At home activities for toddlers

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostongirl88. Show bostongirl88's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    I'm a SAHM and I go out with my son EVERY day. We go to a few pay indoor playspaces (there are quite a few of them around!) but I try only to go like once a month since it starts adding up. We go to a lot of playdates and activities during the week and on the wknds it's family time. I live in the North Shore.

    Check your local libraries (in your town and your surrounding towns). We go to story and music time once or twice a week. There are a few musicians that frequent the area libraries (Dara, Steve Blunt, Peter Sheridan are top ones) and whenever they have a program we always go. My son loves music and this way I don't have to pay for music classes!

    We go to the Kidgets play area at the local mall. Bonkers Funhouse off Rt 1 is super fun too!

    I get library passes to area museums and zoos and we make the rounds. The Children's Museum, Museum of Science, Aquarium, and Peabody Essex are favorites. Acton has an awesome Children's Discovery Museum too.

    We go to awesome playgrounds when the weather is nice.

    When we are at home, LO plays with his toys and train sets (we have a train table). We break out his board puzzles often. I take out the bubble machine and blow bubbles in our tiled kitchen. I just have a towel on the floor and wipe every so often so it doesn't get slippery.

    He's too young to do crafts on his own (20 months) but we color with crayons and washable markers. We paint with watercolors and also fingerpaint.

    He has Duplos Legos and Megablocks and he loves to build. We have stacking blocks of all sizes and he stacks and destroys.

    We build tents and forts in the living room using the sofa, his toy box and kitchen chairs.

    I fill the kitchen sink sometimes and let him play with the water and his water toys. This can get messy and really wet but he loves it!

    If it's not too cold outside we'll waterpaint on the cement. All you need is water and a brush.

    I play music and we dance around. We also have the Leap Frog magnetic animal farm and my son will push to play the music and we'll run around a pillow. Once the music stops he'll go and play the music again and we'll run around. We get dizzy but it's great fun!

    We bowl at home too. We have a plastic set with 10 pins and 2 balls. But I will also set up some of his army men and have him knock them down with balls too. He thinks the latter is more fun.

    I rotate his toys too so he doesn't get bored.

    He loves to vaccum too so when I have to vacuum he helps. He likes to help wipe the table too. I have to start him young since he's showing an interest! :)

    Hope this helps! You're so lucky you have 2 kids and they can at least play with each other. :)

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    Lucky I have two and they can play with each other.
    Unlucky that taking two to the library or playground is a stress inducing nightmare. Maybe it's just me - but I find it really hard to let them loose if I'm double teamed. That's why I wanted ideas for at home stuff to do. If I had one, we'd be out all the time.
    I have to save those sorts of things for the weekends when I have DH. Then we can both be in charge of a child. I can't even take them to the grocery store alone anymore since my store got rid of the twin carriages - (grrrr). The Stop and Shop has some, but there is only one that doesn't have broken straps and it's the sort of carriage that you have to be strapped in or you'll fall off! (grrrr again)
    Thankfully we have a fenced in back yard and last year we bought a swingset/slide for them and a little playhouse. Spring can't come soon enough!
    I'm going to get some more crafty stuff and hope we don't end up with contruction paper glued to the walls! :)
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    misslily, check out the first item in these Groupon deals.  Looks perfect for a set of 2 year old young ladies. :)

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    look at this website and buy products from them:
    www.discountschoolsupply.com

    this is where we buy many paint, paper, etc. supplies and they sell in large and small quantities.  I'm not sure if it's less expensive than buying paint, paper, etc. from staples, michaels, toysrus, target - I think it is, though.  buy WASHABLE non toxic tempera paint - it's much easier to wash off.  also do NOT buy the magenta or aqua blue colors - for some reason even though they are washable they leave a residue of color on white walls, hands and clothing.  the other colors don't, but aqua blue and magenta do.  wierd. 

    lots of great ideas added above, I'd add doing lots of open ended painting and gluing projects  - rather than making a 'something' just buy paper in long rolls, cut to fit kitchen table, give them each a brush and a small amount of paint in their own paint cups and let them go to town.  if one has red the other uses blue when they mix together they'll get purple...  science! blue and yellow make...  

