How to Easily Entertain a Toddler While Working Out

Making working out the priority when a toddler is running around the house can be a true challenge. I have certainly had days where I skip my workout because of the work involved with keeping up with our toddler while I’m trying to exercise.

Happily, I can now say that I have found a method that makes it easy to workout five days a week for up to an hour and a half without my daughter driving me bonkers. My daughter and I look forward to our workout five days a week, it has become the highlight of our weekday mornings.

If you are struggling to get in the grove of working out with your toddler in tow, I have good news for you, it can be done, and it’s much easier than you would have ever guessed.

How to entertain a toddler while working out?

To keep your toddler entertained while you are working out, place the little one in a bouncer or booster seat to contain them. Have an activity planned while they are sitting that will occupy the toddler for the length of the workout. Involve your toddler when you can, and take your cardio outside.

I am so excited to share with you exactly how you can get the most out of your workout with your toddler in tow. Keep reading to discover all the juicy deets.

Contain the Toddler in a Safe Place

Alright, first and foremost to having a successful workout is to have your child contained so you are not constantly worried about where he or she is. There are a few options when it comes to containment.

  • Bouncer/seat
  • Pack n play
  • Safe zone in eyesight of where you will be working out


When I workout, I start by putting our daughter in her bouncer. She is nearly two years old and 22 pounds. Most bouncers have a weight limit anywhere from 25-30 pounds. The limit on our bouncer is 28 pounds. When I am running on the treadmill, I never have to worry about where she has ran off to because she is hanging out in the bouncer right next to me. Here is one of the bouncers we have.

Booster Seat

If your toddler is past the bouncer weight limit you can put them in a toddler seat, or something similar to a booster seat and clip them in. (We got our daughter this portable booster seat that she loves!) Of course whether they are in the bouncer or a booster seat they will also need some kind of entertainment at this age, don’t worry I will cover that soon.

Safe Space

If the bouncer and toddler seat do not suit your fancy, I recommend creating a safe space where you workout for your toddler. I have created a safe space in our basement for our daughter. The basement is completely open, so wherever she is in the basement I can see her from where I’m working out. Being able to see the toddler wherever they are is key when it comes to getting your workout done in a timely and effective manner. If you can see everywhere that they have access to, the need to pause your workout will be much less.

We put up a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs and made sure anything hazardous was put away. I then created a jungle gym with tunnels, tents and a small slide for her. This way when I’m working out, she is completely entertained by all the fun stuff she has to do. Simply put, once the space is toddler proofed be sure there are plenty of safe things for them to play with. The busier they are playing, the better workout you are able to have. If the kiddos are not occupied with awesomeness then they will be doing whatever possible to interrupt your workout, like trying to climb up your leg for example which is not conducive to an effective workout.

Use a Tablet or iPad

During the portion of the workout where focus is a necessity is when I recommend using a tablet or iPad (a good example of when focus is needed is when using cardio equipment. At this time we cannot constantly be worrying about a little one climbing onto the equipment as it could be dangerous). This is when you can either turn on a show off of Youtube, or allow the toddler to play a game while sitting in the bouncer or toddler seat. I do this when running on the treadmill because I fear that if my daughter is running around loose she will come over to the treadmill when it’s running and injure herself.

At this time, I recommend having a snack available that you can offer to even further occupy your little one. I have been using this method while I run on the treadmill for over a year now and it’s never failed me.

Tip: Our family only allows our daughter to watch shows during the week when I’m running on the treadmill. We try to limit the amount of TV she watches. I believe the reason that we have such success with her sitting so calmly in her bouncer is because she knows it’s the only time she gets to watch a show. She is always so excited and looks forward to getting to sit and watch her show for a bit. If you want to ensure that your toddler will sit happily with patience, try this method, it may just work for you.

Involve Your Toddler

After about forty minutes or so in the bouncer I’m generally finishing up my cardio. At this time, I am moving on to toning and strength training exercises. Now I recommend taking the toddler out of whatever seat you have them in and getting them involved with your workout.

Use Toddler as Weight

I will use my toddler as my weight for much of my ab workouts as well as for all the different variations of squats that I do. She is the perfect amount of weight for a challenging workout and she gets such a kick out of being held while I’m working out. I always have music going and I think she assumes we are just playing around.

Toy Weights

I also recommend getting your toddler toy weights (check out these super cute play weights). While I am using my weights, I give my daughter her own toy weights and she will copy each exercise. When using resistance bands I will hand her one and she will do the same thing, copy momma. We love it so much, working out with her is some of my favorite bonding time that we have together, and it can be your favorite as well if you follow these tips.

Working out in today’s age has become all the rage when it comes to involving your toddler. It has become a true Instagram moment because it’s so downright cute. You can now find matching workout outfits, and mommy and me yoga mats. If you are interested in really getting into it there are plenty of fun options for making your workouts so darling and a blast. Just don’t forget to snap some adorable pics of your little one working out with you, Instagram will love you for it!

Get Outside

Lastly, consider taking your cardio outdoors, weather permitting of course. If you have a jogging stroller go for a jog and allow your toddler to sit back, enjoy the view and get some fresh air. I am in love with our jogging stroller, check it out here. The same goes for biking if you have a kids bicycle trailer (check out this bicycle trailer that my husband and I plan to get our daughter for her birthday).  Most kids really enjoy just being outside. When I take my daughter outside for a workout I can jog with her in the stroller for an hour without hearing a peep from her, this is because she enjoys it so much, it’s a sure way to get a major workout in!

Related Questions

Where can I find mommy and me workouts?

Visit Youtube and type in mommy and me workouts. There are several workouts available for you and your kids for free!

Should toddlers workout?

In short, yes. Should they have an exercise routine five days a week like many of us do, no. Toddlers need physical activity, running around, dancing, and playing around with toy weights is the extent of what a toddler needs for a so called workout.

Is it safe for toddlers to lift weights?

No, toy weights will have minimal to no weight making them safe for toddlers. Toddlers lifting real weights could be very dangerous and could easily injure your toddler. It is not recommended to allow toddlers to play with real weights regardless of the weight.