I’m always on the lookout for easy, wholesome ideas to entertain my two daughters, and never bore of reading how others do it with their children. Here are some ideas that take zero to little preparation on my part, and hopefully keep my toddlers and yours entertained for a fairly long time.
Kids love playing with water, in any shape, structure or form. It takes a little bit of effort on my part cleaning up afterwards, but the amount of time they spend doing these activities is well worth my ten minutes of cleaning:
- Dish Washing: My daughter likes to pull a small chair up to the kitchen sink, open the faucet, grab a sponge and ‘wash’ away the dishes and utensils. At some point I might actually gather enough courage to let those dishes end up in my clean dishes rack, but for now she’s satisfied putting her washed dishes next to the sink.
- Toothbrushes and tub cleaning: This activity works for most ages. I give my two toddlers old toothbrushes, a small bucket of soapy water and a soap bar and let them clean out my shower tiles. Lately, I’ve added spray bottles and squeegees to their cleaning items and it’s given them a new dimension of fun. You can consider letting them wear their crocs in the bath tub in case they slip.
- Sink play: Fill the sink with soapy water, put a stopper in, and let them play away! (A friend’s advice: A plastic apron for these water activities is a good investment, especially for kids who are prone to sickness.)
I like to save empty glass jars of all sizes for childrens’ activities. One of these activities involves dry beans, measuring spoons, cups and jars. Just lay out your mat, and leave the toddlers to measure, pour, and tea party away. The beans remain in edible condition, and I can always wash them and cook them afterwards. Warning: Beware of hungry 18 month old girls and evening diapers.
I really think that a play dough activity pack is a nice investment, especially the ones that come with pressing machines and items for making spaghetti shapes, stars, cylinders, etc. With some cookie cutters, rolling pins, and measuring spoons to add to the fun, your kids should love it.
Some words of wisdom
Prepare to let go. Let go of the dry bathroom, let go of the clean carpets, let go of the dry clothes. This helps me release my anger if (when!) things get bigger than I expected. Prepare your kids and the house so the aftermath is less of a disaster zone (place a large plastic table cloth under their play zone, dress them in water-resistant clothing, or keep in mind that they will get wet and/or dirty.) Enjoy your kids and give me tips on how to entertain mine!
Fatima Abdallah lives in Virginia with her two daughters and travelling husband. Her interests include Islamic work, healthy living and graphic design.