    when you do open ended activities you aren't focusing on the right way, or even having a right way - they are simply learning and exploring the various media.  markers, crayons, tempera paint, water color paints - all do different things and produce different effects - it takes lots of experience and kids love just using them. 

    do buy a few chubby paint brushes, but you can also paint with other things, like sponges (small), plastic forks, pinecones, small plastic cars and trucks.  if you use black paper with bright colored paint and use forks for painting you have art worthy of framing (great father's day gifts)

    save catalogs and calendars for kids to rip to shreds now - and start using small (blunt end) scissors for cutting.  yes, cutting... the rule is they must sit still, and you sit with them - your daughter might enjoy this, your son would probably get into the ripping.

    have a shredding party with newspapers - toddlers just love to rip stuff, and this is legal ripping.

    buy a cheap shredder and after you shred various documents - or just put colored paper through the shredder - you get really fun stuff to glue onto paper!

    also, take plastic cars, legos, bristle blocks, etc and for painting - cars make great tracks in the paint, and legos etc. make great prints.  it's interesting for children to see their legos, cars, in a different light. cookie cutters make good prints once children get used to doing it. 

    foot painting - but only OUTSIDE with twins!  put paper down in the driveway, a low baking dish with just enough paint to wet the bottom, then they step in and walk away.  you can do this in the kitchen, and we do this with about 3 or 4 children at a time, but it's messy and our center is designed to get messy - your livingroom carpet is NOT.  and with twins....  I'd not try this inside yet.

    buy clear contact paper and they can stick lots of things to it, including collecting leaves, sticks, pine needles and stick them on their collage.  using contact paper makes it less messy.  the shredded paper is fun to stick on contact paper.  they can rip tissue paper and stick it on the contact paper, then hang those in the windows for a stained glass effect.  you can buy foam shapes and they can stick them to contact paper... and when you're ready, use glue.  children have a hard time with glue, because it doesn't stick instantly, and they get confused.  use paint brushes to spread the glue on the paper (it's too hard to squeeze those bottles at this age) and then they can stick anything to the paper.

    you can buy dot paints which are fun to use - they are like bingo paint dots used in bingo halls, you can either just buy the bingo dot painters or refillable ones (discount school supply sells these, we buy them).  I sometimes find the refillable ones aren't all that great, just easier to buy various colors of bingo dot paints.  but they are cool and you can HIT them to the paper and make splotches!  but you can also drag them on the paper and make lines...  very satisfying. 

    put down contact paper upside down on the kitchen floor (you'll need to tape it to the floor with masking tape or clear packing tape) and walk over it in bare feet, then also drive trucks over it - stick legos, etc. to it - this is a fun and less messy activity.

    texture activities are also fun.  buy them each a low dishpan (so they don't have to share and have enough space to work) and fill with flour, oatmeal, uncooked noodles, rice, beans, lentils - it's so much fun to feel a texture, then use small scoops and spoons to fill and dump, and small trucks to drive through the texture.  they just feel really good and children love textures. plus, different things behave differently with spoons, scoops, cups, etc.  like using a sandbox at the park, only inside.  you can reuse the textures - just store in a container that is labeled - for play only, not for dinner (ugh). for children who are frustrated, angry, hyper - texture play will usually calm them down. it works for mothers and teachers - plunge your hands into a bucket of beans and your blood pressure instantly decreases, it's amazing!  that's also true for playdough, but you said you do that already. 

    if you mix cornstarch and warm water you get ooblick.  go slow with the water, you don't need much - it will look like white liquid on the top, solid under the white water, and when you take it in your hands and roll it or move it, you can get it to form a ball, but when you stop moving it it turns back into liquid.  SO COOL!  each child gets their own in a small bowl.  when it splashes on a shirt, floor, table, etc. once it dries it just brushes off so it is really easy to clean up.  just let the lumps and mess dry in place, then sweep away. don't add food coloring to this, though, because the food coloring will ruin clothing and stain tables, walls, etc. 

