Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Entertain a Toddler

Keeping a toddler's attention for any given period of time is a chore.  They are easily distracted when having a temper tantrum, which we're experiencing every day now.  This can be a good thing as we can quickly divert and change the situation or it can be bad because she's no longer focused on what we have given her or guided her towards.  I guess that's part of raising a toddler.  You have to know when to step in and when to throw your hands up and say, "is it going to hurt her or ruin the house"?  If not, then let it be.  It's not worth the drama.

So I know my list of ideas to keep her busy has to be a decent sized list but I also realize I can't put too much time into it because she may not enjoy it for more than 5 minutes.  Right now, Addie loves her books and loves playing outside more than anything.  Her toy box that's overflowing with toys is not holding her attention right now.  When it's nice out we're usually outside walking around or playing with a ball that she likes to throw and kick.

With the weather getting warm, we just purchased the Smiletime Toys Sprinkle Mat which she loves.  She'll play in that for an hour easily so it was a great purchase.  Even if you're looking for some fun activities they don't have to cost much if anything.

Here is my go to list on any given day.

1.  Books.  I've mentioned a hundred times, the girl loves her books so anytime she has the opportunity to read a book she plops herself down on your lap and will wait for you to read the book over and over and over again.

2.  Refrigerator Magnets.  A friend of mine made these for me and Addie loves them. They're fabric letters with magnets sewn into them.  I can see her in a few years spelling out words with these!

3.  Chalk.  She hasn't quite figured out the sidewalk chalk but she loves to carry them around and try to draw.  This is a super cheap dollar store find.

4.  Bubbles.  Like the chalk mentioned above, this is another cheap find.  The girl loves bubbles.  Seriously, can't get enough of them.

5.  Playdoh.  She still prefers to eat this so she's not quite ready for full on playdoh play but it's a cheap purchase and she does really like to feel it in her hands.

6.  Finger painting with yogurt/pudding.  We haven't tried this yet, but I know she'll love it. She's a messy eater and anytime she can play with her food she's in.

7.  Waterbins.  Another fun outside play idea.  Take one of your old bins that you store pictures or disks in and empty it.  Fill it up with water and grab a few water safe toys.  Toss them and let your little one play.  Guaranteed fun!

8.  Dance Party.  Addie likes to dance.  I like to dance.  Turn on the radio and dance together.  You'll get a workout, tire out the toddler, and create a fun memory to carry on as your child grows.

9.  Musical instruments.  Addie loves loud noises so it's no surprise that when we bought her a music set for Christmas she bangs on her drum and blows her trumpet.  If you can't afford the musical instrument set or just don't have one and need entertainment stat, grab a water bottle and fill it half full with dried beans or rice.  Secure the cap and let your little one shake it up.

10.  Target dollar aisle.  I love this aisle for myself, always great finds.  I recently found a water bottle with a spray attachment.  I keep this in Addie's room so I can have it handy when doing her hair.  She loves playing with that water bottle and it was $1.  You're bound to find something in those bins that will entertain your little one for some time.

What do you do to entertain your toddler?  Any good ideas on the cheap?  We'd love to hear about it.



  1. I can't wait to try a water bin outside!

  2. I always check out the dollar bins at Target. I dont think I have ever NOT found something to keep her attention for 20 seconds :)



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