As the Covid-19 lockdown went into effect, I stocked up on books and indoor toys to keep my toddler busy while we were stuck inside. However, as the weeks turned into months, toys and books won’t cut it. I need some simple toddler activities to keep my daughter entertained.
No playgrounds or playgroups — you’re on your own
Parenting has been a challenge without the fun of playgrounds, outings, playdates, and other pre-Covid pleasures. I commend the parents who create elaborate activity rooms or handcrafted Montessori toys to tackle indoor life. But, that’s not me.
I’m Not A Pinterest Parent (And That’s Ok)
I love browsing Pinterest, but (if I’m being honest), I’m not crafting any of the pins I like. I just don’t have the time. My budget of money (and time) have led me to simple toddler activities to fill the long socially-distant days.
1. Clean Out the Cabinets
Did you know that behind every cabinet in your kitchen, you’re hiding fun and exciting toys for your toddler?
You may call them Tupperware or Colander, but to a toddler, they are shoes and hats! No joke, I’ve seen this ensemble on my own toddler.
The cabinets hold items that are keys to unlock the imagination.
2. Make Some Soup (Or Dinner) Together
My house is plant-based, so we eat a lot of soup. Toddlers love to be involved in new activities, so I let my 2-year old help me out in the kitchen.
For example, the other day, we made lentil soup. While I peeled and chopped, she sorted the scraps from the cut-up bits.
She even got to “sample” the wares i.e., small chopped up carrots and celery. She loved helping, and I got dinner ready. Win-win!
3. Box: The Most Wonderful Toy
Have you ever noticed how fascinated kids are with boxes?
Big boxes, small boxes, and all in between!
My daughter played for weeks with an empty diaper box and loved using it in different ways.
Keep the boxes from your online purchases and go wild! Here are some suggestions:
- Color the box with crayons or markers
- Decorate the box with stickers
- Fill the box with Duplo blocks and then sort them by color
- Use the box as a table for a tea party
- Toss balls into the box
Sometimes the easiest thing to do is leave the box in the middle of the room and see what your toddler does with it. Toddlers continue to amaze and surprise us, right?
4. These Velcro Shoes Were Made for Walkin’
I miss playgrounds, I really do. But with Covid-19, I can’t risk it.
I know that fresh air is a must. And doctors recommend outdoor physical activities for kids.
The daily walk is a natural outdoor activity.
Take a sand bucket and go on a “scavenger hunt.” Point out things to your toddler and pick them up (leaf, stick, flower, etc.).
By the end of the walk, your kid will have a bucket full of treasure and a dose of fresh air.
5. Take A Midday Bath
Who says bath time is exclusive to actually bathe? Toddlers love water play.
An afternoon bath is a great way to stay cool and have fun.
Make the bath enjoyable by tossing in unique items such as floatable blocks, Duplo building blocks, or different sized cups to fill.
6. Is It A Blanket Fort Or A Pillow Fort?
Grab your spare sheets and pillows, it’s time to build a fort!
No, it doesn’t have to be complicated. I believe our original blanket fort was basically a sheet draped over a bookcase. My daughter had endless fun.
The benefits of building a pillow or blanket fort are:
- All “construction” materials are already available
- It can be changed to be a different experience
- Easy clean-up
- Soft materials
- Parents can relax on pillows (a true joy!)
7. Do You Have A Hose?
On a hot summer a day, a kiddie pool or sprinkler is a godsend. Those are amazing toys, but you don’t need the hassle of setting those up for a good time.
If you have a hose, you have a toy! My daughter loves just filling up buckets with the hose or getting sprayed with it.
Turn on the water and let the fun begin!
8. Meet Your Step Goal (Go For Another Walk)
Get those steps in (and burn off that toddler energy).
Play “eye-spy” or go explore plants in the yard.
If you have a stroller, let your kid push it! For whatever reason, my daughter loves pushing the stroller around with me.
Use whatever you have to make it exciting (and tiring!).
Keep It Simple
Why do young kids get excited over simple kitchen utensils, plastic cups, or bubbles? Because everything is new to a toddler.
With that in mind, entertainment can be simple too. You don’t need elaborate projects or fancy toys. Try some of these simple activities and modify them to suit your kid and let the fun begin!
What simple activities do you do with your toddler?