I am a huge fan of activities that provide homemade fun for babies and toddlers to occupy their time (and little, grabby hands). They are especially useful when I’m busy making meals or tending to my older children. In my opinion, anything I can do to keep my toddler from climbing the pantry shelves is a valuable tool.
There are plenty of times when we’re away from home and I just need my baby to keep it together for 20 minutes, such as in waiting rooms and restaurants. Other times, when we visit relatives, I would really rather my toddler not investigate all the porcelain figurines he can find or tip over all the house plants. While babies are definitely capable of entertaining themselves by having fun exploring their environment, there are definitely times when some planned, structured playtime is in order.
Thankfully, now that I have more than one child, I rarely have to come up ideas to entertain my youngest child. He finds the older kids so much more entertaining than me anyway. I can typically just ask my 5 year old to “keep him happy” for a few minutes when needed and he has a whole arsenal of tools to make the baby laugh. However, even with 3 kids, there are times when my older kids would like my littlest rugrat to just leave them (and their carefully arranged toys/puzzles/etc.) alone for awhile. The activities below are as ideas for good old homemade fun for babies and toddlers that I have used over the last few years. At least one of my kids found them enjoyable and engaging during their baby/toddler years.