Is your toddler stuck at home, and running out of things to do? I know the feeling! I have a very active kiddo, and trying to keep up pace with him can be challenging! It also can require a lot of creativity in these spring months when weather is completely unpredictable!
So, while we’ve been doing our part in social distancing, mom has been very creative. Actually, I should say observant! I’ve learned to let my tot drive his own activities a bit more, it seems when he gets to use his little mind….his little mind keeps him busy!
Tot Driven Activities:
These activities typically involve mindless entertainment…and are almost always messy 🙂
Throw rocks in the lake or pond. We live near a lake, so this one of course isn’t helpful for everyone. However, if you have a lake, river, stream, pond near by…toddlers can entertain themselves by throwing rocks into water for much more time then one would think.
Set up a water table. We litterally put a towel on the floor, and put a large bowl/container of water on a kiddy table, and whala, kid fun for hours. Literally he just throws toys in the water one at a time until the bowl is full…and loves every minute of it.
Puddle jumping. Mom’s and dad, put those rubber shoes on and just take our kids for a walk in search of puddles. Tots love anything that can make a mess.
Sand table. If you have a three or four season porch, or just a spot in the house that is easy to sweep or vaccum, tots love sand tables. You can make one your self, cut cardboard box down to a size of your liking, fill with sand and throw some cars, trucks, shovles or spoons. I learned this from daycare. It is a winter activity they pull out for kids when it’s too cold outside to play.
Playing in dirt. We got a jump on our spring cleaning yard work. In the process I learned my tot loves to rake up leaves, pull around the yard cart full of leaves and dirt. He loves shoveling dirt into flower pots. A great self guided outdoor experiment.
Go for a hunt. Scavenger hunt, or just go “hunting” for animals. We look for birds, cats, squirrels, rabbits. Anything I can think of my tot loves the thought of just looking for something.
Bird watching. Take a hike, or just walk around your neighborhood and see what you can find. Yesterday we could hear wood peckers on our walk in the neighborhood. On the weekend we go to a local reserve and look for wild turkeys.
Open up the sandbox. I know it’s still a bit cold out in most of the US, but dress warm and get those sandboxes opened early.
Picking up sticks. This is a cross between yard work and a “job” tots love to have. Again, a helping tot is a happy tot.
Sidewalk Chalks. Let your tot draw pictures or write messages to say “hi” to neighbors, or brighten an elderly persons day who are also stuck inside. Write big letters and numbers and get some learning in. My son loves Thomas so we made giant train tracks on the sidewalk.
With the family:
Fishing. It’s a bit chilly but fishing is a cheap way to keep busy for the whole family.
Walk the dog. Go on walks, many walks, with the whole family. Get your dog out and play with them more than you normally would.
Putting, chipping, and pitching golf balls. We’ve been “putting” about the yard for a week now. It’s an activities golfing parents and tots/kids can all do together.
Family bonfire/fire pit. If you have one get it ready to go early this year. Take all those sticks and make a little fire and cook hotdogs or marshmallows for lunch. Of course practice fire safety!
Bike rides. Its early spring in Wisconsin, so still chilly. However, bundle up and take a family ride if the ice has melted…go uphill if you need to warm up. Wear your helmets ! 😉
Scooters tricycles and wagons. Time to get them out!
Screen time. As long as my sons has gotten excersise in, outside time, and some reading, I have loosened up on our screentime rules. Download some educational games, music, whatever you can do to also encourage learning.
Arts and crafts. As everyone is getting a bit more bored, and toys are becoing old news, it is time to bring out the big guns. We are now past crayons and markers and coloring books being fun. We’ve moved on to the bit messier arts, glue, glitter, sequens, playdoh, paints. Yes, it’s more clean up…but I think many of us our finding we have a bit more time to spare. So let those tots get a bit messy.
Family dance party. I’ve been doing my home workouts to music my tot loves to dance to. I get my workout in, my son has fun dancing and climbing on me…and we are both having fun being active.
Baking. Bake something simple and let your tot help out! They can dump pre measured ingredients in the bowl or help by stirring.
Karaokee. If you don’t own a karaokee machine, or system it’s fine. All you need is You tube. Any song you like just type “karaokee” after the title or artist, and there is likely a karaokee version. Just sing a long, or give your tot a pretend mic. for a little family fun.
Chores and things
Potty Train. We’ve been using this extra time to help with potty training. One of the awards is a bit of screen time if we make a potty on the toilet. Also helps save on some of those diapers and wipes that are running low in stores!
Clean up. Let your tot play with the duster, or a kiddy broom while your doing extra cleaning and disinfecting. Kids love to feel like they are helping.
Plants in pots. My son is currently filling up a large pot with dirst from the yard. It’s been taking him days lol! But when it’s full I have some seed on hand and will we see what we can grow.
If your having a hard time finding things for your tot do do…observe your tot when they have a bit of freedom and see what they like. They can be quite creative!