The toddler years are full of fun and games, but can also be a time of frustration, both for you and them. I make no pretence that there are moments in the day when I need 5 minutes peace to either cook the dinner, take an important phone call or tidy the house to an acceptable standard (and not like we’ve just been burgled.)
My boy is not a TV watcher, he’s a busy boy who likes to be on the go. He helps with a lot of my daily chores, whether I like it or not, likes to run about, climb every piece of furniture has an unhealthy fascination with the toilet. That pretty much sums up his entertainment for the day but you can guarantee that the minute I need to get on and do something without a co pilot, he has other ideas.
So I’ve been devising a back up plan, my fail safe, a plan B.
I’ve shared my love of sensory play before (click here if you’re not if you’re not a season ticket holder) as the toddler is a fiddler. He’s very much into sensorimotor / touch it, eat it, throw it at the dog, play but does pick things up very quickly. And I thought it was high time I shared my latest finds which are the result of inspiration from Pinterest and my favourite, The Imagination Tree.
Rice and lentils
I keep a grow bag tray, which I bought from my local garden centre for a few pounds, by the back door. When I’m in the kitchen and need a distraction so I can make tea, I fill it with some budget rice and lentils. I add spoons and cups and place it on a blanket to make tidying up quicker. When I’m finished, I transfer it to an old quality street tub for the next play session. You can add glitter, rolled oats or pasta for variation.
Shaving foam car derby
My toddler hates sitting for too long, making high chair times short and sweet. If I need him contained, maybe to sweep the floor without him diving in the newly formed dirt pile and taste testing what ever he can get his hands on in the spilt second I grab the dustpan. I’ll cover his highchair tray in sensitive shaving foam and give him some cars to role through and make patterns.
Masking tape fiddle session
I keep a roll of this handy for uninterrupted cooking sessions. The days when he’s had enough, witching hour’s is in full swing and we’re on a minute-for-minute countdown to bath and bed time. Peeling some off and sticking on the cupboard doors then showing him how to pull it off and stick back on grabs me a few minutes distraction.
Pom Pom Tunnels
With a little forward planning, by which I mean keeping some kitchen rolls, this is a great busy activity with a multi use. Simply stick a use tube (can be wrapping paper tube or a few toilet rolls) onto an upright surface and give them some pom poms, make sure they’re small enough to fit through the hole or you could end up with a very frustrated toddler. I made mine the good old-fashioned way with cardboard hoops and wool, but you can buy some cheap enough.
Socks in a box
I am guilty of hoarding a stupid amount of odd socks in the hope that one day, they’ll all pair up eventually. When I admit defeat I’ll get the leftovers, roll a couple up and give them to the toddler to throw to his heart’s content. To make it more of a challenge, we use the laundry basket or a cardboard box as our target. I can also usually get a few extra minutes out of taking them out, sock ball by sock ball, and putting them back in the back. Toddlers love to help and t’s a great way to start off that tidying up after your self routine.