    cook with children - if you can stand it, which i cannot, but cooking is science at it's best.  and it's science - adding vinegar makes things foam up, liquid when added to flour changes the texture, cracking eggs is cool - you can make cookies, dump it cakes, banana bread and other easy things.  they can do lots of the work, like stirring, dumping after you measure it, pouring the liquid in, etc.  all of this is good for cause and effect, fine and gross motor, delayed gratification, etc.

    buy bean bags and music for listening - can you put the beanbag on your arm? on your shoulder - on your head - you can lead it at the beginning, then there are CDs with songs do this, too for older children.

    play simon says - only you won't try to "catch them' yet - simon says touch your head, touch your nose, wiggle your fingers...

    I also made up a chant and do this whenever they have to wait - tap tap tap your nose, tap your nose, tap your nose, tap tap tap your nose, tap tap tap.  wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your fingers, wiggle your fingers.....  ad nauseum.  it keeps their interest, and they are learning various body parts and actions, too.  then they can take turns picking something to do and being the leader.

    buy rhythmn sticks and the CD that goes with them for tapping and listening skills.  these are NOT to be left down all the time, but when you are guiding their play.

    buy inexpensive and not heavy flashlights, turn off the lights and have light shows. kids love to shine them and see what happens.  you could introduce shadow play, too, if you have a wall they can see their shadows on as they wave their arms, touch each other's arms, their head, etc. 

    paint on shoe boxes, rocks you collect outside, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, small boxes, etc.  if you have LARGE boxes it's really fun to paint on those - since you get to stand up to paint.

    you may want to buy them an easel, each child paints on their side for days when they juts can't get along.  at this point put out 1 or 2 colors each, they can increase to having more colors as they get used to painting and staying STILL at the easel. 

    biuy small chalk boards and their own erasers and chalk (both sidewalk chalk and regular sized chalk) to use at the table.

    markers and crayons - your son might like washable markers more than crayons as markers require less pressure to make your mark.  even just taking off the covers and putting them back on develops good fine motor skills.

    buy small rolling pins, plastic cookie cutters, plastic knives (they are very safe) and plastic forks for playdough so kids can practice cutting, printing, rolling, squeezing, pinching, pushing, and learning about part-whole relationships. 

    yes, buy duplos, bristle blocks, wood blocks for open ended building - buy match box cars so you always have enough cars and can make a garage.  buy small animals so you can build a zoo. 

    they can make instruments out of rice, lentils, beans and put into plastic water or juice bottles, seal with electric tape or glue the covers back on if you feel like they'll open them later - we have these out all the time for exploration in both infant and toddler rooms (we do seal the lids so it's not a choking hazard) - different amounts and different things make different sounds.  Also, make swirl bottles - a bit of food coloring in water, then add a little bit of cooking oil or mineral oil to the water and when you shake them they are different than shaking colored water.  you can add plastic items inside, too, that will move around when you shake them... or add some glitter. 

    stand at the big kitchen sink on chairs and fill it with water, small boats, funnels, scoops - water play is a HUGE hit.  take their shirts off and let them go to town!  sometimes you can put some bubbles in, sometimes they can wash their dolls or a few toys, other times just put various sized funnels in plain (warm) and they'll love it.

    buy small spray bottles and fill with very watered down paint - and spray on paper, or spray on paper in the middle of the grass outside.  it's fun to make splatter paint! add liquid dish soap to the water and it's easier to clean if they spray hits the floor.

    oh, save some diaper wipe boxes, wrap paper inside, put a golf ball inside with a blob of paint and SHAKE!  not only do you make a cool sound, use your large motor skills to SHAKE, but when you open it the ball has made interesting patterns on the paper....  you can use shoe boxes the same way, and they can take the cover off and ROLL the box to watch the ball making tracks.  if you get a larger box they can work together, one on each end, to lift the box up and down, tilting it to watch the golf or tennis ball make paint tracks.  too fun.

