10 Ways to Entertain Toddlers and Preschoolers During the Coronavirus Quarantine

Well, it’s been a week y’all, am I right? I’m not sure what was harder to hear – that the COVID-19 virus officially reached pandemic status, or that nearly all the school districts in the city of Houston would be closing for several weeks. Either way, it looks like we’ll all be stuck at home for the foreseeable future with our toddlers and preschoolers without the benefit of trips to the zoo or indoor playgrounds to break up the monotony. In the words of Uncle Jesse, have mercy! 

But never fear! If you’re looking for a way to keep your toddlers and preschoolers from killing each other over the next several weeks, we’ve gotcha covered. Check out these ten simple and fun activities we’ve compiled that can all be done with items found around the house. 

Painters Tape Roadway for your Toddlers and Preschoolers

10 Ways to Entertain Toddlers and Preschoolers During the Coronavirus Quarantine

If your kids are anything like mine, they have about 8,624 tiny toy cars and trucks laying around the house; kill an easy hour or two by grabbing some painters tape and creating a roadway. We often cart out boxes to act as attached garages, construction site playsets for the roads to wind around, and occasionally even a a toy farmhouse for the trucks to visit on their routes. Don’t have any painters tape? No problem. A similar effect can be achieved with string or strips of construction paper. Just get inventive and have some fun!

Nature Scavenger Hunts 

Feeling cooped up? Head outside and get your toddlers and preschoolers involved in a scavenger hunt through nature. Compile a list of items for them to look for {an acorn, a large green leaf, a yellow flower, a funny shaped twig} and have your kids take turns checking them off. Don’t feel like coming up with a list on your own? Ask them to look for one item in every color of the rainbow. This not only adds an extra challenge, but helps littles work on their color recognition as well. And don’t forget to bring a basket to collect all their treasures in! {Pro tip – if you happen to have an instant print camera like the Fujifilm Instax Mini, taking photos of what they find can be a fun scavenger hunt alternative.} 

Build Your Own Zoo

With the Houston Zoo closed until April, us mamas gotta get creative, am I right? Have your kids round up all their toy animals and create a mini zoo of their own. You can use shoe boxes, toy blocks, or even popsicle sticks to separate the animals into different enclosures. And hey, if their zoo has a few dragons and dinosaurs alongside the monkeys and zebras, well, who’s to stop them? 

Create Your Own Binoculars 

Got a few empty toilet paper rolls hanging around? Grab some construction paper, string and glue and get to work on a pair of DIY binoculars. Simply glue two toilet paper rolls together, punch holes on either side for the string, and then go to town decorating them. You never know, they might even come in handy on your scavenger hunt. And hey, with St. Patrick’s Day and Easter right around the corner, have a little extra fun with it and make them themed. My kids love crafting Leprechaun and Easter Bunny Watchers. 

Bowling with Blocks

Find your toddlers and preschoolers are getting a little wound up and on the verge of destroying your house? Have them channel that energy into destroying block towers instead. Step 1 – round up all their building blocks and help them construct a few towers of varying heights and shapes. Step 2 – give them a ball and let them go crazy trying to knock them over. Guaranteed shrieks of joy and hilarity. Added bonus, they can pass a good chunk of time rebuilding the towers in different configurations. Don’t worry if you don’t have any wooden blocks laying around. Simply use plastic cups, Tupperware or empty snack containers instead. 

Toy Carwash 

10 Ways to Entertain Toddlers and Preschoolers During the Coronavirus Quarantine

With all these germs raging around and everyone social distancing, what better time to spend getting things sterilized? Grab a few of your toddlers and preschoolers’ toy cars or trucks, some bubble bath or dish soap and a water table {or large storage container} and have yourself a toy carwash. My kids loved dunking their trucks into the suds, and of course splashing each other as much as possible. And hey, if it gets those little hands clean as well, all the better. 

ABC Search 

We’ve spent a lot of time practicing the ABCs with our two and four-year-old lately, and are always looking for new ways to keep things interesting. One fun game that both keeps toddlers and preschoolers occupied and counts as an educational activity {for those mamas missing the benefits of preschool} is an alphabet search around the house. Go through each letter of the alphabet one by one and have the kids try to find an object corresponding with that letter. My boys think it’s hilarious to race around the house grabbing bananas for “B” or digging out an old yo-yo for “Y”. For our two-year-old I’ve found that it helps if he has the letter to look at, so grab some flashcards, magnetic letters, or simply draw out the alphabet on different pieces of construction paper before you get started. 

Treasure Hunt 

Let me just say, this one has been a household favorite since I was a child, and boy ever do my kids love it as well. Whenever they’re feeling a little stir crazy I grab some sticky notes and write out a bunch of clues, each one leading to the next. {For example, where does Mommy take her clothes when they need to be washed? Where does Daddy cook toast?} We run around the house finding all the clues, and the kids always know there will be some small surprise or treat at the end for incentive. 

Obstacle Course 

When my toddlers and preschoolers start trying to wrestle with one another and nearly take out my favorite planters, I know it’s time to do a high energy activity to get out their excess energy. That’s when I go around the house collecting empty laundry baskets, hula hoops, couch cushions, pool noodles, play tunnels, chairs and anything else that looks interesting. Lay all the items out and create a fun and active obstacle course. Challenge your kids to jump from one item to the other, crawl under tables, and follow the course from room to room. It gets the wiggles out and makes for a fun afternoon of family frivolity. 

Blanket Fort

When all else fails, blanket forts. Seriously, if I ever need just ten minutes of peace and quiet, I haul out a bunch of sheets, blankets and pillows and construct a quick {or okay, sometimes slightly more elaborate} blanket fort. My kids will play quietly inside while I get ten minutes to myself to unload the dishwasher, make lunch, or just drink a cup of coffee and regain a shred of my sanity. 

I hope your toddlers and preschoolers enjoy these actives as much as mine do and it makes the quarantine time pass just a little faster. And to all the mamas out there trying to keep their kids entertained during this extended {and somewhat unappreciated} Spring Break, may the odds be ever in your favor. 

Do you have any great ideas to entertain toddlers and preschoolers while stuck at home? 

Need more quarantine resources? Check out Houston Moms’ Ultimate Guide to Quarantine Resources! 

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Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .


  1. Excellent resource with such great ideas! I will share this with my Little Sunshine Preschool Dominion coworkers and supervisors. Most importantly our parents at home with their children because of this epidemic!


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