Sanity Saver {Toddler Activities}

Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I do not want to sing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” over and over. Sometimes sitting and playing the same games over and over gets boring. For BOTH of us! You know toddlers…toys can lose their appeal very easily. And who do they look to for more inspiration?? YOU! Rightfully so, you’re the person who cares for them!!

But sometimes mommies don’t have an endless list of fun and easy {and free or cheap} ideas to just whip up in 30 seconds. SO, here are some ideas to inspire you! :) Especially during the busy holidays, us mommies gotta help one another out! :)

Just yesterday, my daughter was throwing a fit over the fact that I wouldn’t let her watch Finding Nemo. She had already watched plenty of television that morning and visions of an out of control, misbehaving problem child whirred through my overreacting mind.

So what did I do? I called my mom. HA!

Sometimes she has great ideas and sometimes she helps me to figure out my own. This time, it was both. She said get some bowls and a spoon and let her go to town. I added cotton balls and cereal into the mix and here is what we got:

Sorting and counting and coordination skill-building! Seriously, friends, she was occupied with this for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES! It was literally a lifesaver for me. I was at my wits end! This saved my afternoon. And my little girl? She had a blast! She was smiling and so excited to count the cotton balls. And then she started stirring the cotton balls and saying, “Stir, stir, stir!!! I’m makin cakes!” Haha :) And for anyone familiar with Ni Hao, Kai-Lan {on Nick, Jr.}, she started saying, “I’m makin moon cakes!” Its definitely something we’ll do again.
Some other ideas to go with the cotton ball idea is to use cereal {like I did in the photo above}, and when your child is a bit older, if you use multi-colored cereal {I used organic Cascadian Farm Fruity O’s cereal}, you can start color recognition as well. :)
Another idea is to build a fort! Especially for super curious kids, my daughter loves this. She brings her books into the fort and plays in her own little space. :)

Here is an idea that I had but was also reiterated to me by a friend yesterday, have a shaving cream party! Put your kiddo into the tub nakie and let them go to town! If you’re afraid they will eat the shaving cream, use Cool Whip. Its like $1 at the store. And they get a little treat :)

I also like to let her color. But not just a regular sheet of paper, I like to have her color something pre-drawn. Our church gives out color pages of Jesus, God with little kids, Noah and the ark, etc. So usually on Monday or Tuesday, that will be the day’s activity. She loves it. And we also talk about what she “learned” in church. Its something really simple like, “God made everything,” or “Jesus is God.” We also talk about how God loves her and she now knows the “God made you special, and He loves you very much,” message at the end of Veggie Tales :) Except for her it comes out, “God is special, annnn He bewwwwy much!” haha!

Jael also loves stickers, so as toddlers get older, they can make a scene with their stickers, or like my daughter does…stick them all over their own body. haha

I would recommend buying a small table and chairs for your young child. They will have fun with the table alone since it is their size. My daughter talked about her “Princess table” for days after I gave it to her. It also makes doing kid activities a lot easier because you don’t have them confined to a high chair {which my daughter hates now that she’s older} and they can play at their own space.

Also, a friend of mine came across a website that has activities for all ranges of kids that I really liked. There are a lot of ideas on there like making your own water table, making paper crafts, etc.

Some things that are so simple sometimes are things kids would LOVE:

  • Pouring practice with cups and bowls and water {I promise you, some water on your kitchen floor won’t kill anyone! or just do it in the bath} or rice or dry beans
  • If you have a small beach ball {we have one the size of a basketball} and teach them to hold their arms out in front of their body and toss the ball to them and see if they “catch” it {my daughter loved this — she giggled every time the ball hit her face!}
  • Chalk roads on the sidewalk for play cars
  • During the fall, let them color with crayons on pumpkins – my girl loved this too!
  • I even just found her just now crunching up Ritz crackers with a baby spoon making a MESS. Instead of getting mad, I just smiled and said, “Whatcha doing?” She sweetly replied, “Crunchin cracker!!” Since I can vacuum and she is having fun, I just put her crunched up crackers in a shallow tupperware bowl and let her keep going! She’s quiet and having fun! haha

Here are some fun Pinterest finds:

Fun in the snow — they used food coloring to color the water, but I wouldn’t want to stain any clothing or sidewalks. Anyone know of a washable way to do this?

Food painting! Still using food coloring but very fun!!

Cut up cheap sponges and make sponge towers!

And if you have older kids, this is a GREAT idea…have a bored jar. If they start complaining of being bored, they get to pick a piece of paper from the jar and they must do it, no matter if it is good or bad. So it could be a fun activity, like food painting or going to get ice cream, or something not so fun like cleaning their room! Love it!

So do you have any fun kid ideas? How do you keep your kids occupied, especially on cold winter days?? Let us all know! Spread the wisdom!
xoxo – erin

I linked up this post with 30 handmade days blog! :)