Friday, February 10, 2017

Keeping Your Toddler Busy- Inside Activities

While we're still enduring the middle of winter, I thought I would give some ideas on what activities we are engaging in to keep the kids entertained. I love quick, easy activities that don't take a lot of time to set up and require supplies that I typically have on hand. It's an extra bonus for me if a 2 minute set-up activity keeps my kids entertained for a long period of time, like 30-60 minutes.

So, if you are feeling stuck inside and need some fresh ideas for your toddlers, here are some things we have been up to with a 3 1/2 year old and an 18 month old:

 1. The Cheerio Game
This is seriously what we call this activity and my 3 1/2 year old requests it frequently. I pull out cheerios, pour some into a small bowl for both kids, make a few play-doh balls, and then stick an uncooked spaghetti noodle into the play-doh ball. Payton spends tons of time putting cheerios onto the spaghetti noodle. She also will put them onto a pipe cleaner to make necklaces and bracelets. My 18 month old eats his cereal while watching her with awe. It won't be long before he actively participates.
2. The Pipe Cleaner Game
Another regularly requested game at our house. We pull out a strainer and some pipe cleaners for this activity. The kids work on putting both ends of the pipe cleaner into the holes of the strainer. Another great activity for hand-eye coordination and normally gives me enough time to do a quick chore, like empty the dishwasher.

 3. Do the Dishes
Toddlers are great because chores are so fun to them. Roll with this! Both my kids love to help with the dishes. I get that this can get messy quickly and most of the time I have to go back through and clean the dishes myself before putting the dishwasher, but the kids really enjoy working on this skill. And, hey, someday this will be their chore, right? Practicing never hurt anyone!

I would say, though, prepare to change their clothes after this activity. I also have them help with cleaning up any water that splashes to the floor or on the counters. They are great at helping me clean up from this activity and my fear of messes doesn't stop me from letting them do the dishes when they ask.
4. Watercolor
So for this one, we actually had to buy some supplies. We bought this watercolor set and love it. It's washable and we have had no issues with staining. I have a big washable blanket that goes under the high chair (similar to this item) and I just throw that on the table. Both of my kids have painting tops they use to avoid staining, just in case it could happen.

My 3 1/2 year old will paint for hours if I let her and give her an endless supply of paper to use. The 18 month old typically only makes it about 10 minutes, but it definitely seems to wear him out as I find he takes a great nap on the days we paint.
5. Bake Together
I know that most of us probably already do this, but I tend to forget how entertaining this can be for children. If you have a really quiet morning at home, sometimes the best thing to do is to find a new, quick, and easy recipe to try. I've been making copycat Larabars and breakfast granola bars most of this week with the kids. It's helped us to find new recipes we like, ones we don't care for, and work with the kids on their counting, measuring, and pouring skills.

In preparation for Valentine's day, the kids really wanted to make a cake so we are working on that today. Time in the kitchen can be a lot of fun for kids if you can find (safe) ways to utilize them.

I hope you have found a few ideas that inspire you when you have some free time with your little one(s). Tell me, what are some activities you do at home? I would love to hear from you!

This post contains sponsored links from Amazon.

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