7 Ways to Keep Your Toddler Busy While Riding in a Stroller

Wouldn't you love the opportunity to sit, securely fastened, in a comfortable chair, while someone pushed you around lush parks, interesting cityscapes, and bustling shopping centers? Then why do toddlers fight the stroller ride with every fiber of their being?

Well, because they're 2-years-olds, and the idea of a relaxing stroller ride, providing much-needed down time for them and exercise for you, is not nearly as fun as drawing on the wall with markers or sprinting away from mom.

That said, a successful stroller ride can be accomplished by implementing one, two or all of these tricks of the trade.

Long-lasting snacks

Credit: images by Tang Ming Tung

As any mother will tell you, snacks are key to keeping your child happy in almost any situation. But during stroller rides, aim to make those snacks new, exciting, and, if possible, time-consuming to eat. Have your child peel their own orange or clementine cutie; offer a stick of turkey jerky on which to gnaw; or pack a stash of all-natural suckers.

Arts and crafts

Bring an old, spiral-bound notebook and make it your child's stroller "sketch pad." Pack a box of markers or crayons and encourage your toddler to draw pictures of what they see on the ride: trees, dogs, cyclists, etc. Small dry-erase boards or chalk boards also are good options. And don't discount the classic coloring book as a standby.


This idea might not be for everyone, every kid, or every situation. BUT, if you're outside and you're OK with a little mess, it could buy you a mile or so walk. Use the stroller's cup-holder for a small bottle of bubbles and let your toddler blow away. Or, better yet, have the child dip the wand and watch the bubbles fly as you speed-walk or jog the stroller along. A bubble gun also would work well but would require a little more assistance from mom or dad. That said, there's a decent chance some (or all) of the bubbles are going to spill. Just remember, it's only soap and water, not the end of the world.

I Spy

It's an oldie, but goodie. Play the "I see something that you don't see and the color is ____" game with your toddler. This helps them learn colors and keeps the stroller wheels moving forward as you find new things to "spy."

Egg timer and M&Ms

This is essentially an extended bribe, but worth a try. Give your child an inexpensive egg-timer and have them set it for two minutes. If they can be chill for those two minutes, they get an M&M or small piece of whatever delicious candy is their favorite. If they want more M&Ms, have them set the timer for another 2 minutes.

Kiddo camera

Durable, digital children's cameras come in many shapes and sizes. Consider giving one to your child for their birthday or other special occasion and encourage he or she to document your stroller rides. You can also let your child use your old, digital point-and-shoot that's gathering dust in the closet. Kids love the instant gratification digital photos provide -- even more so when they take the photos themselves.

Other electronics

A sure-fire way to keep your toddler happy while in the stroller is to whip out the iPad (or another tablet-like device). This is not always the best option, as it's nice for children to be somewhat engaged in what they're seeing while out in the stroller. Plus, once you've OK-ed the iPad for stroller use, there's no going back. That said, sometimes it needs to be done. A couple ways to limit iPad use in the stroller is to tell your child they can have it for the last half of the trip, only if they behave during the first half. Another option is to load "home movies" of the kids and family for the toddler to watch instead of "Frozen" for the umpteenth time.