Monday, August 6, 2012

Three simple ways to entertain your toddler - Guest Post

Hi, I'm Kat. I’m a wife, a mom, and a dog owner. I’m a wanna-be photographer, a self-proclaimed foodie, a wine enthusiast, and a tech junkie. I love my family, shopping (especially for shoes), scrapbooking, all things baby, and home-making. I’m (often) a health nut, (mostly) an exercise junkie, and a lover of life. I share my home with a golf-loving, tv-watching husband, Jon, a happy little toddler, Peanut, and a Yorkshire terrier by the name of Travis that thinks he's more human than we are. You can read more about us here.

The more time that we spend with our little Peanut, the more I realize that I'm not even sure why we ever bother to buy toys. Peanut is in the wonderful imitation stage (she's just over 17 months) where she wants to only play with anything that we use and attempt to imitate our actions. Aside from a few toys here and there, Peanut will not spend more than 5 minutes with her toys. But hand her a paper towel and ask her to wipe down the cabinets? She'll be busy for 20 minutes. We've also found the following "games" to be great at occupying our toddler for extended periods of time: WARNING: all these activities need to be carefully supervised by adults! We watch our little Peanut very closely when she is playing with small objects or water, or pretty much anything else that she will choose to put in her mouth.  

1. Rocks and sorting cups toddler activity
This one is a favorite in our household - great for rainy days or Sunday mornings when mom and dad are still sipping their first cup of coffee. We have a bag of decorative rocks that I bought at Wal-mart about 5 years ago for a candle center piece. Peanut absolutely loves playing with these and since she's not allowed to play with them unattended (note: CHOKING hazard!), they only come out every once in a while. We have a bunch of different sorting cups that we put out for Peanut to play with and hand her a couple of handfuls of the large rocks (I'm not kidding when I say I count all the rocks before, during, and after she plays with them). She loves sorting them into the cups, pouring them from one cup to another, stacking them, moving them, and banging them together. I'm sure the attention span completely depends on your toddler, their age, and current interests, but this one can occupy ours for at least 30 minutes, easily.

 toddler activity toddler activity    
2. Buckets, water, and sorting cups
toddler activity
This one is great when you're outside and you want to relax for a little while instead of chasing your toddler in the street. I also find that this one is great not just for the beach, but for a holiday party (i.e. 4th of July party). Our toddler is still a little shy around people that she doesn't see daily (for us, unfortunately, that includes a lot of family), so this game not only promotes some great fine motor skills, but is also task-oriented and social. Depending on where we are and what we have on hand, we set up a couple of buckets that we will with water (please watch your toddler carefully!) and hand Peanut some sorting cups or just Tupperware. She loves taking water from one bucket and pouring into another. When she gets a little bored with that one, we ask her to bring the water to different people. It's social and it also teaches her people's names: i.e. "Peanut, go give some water to Gigi and pour it in her hands." Peanut loves being given a task and accomplishing it so she is very eager to follow directions.

 toddler activity    
3. Necklaces and knobs toddler activity
We've noticed that P has taken a rather deep interest in my necklaces - she loves putting them on herself, the tog, her toys, and most recently, the nightstand knobs. This is a great Saturday or Sunday morning activity while mom and dad lounge in bed or to occupy the toddler in the morning that you're trying to get ready to head out the door and your little Peanut demands that you pay attention. P will actually spend an upward of 45 minutes just hanging the necklace on the knobs, then asking me to take them down before repeating it over and over and over again.

The best part - all these will keep your toddler occupied without the use of a television. That's what I call a win-win. A huge thanks to Melissa for hosting this guest post. If you want to read more about our little family and the shenanigans that go on in our household, here's a ton of contact info:
Living Like the Kings
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Thanks for these great ideas, Kat!
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