Activities for toddlers:
Activities for toddlers: keeping them busy while you work from home.
Working from home with kids can be tough!! Everyone needs an arsenal of easy to set up activities for toddlers. I know it and I have a bunch to call on. We live it firsthand, choosing to start this business so we could be home with our children all day, every day. Now both Matt and I are at home, with Ruby (6 months) and PJ (3) and Freddy is currently in his first year at school (covid permitting). But during holidays it's 3 kids under 6 at home, with business as usual.
Here is the thing about working from home with kids. Just as no two kids are the same, no two households are the same either. We must stop comparing ourselves to others. When people ask me how I manage it, my answer is usually, I don’t. There are days I don’t get through the washing, or days I don’t fully clear my inbox. But I’ve learnt that those things will still be there tomorrow, and my kids are only young once. In other words, lower the bar for yourself. The world is very different to what it was pre-pandemic. It is unrealistic to hold yourself to expectations from a world that no longer exists. So, ignore the noise on social media and avoid comparison because at the end of the day you must do what’s right for you and your family.
So here is what I’ve learnt to help keep the kids (mostly PJ) busy if there is an urgent task I need to get done.
Activities for toddlers and pre-schoolers:
Trace your little one on some cardboard or stuck together sheets of newspaper. Give them markers and paint or craft supplies such as pompoms, feathers, or anything else you can find. Get them to decorate themselves. Children love this because the craft is on such a large scale.
We have talked about DIY play dough kits previously. I often get the kits out for Freddy (5) and PJ (3) when I have some important phone calls to make. I put them at the table and watch through the window while they have a ball creating. You could really level this one up by reading them a book first that has a similar theme to the objects in your Playdough kit. E.g Imagine what goes well with our animal kit.
We’ve spoken about this one before. Give each child a basket or a base to put their collected objects. Hand them their list and watch them explore. Make sure you use lists with pictures for toddlers and pre-readers so that they aren’t coming to ask you 100+ questions. There are some great ones online, such as this one (https://bigfamilyblessings.com/indoor-scavenger-hunt-for-kids/)
Painting with ice cubes:
A great outdoor activity now the weather is warming up. Set up the night before by adding food colouring to water in an ice cube tray the more colour, the more vibrant your artworks will be. One option is to add paddle pop sticks or plastic spoons to each pod as a handle, but this isn’t necessary. Simply pop out the coloured icecubes and let your little one rub them over paper. As they melt, they will leave colour on the page. Bonus tip – if you have large pieces of butcher’s paper this makes beautiful wrapping paper.
A pack of chalk and the patio/ driveway/ brick wall…. It’s all your little one needs for lots of entertainment. And the best part? It can simply be hosed ready to go again the next day.
This one is not the most environmentally friendly option, but seriously those 50c bubble wands from kmart have kept my little ones busy more times than I can count. I have a nice stockpile from Birthday’s that I save for occasions, and I even have a bottle of top up solution. My big pro tip – tape the bubble want tube to a pole, table leg or something else sturdy so the kids can’t tip it over and spill the mixture.
Create a dance playlist for your little one to have their own dance party. Picking ones with known dance moves is a sure-fire way to get them active and engaged. Some of our fave songs include hokey pokey, heads and shoulders, chicken dance, wiggles – Simon says, etc.
Create an obstacle course either inside or out. Include items to go under and over, weave through, balance on, jumping, hopping, running, crawling, climbing etc. The more variety the better. For older kids you could get them to plan it first and draw a diagram of the course set up then get them to create it. This is an essential motor planning skill that pre-schoolers are developing. We like to put music on (hi-5 five senses is their fave) while they complete the course.
I saw this on @busytoddler and had to give it a try. Basically, you dump the tub of duplo into the bath with your toddler or preppy and let them play. Yes, you will have to supervise because it is kids in the bath. But they will be busy and happy in there meaning you can make calls etc while you are watching. Or better yet, fill your own cup by getting a moment to sit down and relax and talk to your little person with a cuppa tea or wine to end another busy day.
Got some great activities for toddlers? Be sure to share with us @freddy.and.co