13 Fuss-free Ideas to Tire Your Toddler Before He Tires You

13 Fuss-free Ideas to Tire Your Toddler Before He Tires You

Imagine this: You reach the front door of your house. You are dead tired. Your hyper-energetic toddler comes running to you (thankfully he does) and you give him a big hug. “Daddy let’s play!” By the time you put down your bag and wrestle with him on the couch, you wish you had a clone so that you can catch a wink. And guess what? Only two minutes have passed.

I’m sure this is quite common among many parents. Since a toddler’s attention span is between 5-10 minutes, how do we keep him meaningfully occupied while exhausting his energy so that he will be ready for bedtime? Here’s how to make playtime at home exhaustingly fun for kids.

#1 Hide and seek

#1 Hide and seek

The parents hide and the kid seeks. Make him count longer so that you can take a break in your hiding place. Even if you live in a HDB flat, there can still be many places to hide. Be creative! If there’s no space, hide your kid’s favourite toy instead.

Up the fun: If you have a GoPro camera, strap one on his head and watch his movements live from your smartphone. Have a good laugh!

Duration: 15 minutes

#2 Koala bear time

#2 Koala bear time

Pretend to be a tree and let him hang on to you like a koala bear as long as possible without supporting him. Be prepared to catch him if he lets go. Another good workout for his arms and legs.

Up the challenge: Ask him to sing a nursery rhyme before letting go.

Duration: 5 minutes

#3 Climb the front metal door

If your front metal door has no sharp edges and isn’t rusty, make him climb up and down. This can be a good substitute for an indoor climbing wall at home. Remember to supervise him closely.

Up the challenge: Make him climb up and down in the shortest possible time.

Duration: 10 minutes

#4 Catch the soap bubbles

#4 Catch the soap bubbles

Blow the bubbles and ask him to catch them using various body parts e.g. tummy, legs without using his hands. Alternatively you can use plastic cups and spoons. To prevent slipping, play this activity outside your house or on a non-slip mat.

Up the fun: If you have non-toxic soap bubbles, ask him to catch the bubbles using his tongue.

Duration: 10 minutes

#5 Mini-twister

Mark out a small boundary for him on the floor (preferably a square or circle) and see how long he can stand on one leg or a certain position for 30 seconds. Try to prepare at least 10 different poses like the game Twister. Trains focus and balance. More suited for children who can remain still.

Up the challenge: You can show him examples of poses from his favourite cartoon character from your mobile and ask him to stay in that pose for at least 30 seconds.

Duration: 10 minutes

#6 Tug of war

Get some raffia string (around five metres) and tie both ends into a dead knot to make it a circle. Let him pull on one side and you on the other side. This is better than two loose ends, in case the string slides against his palms and there’s abrasion.

Up the challenge: Involve your spouse or other kids to make a triangle, square, pentagonal (or more) tug of war. Both of you can also use this string to keep (or capture) the kids within the boundaries of the string. Trust me, they will find all sorts of ways to escape which will tire them, hopefully.

Duration: 15 minutes

#7 Diapers lifting

13 Fuss-free Ideas to Tire Your Toddler Before He Tires You

Image source: iStock

Instead of weights, make him drag or carry a pack of unopened diapers and run from one end of the house to the other.

Up the challenge: While he’s at it, make him go through an obstacle course. Climb over an ottoman, crawl under a coffee table or through a foldable playmat tunnel, whatever you can think of for future Commando or Navy Frogman training.

Duration: 10 minutes

#8 Wipe the floor

Child labour is a must once we have kids. Give him a magic clean wiper mop (or something similar) with a dry sheet attached and make him clean up the inner recesses of the house. The wiper mop is easier to navigate than a broom and dustpan.

Up the fun: Sing the song ‘This is the way we mop our house (or replace with other chores), mop our house (x2), this is the way we mop our house, every night and day’ (tune: ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’).

Duration: 15 minutes

#9 Sushi roll

Similar to the movie Room, get a long blanket, fold it into half and roll your kid tightly in it from one end to the other. Make sure his hands are inside the blanket. Don’t cover his face. Do this on an unobstructed flat surface on the floor, preferably on a padded playmat. Watch him unroll and set himself free. Just don’t get your kid to hate you (if you have watched the movie, you’ll understand what I mean). Have some rolling good fun!

Up the fun: Why don’t you roll together with your kid?

Duration: 5 minutes

#10 Push the chair

If you happen to have an office chair with wheels at home, use it. Pretend the chair is a car, you are the driver and your kid, the engine. Sit on the chair and let him push or pull you, whichever that occupies him longer.

Up the challenge: Direct the ‘engine’ to go left, right, front and back. Play by the traffic rules. “Green, go. Red, stop.” Take turns. I’m sure your child will love being pushed around on the chair too.

Duration: 10 mins

#11 Bathtub time

#11 Bathtub time

Instead of the usual shower, let him enjoy a longer bath time in his bathtub. I’m sure he misses it even though it may be a bit small for him already. Make sure you fill it with many bubbles. Remember parental supervision is needed for this activity.

Up the fun: Fill the tub with his beach toys, plastic spoons and cups for him to scoop the bubbles and water.

Duration: 15 mins

#12 Gymnastics

Who needs a gym class when you can do one at home? Handstands with hands on the floor and feet on the couch, somersaults, cartwheels and wheelbarrow walks, all should be done with parental guidance on a padded playmat.

Up the challenge: Try a simple balance beam at home. Stick a long masking tape on the floor and ask your kid to balance a small pillow on his head while walking on the masking tape with his hands outstretched.

Duration: 10 mins

#13 Climb HDB stairs

effects of dropping baby on head

This is what I do with my toddler on a rainy day. After some simple warm-up exercises, we’ll bring him down to the first level by lift. Then he will attempt to climb the whole 25 storeys at his own pace, with supervision. Now hold it, before you report me to child welfare for torture, according to child development psychologists, stairs climbing is good for psychomotor development and definitely builds strong leg muscles. Try it only if you have the energy. Good excuse to keep fit.

Up the challenge: Once he is more confident, make him go up and down the stairs without any support. Add some counting activity by counting the levels upwards (if going up) or backwards (if going down).

Duration: 20 minutes (depending on how high you make him climb)

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Written by

Joanna

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