    another hint to extend toddler's interest in an activity:  don't give them all the stuff at once.  for example, get out the playdough and forks.  as they start to lose interest, but not before they do, add cookie cutters, or plastic knives, or legos to make prints.  if you toss it all on the table they tend to use each thing once and then want to move on.  if they have 1 or 2 items they investigate those, you can encourage them to try other things so they develop other skills or investigate ways of using a tool they haven't yet.  Use leading questions rather than showing them how to do it - sometimes you want to instruct, but mostly you want to encourage them to work something out, experiment, etc.  Questions like  Can you cut like this? i wonder what happens if you push the legos down HARD in the playdough?  oh, DD, can you do it like DS is doing?  I'll make some balls for you and you can squish them....  with a paintbrush, you can ask them wow, can you make looooonng lines?  thin lines? thick lines?  ....  not always asking these type of questions, mostly you just want them to explore themselves, but after they have lots of experience and they seem a bit bored with plain ol' brushes, you can challenge them... can you make really thin lines? thick lines?

    oh, you can also paint with toothbrushes, or combs, or apples cut in half.  the trick with painting is not to put too much in the cup or bowl, have them sit across from each other at the table, and have you sit with them, too. 

    yes, invest in smocks, or just take their shirts off. 

    oh!  use cool whip or shaving cream for fun texture play! jello is a fun texture activity, too - they can make some to eat for dessert tonight tomorrow, but another color they can play with.  and if they eat it, who cares?  if they still put lots of things in their mouths or are apt to get it on their faces (smearing faces is fun!) then you should use cool whip rather than shaving cream.... the whipped cream from the spray can is the most fun because of the fun way it comes out of the can.  also, getting that edge gel that changes from green gel to shaving cream when you touch it with wet hands is FUN! again, only if they won't rub it in their eyes or eat it...

    oh, you can also paint on tinfoil, wax paper, fingerpaint paper, sand paper for another texture - the paint works differently on different surfaces.

    oh, and outside, you can paint with plain old water on the house, wall, sidewalk, anywhere - it's just water so it dries but it's cool!
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    the rolls of paper reminded me of something I actually did when I was little.  I used to lie down on the paper while my mom traced around me, and then I colored or painted it in - obviously not in the lines or anything, but it was almost a self portrait, and it was pretty big so it took awhile.  You could even have them do one every 6 months or so and then have a stack in a few years to compare both their size and their development and how they view themselves, roughly, over time.  

    My mom taught kindergarten, and she used to do that "art project" with her kids very early in the school year so she could assess a lot about their maturity, how they see themselves (if a child colors it all black for instance, vs using different colors for clothes and eyes and everything, and if they are able to stay in the lines or if their picture looks more like a 3 year old).  She'd do it, again, at the end of the year, and the difference 9 months made was always astounding.  

    Anyway, if you start now, you'll have quite a chronical of self portraits by then.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    My brother and I used to "paint" with water all the time when we were small!

    Another very cool project that DD just came home with was a painting made by placing a piece of paper (this looks/feels like finger paint paper, but it would probably work with regular paper as well) in the bottom of a box, then the teacher put a small amount of paint on the paper, and DD rolled a golf ball around inside the box. They used multiple colors, so in some areas it is all blended together, but in others one color dominates, plus the tracks of the golf ball are very cool. 
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    In Response to Re: At home activities for toddlers:
    [QUOTE]Unlucky that taking two to the library or playground is a stress inducing nightmare. Maybe it's just me - but I find it really hard to let them loose if I'm double teamed. [/QUOTE]
    Miss Lily: I feel your pain.  I took my 2 to a baby expo yesterday.  I had DD running around on the leash and DS in the big old double stroller.  Trying to navigate the stroller and a leashed kid through those crowds was a nightmare!  (even though there were lots of sympathetic maternal types around).  It was like a horror show for my friend who is pregnant with her first. I was absolutely spent at the end of the day!  Never have I been so happy to be sitting at my desk at work right now.  Honestly, I am continuously in awe of you SAHMs!

    PS: Great post CT-DC!!!  Thanks!

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    Oh Lord CT-DC THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    I don't know what I'd do without you!!!!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ModeratorJen. Show ModeratorJen's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    I love these ideas! I'm going to make this thread sticky so everyone can find it easily in the future!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Redsoxfan76. Show Redsoxfan76's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    I love these ideas too. I am going to print some out for when DD is older.

