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Hey parents! Do you work full time? Does your commute involve dropping a kid off at school or daycare and still managing to clock in before 8am? Did you move across the country to a big city where you have no immediate family members or close friends nearby so you can dump your kid off on to give you a lil’ parenting break? Do you really only desire to have an uninterrupted bath while sipping a
small glass bottle of wine?
Yes to any of that?! Well hey, that’s me too!
Granted, we only have 1 kid, but I still get asked this question, “How do you balance work, keeping up learning & professional development and manage to keep your home clean, family fed and a toddler productively busy?”
Answer: Engaging Toddler Activities! Read on to learn about some of the toddler activities that work to get us about 2-3 hours of entertainment at a crank!
Alright, Just Give Me The List Of Toddler Activities!
1. Kinetic Sand, Sled, Beach & Construction Toys!
OK, if you live in an area that has winter and you can’t get to the beach, kinetic sand is a must! It never dries out! And if you are a clean freak like me, you must try and contain the mess. My son got 2 sleds for Christmas one year. But it worked out perfectly as one stays outside, and this one stays inside to contain the messier activities! It’s low enough to store under a bed, but we end up keeping it in the kitchen pantry closet on the bottom floor and my son drags it out anytime he wants to play in it.
2. Fuse Beads & an Iron!
Now here’s an activity that was as therapeutic as an adult coloring book. When my kid first got his set of beads and a few plates, I did this for 3 hours one Saturday afternoon right along with him! Great childhood memories from these! Just make sure mom uses the iron and there’s a plugin by the plates when you are done with the beads. FYI: moving plates off the table to a location to get ironed doesn’t work too well! #whoops #redo
3. Slime! Make your own with: Elmer’s Glue (clear or white is fine), Baking Soda, Saline Solution and Glitter (optional)
If you’ve ever tried to buy Elmer’s Glue physically at a store, you may find it’s sold out! That’s due to the homemade slime craze and so I’ve had to buy mine online! We’ve made this several times and it’s been great for rainy days. I recommend the slime with saline solution recipe from this Pinterest pin based upon trying a few different kinds of slime and found this one the best to work with.
I’m going to be honest here. I hate Play-Doh. I’d rather my kid make slime. My kid plays with it so long that it hardens and even if you add water like it recommends, the soft consistency never comes back. Pretty much it’s a one and done type of activity. But, a good bang for your buck if you need to get some chores done in your house or food prep for the week!
5. Kiddie Pool & 100 Balloons or Balls!
Yay summer activities! Blow-up kiddie pools are perfect for playing in the water! I set this up near where I want to accomplish tasks such as yard work or cleaning the garage (or sitting and blogging). We just got the cheap $10 one, but you can get kiddie pools with roofs, canopies, etc. The cheap one works well because guess what else it can also do? Yup, serve as a ball pit for those 100 balloons…annnd works great for a winter activity.
6. “Where Are They? 1,000 Things To Search & Find” Books!
This was also a throw back to my childhood. I remember having a few of these books and now my kid is getting into them! They are fun! But not so fun when he requests these for his bedtime story. I recommend keeping them in the car…
These were both awesome gifts our family members gave our son. He loved the baby laptop from about 6 months to a 18 months. Then the Pre-K laptop has been great as well. I know some friends that have the leapfrog versions and they’ve been happy with those too. The sound is kind of annoying AF for parents, but it kept him entertained on long car rides and mom knows all her colors in Spanish as well now. Mi color favorito es el amarillo!
8. Remote Control Cars…AA & 9V batteries are a must!
We were blessed to have moved into a neighborhood with some really awesome neighbors. They mostly have teenagers and aren’t home due to running around for their activities. But if they see us playing outside, they will run over and give our son random items such as remote control cars stored in their garage they can’t emotionally part with yet. And so they are getting enjoyment seeing our son play with them! Be sure to have lots of new or rechargeable batteries on hand! You need these for your smoke alarms anyway! #SafetyFirst
As the saying goes, the older your kid gets, the smaller their toys become! Yeah, I’ve stepped on one of these lil’ Tommy trains (or two or three?) and it doesn’t feel great, but hey he hooks all the cars up and makes tracks all around our house! He’s also getting into Legos. Now here’s an activity that entertains dad for hours too!
Another great item to have in cars or long work commutes. I realize screen time is bad for kids, but he’s not glued to it for hours on end. And realizes it’s a treat! It’s been great for learning songs, counting, ABCs, shapes and all life lessons in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, If you have to go potty stop and go right away, flush, wash and be on your way!
Conclusion – Engaging Toddler Activities Rule!
The list I have put together are a few random examples we have around our house. Our toddler was around 2 when he started most of these activities and is almost 4 now. He’s old enough to where he doesn’t put items in his mouth and can communicate well if something is wrong. So just make sure to supervisor your kids appropriately and they are old enough to enjoy these activities safely.
What’s your favorite engaging toddler activities? And yes, you can go throwback to when you were a kid too! Thanks in advance for playing!