The trick to keeping active toddlers busy is to find activities which are entertaining, engrossing and above all fun. A busy toddler is a happy toddler! Moms find the endless energy levels of their -full of beans’ toddlers to be draining but if the tot’s day is scheduled and there is a lot to keep them busy, moms may find that their child will be quite willing to take their afternoon nap.
When trying to come up with fun-filled games and activities for toddlers – think out of the box. There is no need to raid the nearest arts and craft store for an armful of expensive paints, pens and pencils. In most cases our homes have all that’s needed to keep curious kids enthralled, and all that’s needed is a little imagination.
10 ways to keep your toddler entertained!
1. Dress up games! Boys and girls love dressing up. Clear out your cupboards and take out that funky retro dress that you have been meaning to donate, dig out dad’s old ties and hats and find a collection of mismatched or unworn shoes. Don’t forget to get a few contributions from granny! Add some costume jewellery to the mix and some discarded makeup and put it into a dress-up box. The inquisitive child will rummage through the goods and will spend many happy hours trying on shoes, hats and ties. Play with your child and come up with fun characters! If you have a playhouse, put the dress-up box in the playhouse and when your toddler’s friends come to play – they too will be enthralled by the box of -big people’s clothes’!
2. Finger painting! Kids of all ages love to paint. Finger painting needs no fancy of expensive paintbrushes and because water based paints are used – any mess can be effortlessly cleaned up. Experiment with different colours and allow your toddler’s imagination to run wild.
3. Baking! Who does not like a decadent chocolate cake? Moms can do the actual baking of the cake – with a little help from the mini-baker and when it comes time to decorate, let your terrific two-year old or feisty five-year old be in charge of the decorating. Give the toddler a handful of Smarties or a variety of icing colours! What’s nice about this activity is that once the cake has been decorated, a mid-morning tea party is next on the cards.
4. X marks the spot! A treasure hunt is ideal for indoor and outdoor play. Hide a few treats or a small toy and verbally give your toddler clues on how to find the loot! Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the child, make the clues tricky – the longer they spend hunting for rewards, the more energy they will be using.
5. Create an activity centre! Find an appropriate corner in the home and stock it up with crayons, colouring-in books, blocks, puzzles, play dough etc. If you are trying to get housework done, reply to emails or start cooking, the fully-equipped activity centre will free up a few minutes (hopefully a little longer), so that you can get things done. Find a place in the home where you can keep an eye on the toddler – a toddler with crayons will equal unwanted wall art! Use colourful containers to store crayons and books. The activity centre will provide endless hours of child-friendly entertainment on a rainy day!
6. Building fun! Kids love to build. Collect as many cardboard paper towel and toilet roll holders as possible and find other bits and bobs around the home. Use old boxes, paper cups and cupcake holders and encourage the amused builder to construct a robot or an aeroplane. There are so many fun goodies around the house to add to the construction – bottle caps, macaroni, etc. All you’ll need to have is a good dose of creativity and lots of imagination!
7. Start a garden! Kids love getting dirty and when they are digging in sand, they are at their happiest. Start your own garden and encourage children to water and weed the garden regularly. Kids will marvel at how the seeds bloom into flowers.
8. Arts and crafts! Cutting, drawing, pasting and colouring are some of the most loved kid’s activities. Let kids experiment with colours and textures. Use paper plates to make funny masks – use wool for hair or fabric to decorate the mask. What’s nice about the masks is the kids can play with them or they can be used to decorate their bedroom or a playroom. Go wild and remember in the world of make believe there are no rules! Use old magazines or old photographs to make collages! Or let the child make their own scrapbook, again beads, fabric, etc. can be used to give the scrapbook a touch of glam.
9. If all else fails – dance! Put on a CD and do some funky dance moves. Take turns with your toddler to come up with silly or outrageous moves or do a dance routine to the Hokey Pokey (you put your left leg in, you put your right leg inâ€¦). Kids love rhythm and they love music and they will probably be in hysterics when they see mom or dad dancing like a funky chicken.
10. Water games. Toddlers are kept amused for hours with water. Fill up different sizes of Tupperware containers or even old ice cream containers with water and let them float a few toy boats or simply splash out. Kids enjoy filling things up with water so arrange a few containers (you can use old shampoo bottles, jugs, etc.) and give them the chance to fill each one up. A few drops of food colouring can be added to the water to make coloured water and for added fun, give the toddler a few spoons, strainers and cups to play with. If you have a Clam then fill one side up with water and one side up with sand – it will keep them busy for hours!