say the Ipod? I make sure it’s loaded wtih ‘educational’ apps! It’s the only thing that keeps him still for more than 2 minutes!

  216. They love plain shipping cardboard boxes, I give them a bunch of pens and stickers, they decorate the box and turn it into an imaginary rocket ship or a castle! I’d love this basket so we can create fun things to add to our boxes!

  217. I make a bunch of busy bags ahead of time… That way, when the little ones need something to do, I have a few grab-and-go options to choose from!

  218. In the summer, I love bringing my son to the lake. He loves playing in the sand and water!

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