100 Ways to Keep Little Kids Happy

Getting through the day with an active toddler can put your patience, creativity, and endurance to the test. Keep your child smiling with this huge list of simple, fun activities.

Pretend-Play Games

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1. Celebrate a new holiday. Announce that it's Polka-Dot Day or Purple Day.
2. Throw a doll's birthday party. Wrap up a few "gifts," decorate with balloons and streamers, and enjoy a mock -- or real -- cake.
3. Dress for the weather. Lay out items for different weather conditions, describe a certain day, and ask your child to pick an outfit for it.
4. Open a petting zoo. Place stuffed animals around the room, pet each one, and talk about what they like to eat.
5. Camp out in your living room. Climb into a tent and sleeping bags. Turn on a flashlight, and pretend to eat s'mores.
6. Form a family band. Have everyone grab an instrument and jam to a CD.
7. Imitate animals. Practice hopping like a frog, squirming like a worm, waddling like a duck, and stretching like a cat.
8. Play restaurant. In the real kitchen or a pretend one, alternate between being the customer and the server or chef.
9. Offer horsy rides. Let her bounce on your back while you "neigh" and chew hay.
10. Ride the laundry-bin "school bus." She's the passenger, and you're the driver. Make stops to pick up other kids, and wave bye-bye to the mommies at each stop.

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