Kids are serious nutcases and when they’re so little their attention spans can be so short so they get bored easily and tug on your pant leg to entertain them for a while. As much as I love playing with my kids, I can’t do it all the time, cause this mama needs to get shit done and have a moment to breathe and finish a coffee while it’s hot. That’s why I love making toddler activities like these (see my 9 – 12 month old ones too). They’re quick and easy to throw together using household items or basic craft supplies from the dollar store or Walmart, and they’ll generally entertain my kiddo for more than 5 measly minutes.
Obviously you guys know that colouring, reading and kicking them outside for a bit are great activities, but sometimes you need a little more. I tend to pull out these activities once or twice a week when I just need a moment to do something and nothing seems to be working. Once you have the initial supplies, which like I said, are super basic and cost less than $20, you’ll be able to set them up with no prep time.
This toddler activity is great for when you’re in the kitchen and they just won’t leave you alone. Throw down a towel and let them play in the sink or in a big container filled with water on the floor. Grab random things from your kitchen to toss in the mix. I generally use measuring cups and spoons, tongs, balls, cups, Tupperware, etc. My little guy can easily entertain himself for a half hour scooping and pouring the water, and even trying to drink it. Just don’t forget the towel! With the towel it’s super easy to clean up, without it you’ll have a total mess.
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Pipe Cleaner Coordination
This is another one that is crazy easy to set up. Grab a strainer/colander, whatever you want to call it, and a handful of pipe cleaners. Bend some and place them in the holes and leave some out. They’ll occupy themselves by putting the pipe cleaners in and out of the assortment of tiny holes. This one can be hit or miss for my little guy. Sometimes he loves it and can spend quite a bit of time with it, other times he’s easily frustrated and doesn’t want to deal with the bendy pipe cleaners. I’m sure it would work great with non-sharp wooden skewers, or something else like that that’s more rigid.
Once you do the initial prep you’ll be able to whip this one out for quick entertaining. Colour a few different shapes on a paper and place a handful of coordinating items on the table. The items could be pom poms, magnets, straw pieces, anything really. Get your toddler to match the items with the colour on the paper. I recommend starting with just 2 colours and showing them what to do, and then working it up from there. You can also make a different version by using plastic coloured cups, or a muffin tin and coloured liners.
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s great to fall back on during those cold, wet, miserable, stir crazy days. When they start to drive you nuts and you can’t get outside, fill up the tub, load it with bubbles and toss in all of the toys. It’ll give you a few minutes to sit and drink your coffee or get ready while you keep an eye on your toddler tornado.
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Putting Stuff in a Container
Toddlers love putting stuff in containers and taking them out. I quickly cut a hole in this old coffee tin and started putting Logan’s toys in it. He quickly wanted to take it from me and carry on doing it, and bonus, he was cleaning up his toys at the same time ???? You can use so many different containers for this. One of Logan’s favourites is a clear Christmas cookie container with a twist off lid, just use whatever you have around, you don’t have to get too creative.
I love hearing from you, please let me know if you try and of them and what you think. You can also reach out on social media @JannineMacKinnon.