I am always looking for ways to keep my toddler’s busy, so here are some of the ways I keep things going around here. Do you have any ideas that have worked for you? Share them in the comments! 🙂
Go for a walk. This is by far the best option for keeping small children busy and simultaneously wearing them out. It gets me outside and moving (which I really love but always neglect) and never fails to improve every one’s mood. It also gets me away from the chores or anything else that could distract me from giving my complete attention to my kids. But sadly, when the weather is terrible (like it has been this week where I live), or people are sick, this is not an available option.
Play house. My kids enjoy pretending, but when I join in it suddenly becomes the best game in the world! The favorite variations of playing house currently are: pretending to put all the stuffed animals to bed, over and over. This involves singing a song to each one, tucking them in with a blankie, kissing and hugging them, and then winding up the music box to play while they “sleep”. Then we must tiptoe around the house and whisper while all the toys sleep. The other favorite involves making the outline of a house on the floor with pillows and blankets, complete with several rooms. This makes a fun place for all the small stuffed animals to live. Usually they group them into families to live in different rooms of the house. Oh, and most importantly, make a pretend bathroom in the house. Seriously, my kids will play forever when they can pretend that all the stuffed toys are taking turns using the potty and then cheering for each one. (Can you tell that we are potty-training?)
Bake Something. You have to do this one on a day when you have some time and you don’t mind a bit of a mess. But this is a definite favorite! My kids couldn’t be happier watching the Kitchen-Aid mixer swirl the batter round and round, getting to sample the raisins or the chocolate-chips, and of course getting to lick the beaters!
Color Online. This is a nice way to get everyone sitting down in one place. My kids love choosing a picture to color and pointing at what colors I should use to color each part. (Usually shades of purple and pink around here!) Here is a site with lots of pictures to choose from and lots of colors. And here is a site that has Connect-the-dots! And one more. My kids love watching the picture get drawn as we connect the dots, and they can usually guess what it’s going to be long before we’ve finished it.
Make Funny Face Sandwiches.
Funny Face Sandwiches have endless variety. You can use any kind of fruit for features, grated carrots, coconut or cheese for hair, and anything for the spread underneath. We’ve done peanut butter with chocolate chip faces. Jelly with raisin faces. And even bread and butter and a slice of ham, with shredded cheese for hair and ketchup for the features. Its also a great sneaky way to get kids to eat fruits and veggies.
Finger Games. My kids love “Where is Thumbkin?”, “No more monkeys jumpin’ on the bed”, “5 little Ducks” or even “Pat-a-cake”. Here is a link for the rhymes that go with those and others.
Play a video. My kids have pretty short attention spans, and sometimes get bored with a video. Plus when the baby is crying to be put down for her nap, I don’t always want to put in the effort of running downstairs to put in a DVD. I’ve found something recently that I’ve been using at least once a day. Sesame Street’s website has a selection of cute short videos. It’s a safe website without any creepy ads, I can pick the character they want to watch, or a topic I think looks good, and then the site will play 10 clips (ranging in time from 30 seconds long to several minutes) in a row. Since the action/content keeps changing it keeps my small kids interested, and gives me the quick break I need to put the baby to bed or get dinner started.
If you would like to read more Quick Takes or share your own, head over to Conversion Diary!