When Your Toddler Has Ants In Their Pants

Are you half way into summer and hearing those words “I’m bored” all too much? Like can we let our kids take over our life for a day to realize they should be thankful they are bored! 

Thankfully my three year old doesn’t know that word yet, but let’s be honest, sometimes I just want 15 minutes of uninterrupted time without having “Mom, watch this” 10 times a minute! And well, why not get him doing something different than lining up cars on the couch for 2 hrs straight!

I don’t know if you are like me, but I see all these moms doing amazing things with their kids each day and I am lucky to just keep them fed. It is just not in my schedule to make elaborate activities for my son each day as much as I think it would be fun. So if you are like me, let’s start today not comparing ourselves with the other moms that we see on Instagram or those posts we see on Pinterest. There is a quote I saw not so long ago that resonated with me, “There is no way to be a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a good one”. Regardless of how little or how much I do for my son each day he still thinks the world of me, because you know what? It’s the love that we nurture them with that means the world to them!

Why am I saying this? Well firstly, don’t feel bad if you don’t have time to try these. But more importantly, these are activities that I have found to be simple with little prep because that’s what works for me!

These activities are geared towards toddlers, but some of them my little 1 year old would join in his own way. Some of these activities I could see school aged kids enjoying as well.

1. Ice transfer

What you need:  

  • Two containers that can hold some water/ice
  • A soup ladle, or scoop of some sort
  • Food colouring (optional)

To make things a little more exciting we chose my son’s favourite colour, green, and added a couple drops of food colouring into the water.

What to do:

The child will use the ladle to transfer the ice into the water. I challenged my son to only use one hand, but depending on the age of your child this could vary.


To note:

This activity was short lived, lasting only 5 minutes, but depending on the age of your child this might take longer.


2) Car Wash

Because the ice transfer was short lived I quickly redirected the activity using the same containers.

What you need:

  • 2 containers that can hold water
  • Soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Toy cars

What to do:

  • Add soap drops to one container then run water to create suds. Carefully drain out the water so what you are left with is a container of suds.
  • The child then starts each vehicle in the “car wash” (suds) and scrubs the vehicle down, then transfers the vehicle to the “rinsing bay”.

To note:

This activity for us lasted well over a half hour and my son kept going to find more cars he could wash. My youngest even got in on this one and had a blast!

The floor around the basins gets wet, but if you are worried about that just lay a few towels underneath the basins. This activity could also be done outdoors to save the clean up.


3) Abstract Art Collage

What you need:

  • Paper
  • White glue
  • Various items that could be glued (tissue, coloured paper etc)
  • Brush for applying glue

To note:

I feel it’s important for this one to just let them go, so having a variety of colours and items for them to choose from is important to me, but not necessarily essential.

I also taught him the skill of scrunching tissue paper to glue, so you can see he tried that a few times.

This activity for my son lasted about 10 minutes, but that could vary depending on your child’s skill and interest!

My “Look what I made” Art display sign is perfect for these type of activities!


Can you tell my son’s favourite colour?


3) The Itsy Bitsy Spider Web:

What you need:

  • Painter’s tape
  • Newspaper
  • A doorway

What to do:

Create a web in a doorway using painter’s tape. If your child is able, get them to scrunch the newspaper into balls, but if they are not able then this is something you could do quickly! Children then throw the newspaper balls and see if they can get them caught in the web.

To note:

My son loves singing so we played the itsy bitsy spider as he did this activity. The newspaper didn’t stick well to the painter’s tape, as my son wasn’t throwing hard enough, so it turned into trying to get your ball through the net without getting it caught.

We also had a blow up sword from a goodie bag, so we finished by trying to sword down the spider web.

In total this activity lasted about 20 minutes.

4) Puzzle Hide and Seek

Do you have a puzzle lover? If so this is the perfect activity.

What you need:

  • Puzzles

What to do:

Before your children wake up or when you have a chance when they are not around, hide puzzle pieces all over the house.

To note:

Depending on the age of your child, you could hide a few puzzles at the same time allowing them a challenge.

The puzzle we used was a Melissa and Doug puzzle and let me tell you this is a fabulous present. My son got this for his first birthday and two years later he still plays with it!

To Note: At 3 years old, my son isn’t the best at finding things, and so this was more a guided activity where I gave him hints and he would find. But we still had a lot of fun. I could also hide them in easier locations so it could be more independent.


5) Construction Zone

What you need:

  • A box of pasta
  • A toy hammer or anything of that sort
  • A small container

To note:

The Dollar Store is a great place to buy some cheap pasta instead of using your own, but maybe you have some that has been sitting at the back of the shelf for too long!

What to do:

Put pasta into a hard surfaced container like a cookie tray. Simply let your child at it. Who doesn’t like hitting things.

The pieces of pasta flew all over the place, so he had tons of fun sweeping the pieces up after.

This activity lasted about 15 minutes.

6) Sand zone

What you need:

  • Crayola coloured sand (Or make your own)
  • Cars, trucks, anything of that sort.
  • Container to hold sand

What to do: 

Place sand into a container and simply allow your child to explore. If your toddler isn't into trucks and cars, put dinosaurs, or unicorns. The list is endless. 

To note: 

The sand inevitably got out of the container, and is a super fine sand, so was a pain to clean up. Since, I have tried putting less sand in or a container with deeper walls. 

This activity lasted over a half our and he asks almost every day to play with his inside sand. 

There are so many more activities out there, simply search Pinterest and you will see what I mean! These however are ones that have been a hit in our house! Please let me know which you have tried and which was the fave in your house! If you have an activity you have tried before that has been a hit please let me know!

Make sure you are following me on Instagram so you can see what other activities I try this summer. I make a point of adding them to my stories.

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