9 Things I Do with my Toddler Every Day

I have found that if I don't have something for my toddler to do, he will find something that he is NOT suppose to do! Read these 9 activities that I do every day with my toddler.

Being the mom to a toddler is altogether exciting and exhausting! Unless my son is sleeping or strapped into his high chair, he is on the go, so I try to do as much as possible with him each day.

If I don’t have something for my son to do, he will find something that he is NOT suppose to do!

Read on to find out what we do all day!

1. We do chores together.

Of course, my toddler can’t really do chores by himself at only 2 years old, but he loves to “help” and is usually right beside me while I work. One of the first things my son does every morning is he pushes our laundry hamper from the bedroom to the laundry room because that is part of our morning routine.

If I forget about the laundry, he remembers! While I sort and throw in a load of laundry, he keeps himself busy by investigating everything in the laundry room until I’m done.

If I am sweeping, he likes to push his “broom” which is just the Swiffer Sweeper without a cloth on it. When I dust, he carries a clean rag and wipes it on the walls and floor.

He does do his own toddler chores too!

2. We read together.

I know several moms who follow a specific schedule with reading, and that works for them. I, however, don’t follow a scheduled reading time. My son will often hand me a book throughout the day and if I am able, I will sit down right then and read with him.

His favorite book right now is Brown Bear, Brown Bear* by Eric Carle. We also like to read in the evenings before bedtime and sometimes before he takes an afternoon nap.

By the way, the library is a great way to expose toddlers to new books without having to buy new ones all the time.

Another way to keep toddlers excited about books is to rotate their books every few days. When I pull out a book that has been put up for a while, my son gets so excited to have a “new” book.

9 Things to do with a toddler every day

3. We walk around the neighborhood together.

One of my favorite ways to stay healthy is walking, and it is the perfect form of exercise as a mom. I buckle my son up in his stroller and away we go!

I love starting my day with exercise and being outdoors, and my little toddler enjoys going for the ride and seeing all of the dogs, squirrels, and cars in our neighborhood!

4. We eat meals together.

When my son was a baby, I would often use breakfast and lunch to catch up on YouTube videos or social media.

But now that he is a toddler, I don’t pull out electronic devices. Instead, we eat at the table together. He loves to “talk” to me while we eat.

5. We play outside 2-3 times a day.

If we don’t have anywhere to go, we often play in the backyard in the mornings. Then we go outside again after lunch and again after I clean up the kitchen from supper.

My son is so used to this routine that he will bring me my shoes and his shoes after I finish cleaning up the kitchen so that we can go outside!

While outside he plays on his Little Tikes castle slide* that is the perfect size for toddlers. Other times we will collect sticks and leaves in the yard, chase each other, and swing.

Sometimes I even get a little weeding done while he plays, although I do keep my eye on him at all times, so I don’t get a lot of weeding done at once. But that is okay!

9 activities to do with toddlers each day

6. We sit and play on the floor together.

Last January, I made the decision to get on the floor everyday and play with my son. He loves the personal attention. When I sit on the floor, we usually play with his Mega Bloks*, wooden blocks, or his cars.

Usually he likes to sit on my lap which I enjoy because he doesn’t want to sit still very long any other time. 😉

7. We watch TV.

Yes, I said it! My toddler watches television.

By the afternoon, we both need a little break, so we will watch an afternoon cartoon or even one of my shows like The Middle or When Calls the Heart. Does anyone else like those shows?!

Of course, I wouldn’t put my son in front of a television all day long, but we have chosen to let him watch a little TV each day, and I don’t feel guilty about it anymore like I used to.

8. We listen to music and sing.

My husband has always been a huge music fan and has several friends who are in Southern Gospel groups. This means that there is almost always music being played in our home and thankfully our son enjoys it!

He likes to sing along with me when I sing songs and will often bust a move while we sing or listen to music.

9. We Count and Say Letters

My son is starting to recognize numbers and letters, and I figure it is never to early to start learning them. However, I don’t follow a strict schedule or curriculum. Instead I just incorporate counting and letters into our everyday activities.

We count toys when we are playing or sticks that we pick up when we are outside. I also spell words to him and he has fun repeating the letters as if it were a game!

Keep toys from taking over the house by organizing them into bins.

