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    23 Things To Help Keep Kids Under 3 Occupied For At Least 5 Minutes

    You used to remember what quiet sounded like, once.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A hedgehog named Spike that helps build motor, counting, and sorting skills by fitting peg-shaped pieces into its back. Just don't ask him if he knows Sonic.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "Love this product. It says 18+ months but it was fun for both of my kids (11 months and 3). It’s meant to help with fine motor skills. The spikes are rubber with different colors and you can put them in and take them out of the holes in the hedgehog. The best part is that when they’re done playing the hedgehog opens and you can store all the spikes in there so they don’t get lost." —Tony Wexler

    For ages 18+ Months

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99

    2. A set of Magna-Tiles for recreating the works of children's author Eric Carle while building 3D versions of beloved characters like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

    Target, Targe

    If you're a parent, chances are there is an Eric Carle book in your child's library, be it "The Grouchy Ladybug" or "The Very Busy Spider" or a personal favorite of mine, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" I introduced the "Papa Please Get the Moon For Me" set to my 1-year-old and he's totally into it. Well, he's totally into destroying whatever I build with it. As an added bonus, the Magna-Tiles kind of feel and sound like cassettes, which will immediately take you back to the days of your youth making mix tapes.

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Target for $34.99

    3. A jumbo 34-piece, floor puzzle, made up of six smaller puzzles that combine into one large image with 10 mix-and-match baby animal pieces (awwww). Plus the handled box makes cleanup and storage super simple.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "Love the design and so does my kid. Takes the abuse from a toddler without any issues." —Jordan

    For ages 2+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $21.99

    4. A 27-piece kids' camping set with a pop-up tent and gear (like an actual working lantern) that's sure to turn the little ones into expert glampers and indoor park rangers.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "The hat is reversible and surprisingly nice quality, it's like a hat you would buy in the store by itself, not just a junky thing they tossed in as an extra. The lanterns are both really cute and light up. The tent is good quality also, it doesn't feel like it'll tear easily. There's a lot of accessories, like little foods and utensils, a digital watch, binoculars. The foods and some of the smaller accessories are kind of cheap thinner plastic, but all the bigger things that matter are really nice." —Salsa Verde

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99

    5. A Playmobil market stall kit, with its large rounded pieces, introduces the little ones to their first action figures and folds up for easy transport and storage.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "This is such a great little toy. The carrying case opens up to become part of the toy, and easily opens and closes. It's well-made, clever, and has kept my 1.5-year-old incredibly entertained. She likes that she knows the different kinds of produce (they are all two-sided, so six types in all). It's been a fun little toy, and we got it for a great price." —Mama_Life

    For ages 18+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $23.34

    6. A My First Bowling Set comprised of five cuddly critters and one fuzzy ball (that are all machine washable) that bring new meaning to the phrase "so quiet you can hear a pin drop."

    Amazon

    The hardest part of playing with this bowling set is that GUND makes everything so soft and cute that you feel bad about knocking any of these stuffed animals over. But once you get over that feeling, it's a free-for-all with your little one to knock them all over at once. You can arrange these "pins" in multiple configurations for your kid to figure out the best way to knock them over. And if the ball doesn't, in fact, get them, your baby surely will (usually head first).

    For ages 0-2 years

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99

    7. A 600-piece set of Plus Plus interlocking puzzle blocks (made in Denmark so you know that it's quality) for building flat or 3D creations that's less likely to cripple adults who step on any errant pieces in the middle of the night.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "These are now my go-to toy if I need my 5- and 3-year-olds to stop tearing the house apart for just five GD minutes. My kids are notoriously hard to impress, but these keep them engaged and occupied for as long as I need. Even my dad is enjoying them! Well worth the money!" —Lily Saxon

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $34.95+

    8. A Clamp Bee To Hive matching game buzzing with ways to develop hand-to-eye coordination and sorting/counting skills and made from eco-friendly wood that won't sting the wallet.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "My 17-month-old loves this game, and it develops his fine motor skills at the same time. We talk about colors and the bee and what noise it makes, how it flies with wings, etc. The wings stay on well and it is well-crafted all around. If your child prefers to use their fingers instead of the tweezers, the holes for bees are big enough actually for an adult to do so also. What a fun and educational activity!" —SAHM Teacher

