I have to admit, I find the toddler stage the most difficult time when raising children. For years, I heard from other parents "wait until you have teenagers...". Well, I have teenagers and a toddler - a toddler is MUCH harder in my opinion. I am speaking mostly about the 18-24 month stage. Don't get me wrong there are moments when I absolutely love having a toddler ie watching him splash in puddles, getting hugs, reading him books, etc. But there are moments when I can not wait for this stage to be over. I think the main reason is that I find it very hard to entertain toddlers. Each of my children have been different, but in general if I can get a toddler to do anything more than 10 minutes I am super excited.
Since my current toddler is our 6th child, I have been around the block a few times with this stage. I have come to the conclusion that the number one, all time BEST IDEA EVER to entertain a toddler is to put him or her to work! When I ask my toddler to help out with a chore he is super engaged and excited to participate. Now I am not talking about picking up his toys (let's not be ridiculous). I am talking about chores that make him feel like a big kid.
For example, using a sponge. He is so excited to stand up on his stool and wipe the counter for me. Look at that face - super proud of himself!
Each of our children have chores. His chore is to feed the dog. He loves it! Does he occasionally spill it? You betcha but he cleans each one up and puts it back into the dog's bowl. Does he occasionally dig around the dog food bucket and run his little hands through the dog food? Yup, but we just wash his hands and he is good to go.
Is it always easy? Of course not (see above). BUT, the stirring of the brownie mix definitely entertained him for quite some time. Did I have to do laundry afterwards? Yup, but I do laundry everyday anyway so who cares!
So tomorrow on our to do list of toddler activities is: sweep the floor, wipe his plastic table off and if he gets lucky wash the dishes!
Here are 3 more simple toddler activities:
Need ideas for the outdoors? Just open your door and follow behind or watch your toddler. They will find their own entertainment.