Toddlers can be a lot of fun…provided you have some activities to keep them occupied. And, let’s face it, toys are good and all, but toddlers seem to prefer the novelty of new activities (or at least, mine does). Going to play centers and on other outings can be super fun, but outings like those can get expensive and so are generally reserved for special occasions. The great thing about toddlers is that they love to learn new things. In that spirit, I’ve put together a list of five activities that I have done on numerous occasions with my toddler. They are all toddler-approved (well, approved by my toddler anyways).
It doesn’t get any simpler than this, folks. All you need is water, a paintbrush and a container. This no-mess activity is always sure to get my toddler happy. We usually go out on the balcony and he has fun “painting” the various surfaces he finds including the wood, brick, patio set and patio door. This is ideal on a hottish to hot day.
2. Going to the local library
I don’t know about your toddlers, but mine loves stories so it was only a question of time before I brought him to the local library. This activity is no-cost for us as we can easily walk to the library (I put him in his little wagon and pull him for the 20 minute walk) and taking out books is free for the residents of our city. All you need is a citizen card (which is free of charge).
The first time I brought Charles into the kitchen with me was when he started solids at 6 months of age. Of course, back then, he was content to sit on the counter and hold onto the food while I got everything ready.
Is it messy? You bet!
Does it take a longer time than doing it sans toddler? Absolutely!
Is it worth it? There is no doubt in my mind!
Besides the joy at being allowed to do a “grown-up” activity and the pride at being able to prepare his food by himself, it’s also a great activity to hone fine motor skills. Here are a few shots of Charles preparing his cheese-less mini pizzas.
4. Get artsy
Our little guy loves to draw. In our bookcases, we keep a box of crayons atop a stack of paper. When he feels like drawing, he grabs his art material and settles down somewhere (on the ground, at his little table, at the dining room table…) to create some toddler masterpieces.
Besides drawing/coloring, finger-painting is also a hit.
I went ahead and bought a set of ten small crayola gouache bottles and have turned this potentially very messy activity into a limited mess one by shaking the bottle to get some paint in the cap and handing over only the cap to my toddler.
When he’s tired of working with a certain color, I wipe his fingers with a damp washcloth and start over with another color. I’d say that this technique allows for some pretty nifty results, wouldn’t you?
5. Go out and about
Going for walks is an activity that my son really enjoys. He likes it even more when the walk leads to the local playground or some puddles. Spending some time outside where he can have the freedom to run around, push his limits (think going down a big kid slide on his own), discover fabulous things (like acorns, sticks and ladybugs) is an awesome way to get him to spend some pent-up energy and sleep well during the night.
What do you do when it’s raining and your toddler insists that he wants to go outside and you want to stay inside?
Stick him on the balcony! 😉
What are some of your toddler’s favourite activities to do in or around the house?