It is hard to keep a toddler happy, healthy and busy every day. Very hard! But lately I have found a few new activities that Heidi has loved. This doesn’t mean she will always love them, or that she will do them for hours, but they have been helpful over the last couple of weeks. So I thought I would share in the hope that someone else out there might get some use out of them.
1. Mud Puddle Fun
There has been a small, round dirt patch in our backyard for a while. I think it used to be the place where a fire barrel was, or something like that. The other day I was thinking of ways to encourage Heidi to spend more time playing in the backyard, and voila! The Mud Puddle was created. I basically just poured water on the dirt, filled some buckets, kiddie watering cans, grabbed some outdoor toys, took off Heidi’s good clothes and let her go. Word of advice: Give in to the fact that childhood, play, and in particular muddy play will be incredibly messy. Be prepared to bath or shower the kids as soon as the activity needs to be done. Heidi has had a brilliant time with the Mud Puddle. She has played with it in various ways for hours. It is a great sensory experience, with hard dirt under her feet, squishy mud between her toes and water splashing her legs. It encourages creative play by incorporating a few toys and a new environment for them to be in. It gives an opportunity for independent play skills to grow too.
2. Playdough Kitchens
Heidi’s birthday gift recently was a huge container of tea set toys, cooking toys and play food. She loves them, and I am so glad that she has been enjoying them – eBay purchase win! But I discovered that when I added some Playdough to the mix that she loved it even more! I am constantly trying to think of activities to keep Heidi entertained while she can sit up at the table during meal prep/clean up time. This was a big hit! There is something about combining two kind of toys that she just loved. And of course, Sophie the Doll was in on the action too – she is a favourite at the moment.
3. Teddy Bear Picnic
While this is by no means an original idea, it is still a good one! The combination of being outdoors, having teddies and dolls nearby, using water, grass, gum-nuts etc in the teapot and cups meant that Heidi had an absolute blast with this. And I have to admit, it was pretty fun for me too.
4. Indoor Picnic Dinner
We don’t usually have Fish & Chips, as Paul can’t eat it most of the time. But one night before going to church we decided we would have an easy dinner and this is what we ended up doing. It was fun, easy to clean up and a great time together as a family.
5. Cubbies From Blankets
A few weeks ago the heatwave of the Never Ending Summer in Melbourne finally did come to an end. But for a month or so it was really too hot to spend much time outside. Especially because water play was not an option for 3 weeks with Heidi’s broken wrist. And so the Cubby began. I simply turned our two couches around (they normally face each other with a coffee table in between), moved the coffee table, made a roof with a blanket, placed a nice soft blanket on the floor and piled in the cushions and pillows. It was lovely in there, that I have to admit that I actually had a little nap in there myself when the girls were in bed! We had lots of little books and dolls in there too – two of Heidi’s always favourite things.
6. Dancing. Lots of Dancing.
Heidi loves to dance, and hey, who doesn’t? So most days, at least twice a day, the music goes on and the dancing begins. Or the spinning, more specifically. And Heidi will run around looking for her ‘dancing skirt’ and Sophie the Doll to dance with her. It’s a great activity for exercise, coordination, and most importantly, fun!
7. Painting Outdoors
I tried a home-made paint recipe today which was fun. It probably ended up being a bit watery but it was perfect for painting the path with. Heidi also liked just rubbing it on her legs and arms. And considering it was made from corn flour, water and food dye – that was fine! We did have the Chalk/White Board easel out with paper, but it wasn’t as popular as painting everything else.
Hopefully some of these ideas will be useful to you! What are some things you do to keep your busy toddler entertained on those long days at home?