We’re lucky in that when we take our toddler guys out, they’re for the most part, well behaved.
On the flip side, it seems to take them a few seconds to destroy the house when we are at home with them. Here are a few things that have been good time occupiers for our little guys.
1. Cutting straws with scissors + playdough = bahm! Time for you, approximately 10-20 minutes
2. Sticky Wall Art I got this idea from a great OT friend/colleague. Take contact paper and hang it sticky side out onto your wall with painters tape. They can use the straws they cut, puzzle pieces, paper and even some light toys. It’s a fun and creative way to be artsy. They can also do some experiments with different textures and shapes to see what sticks and what doesn’t stick. When the older (4-7 yrs) friends come over we take bids on what things will stick the longest. The possibilities are endless and you may even find some time when they’re napping to play with it yourself.
3. Refrigerator Art This idea came from my better half when we started to use our refrigerator as a to do list, grocery list and meal planner. We take the freezer and they get the refrigerator portion. I apologize to anyone with with a stainless steel refrigerator and toddlers ( I feel for you).
4. Make your own crackers This is ridiculously easy. The ingredients are flour (white or wheat), oil, water and salt. You can make a lot or a little. I half this recipe and it makes enough for two toddlers to play with and enough to actually make crackers.
Here’s the recipe ( I usually half it)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients, you can add other spices and herbs. Roll thin on ungreased cookie sheet or stone. Cut with pizza cutter to desired size (sometimes we bake as a whole and just have fun braking it once it’s done)
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until crisp
5. MAD LIB We do this a a form of redirection too! Sometimes the whining becomes magnified with two toddlers competing on who can whine the most….AUGH!!!!!! When that happens Mad Libbing can assist by redirecting them into a creative narrative.
All you do is start with a , “Once upon a time there was a……….” take a long pause with anticipating eyes and lot of affect until they come up with something. Our guys usually pick a dinosaur or a dragon. Then you continue, “Once upon a time there was a dragon who went to the…….”
My boys eat this up and we’ve had many versions of the dragon or the dinosaur that goes to the beach and all of a sudden a storm comes, etc, etc.