All of these daily activities fill our days up pretty fast. During the week we also like to go to the park, run errands, visit the library, and squeeze in some naps!

 

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  1. These are great ways to enjoy your toddler. These are all probably good for us too! Hopefully soon it will be nice here so we can take my granddaughter out everyday. They do love to go outside.

    I have a problem with the getting down in the floor one -I have to make sure something is close by to help me back up now!

    Have a great day!

    • HaHa, Vickie! Some days I have a hard time getting up off the floor too. What is it about kids and outside?! I think my son would spend all day outside if he could!

  2. I don’t have children yet but I always loved when my mom took me to the reading groups at local libraries. My best friend did it with her toddler nephew as well. The library like you mentioned is a great place for fun! =)

  3. Love this Emily! I do the same things with my daughter and it’s truly made a difference in our routines. You’re lucky you’re able to take him outside constantly. We have wicked winters here, and sometimes it’s hard to get outside. When the weather gets more pleasant, we do tend to be outdoors more often than inside. It’s a great habit to foster, and something I want to continue with my daughter as she grows as well. Thanks for sharing with us. Saying hi from Tuesday Talk

    • It is always interesting to hear what things other people do too! Sticking to similar activities each day really does help with a routine. We are very fortunate to live in Florida and enjoy warm weather. However, this summer we probably won’t be going outside as often! It gets pretty hot. I hope it warms up for you soon!

  4. Love this! Kane is loving the “How Do Dinosaurs” books right now, and we’ve lucked out finding some at Half Priced Books. Also, I let Kane watch TV too! He is at daycare all day in a structured environment with 0 show time, so he gets to watch what he wants when he gets home:)

    Tif
    http://www.brightonabudget.com

    • I hadn’t heard of the dinosaur books before, but they sound like definite boy books! That is great that you were able to get a good deal on them. Books can be pricey!

    • Those dinosaur books have been some of our favorites as well! Both of my boys like them! I appreciate that both of you have mentioned letting your child watch tv. I do too. I homeschool my oldest son, and my toddler has his own set of lesson plans. I’m very intentional with our time and he has very purposeful activities all day. However, part of his schedule includes about 30 minutes of a mom-selected show while I’m working on my own tasks or with the other one. I’ve had some mommy guilt over this many times, so thanks to both of you for being so encouraging!

      • There is something about dinosaurs and little boys. 🙂 There are so many conflicting messages about TV for young kids. I believe that moderation is the key and making sure children are involved in other activities as well. I’m glad you were encouraged!

  5. I’m loving this list. It’s easy to try to hurry and get things done around the house and occupy your toddler but they really only want to help any way they can.

    • You are so right, Colleen! They really want to be with us and take part in what we are doing. It certainly takes some patience, but is well worth it!

  6. I love this list! We strive for much of the same. We also try to create something everyday – whether it’s a simple crayon or chalk drawing, a batch of cookies or a more intense project.

    It’s also such a testament that your own mom commented that she’s proud of you – you’re lucky to have a good role model!

    • Yes, I am thankful for the role model I had in my own mom! Creating something every day is such a good idea. We do try to do very simple things a few times each week, like crayons or stickers. But now that my son is 2, I want to start doing more project type activities. Thanks for sharing!

  7. We do homework, my daughter calls it like that. She loves to color, paint, draw faces, rainbows and apple trees. I teach her some abc letters that she can paint or color and some numbers or shapes too.

    • That is great, Carmen! They are little sponges at this age, soaking it all in. It sounds like your daughter will be ready for preschool! My son got a plastic ABC set for his birthday recently, and he loves playing with the letters and “singing” the ABC song with me. 🙂

  8. We do all these things as well! Some other things we do every day, or almost every day, are: color, give her a bath, and say our prayers!

