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Packing with a toddler can be an exercise in futility. You pack a bit, they want a snack. So you fix them a snack and go back to packing, only to discover your toddler has already unpacked what you packed… sound familiar? Here are some activities (besides watching TV) that you can use to keep your toddler entertained while you pack for your move.

Rice play

Fill a large bowl or bin with uncooked rice, then add toys, spoons, and cups. Let your toddler dig and scoop and find “treasures” to their heart’s content.

Shaving cream fun

Squirt a dollop or two of shaving cream on a clean surface like your dining room table. Let your child “draw” pictures in the cream with their finger or create little fluffy castles. Cleanup is quick and easy: just wipe everything down with a damp cloth. If your toddler seems tempted to eat the shaving cream, you could opt for whipped cream or playdough instead.

“Brighten” your load

Put a bunch of crayons and stickers next to your stack of packed boxes and let your toddler decorate them! This is a great way to make your child feel a part of the packing process (and it should make loading and unloading fun too!)

Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and water guns

If you need to do some packing in your garage, open your garage door and set some bubbles, chalk, and water guns on the driveway. While you sort and pack, your toddler can blow bubbles, draw pictures, and squirt their drawings with the water guns.

Recyclable play

Whenever you come across paper towel rolls, empty tape rolls, toilet paper rolls, and boxes and bubble wrap, give them to your toddler. You probably won’t even have to show them how to play with these items! They’ll turn paper towel rolls into car tunnels or trumpets. They’ll turn boxes into forts. You’ll be amazed at how many hours they will spend using their imagination and playing with your “cast-offs!” Just be sure to keep a special eye on them when they’re playing with the bubble wrap, as it can be a choking hazard.

Of course, whenever you can, take time away from packing to play with your toddler! Moving takes a toll on your little one too, and they don’t quite understand why their surroundings are in upheaval. That being said, don’t feel guilty setting them up with some self-guided play sometimes–it will be the perfect opportunity for you to pack a box or two!

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