AS parents we all know how hard it can be to entertain toddlers.
Some days can be easier than others.
But let’s face it, they pretty much run their own show when it comes to playtime.
And you’re usually just along for the ride.
My soon to be two-year-old daughter’s favourite line of the moment when she wants me to play is “sit down mummy” and she’s very insistent on where I sit as well.
However, I’ve started thinking lately about what else we can do to have fun.
So far I only have the one child on my hands (but not for long) so I’m still learning the ropes but here’s what I’ve found to add to our list of playtime fun: - many of them are oldies but goodies!
Whether it’s homemade or store bought, let your imagination run wild with good old play-doh.
Make smiley faces, snake shapes, numbers, anything goes really.
Tea party time
Not a day goes by without a tea party in our house. The dolls blanket goes down as our picnic blanket and a lot of attention-to-detail goes into the set-up of our little party. With guests like Ernie, Humpty, teddy and all the dolls, we have loads of fun.
“Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles....” They’re very popular and let’s face it, who doesn’t like playing with bubbles?!
While we may not be creating any masterpieces, just yet, you can’t go past the simple fun of a piece of paper and some crayons and we can’t forget to add in stickers!
Brushes, fingers or even feet, although at times very messy, painting is an easy time filler activity. Just allow even more time for the cleaning up!
Counting and reciting ABC
While she’s a little bit too young to remember A through to Z on her own, I find sometimes talking and reciting the alphabet along with counting from one to 10 while we play is a great way to help my daughter start to learn.
Music: sing, dance and have some fun
The Wiggles are a big favourite in this house but even songs that require use of hands and movement go a long way.
Think Incy Wincy Spider, Open Shut Them, Ring a Rosy, etc. There’s often cries of “again” or “more please” accompanied by jumping, hand clapping and one big smile.
While they may not sound like much fun and yes they are educational, these colourful charts are a great way to teach toddlers a lot of the basics (numbers, time, colours, etc).
I’ve taken a different spin on things and at the moment we focus more on the animals and their sounds turning it into more of a game. This usually results in lots of giggles with my daughter jumping around the room.
Help around the house
No this is not a form of child labour! The little people of the house actually like to help mummy and daddy so why not make them feel included. They’re not going to be able to clean the bathroom for you so start small. My daughter likes to help unload the dishwasher, open the blinds, push the broom around, push the start button on the washing machine and help (or hinder) mummy with the vacuuming. You never know this may help you later on down the track!
When all else fails, utilise the great outdoors. Go for a walk. Play on the backyard swing. Explore nature in your very own yard. Toddlers love to feel different textures so let them explore the garden with rocks, sticks, leaves and flowers all at their disposal. Plus it gives you both an opportunity to soak up some beautiful sunlight.
Do you have any more fun ideas to keep toddlers busy and happy? Feel free to let us know.