Homemade toddler entertainment ideas

Bake Biscuits

My boys love helping out in the kitchen.

If you don't mind a bit of a mess every now and again - let your kids help you bake these cookies.

My eldest helps with the measuring, mixing and rolling and both boys love cutting out the different shapes, decorating and of course eating it afterwards!

1/4 cup margarine or butter

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 Tbsp milk

1 1/2 cups of Self raising flour

Cream the margarine and sugar together - beat until smooth. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and mix well.

Sift the rest of the dry ingredients together and add it also. Once mixed, allow the dough to stand in a cool place for about 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out thinly on a floured surface (add flour on top if it sticks to the roller) and cut out shapes.

Place the shapes on a greased baking plate in the oven at 190deg Celsius for 15 minutes.

Play dough recipe

2 Cups of flour

1/2 Cup of salt

2tsp oil

1 Cup of water

2 tsp food colouring (mixed into the water)

Mix all ingredients together and store the dough in an airtight container in the fridge (this will extend the play dough's lifespan)

Show your toddler how to squeeze, squash and roll the dough. Also how to shape it into a ball or a square.

You can even give your toddler a plastic knife and under your supervision, teach her how to cut the dough and make different marks in it.

Another idea is to use cookie cutters to press different shapes out of the dough.


Cheap paper options:

  • used envelopes, opened up
  • used wrapping paper
  • cereal boxes opened up

Give the kids pencils, crayons or pens and let them draw to their hearts' content.


  • Hand and foot drawings - make different hand and foot prints and colour them in. This is also a great idea for DIY Christmas or birthday wrapping. Decorate cheap brown wrapping paper this way.
  • Paper rubbings - Cover keys, money, leaves or bark with paper and rub it with a pencil or wax crayon


My kids love it when I read aloud to them.

In the beginning my youngest was not interested at all but I just kept at it, small bits at a time, pointing to all the interesting pictures and allowing him to turn the page and to decide when he had enough.

I would then tell him that it was his older brother's turn and would then read the "big boy story".

My youngest is now 2 years old and he will mostly sit through 2 or 3 stories but when he doesn't want to, I don't force the issue.

Libraries are an excellent (not to mention frugal) source of children’s books.

Play dress up

Children love dressing up. You don't have to fill your "dress-up box" with expensive costumes.

Simply ask your family or friends to go through their drawers or go to second hand stores for:

  • hats,
  • bags,
  • costume jewellery,
  • old mobile phones,
  • scarves and
  • shawls.

Return from the entertain-toddler page to the Frugal Living Home