    Misslily, I think CT covered just about every possible art project known to man! But you mentioned something in an earlier post that I wanted to touch on - I think I actually got the idea from one of the ladies on this message board. We have two plastic tubs full of DDs toys and books and we rotate them weekly. We keep one in the front entry way where she rarely goes so they are out of sight/mind for a week. When we bring out the tub of toys from the entry way on Sunday and put the other tub away, it is like all new toys to her. She literally yells "WHOA!" now when she sees the 'new' ones.

    That might not work with kids of your twins' age, but I thought I would mention it.

    Also, I can't blame you for not wanting to venture out to the mall etc. with twins. I have only one and sometimes it is daunting for me too.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    Thanks Sox - I used to be great at rotating toys. You may have even gotten the idea from me!  Somehow I got out of the habit lately. I guess I just need to take a nap time and pack up a bunch of stuff for a couple of weeks.
    Thankfully it's warm again so I can take them out in the back yard.
    Got some crafty supplies this weekend too!
    I'm going to cut and paste CT-DC's response into a Word Doc so I can keep it handy!!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from MamaMama2. Show MamaMama2's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    In response to "Re: At home activities for toddlers": [QUOTE]What a timely post, misslily.  Thanks! Love the ideas, especially the dance party/freeze dance.  I'm now it for parent Sat and Sun 10 am - 7 pm due to DH's work schedule and I've been struggling with how to keep a 3.5 and 17 month old twins happy and busy. Lily - I totally hear you on taking the kids places on your own.  While I'm looking forward to nicer weather, we don't have an enclosed back yard and since it's a condo we won't ever.  Everyone is on the move now and I'm petrified of exactly the situation you mentioned except with all three of them taking off in different directions?  Does anyone have any solutions for that kind of situation?  DD1 would NEVER have run away from us when out in public until the last few months.  I've seriously been thinking backpack leashes for the twins for lack of a different option but on the other side it feels kind of silly. Posted by dz76[/QUOTE] About the backpack leashes: I know a lot of people make negative judgments about them, but personally, I think they're great! They offer a greater degree of freedom than hand-holding, and provide enormous peace of mind. I used one when my little guy was 2--he barely noticed it and was free to use his hands (he's always hated being forced to hold my hand). I just ignored the weird looks I would get from other people.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from MamaMama2. Show MamaMama2's posts

