free ways of wearing out a toddler feature image

Free Ways Of Wearing Out A Toddler

Wearing out a toddler when pregnant is tiring and he is 5 now so I have no idea how parents of younger kids cope!

With the current renovations on the house, new soon-to-be-baby and all the financial constraints that go with it, the budget is a little tight at the moment. With half term just gone, it was up to us to come up with some free ways to stay amused and wear the boy out because that bundle of energy never stops! I hate not being able to go on fancy excursions or visit interesting places all the time, especially at the moment but we definitely enjoyed finding some frugal fun ideas and spending time together regardless.

Here are some of our favourite activities for wearing out a toddler from over half term:


When the weather was nice, we definitely made full use of the sunshine and thanks to some work on our garden, he has an awesome outdoor area to play in. The outdoors is an essential ingredient to wearing out a toddler and after we added some cars and trucks to the sandpit, there was an entire afternoon sorted right there!


This one is probably my favourite and the little guy is really getting into junior Parkrun. Perfect for all sorts of weather (as long as you dress and pack properly) plus you can do it anywhere! We like to go to Tilgate park but we’ve also been doing local walking just to stretch our legs and get out of the house. Walking around the neighborhood also teaches them about their surroundings and is quite a good way to meet the neighbors and get chatting!

Local Parks

We are very lucky that we have so many free parks in our local area that have slides and climbing frames for the little guy who could (and has) spent hours in them. When I am not heavily pregnant I also like to take the opportunity to exercise at the local park and get my quota in, two birds with one stone. If your park is lacking then take a ball, some bats, frisbee, kite or other outdoor games with you to make it more exciting! And don’t forget the picnic!

Water Play

I set the little guy up with buckets, sponges, cups, bath toys (and then he found a stick) and some cardboard boxes and he enjoyed pouring everything from one area to another, getting suitably soaked and having a great afternoon enjoying the sunshine. Plus he kept cool too!

Baking & Cooking

Technically this isn’t free if you aren’t a regular baker but you can always cook and concoct new meals, foods, snacks and desserts to try with the kids using what you have in the fridge or cupboards. Alternatively, you can just get the kids to help you make meals and get them involved in the whole process! My guy likes to help stir, mix or chop things (under strict supervision!) and you would be surprised how helpful this is for wearing out a toddler, plus it’s a great way to teach about food too!

Here are some muffins that we made a few weeks back, we incorporated frozen fruit from the freezer and whipped up a batch that went down a treat! You can find the recipe for these Easy Blackberry, Blueberry & Banana Muffins here.

When the weather is terrible we like to take things inside, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun on a budget too! Our favourite games at the moment are a “golf obstacle course” which involves an improved route that you have to navigate with a tennis ball and plastic golf clubs! (it is definitely a sight to behold).

Our other favourite activity is building indoor forts, although since moving we haven’t had the ability as everything is being painted and refurbed! There is also reading which is a great quiet activity if we are winding down in the afternoon and we have been trying to incorporate it more into our routine! If you are trying to incorporate more reading, I wrote a post onΒ Encouraging Toddler Reading, you should check out.

Other ideas include:

  • Outdoor chalk drawing
  • Painting
  • Save up vouchers for free days and experiences during the school holidays or visit places where children go free
  • Water fights
  • Indoor picnics
  • Invite friends over for a play date
  • Dance party
  • BBQ
  • Gardening or plant some flowers/ seeds

For more ideas and inspiration for wearing out a toddler when you are stuck indoors, check out my Fun & Frugal Activities For You + Your Kids

Wearing out a toddler is definitely a fine art, but it doesn’t have to be expensive and costly! With a little creativity and enthusiasm, you can have plenty of fun and encourage creativity, imagination and spend some quality time together. That being said, we always make a little time for TV too (I’m not a superhero! or a morning person!)

How do you entertain your kids on a budget?Β 

You may also like these Pinterest Boards:

Wearing out a toddler doesn't have to be expensive, here are some free suggestions and examples of having fun for free, especially during the holidays.

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox


  • katriza (#)
    June 12th, 2017

    Haha I’m always looking for ways to wear my kids out so they take an afternoon nap! Mommy needs a nap too! LOL These are great tips and I love that they’re free!

  • Kara (#)
    June 9th, 2017

    We built our own sandpit too and have just found one of those digging machines to put in it – keeps him occupied for ages

  • Rachel (#)
    June 9th, 2017

    Waterplay is one of my favorite ways to wear out the kids. It seems to be the one that always works and works well.

  • Louise (#)
    June 9th, 2017

    I wish there was a way of tiring out my toddler! He will not give in at night no matter how busy we’ve been during the day. I swear he’ll be the death of me!!

    Louise x

  • HilLesha (#)
    June 8th, 2017

    These are wonderful tips, but I honestly don’t think anything wears out my toddler. Only if I had her energy! ~lol~

  • Courtneylynne (#)
    June 8th, 2017

    Great tips!!! If I want my daughter nice and tired I take her to the playground. Usually works like a charm!

  • Heather (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    These are great ideas! We’ve been spending morning hours in our backyard pool to get nap time started early for our two year old daughter. Working excellent!

  • Kerry norris (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    Such a good post. I’m always look for things to do and I tend to over complicate things. My girls love wet play x

  • Di (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    So thankful I don’t have toddlers. Seriously, I’m exhausted most days just running around after hubby, dog, work and “life”.

  • Lindsey London Mumma (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    certainly great tips on wearing out a toddler and I will certainly try and give these a go. Fingers crossed it works, my little one is never tired lol!

