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If you are a mum to a toddler you may know that toddlers like to be busy all the time — even when you feel like taking a break and reading a book.
Then there are instances when you are out at a restaurant, in the doctor’s waiting room or on a flight — and you think, ‘What on earth can I do to keep my little one from getting bored?’
That’s the other thing about toddlers — they get bored rather easily. So the important question is this — how does one keep a toddler occupied?
I have a toddler myself and I know how it is. So here are 25 simple but effective ideas that will keep you little one engaged — even for a little while — especially if you want to avoid bringing out the iPad or switching the TV on.
This is the simplest form of entertainment! Give your child a large piece of paper that would cover a small kids’ table (you can buy a large paper roll designed for an easel from Ikea), give them some crayons and let them get creative!
This is also a great activity kids can do while you’re not at home. In fact many kid-friendly restaurants offer colouring papers and pencils to keep the kids entertained.
Kids as young as 1 year can play hide and seek. My little guy loves playing hide and seek too and it can easily keep them occupied for up to half an hour. In toddler terms, that’s a long time!
Get a pack of multi-coloured pom poms from any arts and crafts shop like Art.Friend and some regular paper party cups.
Get your toddler to sort the pom poms by colour and move them from one cup to another. An added bonus is that this will help develop their fine motor skills as well.
This activity can also be done during a flight or in a restaurant.
This is simple but is loads of fun. I’ve tried it with my 2-year-old and he loves it.
Just blow up a balloon, give them a toy racquet or stick and watch them have fun. This is also great for enhancing their coordination skills.
Create a slimey gel bag by simply filling a small ziplock bag with inexpensive hair gel. If the hair gel is colourless, add a couple of drops of paint and hand it to your little one for a unique sensory experience.
Note: This activity must be done under your supervision. Make sure your little one doesn’t bite the bag!
Photo source: handsonaswegrow.com
Colourful pipe cleaners are available at art and craft shops and stationery shops. In fact, I’ve seen these at Popular bookstores here in Singapore.
Once you’ve got your pipe cleaners all you need is a colander. Keep the colander face down and let your toddler put the pipe cleaner tips into the colander.
Photo source: bestof2sisters.com
Older kids love to make things out of play-doh but younger ones might not be able to do so yet. However, toddlers can use play-doh for something totally different.
Give them a couple of tubs of differently colored play-doh and a couple of empty plastic boxes, like food boxes.
Let them have fun squishing the play-doh between their fingers, putting it into boxes and opening and closing the boxes. This will also help improve their fine motor skills.
Here is another great use for the large roll of drawing paper you can get from Ikea.
Take a large piece of the paper and draw a town, complete with a winding road, houses and trees.
Next, give your toddler a toy car and show him how he can “drive” the car on the winding road.
This is a great toy for a toddler. Mr. (or Mrs.) Potato Head’s eyes, ears and nose are all detachable, so toddlers can have loads of fun removing them and putting them back on — under your supervision, of course.
Note: This is another restaurant- and flight-friendly idea!
Photo source: www.amazon.com
Get some books on which you can stick stickers and give them to your toddler one at a time — the stickers peel off quite easily but you can help him if needed.
You can find these sticker books at stationery shops. These are great for toddlers as they usually love stickers and could (and would) just stick them everywhere.
Note: This is also a restaurant- and flight-friendly idea.
There are some great puzzles designed just for toddlers. They come in all imaginable forms — e.g. shapes, colours and animals.
If you need to get some work done in the kitchen and you need your toddler away from the stove but in the vicinity, you can try this.
Just get a magnetic foam alphabet or magnetic pictures and stick them at his height on the fridge. Let him have fun moving them around, taking them off and putting them back on.
Angela of TeachingMama.org is a genius. She’s come up with a really cool idea to make a squishy and fun activity for toddlers which also doubles as a sensory experience.
Check out how to make these cute bugs right here on her blog.
Photo source: teachingmama.org
Which kid doesn’t love to play with water? This activity is simple to organise and cleaning up is a breeze with a mop.
Fill a small container with water and give your child different-sized plastic cups. Let her have a ball filling and emptying the cups.
For added fun, add a few drops of food colouring into the water.
Kids love to express their feelings through physical movement. This activity is great for both mum and baby.
Put some up-tempo music on — like something you’d want to work out to — and get swinging with your toddler. This can double up as an exercise for you.
On the other hand, you could also just sit back and enjoy watching your little kiddo having a blast!
Set up an obstacle course in your living room with cushions, stools and whatever you can think of. This is especially great for rainy days when you can’t head out to the playground.
Let your toddler help out around the house. We’re not kidding! There of plenty of things they can do around the house that are safe and fun.
For example, give them a duster and ask them to dust; give them a small basin of water and ask them to rinse plastic cups or even fruits; or they can help you while you hang the clothes by handing you clothes pegs.
Do you have large cardboard boxes lying around the house?
If you purchased something big (like a washing machine) and still have the box, help your little one draw a door and windows on it. Then you can cut out the doors and windows, and ‘decorate’ their little house with cushions inside.
If you don’t have a cardboard box but would love to try this activity, on your next visit to the supermarket just ask them for a box. Do check what was in the box though, and make sure it’s clean — just to be safe.
For this activity, you will need a container, preferably one that is not too tall. Put blobs of paint in the container and also put in some marbles.
Next, let your child have loads of fun tipping the container from side to side and watching the marbles make colourful lines.
Note: This activity is best done under your supervision!
Photo source: blog.intellidance.ca
My toddler loves playing “Simon Says.” I used this game to teach my toddler body parts. For example, you could say “Simon says, ‘Touch your head,’ or ‘Touch your nose’”.
Alternatively, if you want your little one to get some exercise running around the house while mummy is sitting down having her coffee, you can also try saying, “Simon says, ‘Get a pink ball, a blue block or a red car,’” and have him go look for the items.
Blocks like Duplo or other blocks that are not too small are great for improving your little one’s fine motor skills and coordination.
Playing with blocks can also help toddlers recognise colours and learn how to count.
For instance, you can try asking your child to build a blue tower out of 5 blocks. Help him count out the blocks as he builds.
Give your little one a bowl of Cheerios and a colourful string, and ask her to string the Cheerios onto the string.
This activity is great for fine motor skill development, and is also restaurant- and flight-friendly. Do take note that it should be done under the supervision of an adult.
These books are so cool! Both my kids love them.
You just need a paint brush and a small cup of water. When you paint on the page with water, it ‘magically’ turns into various colours.
This is also a good activity to take to a restaurant or on a flight. You can find these books at most bookstores.
All kids love bubbles, so always keep a good quality bottle of bubble solution handy around the house. All you need to do is whip it out for some bubble-bursting fun!
This is pretty cool and will be a visual treat for your little one (and maybe you too!). You will need a few glow sticks, a jar and glitter.
Step 1 – Cut the tops off the glow sticks and empty the contents into the jar.
Step 2 – Add the glitter.
Step 3 – Close the jar and shake!
Photo source: www.pinterest.com
Although at times she finds herself writing with a toddler on her lap, she relishes the time she spends with her kids and explores her passion for cooking and baking as well!
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