I know firsthand how hard it can be during the evening when you’re needing to make dinner and the kids just want your attention. To help, these fun activities for kids are perfect ways to help the kids stay busy while you make dinner!

toddler with paintbrush in learning tower.

Fun Activities for Kids

The activities you choose will depend on the age and interests of your kid, but this list has all sorts of options for you to try out. These are great indoor activities for toddlers and big kids that might just buy you enough time to get that meal made! (At least it’s sure better than having a small child holding onto your leg for dear life while you try to rustle up something edible!)

  1. Turn on music and have a dance party
  2. Have them help you cook (a learning tower is great for this!)
  3. Have them help you wash dishes (put a few towels down first!)
  4. Set up a sensory bin
  5. Try kenetic sand in a bin
  6. Playdough
  7. Coloring
  8. Set up a chalkboard easel
  9. Water Wow books 
  10. Stickers and paper
  11. Washi tape and paper
  12. Free play (miracles happen!)
  13. Toy cars on raceways made with painter’s tape
  14. Books
  15. Magna tiles
  16. Legos/Duplos
  17. Screen time
  18. Podcasts (we love Circle Round, Wow in the World, Mystery Recipe, and Brains On)
  19. Audiobooks
  20. Facetime with a loved one
  21. Tupperware and spatulas
  22. Give them mini tongs and a bowl full of pom poms
  23. Bowl and spoons
  24. Magnets on the fridge
  25. Have them play in their play kitchen
  26. Give them a snack or appetizer
  27. Give them a cardboard box to play with
  28. Give them the scraps from your food prep to “cook” with
  29. Give them a box of cheap tissues to play with (thanks to deconstructing_dadhood for this one!)
  30. Have them help set the table (they may get distracted and play along the way!)

Easy Toddler Activities

We’ve been loving magnets on the fridge (we have this set which has both letters and foods), dance parties, and so many stickers. If you have a toddler activity that helps you with the witching hour, please comment below to share!

TIP: Find my Master List of 100 Free Activities for Kids here.

Easy Dinner Ideas

Check out Shortcut Toddler Dinners, Make-Ahead Toddler Dinners, and Easy Weeknight Dinner ideas for help getting a meal onto the table.

This post was first published March 2020.

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  1. This is a great list! Thanks!

    Any advice for a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old whose sole purpose is to get all up in the older one’s business? If I try to leave them together and the older one tries to do anything (blocks, playing in the play kitchen, cars, basketball, etc…) the younger one ruins it for him, just because he’s curious and loves to be with his brother.

    The answer may just be “this too shall pass” but figured I’d see if you had any specific recommendations!