As the mom of a 2-year old and an infant, I’m constantly on Pinterest, trying to find ways to keep the toddler occupied that don’t include the iPad. I’ve had my fair share of Pinterest wins and losses, but I’ve learned that, sometimes, the most obvious activities are the ones my daughter enjoys the most. I just have to embrace the inevitable mess that is life with a toddler.
Making anything from scratch could be a fun activity, but even if you’re not much of a baker (like me), whipping up a quick batch of brownies or cupcakes from a box will be fun. Depending on the age of the child, baking from the box might be the best option for little ones with short attention spans. My toddler loved cracking the egg and pouring the measuring cups of water and oil. She was able to do more than I expected; I shouldn’t have avoided baking with her as long as I did. Mixing in the dry brownie mix with the wet ingredients is a subtle science lesson as your child sees the individual ingredients form a batter.
Let your toddler play in the sink, or, for easier cleanup, fill a big bowl with water and head outdoors or to the garage. My child loves pouring water from cup to bowl and back again. She feels like she’s helping do dishes, and maybe that’s a perk for down the road — never too early to learn a helpful skill. This is great for sensory play and fine motor skills. Expect to have some water to wipe up off the floor, but, hey, at least it’s just water.
Washable paint of any kind is great for encouraging your child’s creativity, and cleans up surprisingly well. Let kids experience different surfaces — paper, canvas, scrap wood from an old project or even rocks from the backyard. Exploring with watercolors, finger painting, different brushes, spray bottles and even using pompoms dipped in paint allows them to explore different medias. Box painting in the garage is our personal favorite. Thanks to online shopping, we have a surplus of large boxes, so sitting in a big box and painting was a fun change of pace for our toddler. We also do lots of painting in the garage for easier cleanup.
Photo nature walks, yard work, collecting rocks, washing cars, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc. — the options are endless. It doesn’t have to be sunny outside for a fun time. Changing weather is a great learning opportunity for little ones. Grab those rain boots and raincoats and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Puddle jumping is fun for all ages.
5. Seasonal Coloring Pages
You always can find free printable coloring pages online. Crayola and Oriental Trading Co. have great options on their websites. Coloring is fun for all ages. Let your kiddos make their own pages, using markers, colored pencils, crayons, paint or even gluing on colorful paper, macaroni or other objects to create festive fridge-worthy decor.
By Katie Beall, editor of Around Acworth. firstname.lastname@example.org