    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    In response to "Re: At home activities for toddlers": [QUOTE]look at this website and buy products from them: www.discountschoolsupply.com this is where we buy many paint, paper, etc. supplies and they sell in large and small quantities.  I'm not sure if it's less expensive than buying paint, paper, etc. from staples, michaels, toysrus, target - I think it is, though.  buy WASHABLE non toxic tempera paint - it's much easier to wash off.  also do NOT buy the magenta or aqua blue colors - for some reason even though they are washable they leave a residue of color on white walls, hands and clothing.  the other colors don't, but aqua blue and magenta do.  wierd.  lots of great ideas added above, I'd add doing lots of open ended painting and gluing projects  - rather than making a 'something' just buy paper in long rolls, cut to fit kitchen table, give them each a brush and a small amount of paint in their own paint cups and let them go to town.  if one has red the other uses blue when they mix together they'll get purple...  science! blue and yellow make...   when you do open ended activities you aren't focusing on the right way, or even having a right way - they are simply learning and exploring the various media.  markers, crayons, tempera paint, water color paints - all do different things and produce different effects - it takes lots of experience and kids love just using them.  do buy a few chubby paint brushes, but you can also paint with other things, like sponges (small), plastic forks, pinecones, small plastic cars and trucks.  if you use black paper with bright colored paint and use forks for painting you have art worthy of framing (great father's day gifts) save catalogs and calendars for kids to rip to shreds now - and start using small (blunt end) scissors for cutting.  yes, cutting... the rule is they must sit still, and you sit with them - your daughter might enjoy this, your son would probably get into the ripping. have a shredding party with newspapers - toddlers just love to rip stuff, and this is legal ripping. buy a cheap shredder and after you shred various documents - or just put colored paper through the shredder - you get really fun stuff to glue onto paper! also, take plastic cars, legos, bristle blocks, etc and for painting - cars make great tracks in the paint, and legos etc. make great prints.  it's interesting for children to see their legos, cars, in a different light. cookie cutters make good prints once children get used to doing it.  foot painting - but only OUTSIDE with twins!  put paper down in the driveway, a low baking dish with just enough paint to wet the bottom, then they step in and walk away.  you can do this in the kitchen, and we do this with about 3 or 4 children at a time, but it's messy and our center is designed to get messy - your livingroom carpet is NOT.  and with twins....  I'd not try this inside yet. buy clear contact paper and they can stick lots of things to it, including collecting leaves, sticks, pine needles and stick them on their collage.  using contact paper makes it less messy.  the shredded paper is fun to stick on contact paper.  they can rip tissue paper and stick it on the contact paper, then hang those in the windows for a stained glass effect.  you can buy foam shapes and they can stick them to contact paper... and when you're ready, use glue.  children have a hard time with glue, because it doesn't stick instantly, and they get confused.  use paint brushes to spread the glue on the paper (it's too hard to squeeze those bottles at this age) and then they can stick anything to the paper. you can buy dot paints which are fun to use - they are like bingo paint dots used in bingo halls, you can either just buy the bingo dot painters or refillable ones (discount school supply sells these, we buy them).  I sometimes find the refillable ones aren't all that great, just easier to buy various colors of bingo dot paints.  but they are cool and you can HIT them to the paper and make splotches!  but you can also drag them on the paper and make lines...  very satisfying.  put down contact paper upside down on the kitchen floor (you'll need to tape it to the floor with masking tape or clear packing tape) and walk over it in bare feet, then also drive trucks over it - stick legos, etc. to it - this is a fun and less messy activity. texture activities are also fun.  buy them each a low dishpan (so they don't have to share and have enough space to work) and fill with flour, oatmeal, uncooked noodles, rice, beans, lentils - it's so much fun to feel a texture, then use small scoops and spoons to fill and dump, and small trucks to drive through the texture.  they just feel really good and children love textures. plus, different things behave differently with spoons, scoops, cups, etc.  like using a sandbox at the park, only inside.  you can reuse the textures - just store in a container that is labeled - for play only, not for dinner (ugh). for children who are frustrated, angry, hyper - texture play will usually calm them down. it works for mothers and teachers - plunge your hands into a bucket of beans and your blood pressure instantly decreases, it's amazing!  that's also true for playdough, but you said you do that already.  if you mix cornstarch and warm water you get ooblick.  go slow with the water, you don't need much - it will look like white liquid on the top, solid under the white water, and when you take it in your hands and roll it or move it, you can get it to form a ball, but when you stop moving it it turns back into liquid.  SO COOL!  each child gets their own in a small bowl.  when it splashes on a shirt, floor, table, etc. once it dries it just brushes off so it is really easy to clean up.  just let the lumps and mess dry in place, then sweep away. don't add food coloring to this, though, because the food coloring will ruin clothing and stain tables, walls, etc.  cook with children - if you can stand it, which i cannot, but cooking is science at it's best.  and it's science - adding vinegar makes things foam up, liquid when added to flour changes the texture, cracking eggs is cool - you can make cookies, dump it cakes, banana bread and other easy things.  