    • Thanks for sharing, Amanda! Saying prayers is such a good habit to start while they are young. My son happens to still be in the “eating crayons” phase. Ha! So we don’t do colors very often. 🙂

  9. I first want to say that you are blessed to be able to stay home with your child and fit in those nine things you do everyday with your toddler. I read these mommy blogs and feel like if I am able to fit in two or three of those things it is good day. This is because I am in the “single working mom of three” category of moms. I would like other single working mothers to know that if they are reading these blogs like I sometimes catch myself doing, that they should not feel the mommy guilt but feel proud for what they accomplish in a day despite it not meeting some arbitrary number. My day looks different. I am an elementary school teacher who spends her two hours before school preparing breakfast, dressing children, ensuring teeth are brushed, making lunches as I was most likely too tired the night before for my 2, 4 and 12 year old ( not so much the 12 year old) as there are a whole set of other issues dealing with a pre-teen! I do all this with my children who don’t always necessarily want to be trading their pyjamas for clothes and who would much rather snuggle than put on a snowsuit. Oh yes and I have to be ready for school as well! Then I drop my two little ones at our school based daycare. This is where those items on the list get checked off and this is where my toddler and pre-schooler get much more, like learning how to play with other children and develop social skills. At daycare is where they learn to care for other little people and begin developing important friendships. This is where they go on fun field trips with trusted adults who do a tremendous job loving my kids while I am at work providing for our family. At work I have my “other kids”. My students who I also love spending my day with as we navigate the Grade 2 and 3 curriculum together. I used to feel guilty having to leave my kids in the hands of others while I worked. I no longer feel this way because by doing this I am teaching my children the value of responsibility and hard work and as a default of my chosen profession, a love for life-long learning! So I truly value and appreciate every minute I get to spend with my kids before and after school. Weekends are our happy, happy days! This is where I try my best to spend individual time with all three and yes – getting down on the floor to play! After school is where we fit in outdoor play, supper, baths, reading books, singing songs, brushing teeth and bedtime prayers. After my little ones are sound asleep is when I spend quality time with my 12 year old sweet, loving girl as long as she’s willing! After we say goodnight is when I do my marking and planning for the next day, when this blessed family life starts all over again. But I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone elses, and that’s not really the point – is it? No matter our personal circumstances or family make up, we’re all just doing the best we can.

    • Hi Amber! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. You sound like an amazing mother who dearly loves her children. I would never pretend to understand your life as a single working mom of three. And I truly apologize for any words in my article that caused you to feel guilty. That was not my intention at all!

      As a teacher, you know that you cannot be all things to all people or please everyone. The same is true with my blog and even other “mommy bloggers”. When I wrote this article my intention was to speak to stay at home moms who may feel lost when it comes to doing things with their toddlers all day. If you read some of the other comments on this article, you saw that several moms do a lot more than I do, like ABC’s, coloring, crafts, cooking, ect. I choose not to feel guilty that I am not doing those things on a daily basis just because other moms do. We are all different and so are our children and family dynamics.

      Really, I don’t check things off of my list each day. I didn’t come up with a number until I sat down to write this post and thought about all of the things we do on a daily basis. Motherhood isn’t about checking things off on a list. Moms just do motherhood.

      You are right, I am blessed to be able to stay home with my son, and I know not everyone is given that opportunity. I wrote an entire article on it a few months ago entitled “The Reason We Can Afford for Me to Stay Home”. You are blessed to have such a great daycare for your children. Not everyone has options like that. I think it is important to acknowledge the differences, but not feel like we are judging each other because the truth is, we often don’t know each other’s circumstances.

  10. A lot of these are great ideas! We’re incredibly lucky that we have two different parks with three playgrounds nearby. We end up at the park or watching trains from the nearby pedestrian bridge over the subway tracks nearly every day.

  11. Love this! I read in your bio that you live in Florida and I wondered how long do you and your child play outside for? We are in SC and during the summer it’s 100 degrees or more and I would truly love to get out 3 times a day with him, but we have no shade at all in our back yard and both of us sweat just sitting outside so it really is miserable. 🙁 I can’t wait for those cooler months so we can enjoy the outdoors again!

    • Oh, Sarah, I know what you mean about the heat! I wrote this article back in April when it was still pretty nice to go outside. This summer we usually only go outside to either play in the kiddie pool, eat a Popsicle, or water the plants. Otherwise we do stay inside a lot and do indoor activities. It is just too hot!

  12. Iam a grandmother who cares for her twin toddlers while mom works . I do all of the same things you are doing. It is good to get down on the floor and play with children.even girls like to go outside all day if they could.

  13. My little guy is two as well, and he loves to be busy! I find that if we aren’t doing some sort of organized activity, he finds trouble! I LOVE that you two sit down and watch TV together!! Too many mom’s judge mom’s who allow screen time at such a young age! What kinds of shows do you enjoy watching together that don’t drive you crazy?

