What sorts of things keep your LO happy and busy? As in, toys & activities. What can I get her to do that doesn't involve a television or me having to do much ... or clean much? Its not that I don't want to play with her but I'm pretty exhausted by the end of the day and physically playing with her can be too much. I'm all for just sitting there talking to her while she does something.
Its getting to be pretty darn near intolerably hot outside so my go to activity of chilling on the back porch while T messes around outside is quickly becoming obsolete. New toys keep her happy for like 24 hours max. I rotate her toys every so often so that old toys become new toys. Her glow worm that she hasn't seen in awhile has been keeping her occupied for the past 12 hours or so. She likes puzzles & books & stacking blocks but those things get me maybe 30 minutes of happy toddler.
Aiden plays in his play space quietly on his own as long as I keep it picked up and organized and I'm in the same room (so it gets picked up every single night). Since it's with the dining room I sit at the dining room table and he plays. When it gets messy and toys aren't in their place he tends to get a bit wilder and demand more of my attention if he even plays over there at all. I try to only focus on him playing over there once a day. He goes over there more often on his own, but I only try to focus his attention there once.
I'm also loving the cooler weather of NC! AT least once a day I push DS out onto the deck with a big tub of toys that he only gets when outside (along with his trike and basketball goal that stay outside). Every 2-3 days we "swim" or he gets his water table. By limiting and changing up water play it stays a bit special and he doesn't demand as much one on one attention from me. Though it does depend on his mood of course.
Right now I have the back door open as I sit just inside as he plays in the very light rain. lol.
Oh! And I'm horrible about doing this, but art projects! We both sit at the table and I talk to him. I keep meaning to break out the contact paper and let him throw stuff on the sticky side of it. We've done that once before and it was a hit because I let him tear paper.
I don't mind cleaning up a mess if it means 15 minutes of a silent happy toddler though. I don't get that often really.
DS loves his hotwheels cars. DH has already gone overboard and has bought several cars and a pretty cool carrying case. He even dug out his old cars the last time we were at his parents' house to add to the collection. It keeps Evan entertained for awhile, but if DH is there, it gives him an excuse to play too. We also have the oversized legos that Evan likes right now. Then there is the favorite activity of climbing to the top of the recliner and sitting up there like a bird, sigh. We are trying to get him to quit before there is bloodshed. I hope it works.
We have a water table and pool outside and we'll play it that when it's not super hot out. Then I rotate toys like you do around to keep her attention.
She is loving crayons and markers so I got some of the color wonder markers by Crayola that only marks on certain paper and got her a cheap coloring book and some fat crayons. I just have to watch and make sure she doesn't eat them.
And bubbles, she loves bubbles and we even play with them in the house some because they don't make a huge mess ususally.
Drawing!!!! We have a cup of crayons (if I give her too many she gets more interested in throwing them around than drawing) and a clipboard with paper so there's always fresh stuff right there and the clip kind of holds it down so it doesn't move around when she scribbles. DH just brought home some sheets of big newsprint from school, so lately she's been in love with lying on that on the tile floor to draw. And yes, crayon comes off tile pretty easily She does demand for me to draw with her a lot, but that's a pretty low energy activity.
I also like to give her a pot of water and some cups--that keeps her happy for a while. Sometimes if it's too hot we'll do it in the kitchen and then just clean up the water after. You get a bonus clean floor that way anyway Or I will get out her stool (GET A STOOL) and plug the bathroom sink and turn the water on the teeniest tiniest stream, practically just a drip, and give her a couple of things like a bowl and a duck--she loves that too!
Bubbles, yes, we do that too, but mostly in the bathroom or outside. In fact, we often do bathtime just for fun, not cleaning...it's nice to just sit in there with a beer or a coffee or whatever and let her splash around with her toys. I blow bubbles for her a lot during that. And I am always the one who has to call it--I think she'd live in there if she could. I know you don't have a tub, but could you put a little pool or tub in your shower for playing?
We also put on music and have dance parties a lot. Although that's not so relaxing for the parent, but sometimes I can get her to dance while I just watch.
Last edited by cactuswren; 06-05-2012 at 01:13 PM.
For outdoors we bought a small inflatable pool...it's bigger than those round plastic pools. he can stay in there for hours. Inside he has a playroom and like you I rotate toys out. Coloring will keep him entertained a long time too. He has a chalkboard he will use alot too. Stickers as well. The colors, stickers, coloring books and chalk are all from dollar store. He also loves balls so there are foam and plastic balls that he rolls kicks and throws over and over. I pull up sesame street on YouTube when I'm desperate and exhausted.
When Dh wants to eat his breakfast in peace, he gives Rowan a cup of water and a tablespoon. It works great! Can't give her anything bigger than a cup though, because she'll get in it (we know this from having her tip over a gallon sized bucket by sitting on the edge of it).
Rowan will sit and look at books for about 15-30 minutes, but she has to be in the mood. Sometimes just giving her a pen and a piece of paper works as a distraction, but she really likes to draw on her legs. I got her the same markers that Molly mentioned above, that only draw on certain paper. She'll draw with them for a little while, but she gets mad that they don't mark her legs.
We have a water table outside for her. She won't really play much with it, but she likes to climb up and sit in it and then pour the water out. I can sit out there with her in the shade and read while she messes around. Saturday she played in it four times, for about a half hour each time. She was just taking off her diaper and running for the backdoor shouting 'water! water!'
DD1 Rowan, 9/26/10
Expecting #2 in August 2013
*december lurker* I have a feeling I'm becoming a permanent lurker to your board! LOL! December is basically dead!
I concur with art projects, crayons, stickers, foam stickers, paper and glue sticks aren't too messy either.
She will also play at the water table and on the slide we have for a long time with me just sitting there.
I'll add something called Sensory Bins - google it for ideas. I usually pick one filler (pasta, pom poms, beans etc.) then add small toys, cups, spoons etc. They don't have to be as elaborate as you see online.
Ethan - June 21, 2009
Olivia - December 5, 2010
5w3d - October/November 2012
My Ovulation Chart
Back on topic, I agree with Sara about having to be in the mood...honestly what she plays with best is whatever was HER idea. So if I need her to entertain herself, a lot of the time I just kind of see what she's getting into and then facilitate/supervise.
Oh, and I forgot another good one: the play kitchen. She loooooooves the play kitchen and will happily keep herself entertained with that for quite some time.
I guess I need to stock up on art supplies. Teagan recently discovered stickers and is now OBSESSED with them. Every time she sees one, she chases me down yelling "ticka ticka ticka!!!"
I think T would get bored of the markers that only mark on certain paper really quick. She likes to give herself "tiger stripes" too.
My DH is a bit of a freak about our hardwood floors and I know he'll HATE the idea of letting her lose with a crayon or glue. If I could contain her creativity to the kitchen we'd be golden. Perhaps I can cover the kitchen table in paper and just let her go at it.