If you have toddlers, you know the way they just LOVE to keep you on your toes! It can be overwhelming (among other things) and it can be a challenge coming up with ways to entertain them. Here are 10 ways you can keep your toddler occupied!
(1) Paint In Bags
This is an exciting, mess-free way for your toddler to create art with paint. (And with very minimal supervision required.)
Materials you'll need:
-Large, clear, plastic sealable bag
-Paint (whatever you've got is fine)
-Sticky or Masking tape
Simply add a few squirts of paint (I recommend 2-3 colors) into the plastic bag. Ensure the bag is sealed properly, then tape the sealed bag to the window with sticky tape or masking tape. Your little one will be able to use his/her fingers to move the paint around as much as they want, without getting messy!
(I can sense your sigh of relief from here!)
(2) Bathtub Painting
While we're on the subject of paint, did you know there was such a thing as bathtub-safe paint?! Yeah, I was excited too! There are also crayons for the bathtub (you could get these at your local walmart) but if you're looking for something home-made, this is your answer!
Materials you'll need:
- 2 parts baby wash
- 1 part corn starch
- Food coloring
Mix up the corn starch and baby wash. Make sure it's blended well before separating your mixter evenly into small dishes. Drop 1-3 drops of food coloring into the dishes with the colors of your choice. Mix well and voila! Time for your little tike to make a bathtub masterpiece!
(and it wipes off easily for them to start again)
(3) Camera Safari
This can be fun for both children and Mommy. I don't know about you, but my 3 and 4 year olds love to take my cell phone when i'm not looking. They often bring up the camera and take half-faced selfies and random pictures of their baby sister. It's fun for me to go into my gallery to the surpise laugh. Seeing things through the eyes of my children is quite eye-opening.
So here's what you can do!
Take your child to the playground, to the grocery store, or anywhere really (you could even just stay at home)
Give them a cheap digital camera, or even just a cell phone, and let them take pictures of whatever they want. They will have a lot of fun and you can go back and look at the world through their eyes. You could even print and frame some of your little one's masterpieces that you'd like to hang on the wall, or create a scrapbook for them to see when they're older!
Admit it! Balloons are fun to just about anybody! Put a bunch of them in a room with a toddler and watch the magic happen! I know my toddlers have more fun with balloons at birthdays than they have with some of their toys!
Kids - Just - LOVE - Balloons!
Get creative by taping a plastic spoon to a paper plate to make a paddle for balloon tennis fun!
Whether you have boys or girls, all toddlers love to play make-believe! Use some materials around the house if you don't already have dress-up clothes, or head to a local thrift store to get some for cheap!
With the right costumes and story-dialogue, you could be sending your child into hours of independent play-time, which gives YOU some time to yourself. OR you could get in on the fun and be the dragon your child is slaying! The possibilities are endless!
(6) Build a fort
This is one of my favorite things to do with my children. It's easy to do and DEFINITELY keeps them occupied! It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Toddlers aren't picky about that. Simply throw a large blanket over a table and some chairs and they will act as though you built them a castle out of bricks! Add some pillows, some coloring books and a couple of their favorite toys and you've practically gotten them their own apartment! Hello mom time!
One of the easiest ways you could ever occupy your toddler! Simply by pressing a button. Once the music is going, they will dance around like their lives depend on it. If Mommy and Daddy choose to get the dancing started and get involved, I guarentee you it will make your toddler 10x more interested in the dancing than they would be alone! Have a dance party with your little one, let loose and have some giggles! They will think you're the coolest parent ever!
(And when they say "Watch me! Watch me!" Be sure to watch them break out their latest dance move and praise them on their fine, new skills)
(8) Indoor Sand Box
This has got to be one of the easiest AND funnest things you could possibly set up for your toddler for indoor play when going outside is not an option. If you have a bin (like the one pictured above) or something similar, then this you're already halfway there. You could make the sand out of just about anything you've got in your pantry, such as rice or oatmeal. Stick in some toys, bowls, spoons, etc. And you've got yourself a beautiful, home-made sand pit.
Other ways you can use your indoor sandbox:
- Use a blow-up baby pool instead of a bin so your child can climb into the fun
- Throw some of their favorite treats (cookies, candy, etc) into the sand for them to go on a treasure hunt (the sand is edible and safe, after all)
-If you decide to use rice for your sandbox, brighten things up a bit by dyingg the rice fun colors. Learn how to do that here: http://happyhooligans.ca/rainbow-rice/
(9) Pipe Cleaners & a Colander
Yes, you heard me correctly.
I know what you're thinking: "What the heck could my kid do with pipe cleaners and a colander?!"
Well, for one, pipe cleaners alone are fun to bend. Your toddler will enjoy bending them in several different ways, simulating their curious mind in ways you can't imagine. They'll have fun sticking them through the holes of the colander, creating their own masterpiece. Doing this helps them learn their colors, as well as hand-eye coordination.
(10) Salt Dough
Salt Dough is like an all-natural playdough. Your kids will spend hours making different shapes and getting their hands deep down into squishy goodness! The best part? It can be cooked to harden! Let your child create his/her very own playdough masterpiece that they can keep forever!
- In a large bowl mix salt and flour together.
- Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency.
-Turn the dough onto the bench and kneed with your hands until smooth and combined.
- Make your creations using the salt dough.
- Place the salt dough creations into the oven at 180C
(Food coloring is always an option for colored creations)
TIP: Punch a hole at the top of your creation, bake, then pull string through the hole. Now you have a Christmas ornament!
Learn 30+ ways to make creations with Salt Dough here: http://www.redtedart.com/30-salt-dough-crafts-kids/
"What activities can my toddler do without my supervision?"
Whatever the activity, most toddlers require little to constant supervision. Your toddler can lose interest quickly in a game or activity if you aren’t there to encourage him.
Once a routine is set, your toddler may start to play independently for longer periods of time. Some toddlers can spend hours colouring, dancing or playing with toys. Try different activities and see what keeps your child interested for long periods of time.
Once you know what activity holds your toddler’s attention, get him to do it when you need time to get something finished