7 Ways To Encourage Toddlers To Entertain Themselves

Helping your toddler to entertain himself can help foster both creativity and independence.

With a lot of gadgets at our disposal, it is common to see your kids get distracted.

They wait for things to entertain them!

But, when do your kids entertain themselves? Your toddler can discover their passion and abilities during solo play.

It is hard for your toddlers to entertain themselves with screens like television, tablets, and video games around them.

Long gone are the days when your kids will be on their own without any electronic device.

During boring times, your child can become creative! They can create exciting stories and come up with exceptional ideas.

How do you help your child entertain himself?

Let’s look at some ways you can encourage your toddlers to entertain themselves and free up some of your time!

7 Ways To Encourage Toddlers To Entertain Themselves

When Do Toddlers Play Alone?

Some toddlers naturally play alone as soon as they can, but some are very hesitant. Some go through their entire toddler years without independent play, which is frustrating!

There is no age in your toddler’s life when they think, ‘Right, time for me to play on my own.’ This needs your help, as a parent, to develop.

Your toddler will need to understand two things:

  1. That solo play is fun
  2. That it is ok to play alone

As I mentioned above, independent play is a vital skill to develop when raising your toddler.

The key thing is to encourage independent play. I found that if I left my son long enough, he would naturally start playing with the toys in front of him. After a few minutes, he would ask me to join in. In the interests of his development, I encouraged him to continue without me.

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As he grew older, his confidence improved, and his solo play flourished.

7 Ways To Encourage Independent Play With Your Toddler

toddler solo play with legos

Allocate an “ALONE” Time

One of the best ways for your kids to entertain themselves is by planning and scheduling some alone time.

While your toddler needs to play around with toys and friends, there is also a need for alone time. Your toddler can spend alone time among siblings, friends, and family.

Creating alone time helps build creativity and encourages mental development.

Delay Your Response Time

If it’s possible, avoid the urge to respond to your toddler immediately. Perhaps your toddler is looking for who to play with. Instead of reacting immediately, delay the response time.

You can tell your child to play alone as you would join them later.

This will help your toddler to become more self-dependent. They will have to entertain themselves until you join them.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, this is the tool I used to develop my son’s independent play skills. He would get bored waiting for me. His attention soon turned to the toys I had laid in front of him, and he was away!

Invest in Self-Entertaining Tools

At times, all you need to do is create an atmosphere for your children to entertain themselves.

You don’t have to be available whenever they feel bored. You can provide the tools to take responsibility for dealing with their boredom.

Wherever you are, offer ideas that help your children entertain themselves.

Nowadays, there are many self-entertainment tools that your toddlers can use. You can use it as an educational and entertainment tool.

Take advantage of puzzles, drawing, and sing-along games. They can cut your children’s boredom and motivate them to entertain themselves.

Create a list of “Entertain Yourself” Jar

jar with paper in in

Not all toddlers will express themselves, informing you they are bored.

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As a caring parent, you expect their challenge and provide relevant solutions. The next time you notice your child is bored, you can create a list of “entertain yourself.”

The jar contains ideas that keep your kid engaged and entertained as he performs whatever is on the list.

The idea is that you encourage independent play by getting your toddler to create independent play ideas!

For instance, your list can include the following:

  • Bath the dog
  • Organize your clothes by color
  • Write a story
  • Build a fort using your blankets and pillows
  • Draw a picture of anything of your choice
  • Write a letter to your friend or grandpa

You will discover that your child will feel excited whenever you ask him to go and withdraw an item from the jar.

Take advantage of this opportunity! Your child will learn while entertaining himself.

How about a Scavenger Hunt?

Your kids would love this as it would entertain them while you handle other things. For this to work efficiently, you need to create a scavenger hunt sheet beforehand. When you are free, you can create different items to hunt both within and outside your home.

Once boredom strikes, you pull the list and start with the easiest activity. You would discover your child will be super excited. To make it memorable, you can attach sweets or chocolate to every item they find.

How about, “John, go find the digital camera; there is chocolate close to it.” The scavenger hunt is essential if you are very busy and your child constantly feels lonely.

Your child has the expectation you are waiting for them to recover the item.

Start today! Get your children to find items such as a butterfly, the remote control, or their favorite blanket.

It’s all about letting them entertain themselves.

Craft Supplies

toddler independent play with craft

Craft supplies are excellent for toddlers to use, especially for entertaining themselves.

Your kids can work from home, stay out of trouble, and entertain themselves in every craft.

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Provide a basket containing craft supplies that your child can pull together.

You don’t have to spend outside your budget. All you need is to get the basic craft supplies.

Items like:

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Old magazines
  • Cotton balls
  • Stamps
  • Crayons
  • Ink

If you haven`t noticed, we didn’t include paint and glitter because they can mess your home. You can keep them for special occasions.

If your child is getting bored, you can set them up with the craft supplies to paint, cut, or stamp whatever they want.

Craft supplies are effective for kids and help develop their imagination.


With many things on your mind or a busy work schedule, it can be hard having time for your children. You should find a way in which your kids can stay entertained while you handle other things.

For most parents, it isn’t straightforward to keep their children busy. You can use various things to keep them entertained.

Arts and crafts can help stimulate their imagination and keep them engaged.

Give your child the freedom and space and allow them to discover the potential to amuse themselves.

Remember to teach your children (from a tender age) to enjoy and entertain themselves when nobody is available.

You help your child to become more independent.

As time goes by, they realize that they are responsible for keeping themselves happy.

Without learning how to entertain themselves, it is hard for them to find interesting things to do. In the end, it might lead to academic as well as behavioral problems in the future.

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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