In this digitized world we live in, it’s easy to put our children in front of a screen, tablet, TV or phone. We often can find it difficult to be creative and come up with fun activities for our children – especially our toddlers. Our toddlers do depend on us to help them learn, develop problem-solving skills and experience the world. Keeping them entertained can be a challenge and often times we find ourselves stuck in the same “rut” of daily activities. Before we know it, one day turns into the next and suddenly our toddlers are bored again!
As a “Mimi” of 3, I often watch my grandchildren and although I raised three boys of my own, I too, find it difficult to keep them amused. I have a few go-to fun, easy on the budget activities that are always a homerun with my toddlers.
- It may seem quite obvious, but my favorite go to place is the park. Not only can the kids burn off some of their energy, a park is a great place for social interaction for the children. They can meet new friends and you as moms can also get some “adult” time with the other parents. At the park we frequent, the kids play on the jungle gym, play in the sandpit and even play horseshoes (plastic ones of course)!
- Another fun activity is to go fly a kite whether it be at the beach where the wind always cooperates or at a park. Flying a kite is actually an activity that the whole family can enjoy. Getting the kite up and soaring in the sky is a very rewarding experience that your toddler will certainly love.
- Dance Party!!! One of my favorite activities with toddlers is to let our hair down and “Dance it Out”. Put on your favorite streaming music channel and even put on “your” music (the kids won’t know if it is from the 90’s or 2000’s) and dance, laugh and sing your hearts out – so much fun!
- Cook Dinner – My Nonni started me in the kitchen as her sous chef at an early age. I now cook with my grandchildren – I started my granddaughter, Ellen, at the age of 1 – we even have an “Ellen Cooking Show” that we post and it is amazing to see how far she has come in just a few short years.
Finger painting – save your plastic egg crates and cut off the top of the crate – you can then use as paint holders and your toddlers can finger paint the day away (with newspaper protecting the table naturally). A homemade painting on the fridge puts a smile on everyone’s faces.
- Sensory play is also a great activity to let kids get experience with new smells and discover what things feel and taste like. One great thing to do is spray some shaving cream on a cookie sheet and put a few drops of food coloring. Then, take a toothpick and swirl around and watch the colors that come through. You can also cook up some spaghetti and make a batch of a few different colors with food coloring. Once cooled, put in a bowl and let them touch and feel the “worms”.
- Explore your own backyard – discover nature, pick up leaves, sticks and rocks and then take them inside and with some glue, you can make a nice picture to give to Grandma or hang on the fridge. Spending time outside can be very exciting and you can learn a lot about your environment.
I have found one important thing to remember is not to start an activity with an intentional plan or expectation as it never goes as planned with this age group. Just go with the flow and let your child explore as they wish for that is how they learn and have fun.