  • Krystal (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    My son is home for the summer and is 4. He is SO busy and needs activities all the time.

  • Great ideas but I think they’d wear me out too! πŸ™‚

  • Cindy Magee (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    Oh what a fun article! I remember trying to tire my kids out so they would sleep good at nap time or night time. One of my favorites was to get a bottle of bubbles and listen to them laugh and chase them all over the place.

  • Heather Garcia (#)
    June 7th, 2017

    What fun ideas and they will get the parents a good night’s sleep too! LOL! I love the sandbox idea. I used to spend hours in mine as a kid.

  • Heather (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    We live close to our high school, so in the summer when they are watering the football field we all go up and the kids run around in the sprinklers while I walk around the track – it is perfect!

  • Sarah - let them be small (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    great ideas. When I was pregnant last time I had a 3 and a 2 year old as well. I used to get them out in the park first thing to burn off energy then if it was nice we would come home to play in the garden x

  • Dawn McAlexander (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    When I wanted to wear my daughter out, I would take her to the park. After a half hour or so of running around and playing, she would be pretty exhausted.

  • Cassie Tucker (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    I love how honest you are with this post about wanting ways to wear them out and not “entertain” them, lol. I know as a kid, I love playing in the water so I wholeheartedly support this option.

  • Deborah Nicholas (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    I love these ideas and im always doing the running round one trying to tire them out lol That sandpit is fab, such a cute space!

  • Melissa Chapman (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    The race is on to see who gets tired first when you have a 5 year old and are pregnant. I would love to try and make my own muffins yours look great.

  • Bri (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    Well, I don’t have any children yet, but these sure will come in handy! When I used to nanny, I would totally do all of these!

  • reesa (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    You can wear a toddler out?! No way! LOL!
    These are great tips. Getting outside and getting dirty were always great ways for my little ones!

  • Rhian Westbury (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    I don’t have kids myself but I bet it must be so tough to have a younger kid when you’re pregnant yourself x

  • Cindy Ingalls (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    The playground or exploring local parks is always a good idea. Looking up groupons or coupons for discounts on jumping places or other indoor activities can also help you save money.

  • Journa Ramirez (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    Cooking is still the best thing to do with my kids even up until now that my eldest is already seven years old. It’s fun and I guess, it’s our passion!

  • Ana De- Jesus (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    Baking and cooking as well as water play sounds fun and will be sure to wear out toddlers as well x

  • Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    I agree, wear them out as much as you can during the summer! It’s the time wherein they’ll have too much energy. I think these are great ideas to do just that!

  • Allison (#)
    June 6th, 2017

    These are such great ideas! My 17 month old has endless energy and I hate that he gets bored sometimes. I will certainly be utilizing some of these soon!

  • Cassie (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    haha i love these ideas! And the title alone had me cracking up. I don’t have any kids of my own just yet but I regularly look after my niece and nephew and I remember how much energy they had as toddlers!!

  • Janel (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    It’s been along time since I’ve had a toddler in my home but I do remember participating in a lot of activities. Some of his favorites were going to the park and playing in the dirt .

  • Jessica Joachim (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    I am all about wearing my kids out! One of my faves is to set up the sprinkler in the yard and let my daughter run like a crazy person lol

  • Rachel (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    I am always thinking of ideas to keep kids busy. I created a post myself on how to keep kids busy so Mums can have a cuppa!! Love you Blog!!

  • Amanda Love (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    My youngest is currently 5 and it is crazy trying to keep up with her energy level. Activities are always very important and it also keeps them active especially during the summer.

  • Karen Morse (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    I can only imagine what it’s like wheb you’re pregnant and taking care of a toddler that doesn’t seem to run out of energy. These are great ideas though. Play is always a good solution.

  • emmerson329 (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Great tips! I struggle to tire mine out, my youngest is like the energiser bunny!! Nothing wears him out!

  • Ashley (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    That’s brilliant to think along these lines! Especially walking and running, because you are wearing out the little one but also getting a workout while doing so. Genius!!

    Much love,
    Ashley |

  • Cath - BattleMum (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    These are great ideas. I’m without nursery options since we moved so these will come in very handy for entertaining my son! Thank you x

  • Sona Jain (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Haha! I know what you mean! Exhausting them out is the best way to keep give yourself somespace.

  • Kimberly (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Where was this article when my son was 2-3?! Ha! I love it! Will be saving it for when my youngest reaches that age. Thanks for sharing

  • Talya (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    When my daughter was a toddler we basically lived in parks…that and dance parties. Wearing out a toddler is essential! Fab tips here.

    June 5th, 2017

    Great tips, it’s always good to have a few ideas up your sleeve for tiring out little ones. I like to take mine to the park and let them loose. Baking is also fun.

  • Theresa (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    I could really use these tips for a long summer home with the kids! Thanks for the ideas.

  • robin rue (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Haha, I remember those days and love all of your ideas. I used to take my kids to the playground a lot, but if that didn’t work – I would have them do laps around the house πŸ™‚

    • Charlotte (#)
      June 5th, 2017

      haha laps sound awesome, although he does that inside now :p

  • Jenni (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Great ideas, it doesn’t have to be expensive to entertain a toddler

  • Helen (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Great ideas – I’m always in need of ways to exhaust our rather energetic two year old! We love to bake together, but find the garden/outdoors is the most effective way of tiring her out πŸ™‚

  • Jon (#)
    June 5th, 2017

    Great post this. Have to agree about the Running one, that 100% tires them out!!

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