Tuesday, March 28, 2017

7 Fast and Easy Toddler Activities You Can Do Today

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Day in my life posts are my favorite blog posts to read with quick, easy kid activities posts being my second favorite. I love getting ideas of activities to do with my 1 1/2 year old and 3 year old. It's an added bonus if it takes me less than 10 minutes to set up and calls for items that I already have in my house. You can read a few of the activities posts I have already done here, here, and here if you want.

I wanted to share some of the latest and greatest activities we are doing at our house lately and why they are so popular (for me and for my kids). Each activity will take almost no time to prepare for, which is the best way to spontaneously introduce the activity at a time when you really need it:

1. Making Cards
Preparing time: 1 minute
Supplies: Scissors, glue, markers, construction paper, magazines (or random items that can be cut), stickers, etc.

This one is really great for my 3 year old who has the biggest and most giving heart. She loves to color pictures and give them (or send them) to family and friends. They almost always say, "I love you and can't wait to see you. Have a great day," in complete jibberish that contains her sentences. She "reads" them to the people she wrote them for though and this is almost always her message.

With any upcoming holiday, birthday, or just an I'm thinking of you card, Payton will sit for long periods of time and work on cards. This is a great time for her to practice scissor cutting skills and work on gluing items. I save magazines and catalogs for her to use for cutting pieces and putting on construction paper.

2. Painting Nature
Preparing Time: 5 minutes
Supplies: Paper, paint (washable), water, paint brushes, items from nature
This activity will be requested by your kids regularly after the first time you do. I typically plan this in two parts. First, we go outside to play or for a quick walk. While outside I will ask the kids to find an item or two that they would like to paint. Payton almost always picks a leaf while Riley has done a variety of items: leaves, sticks, rocks, grass.

When we come back inside I have the items placed on the counter and let my kids know they can paint them after nap time/quiet time. This has never been an issue for us, but they are ready to begin as soon as they complete that requirement.

I tape their items to a sheet of paper, hand out the painting supplies and let them go crazy! Riley only paints for about 10-15 minutes at 1 1/2 but he definitely loves this project. He runs straight to dad to show it off when he comes home from work.

Payton, our 3 year old, will paint for a much longer period of time and, after painting her piece of nature, will typically move on to painting pictures of her own design. It's a good time to let her find her creative side and do as she pleases.

3. Stamp Painting
Preparing Time: 2 minutes
Supplies: Paint, paper, cardboard from toilet paper roles or paper towel roles
As you can probably gather, we are in a phase where we love to paint! Washable paint is the best!

I have seen other moms post about taking old toilet paper rolls and letting your children stamp paint with them. One day, when putting toilet paper on the roll, I remembered this and saved the empty cardboard. I remembered the next time, too. I took one and shaped it like a heart but left the other one as a circle.

Both of my kids loved this and spent time stamping hearts and circles all over their paper. Every time we pull out paint now, my daughter asks where our stamps went. It's cheap and definitely requires focus as a child tries to put paint on the end and then stamp it just right.

4. Get Yourself Out Obstacle Course
Preparing Time: 5 minutes
Supplies: Tape (preferable painters tape)
I know I talked about this in a previous post but it is definitely worth mentioning again as we have done this many, many times. It really doesn't get old and you can change it up every single time.

As you can see, I did not use painters tape, but I have not had any issues with paint being peeled off. I take the course down as soon as we are done playing with it and haven't had any issues. Just in case though, you may want to stick with painting tape.

I just take the tape and put it in various positions between two of our walls in our hallway. It's that easy. My son is very afraid of it and fits his personality as he is very cautious. Payton has always loved doing this though and never shied away from it. She is really into completing missions and having cases to solve so this works well for her. I will sometimes put a toy or doll on one end and she has to save it without knocking any tape down. Other times, we will see how fast she can get through the course. She asks for this game frequently!

5. Kinetic Sand
Preparing Time: 1 minute
Supplies: Kinetic sand, cake pan (or other container), play utensils, cookie cutters
 A long, long time ago when I only had one child, I referred to diy sand that I tried, failed, but my child still enjoyed. Since then, my sister bought our household kinetic sand and we haven't looked back since. I put it up when we aren't using and pull it out at times when it's convenient for us (ahem, me).

We always discuss rules and how the sand needs to stay in the pan before using. This has worked well for my children keeping the mess down. For when it does leave the pan, it is easy to clean up and also vacuums up easily if needed.

6. Playmobil Sets
Preparing Time: 1 minute
Supplies: Playmobil set
My mother bought my daughter a playmobil set (here is a playmobil playground set) and at first I was pretty nervous to show her. There are so many pieces, tiny pieces, little pieces. In the end, we have found a lot of enjoyment out of this set. Warning: Plan to do this activity with your children and do not leave alone as there are many little pieces. That being said, you can have a blast helping your kids set up their play world and then watch as their imaginations run wild.

This is another activity that they don't have regular access to so when I pull it out they will focus on for the longest time. It can be very frustrating as they learn to work with the small pieces but it is good to watch as they learn about patience and increase their hand-eye coordination.

7. Coin Play
Preparing Time: 1 minute
Supplies: Coins, piggy bank, containers
I love how pictures can tell you more than our words ever could. Look at that. This is a game that my kids are both 100% into and love to play.

My husband and I put our change into a plastic jar weekly. I pull this out and grab a toy piggy bank and Payton's piggy bank and let the kids play. Both kids will work on counting coins, putting coins into containers, dumping coins out, and then repeating the whole process over again.

As a side note, money can be very dirty. You can clean the coins if you want first but I almost never do. I do explain to my children that the coins aren't the cleanest and that they need to not touch their face while playing and they will wash their hands immediately when done. I haven't had any major issues.

That give you some insight as to how we are spending some of our time these day. I hope I told you at least 1 thing you haven't done yet. Tell me, what easy activities do you do at your house? I would love to get some ideas from you!

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