    For ages 12+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $15.99

    9. A magnetic drawing board with four color options, eight color zones, and three geometric stamps that parents will undoubtedly use to write inappropriate (but easily wiped cleaned) messages to each other.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "I got this for my kids and it not only kept my older one but also my younger one busy for hours of stamping, drawing and playing for hours. It was a great upgrade from what they used to play with in the car but now we even bring it into the house and they will play with it there too. I would highly recommend this as the color panels added a whole new level of interest to drawing without a mess." —TheatreMom

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99

    10. An entire alphabet of robot action figures (from Alpha to Zed) that change from letters into bots and then combine to form a bigger robo. Not quite the Constructicons merging to form Devastator but still better than GoBots.

    Promising Review: "These little toys are so cute. My sons love to transform them and my older son loves to make the bigger robots out of the small ones. They occupy a nice bit of their time. As with any kid, cleanup is not as easy we have currently lost some of them but I'm pretty sure they'll find them at some point but, yeah, kids will be kids." —Alycia

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99

    11. A fruit & veggie tote set for the kids to play farmer, grocer, or chef while reinforcing the need for reusable bags. Just let them know that actual veggies will taste just as good as the plastic ones.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "I have a 6-month-old and a 2-1/2-year-old. These play foods are safe for a baby to play with and teethe. The food is solid and can be tossed in the wash for quick cleaning. No annoying holes that collect molded water. These will last a long time. My baby can't even make any teeth marks with his six teeth. They are so durable. I can't wait to buy the other kitchen sprouts items!" —Alisa Schmidt

    For ages 18+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $28.76

    12. An eight-piece, wooden Melissa & Doug vehicle sound puzzle that makes realistic noises (but note: no police car to warn them about when the Po-po is rolling through).

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "We haven’t had a miss yet with these puzzles! My children are ages 3 through nearly 22, and all six of them have played with Melissa & Doug Toys on their own and together. They are so well-made they last for years and years and are both fun and educational. The puzzles are especially great, They teach sorting, matching, following directions, taking turns. Melissa & Doug are one of the best toy brands ever!" —Laura D

    For ages 2+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $11.69

    13. A "Hot Dots" learning set with 200+ interactive lessons in reading, math, science, and social studies featuring Pete the Cat who's eyes light up different colors depending on if the questions were answered correctly (or not).

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "My 3.5-year-old loves Pete the Cat and we wanted to get her something that was a little more involved than just books. This is perfect for her. She loves doing the different activity cards. WE also like that it involves her favorite book character with something educational. She has always been advanced for her age and we have trouble finding things that challenge her but that is still doable and this was the perfect solution for us. She likes that she feels independent doing it (we still have to read her the directions on the cards)." —Amanda G

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $26.22

    14. A 3-pack of reusable coloring books covering all the major topic areas (animals, alphabet, numbers) which uses an refillable water pen to create "magically" appearing and disappearing colors (with no mess!).

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "My family and I went on a 27-hour road trip for the Christmas holiday. Needless to say, I was a bit anxious over the idea of traveling with a 4-, 2-, and 1-year-old. These things were a lifesaver! I had bought quite a few other activities for them to do but they kept returning to these. I love that there is no cleanup and they are reusable. I also thought the pen storage was a really nifty idea. The pages are a thick chipboard-like material so that there is no water leakage between pages. We still use these- Sometimes I pull them out while I'm getting dinner ready and it keeps them occupied." —Dina

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $12.98

    15. A Little People version of Elsa's Ice Palace for your children to re-create the story of an imperial with terrifying superpowers and self-control issues who nearly destroys her kingdom by nearly plunging it into a state of permanent winter. That's the plot of Frozen, right?

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "I thought I was sick of Frozen, being the parent of a 3-year-old, but my love for her thawed my frozen heart and I let it go and bought this anyway. Let me tell you, this playset is nowhere near a fixer-upper, it’s perfect right out of the box! My 3-year-old, for the first time in forever, didn’t ask us to watch the movie! She instead, acted out the whole movie with the characters provided in this set. I guarantee she will even be playing with this in summer!" —Christopher Snow

    For ages 18+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $27.99

    16. A Playskool Explore N' Grow Busy Ball Popper that plays eight songs so "your baby can drop the balls AND the beat!" Also, probably fun for the family dog too.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "One of the best toys ever! Even toddlers can operate it by themselves. Keeps them occupied for quite a while. Put a piece of tape over the speaker if it is too loud." —Lucie Kreth

