5 Quiet Toddler Activities – Ideas for Independent Play

Would you like to sit by me?  I have an activity for you!

Magic words for my two year old daughter.

“Yesh Mama!  Tibity!”  She'll say.

Quiet activities to do with toddlers

Five ideas for “Sit By Me” Toddler Activities

Todders are some of the most BUSY people. Many of our “must do” activities for the toddler years involve exploring, going, moving, but we've all got to sit (relatively) still sometimes too!

These are the kinds of things I'll get out for my toddler when I'm trying to get something done with my other kids and we're all sitting at the same table.  They are quiet, quick to grab, not TOO messy and don't require lots of supervision. This post contains Amazon affiliate links – if you purchase through them I am compensated at no extra cost to you.

5 Quiet Activities to Entertain Toddlers


Make marks on a piece of paper and show your toddler how to cover them with stickers, or get a sticker activity book and let the peeling-and-sticking begin.

5 Activities for Toddlers to do at the Table

Rip and Tear!

Give pieces of paper and a bucket and show your toddler how to rip off pieces and put them all in the bucket.  I cut mine into strips to make them more tempting to tear up. As I mention in this post about art with toddlers – destruction can be VERY satisfying to kids this age.


5 Quiet Toddler Activities at the Table

Contact Paper!

Now you've got a bucket of paper bits, contact paper is in order!  Tape down a piece of contact paper sticky side up.  Show your toddler how  paper pieces stick to the contact paper and let them take it from there.


5 Simple Toddler Activities


After a quick contact paper art piece we grabbed this collection of boxes for a mini treasure hunt.  You can use any boxes or a set of nesting blocks.  In the smallest bin or bag put something like cotton balls and a few “treasures.”  Put all of these containers together and let your toddler figure out how they open as they search for the treasure inside.  Once they get at it you can ask them to put it into the different boxes, hide it for you and so on.

Mix it All Up

Once you've exhausted your supply of quiet toddler activities what can you do?  Mix it all up!  At the end of this play session (during which I was doing a writing lesson with her big brother) I re-taped the contact paper and asked her if the cotton balls would stick to it too.  Then I handed her a pen to see if she wanted to draw on her masterpiece.  This gave my older son and I long enough to finish up what we were doing before my toddler reclaimed my attention.

More Resources for things to do with toddlers when you've got to keep them busy:

Does your toddler have a favorite activity for independent play?  Let us know in the comments, we can all use more ideas!


Alissa Zorn stands near a pond with an orange shirt on wearing a black button down over that.
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Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.