Focused Toddler Projects

The following is a list of quiet, indoor, rainy or sick day activities for kids ages 0-2…

Some may seem obvious. Too obvious maybe! But I know those days… Those days where you are so BRAIN DEAD that you cannot think of even the simplest thing to entertain them with. So you turn to the TV… Well. This is here for me (and you!) to hopefully help bring ideas to mind more quickly and relieve a little stress!

I have another reason for this list. Slightly more complicated.

(So stay with me!)

I am a firm believer in teaching my kids how to focus.

(Yes. Teaching! I don’t think this comes naturally… At least not always. Especially not for very energetic, rambunctious, early movers like my girl, Hailee!)

They should know how to sit still…

Have patience when working on something complicated…

Complete a task from start to finish…

And learn from it!

I *think* it needs to start young… So that they have time to develop a mental capacity for learning in a classroom/textbook setting when the time comes.

When my first daughter was very young, she had “quiet times” in her pak-n-play where I would give her a certain toy(s) or books which would help her focus on something new or complicated… It has proven so far to make her a very attentive and thoughtful young girl so far. I decided to compile a list of those types of things that I did with Hailee, now that my 2nd, Claire, is nearing the age where she can handle this! So basically… This is mostly for myself but I decided to share it!

(My favorite part of this post- most of these are things that were already in my house- or at least very low cost and easy to find. No fancy ideas here!!! )


Playing with flour

(Age- Hailee was between 6-8 months! Basically as soon as she was happy in her high chair…)

There are many variations of this out there! We used flour when I was baking bread. She LOVED it! She loved the texture… (It’s safe for her lick!) In case you can’t tell, she was very intent upon getting into every crevice on herself and her high chair! I loved it because it was so easy to vacuum up and entertained for as long as it took me to mix up some bread- and maybe some cookies!




(~12 months)

This is one of those obvious ones. But seriously. I would put her in her pac-n-play for 15 minutes with this puzzle, and I would be shocked at what she managed to figure out at such a young age. This was her first one. She now has a musical one that she LOVES!




(16 months-2 years)

Seriously. Hailee has a entire box of stickers. And it doesn’t have to cost much- they aren’t all new! Some of them are from my old sticker collection from when I was a kid. Her great-grandma sends her a few sheets every time she writes her a letter…



Anything involving GLUE STICKS!!!!

(20 months+)

This is a more recent development. But she loves her “Goo”. I cut out shapes and she scribbles “Goo!” All over them… Then we stick ‘em to the page together!




(16 months+)

Ever since she was 12 months old Hailee has loved pouring things from one cup to the other. She would find a ball. Put it in a cup, grab a second cup and just slowly, (focusing SO well!) pour it from one cup to the other. One day my Mom suggested a box of “Sorting”. Clearly Grandma’s a pro!!! You can only imagine the toddlers excitment when she saw POM POMS just for her to sort with! This became Hailee’s facorite activity for at least a month.

(*This is not one I let her do without supervision- at least until I knew she wouldn’t try to swallow them!*)



Painting Nails

(18 months+ … Not for boys ;) Gotta say it!)

They make INSTANT drying stuff now! I buy it in the clearance section at Target. Last week she chose a sparkly kind that can ONLY be cute on baby sized nails. I know this from experiencing her begging Mom to have matching nails… Now my nails look… Not suitable for public! (Not that I have had time to take them off… There have been some interesting conversations!)



Window Clings

(16 months-2 years)

We found these in the $ section at Target right before Christmas this year. For days Hailee just marched from one window from the next, creating window scenes! Again, I was super amazed by her concentration. It was one of those occasions where I had to quietly and gently interrupt her to go potty or something because otherwise it was like I had broken a trance! Not a welcome intrusion I guess…




Play-doh, play-doh, OH, play-doh! I’m not sure how many variations of play-doh will show up in here. Fair warning!



Russian Nesting Dolls

Right before Christmas Hailee discovered some nesting dolls I had on a shelf. She loved them, but they were difficult for her hands to take apart. I found these on Amazon for one of her Christmas presents. They satisfy her penguin obsession and work her little brain on a new level… Figuring out the order the go in, which bottom fits which top… You get the idea!



Play-Doh with “eyeballs”

See! Play-Doh variation. I told ya! (I felt pretty creative with this one. Seriously.) She loved these little “monsters”! They created a quiet half hour time where I read a good 5 chapters of Numbers out loud. That takes a really interesting project for a toddler to sit through that!



Drinking tea

This is one of those specifically for rainy days and sick days. She had a little cold one morning and a good friend suggested weak tea. I had some peach herbal stuff, barely heated the water warm enough to steep the tea bag in and added a good bit of honey. (Local and organic… So it was healthy!) She LOVED it. She had some more this morning!



And just for memories sake… This is how it started out! My sweet little concentrating baby! I love this kid…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *