If your little one is toddling but not yet in nursery, you might be looking for new things to do with them if you are taking care of them during the day. If so, here are just a few cheap and cheerful suggestions to keep your little one entertained and happy…

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Go camping: If your toddler already has a tent you are halfway there, but if not you could always drape a sheet over the top of your dining room table or peg a bath towel between some chairs to create your tent. Then go outside and collect some sticks for your campfire. If you don’t want to venture out into the cold anything long can give the impression of firewood- some train tracks or uncooked spaghetti could work just as well. Toss some cushions and a blanket in your tent for your sleeping bag and pretend to cook marshmallows or snuggle up inside until the ‘storm’ passes, turn off the lights and take in a torch with you to make hand puppets. While you may not be able to go camping for real, you can still pretend you are in the middle of a giant field ready for your next adventure. 

Yoga for kids: If you want to keep your toddler active, there are plenty of YouTube offerings to get them moving that are ideal for their age group and not too taxing for parents either. We recommend CosmicKids Yoga for a half hour of storytelling with some gentle built in exercise. 

Cardboard box decorating: You are bound to have a large cardboard box lying around from an online shopping purchase or Christmas present, so select one and decorate it with your toddler with crayons and pencils- you could even stick things to the outside like pom poms and coloured paper. Write their name on the top so they know it’s theirs, pop a few of their favourite things inside and they have their very own little box to hide and play in till their heart’s content. 

Colour hunt: If you are focusing on colours as part of your toddler’s learning, you can ask them to look for things around the house that are one colour and see just how many things they can find. For instance, you could ask them to find ten things that are the colour green and put them all in a pile in the middle of the room as they locate each new piece. If they do this well you can change up the colour to something new and ask them to do the same. 

Cleaning: If you need to get a bit of cleaning done, encourage them to help you. So if you are cleaning surfaces, give them a cloth to join in or if you are sweeping, get your little one a mini sweeping brush so they feel like they are helping. If you have a toddler hoover make sure they are pushing it around as you vacuum. Toddlers like to copy what their parents do so this is a great tool to get things done while also keeping them occupied. 

Slam dunk: Take a box, reusable shopping bag, or basket and some balled up socks and show your toddler what to do. Then take it in turns to see how many balled up socks you can get into the ‘goal’. Make it harder each time you play by moving the goal further away from you. If you have some treats tucked away, give your toddler a little reward for winning- because they will win! 

Play shop: If you are trying to teach your toddler about money, you could set up a little shop with some food items- play or real from your kitchen and take it in turns to be the customer and the person behind the checkout. If you don’t have play money you can easily make the notes out of some paper, cut up cardboard into rounds for the coins and rectangles for a credit card (an old library or points card could work just as well). You could use an empty jewellery box or a low drawer as a till- just empty out all of the things in it and place the money inside then you are ready to get the essentials in! 

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