5 easy to set up toddler independent play ideas

Inside: Find ideas for toddler independent play that are so easy to set up, even for the super busy families. 

You just want your toddler to stop following you around the house and play independently in his own so you could catch up with daily house chores.

Despite a full bin of toys (or two)  in the living room and big one in his room, seems that all he wants is to play with you.

Only you.

And no matter how much you give yourself, it’s never enough.

You tried all kinds of activities, some of them worked great in the past and made you feel proud of yourself. It’s your accomplishment when you find an idea, prepare and set it up, and BINGO! He’s finally playing alone.

Unfortunately, all good ideas fade away eventually.

Here are some fresh independent play activities for a toddler that you can alternate for several times, making them appealing again every time you set it up in a different way or using different ‘ingredients’.

5 easy to set up toddler independent play ideas

1. Matching shapes game

Find a small bin and pick some toys that lay around. On a big cardboard place all the toys you’ve picked and trace them with a marker. Put the toys back in the bin. Now, your child’s task is to find matching shapes and place them to the proper spot.

toy shapes matching game DIY toddler independent play

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2. Play dough

Playdough and some cutters, popsicle sticks, pom poms and pipe cleaners will keep your toddler busy with pooking, pounding, shaping and creating at their own pace. This molding activity will truly impact your child’s creative process plus help him strengthen hand muscles and practice fine motor skills. Every time you pull playdough out set up different theme and supplies. You could have one or two playdough sets to boost creative and imaginative play.

Playdough toaster kitchen creations set is one of the favorite in our house, my kids never get bored making new dishes.

Playdough kitchen creations toaster set


3. Stickers

Bright stickers with fun shapes will quickly become an activity they enjoy. Not just because of the variety of pictures on them but simply because they are sticky. Once your toddler discovers stickers he will want to explore more. Have sheet of paper ready, maybe crayons or washable markers that will add even more fun.

4. Sensory bins

Great way to explore texture, practice skills and learn. Have a large bin or storage tub filled with interesting stuff, like beans, rice, flour, pom poms, dirt, water, ice or whatever you think may be interested to your child. This will be base. Next add scoops, jars, funnels, animals, trucks, tweezers, or again, whatever you have handy and it’s ready for play. Once when you learn basics you will have your own ideas of what works the best for your child.

5. Buttoning activity

button snake toddler independent play ideas

Make a simple Button snake toy for practicing buttoning skills  and you won’t have to worry about lost or swallowed buttons. Simply sew buttons on each end of a rope or ribbon and cut shapes out of felt with a button hole in the middle.


All these independent play activities will entertain your toddler for about 10-30 minutes, depending on a child, as each child is different. But that is amount of time 18 month old to 3 year old can be content solo playing.

Also, you have to take into account if your child knows how to play on his own.

If your child doesn’t wanna play on his own and always require your attention, wants to play with you or is constantly bored, check out Independent Play Starter Kit. With useful tips and tricks, you’ll learn how you can engage them into independent play and teach them how to play alone.

5 easy to set up toddler independent play ideas

Lily Zunic

I believe every person is creative and every craft project is beautiful when you create for the journey of your heart.

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