    • Two year olds are always on the move! 🙂 We watch about half his shows and half my shows. He loves Caillou on Sprout and The Mother Goose Club on YouTube. Sometimes they do drive me a little crazy which is why we watch some of my shows too!

  14. I found myself thinking “Oh thank goodness” when I read the part about your toddler’s letters and numbers. My little one says 2,3, and 10. For the life of me I can’t get her to say 1. Letters seem to be stuck on B and C.
    It is just nice to know we are in a “normal” phase along with other toddlers 😊

    • Oh Sharon, I know what you mean! It is so easy to think our kids should be doing/learning more. But I figure right now, he is observing a lot and hopefully it will sink in by school time. One thing I have learned is that every child develops and learns at their own pace. I have to remind myself of that when I see other kids doing and saying more than my son.

    • Hi, Namous. By “things” so you mean household chores and time for myself? If so, I follow morning and evening routines and a daily schedule. That allows me to get things done and still have time for my son and even little breaks for myself! Feel free to check out the links for more information. If you have any questions, send me an email. I’d be glad to help!

  15. Very helpful list of this to do. My little girl is 18 months old and I do many of these things already, but I’m going to add in doing chores together and going on more frequent walks. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome, Jessica! I bet your daughter will love “helping” with the chores and going for walks. There is something about going outside that kids really enjoy!

  16. Dear Queen, what are working mothers to do with their toddler everyday?? This is great for women who have decided to not work and solely be a mother, but what about those of us who actually want to continue our career and preserve our identity as women and ALSO be mothers (which is the MOST important job of all). If I could do your “must haves” on this list ….Wow, I’d have to quit my job. And before you criticize me, think of all those women who HAVE to work to provide a home, food, electricity, warmth and safety to their children by working. Are they/we any less than you a woman who gets to stay home with her child? I would say you should rectify your post and include the other 66.9 percent of the female population in the U.S. with children under 18.

    • I worked every single day with my first. Every. single. day. Christmas Day included. I also did almost all of these with my kid, every day. And I had time for myself.

      Even if there’s just an hour between daycare pick-up and bedtime, you can do this. It may not seem like it, but get creative. Sing your ABCs and numbers when you wake up, or in the car, or while you make dinner or while your toddler plays on the floor while you shower, or while you give them a bath, or while you sweep the floor. Read a book during the breakfast or dinner you enjoy together, or before bed, or when you wake up. Take a walk around the block as soon as you get out of the car, or right before you get in, or blow bubbles on the porch or spend 5 minutes with some sidewalk chalk.

      Figure out what’s being duplicated at daycare/childcare (like playing outside a few times a day) and focus on what brings you joy.

      But speaking from experience, spending your energy having an idignant attitude about what stay-at-home moms “get” to do isn’t going to bring you joy, or help you create memories with your child. This is a helpful list that the author provided based on her values and circumstances, and it’s broad enough to appeal to a lot of people (like me). There are so many resources for working moms; if you’re looking for validation and activities specific to your circumstances, I’d suggest looking at some of those before turning to an outlet geared toward those who stay at home.

    • I think your response ma be a little harsh Ashley. I don’t think she wrote this post with the intention of saying that if you don’t do these 9 things everyday with your child you are a bad mom. I am a full-time working mom and I have been working on starting my own business. As a working mom I always wish there were more hours in a day to spend with my baby, I have spent too much time wishing I did not have to work and could stay home with my son. But this just is not my life. And I accept that my life is different than other moms. I have heard from stay at home moms that they wish they were able to work, as they say, the grass is NOT always greener…. Either way, this does not mean that you are not or cannot incorporate small routines on a daily basis with your child that are unique to you and your personal family dynamic. You probably already have a routine that just comes naturally and even if your routine is not a concrete timed list its about the quality of the time and what you do in it that time that matters. As women and moms we should be more supportive of the differences of our journeys and not compare or feel like this is a competition. We are all sisters in motherhood. I may not be a stay at home mom but I make sure to make my time with my son as best as I can educational, loving, creative, caring, supportive…… you get my point… And I can also appreciate and admire what other moms do with their children that is valuable in life whether they work or not. We can all learn from one another. Congrats to being a hard working momma and showing that value to your children and being a financial contributor to your household. I have had to work since my son was 3months old and felt horrible that I had to send him to daycare with other people, but he definitely learned social skills and how to make friends, deal with conflict, sharing, etc and I am grateful for that. So I totally feel you. But this mom is also doing her best with her life as a mom and with what she’s got whether or not in someone else’s eyes that means she has more or less.

