5 Busy Activities to Keep Your Toddler Still

At the beginning of the year, my very active and fearless toddler broke his leg. It was a fracture near the growth plate called a “toddler fracture,” which, apparently, is a common break for kids his age. For him though, this was pretty devastating, considering that he is the kind of kid who is always on the go. He has never been the type to sit still long enough to watch an episode on Netflix or put together a puzzle. He is all boy, and I knew being immobilized for 6 weeks was going to be VERY difficult for him.

My active toddler right after he got his cast on (and before he realized how much "sitting still" would be required).

My active toddler right after he got his cast on (and before he realized how much “sitting still” would be required).

So, I hopped on Google and found/created some inexpensive sitting-still activities for him to try. These simple activities were lifesavers for the first few weeks of his cast, and they still come in handy when we are stuck inside or need to sit still at a sibling’s sports game.

Toy Car Wash

Toy Car Wash


1. Toy car wash. My toddler still loves this one! We gather up toy cars, tractors, trucks, etc., line them up on a cookie sheet, and “wash” them with a bowl of water and a brush or sponge. Very easy, and it transforms some of his favorite “active” toys into a quiet activity!



2. Pom-poms in a jar. I found some fuzzy craft pom-poms in my craft drawer and just tossed them in an empty Gerber puffs container. My little one had lots of fun dumping them out and filling it back up!

Matching Colors

Matching Colors

3. Matching colors. This quiet activity is great because it helps toddlers work on learning colors and helps develop fine motor skills! It was super easy to make and, truth be told, my eleven-year-old did most of the work. All you need is a handful of popsicle sticks and clothespins (I used miniature ones). Color or paint the popsicle sticks and clothespins in pairs of colors for the toddler to match by clipping them together! I still keep this one in the diaper bag for games or church.

4. Pipe-cleaners in a box. All you need for this one is an empty box of wipes and a handful of pipe-cleaners. My toddler had lots of fun filling the box up with the pipe-cleaners and then pulling them back out through the wipes slot! When we were home, I would also set up a colander next to it, and he would have fun trying to poke the pipe cleaners into the holes of the colander.

5. Piggy bank. We decorated a can with a plastic lid and cut a slit in the top of the lid. Then, I gave my toddler a bag of coins and told him it was his “project” to get all of the money in the bank. He loved having a “project” while the other kids were working on homework (not to mention his own “money”)!

active cast 600Eventually, he learned how to walk on his cast.  And run . . . and climb. Yes, seriously. People would see his acrobatics on his cast and look at me with pity and say things like, “Well, I see how he broke his leg to begin with!”.  I’d be lying if I said the “sitting still” thing wasn’t just a little relief while it lasted!


What’s your favorite busy activity for toddlers?

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