I get the same comment from the nurse at my pediatricians office each time we go for our well visit. She always seems a little astounded by Jude’s activity level. “If I haven’t told you before, you certainly have a busy child.”
Oh yes. Believe me. I know. I sleep well at night.
Can you believe that this sweet face could ever cause me trouble?
Turns out, he is quite a bit of trouble if he isn’t sufficiently occupied. Because he’s BUSY. All the time. Even if the busy is climbing all over me.
So I set about trying to occupy him with some fun, new, creative activities. A friend of mine recommended The Toddler Busy Book as a source for a lot of creative activities. I added to that First Art and decided if those two books don’t have enough ideas to occupy my little man, I would need to invest in a toddler size hamster wheel.
Now this isn’t really an activity, but to begin this shift in thinking of occupying a toddler, we took all of his toys and sorted them into five different boxes and put them in our coat closet. Instead of leaving all of the toys out all of the time, we rotate through – a different box each day. He is now playing with toys that he never used to when all of his toys were out! Success!
The first real activity is a fairly simple one, but it was a good learning experience. We have a silver piggybank in Jude’s room and we sometimes throw change in it from time to time. Turns out Jude likes to put change in it too! (And yes, those are monkey pjs – how great are those?) Once he figured it out, he always wants to put money in the bank!
Our second activity involved edible playdough. Peanut butter playdough to be specific. Although Jude may be the only child that doesn’t like peanut butter (very odd), so although edible, he didn’t eat it. One of the things I’ve decided is that I’m going to stick with activities that I already have all of the materials for. No special purchases until I’ve exhausted everything that I can do without spending money. Now, what is peanut butter playdough? Peanut butter mixed with one or a combination of powdered sugar, non-fat dry milk or cocoa powder until a cookie dough consistency is reached. The peanut butter I had was honey peanut butter, so I added cocoa powder and non-fat dry milk. It was sweet enough. That + mini cookie cutters = Jude occupied for 30 minutes.
Next cheap as free toddler activity? Hardly any prep work needed. Pencils and a clean milk jug. Insert into milk jug, shake, admire the fun sound, dump out and repeat. I am pretty sure this occupied him for over an hour. He would put the pencils in the jug and then walk over to another part of the room and do it all over again.
It’s been a fun experiment in what occupies a toddler and for how long. I’ll keep sharing success stories here for those of you in need of more ideas!
What activities keep your little people busy?