Entertaining a busy toddler can be exhausting. And expensive. Here are 6 fun games that are cheap and simple to make at home for your busy little one.

1.  Guessing Box
Keep your little one guessing with this fun game! Find an empty baby wipes tub, the plastic ones with the flip up lid work best. You’ll need lots of different small toys and household objects. Ask your little one to close their eyes while you fill the tub with some items. Using only their sense of touch, ask your child to stick their hand through the opening into the tub and guess what they can feel. If they guess correctly, they can pull the item out. Once all items are gone, you can refill and start guessing again!

TIP: It can also be fun to have the objects themed, such as things you’d find in the kitchen or in the bathroom

2.  Inside Hopscotch
Little kids love hopscotch! Make your toddler their own inside game. You’ll need some large squares of cardboard and markers. Simply cut large squares from the cardboard, about 30cm by 30 cm works well. The more squares you make, the more inventive your game can be. Draw a number on each square and you’re ready to play! Set the squares up in number order, placing some in a single line for hopping and some in pairs for jumping. This is a great portable game you can take with you.

TIP: It’s fun to use brightly coloured cardboard. You can also draw pictures rather than numbers to make a themed game, such as farmyard animals!

3.  Ball Throwing Tins
Throwing balls is fun and can encourage your toddler’s hand-eye coordination. You’ll need some ping pong balls, bright card or paper and an empty tin, preferably with a reusable plastic lid. If you don’t have a lid, make one from cardboard and tape it in place. Cut a small hole in the top of the lid large enough for a ping pong ball to go through easily. Wrap the tin in bright paper or cardboard and you’re ready to play! Standing close to the tin, your toddler can drop the ping pong balls into the tin. As they get the hang of it, they can step further away and throw the balls.

TIP: Paint the ping pong balls bright colours to make a set each for multiple player games!

4.  Odd Bods Matching Game
Toddlers love games with a sense of mischief! Odd Bods gives them the chance to match animals’ body parts and make some funny animals too! You’ll need some strips of cardboard, about the size of a third of an A4 sheet of paper. On each strip stick or draw a picture of a different animal, making sure they go the width of the strip. Cut each strip into thirds so that each animal is now in three pieces. The game is for your toddler to match the pieces to make the animals or get creative and make some strange creatures!

TIP: A great game to keep toddlers entertained in the car.

5.  People Puzzles
Make your own puzzles featuring friends and family important to your child. Stick photos onto thin cardboard. Cut each photo carefully into pieces the number will depend on how difficult you want to make the puzzle. As your toddler makes each puzzle, see if they can guess and then recognise who the special people are.

TIP: You can make puzzles with photos or pictures of anything your child loves.

6. Odd Socks Bowling

Finally a fun use for those odd socks lying in the laundry basket! Roll one sock into a ball and then stretch another sock over it. Keep stretching socks over to make a ball about the size of a tennis ball. To finish the ball, tie a knot in the last sock or wrap the ball in strong tape. Using plastic cups or containers as bowling pins, set up a triangle and go bowling!

TIP: You can also stack the cups up in a pyramid and let your little one practise throwing to knock them down.

Author

Mum of three country kids. Part time psychologist, writer and aspiring children's author. Believes that happiness comes from being grateful, being surrounded by people who support and inspire you, and being brave enough to be yourself.

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