Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cheap or Free Toddler Activities: 8 More Ideas

Here's another list of things to do when your toddler doesn't know what to do with themselves anymore.

1.Peruse the spice cabinet and smell away. Be sure to note what smells are sweet and savory to expose your toddler to those concepts.

2.Put finger paint in a gallon size ziploc bag (quarts are too small) and seal for a homemade 'sensory mat.' It's squishy, it's cold, it allows for mess free finger painting. Provide a bag for each color. Older kids can use this to play endless games of tic-tac-toe.

3.Gather a variety of different sized balls and an empty laundry basket. Take turns trying to throw a ball into the basket thereby introducing the concept of turns and sharing. Now, we did this one at home and it was not a hit, but I can see an active, kinetic toddler really getting into this. This can be adapted for multiple ages; i.e. older kids throw from further away.

4. Make a 'wave' bottle with some baby oil, food coloring and glitter. This is a variation on the I Spy bottle mentioned in the previous post. Take a used water or pop bottle and fill it with water about 1/3 of the way. Add food coloring and glitter. Top off with baby oil and seal. Put on some Beach Boy surfer music and make some waves!

5.Go for a magic carpet ride. Take an old sheet or use an area rug. Have toddler sit down on it and pick up the other end and drag them around the house. Kids love this one!

6. Thread some rigatoni on yarn or old shoelaces. This allows toddlers to practice fine motor skills. If you are feeling especially crafty, paint the rigatoni first. Bonus points to the mom who forgets to take off her necklace before leaving the house.

7. Find the alphabet. You will need a bin, some letters such as the magnetic ones on your fridge and some rice, bird seed, or dried beans. Fill the bin with the letters and cover with the rice, bird seed, or dried beans. See if your toddler can find them all before they put a bean up their nose! This activity provides a great opportunity to reinforce letter recognition.

8. Go on a Bear Hunt. While your toddler is napping, take a teddy bear and tie yarn around it's ankle. Hide the bear and leave a 'yarn trail' for your toddler to follow. Couple this activity with the book We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Really nice moms hide a special treat with the bear such as chocolate or a favorite snack.

P.S. Just a friendly reminder that stores are putting all their summer merchandise on clearance. Now is the time to scope out sprinklers and other summer toys for next year.

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