    For ages 9+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $33.57

    17. A two-sided Carry and Go track table, featuring one racetrack side with obstacles for toy cars and trucks while the other side chugs along a figure-8 toy train track with lake and quarry scene.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "This is a godsend of a product. My son is 2-1/2 and plays with it all the time. It fits his hot wheels and Cars and the other side fits generic trains and Thomas the Train. It is light enough that he has no problem flipping it on his own when he wants to change sides. It also fits in the trunk of my car no problem so we take it to grandma’s house from time to time. My son is hyperactive and this is the only toy that has kept him busy for longer than 10 minutes. He played on it for two straight hours just yesterday! (You other parents know how amazing that is! LOL)." —Christina Smith

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $39.99

    18. A Buckle Toys Blu Whale that snaps, clicks, and, well, buckles while teaching all sorts of math, coordination, and motor skills. Plus its mouth doubles as a easy-to-zipper hidden pocket.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "This is my 2-year-old's new favorite toy. He loves to buckle and unbuckle everything, and use the zipper. Plus, he holds it and plays with it as a normal, very cute fish. I also use it to reinforce colors and shapes to him. When he grows older, I will try teaching him to cross the buckles (some of the colors are the same type of buckle, some are different, but the ones that are the same are just long enough you can cross-connect them). This is also our favorite new toy because it doesn't drive us crazy while making noise and it keeps him occupied easily for 15-30 minutes every time! —Bryant Fong

    For ages 12+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $23.99

    19. A LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words book featuring a turtle, tiger, and monkey who teach age-appropriate words for animals, food, colors, vehicles, clothes and more. Added bonus: this book is bilingual so just flip the switch for words in Spanish.

    Promising Review: "My 17-month-old loved this sound book, we bought it for a road trip to Yellowstone but even after the road trip at 20-month-old he still plays with it on his own at least few times a day. One complaint I have is that the pages/pictures are quite sensitive to touch, so a slight touch by another finger will make it change the words it says and it might be confusing for the child in terms of learning each word to picture. But I think that can be solved if an adult accompanies the child while playing then it should be fine." —BananaC

    For ages 18+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $17.59

    20. An LCD writing tablet for drawing, doodling, playing tic-tac-toe, and any other thing a pen and paper can do without actually having to waste more paper (including the green kind in your wallet).

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "We got this for our 3-year-old and he loves it! We love the fact that it's not markers to be used on the wall! The magnetic part on the back is actually pretty useful as he can put it away on our oven (or fridge). Not sure how long it will last with him abusing it, but already worked for a few months so for the cost we are extremely pleased!" —Joey

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $23.53

    21. A build-your-own construction vehicle truck play set complete with an electric toy drill for assembling four different vehicles or taking them apart like a boss (or site foreman as the case may be).

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "First present unwrapped on Christmas and after 40 minutes had to persuade my son to open other toys. He still sleeps with the crane." —Amazon Customer

    For ages 3+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $21.95

    22. A 10-pack of Play-Doh that there was no way in hell that you'd ever be able to avoid buying. Fortunately, it's all non-toxic, non-irritating, non-allergenic and the packaging is recyclable. But, yeah, it still smells like Pay-Doh.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "Colorful, nontoxic Play-Doh has been great for my son who has many allergies including skin allergies. He has had no problem with these. This keeps him occupied for quite some time, often when I am cooking or cleaning. I played with this as a child myself and have fond memories of it." —Brandy P.

    For ages 2+ years

    Get it from Amazon for $7.80

    23. A Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes toy with over 9,000 five-star reviews on Amazon about how well it stimulates your baby with lights, sounds, and much-needed distractions.

    Amazon

    Promising Review: "This toy is amazing. 1. It occupies my daughter for long enough that mom can run to the bathroom or make dinner (that ALONE should be enough — but there is more) 2. It introduces her to classical music. 3. Probably most important — it can take a beating. I am constantly surprised after picking this up off the floor for the one zillionth time that it never stops playing or breaks after being thrown overhand at our tile floor." —Amelia C.

    For ages 3+ months

    Get it from Amazon for $8.88

    Honestly, you really never know what one little thing could keep this from happening to you.

    Starz / Via giphy.com