Toddler Activities. Ways to entertain a toddler. How to keep my toddler busy? These are my recent searches and I am still on the look out for more. But can I be honest and real as a mom and say that almost 60% of what’s out there can only interest my toddler for a very limited time, to be frank 10 minutes max and then we need to introduce a new one as he’d lost interest already.
That’s where this post come in. I want to give parents a tried and tested list of toddler activities that is 15 minutes minimum and can last you close to an hour to keep your toddler occupied and busy and may last longer if parent engagement is involved (since we are their most favorite playmate).
Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.
“Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength,” according to the AAP report. It allows children to explore the world, practice adult roles, and gain confidence. And it improves children’s social skills as well, by helping them to “learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.” (Source: www.parents.com)
Related post: Importance of Play: 10 Benefits of Play to Children
Please note that my toddler’s age as of writing this post is 23 months old. Attention span differs from every age.
Now, that we’ve established the importance of play and its endless benefits, let’s get started on what I refer to as…
1. Play Dough
Make sure that you are using the non-toxic, edible type. I recommend doing one at home because its so cheap and easy to make.
Play dough or clay play is open-ended and is such a creativity booster, observe your child and be amazed of what he’ll do with it. A little taste test is inevitable, they always seem to sneak a taste. It’s like they cannot resist.
Add in some cooking set to stretch your play time. (My toddler always sees me in action on the kitchen and buying him a cooking set is worth it. He’s imitating me flipping the pancake during his clay play).
2. Animal Toys and Kitchen Tongs.
This was a surprise discovery and a hit to my toddler. We have a bunk bed and I hanged the animal toys on the grills and gave him the kitchen tongs to pick them and give to me.
This made him focused as some animals as harder to get than others. The more animal toys you can hang the better and longer. We did the activity 3x on repeat!
3. Water Play With A Watering Can and Sponge.
Toddlers love all types of water play. That’s why this activity is done prior to my son taking a bath. We gave him the watering can and sponge and he started pouring it first on plants, then stones and soon to Mommy. Since we’re drenching with water by this time, we headed to bath time and continued playing.
4. Sensory Play
We’ve tried several and I claimed it to be an engaging toddler activity even to adults. Our moon sand took us 2 hours of playtime. Mung beans, rice, sand, ice, pebbles and more. Add in the animal, beach toys or any scooping props will surely result to a fun time.
Mommy’s notes: Items 1-4 are all messy activities which is not new to toddler moms. But the worst one is Sensory play as it involves grainy, infinite pieces.
Related post: 7 Telltale Signs You Live With A Toddler.
5. Nature Walks
This is my favorite of them all. Exercise, fresh air and good scenery. Those are good factors involved in this activity. We are trying to raise a Nature Baby and this is the best way to start that. He loves picking stones, leaves, stems and anything that interests him. I try to save some of them to use for our other activities. Leaves for our cooking pretend play, this particular stem as a sword, wand and clothespin hanger. The possibilities are endless! The time range of this depends on your route. I recommend doing this everyday or as frequent as possible.
These are my tested long time engaging toddler activities. I will be adding more as I discover others as well. Try doing them with your child and time it and let me know the result in the comment below.
I am researching and reading the internet on the importance of play and observed that all articles I read had a section saying that reduction of play in consequence of screen time had experts worried on its effect to child behavior and development.
I am guilty of this because as much as I love giving Seb his toddler activities so he can veer away from screen time, I also have my guilty moments when I let a gadget babysit him for a while so I can do chores. It is inevitable I tell you and please do not judge me for this.
I believe that screen time is not bad. Depending on how you let your kid get exposed to it. Its a simple matter of knowing when is too much.
Related post: Bad Effects of Too Much Screen Time on Toddlers
I will be discussing Screen Time’s Effect on Toddlers on a separate, more thorough and researched post because it deserves that.