  17. I’m guilty of letting my 19 month old watch some shows too, but mainly it’s Sesame Street and we watch together and talk about things going on in the show. We live on the third floor of our apartment complex so we go up the stairs and count the stairs to every flight. “Two” is the number he likes to repeat. We live 3/4 miles from a park and have been going there all summer. There’s a splash pad and everything, and I figure it’s a great way for me and my fiancé to get out too and spend time as a family.

    • That park sounds like a lot of fun! I love that you talk to your son about what happened in the show. That is something that I don’t do but should probably start doing every once in awhile. Thanks for sharing!

  18. This is what we do as well! I actually think some tv is part of development. However, the nighttime reading is a must – the routine is very important to our girl…I would love to skip it here and there some nights! I always try to take my daughter with me to the grocery store and have started to let her walk along with me. It’s hard moving from a phase of “keep her constrained so she doesn’t take a handful of blueberries out of a bin and throw them on the floor to eat like a dog” into trusting her as the competent child she is.

    • HaHa! The blueberry incident sounds like something my son would do, except he likes to grab a banana! Children love routines, don’t they?! Since writing this post we have gotten into the habit of reading a book every night before bed too. Our son counts on it!

  19. It’s hard to entertain your toddler full stop and when you have a baby and loads of other things to do that is just general house keeping it’s almost impossible to occupy them. I find myself feeling guilty at the end of most days for not entertaining him with wonderfil creative Ideas. It’s so encouraging to read a blog and feel like….oh, I can do this! Or, wow, I do do this. Thanks!

    • Hi Hannah! It sounds like you are pretty busy. Yes, I stopped feeling guilty about coming up with creative ideas. Every once in awhile, it is fun to plan something special, but reading and playing together are easy ways to spend time with our kids which is what they really want. I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you!

  20. My 18 month old and I currently are at my parents house due too the flood in LA. How would you go about a inside voice or teaching to be more quiet at night. Ever since she’s been here she has to be in the middle of everything so her naps are all messed up.
    I’m a stay at home mom and it’s my first one. She was sleeping regular but I guess we miss home so it’s hard for both of us. I don’t want to discourage her development she’s very smart.

    • Hi Kimberly. I’m sorry to hear that you are displaced right now. My husband used to have to go to bed an hour earlier than my son, so I can relate. In order to get him to be quiet, I would whisper to my son and tell him that we had to speak quietly so Daddy could sleep. My son would try to whisper too! When I spoke to him quietly, he usually responded quietly. We would do quiet activities too. The toys were put up, and he would sit on my lap and we would read books together or simply watch TV. He loves The Mother Goose Club on YouTube.

  21. I love these! It’s so important just to be able to spend some quality time with your kids. I am a single mom and working on building a business right now, but I make sure that my kids are the first priority. I don’t turn on any screens while they are awake (except for a tv show first thing in the morning while I make breakfast). We eat breakfast together and the kids help me with chores until it’s time to go. While we don’t get a lot of reading time, or just playing time, but the time we spend together hanging up clothes to dry or loading the dishwasher (which I get to redo afterwards) is a wonderful blessing that I get with them. After they go to sleep is the time when I really do my cleaning and work on my side job, that way I don’t cut into ‘our’ time.
    Thank you for sharing your must-do’s list, I am motivated to get down on the floor and just play more.

    • I’m so glad to hear that you are motivated to sit on the floor and just play more. I have to remind myself of that too. If I’m not intentional about it, it is easy to forget! Even as a stay at home mom, I don’t work on my side job until my son is asleep. We will never get this time back with our little ones!

  22. Hi! Love the article. My son is 18 months and loves music as well. Would you be able to list a few southern gospel groups that I could find on the internet. Love finding new music.

  23. Hello! Yes, we like Canton Junction, Gold City, Daily and Vincent, Spoken4, Freedom Quartet, and Kingdom Heirs. I hope that helps and that you enjoy those groups!