they can do lots of the work, like stirring, dumping after you measure it, pouring the liquid in, etc.  all of this is good for cause and effect, fine and gross motor, delayed gratification, etc. buy bean bags and music for listening - can you put the beanbag on your arm? on your shoulder - on your head - you can lead it at the beginning, then there are CDs with songs do this, too for older children. play simon says - only you won't try to "catch them' yet - simon says touch your head, touch your nose, wiggle your fingers... I also made up a chant and do this whenever they have to wait - tap tap tap your nose, tap your nose, tap your nose, tap tap tap your nose, tap tap tap.  wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your fingers, wiggle your fingers.....  ad nauseum.  it keeps their interest, and they are learning various body parts and actions, too.  then they can take turns picking something to do and being the leader. buy rhythmn sticks and the CD that goes with them for tapping and listening skills.  these are NOT to be left down all the time, but when you are guiding their play. buy inexpensive and not heavy flashlights, turn off the lights and have light shows. kids love to shine them and see what happens.  you could introduce shadow play, too, if you have a wall they can see their shadows on as they wave their arms, touch each other's arms, their head, etc.  paint on shoe boxes, rocks you collect outside, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, small boxes, etc.  if you have LARGE boxes it's really fun to paint on those - since you get to stand up to paint. you may want to buy them an easel, each child paints on their side for days when they juts can't get along.  at this point put out 1 or 2 colors each, they can increase to having more colors as they get used to painting and staying STILL at the easel.  biuy small chalk boards and their own erasers and chalk (both sidewalk chalk and regular sized chalk) to use at the table. markers and crayons - your son might like washable markers more than crayons as markers require less pressure to make your mark.  even just taking off the covers and putting them back on develops good fine motor skills. buy small rolling pins, plastic cookie cutters, plastic knives (they are very safe) and plastic forks for playdough so kids can practice cutting, printing, rolling, squeezing, pinching, pushing, and learning about part-whole relationships.  yes, buy duplos, bristle blocks, wood blocks for open ended building - buy match box cars so you always have enough cars and can make a garage.  buy small animals so you can build a zoo.  they can make instruments out of rice, lentils, beans and put into plastic water or juice bottles, seal with electric tape or glue the covers back on if you feel like they'll open them later - we have these out all the time for exploration in both infant and toddler rooms (we do seal the lids so it's not a choking hazard) - different amounts and different things make different sounds.  Also, make swirl bottles - a bit of food coloring in water, then add a little bit of cooking oil or mineral oil to the water and when you shake them they are different than shaking colored water.  you can add plastic items inside, too, that will move around when you shake them... or add some glitter.  stand at the big kitchen sink on chairs and fill it with water, small boats, funnels, scoops - water play is a HUGE hit.  take their shirts off and let them go to town!  sometimes you can put some bubbles in, sometimes they can wash their dolls or a few toys, other times just put various sized funnels in plain (warm) and they'll love it. buy small spray bottles and fill with very watered down paint - and spray on paper, or spray on paper in the middle of the grass outside.  it's fun to make splatter paint! add liquid dish soap to the water and it's easier to clean if they spray hits the floor. oh, save some diaper wipe boxes, wrap paper inside, put a golf ball inside with a blob of paint and SHAKE!  not only do you make a cool sound, use your large motor skills to SHAKE, but when you open it the ball has made interesting patterns on the paper....  you can use shoe boxes the same way, and they can take the cover off and ROLL the box to watch the ball making tracks.  if you get a larger box they can work together, one on each end, to lift the box up and down, tilting it to watch the golf or tennis ball make paint tracks.  too fun. another hint to extend toddler's interest in an activity:  don't give them all the stuff at once.  for example, get out the playdough and forks.  as they start to lose interest, but not before they do, add cookie cutters, or plastic knives, or legos to make prints.  if you toss it all on the table they tend to use each thing once and then want to move on.  if they have 1 or 2 items they investigate those, you can encourage them to try other things so they develop other skills or investigate ways of using a tool they haven't yet.  Use leading questions rather than showing them how to do it - sometimes you want to instruct, but mostly you want to encourage them to work something out, experiment, etc.  Questions like  Can you cut like this? i wonder what happens if you push the legos down HARD in the playdough?  oh, DD, can you do it like DS is doing?  I'll make some balls for you and you can squish them....  with a paintbrush, you can ask them wow, can you make looooonng lines?  thin lines? thick lines?  ....  not always asking these type of questions, mostly you just want them to explore themselves, but after they have lots of experience and they seem a bit bored with plain ol' brushes, you can challenge them... can you make really thin lines? thick lines? oh, you can also paint with toothbrushes, or combs, or apples cut in half.  the trick with painting is not to put too much in the cup or bowl, have them sit across from each other at the table, and have you sit with them, too.  yes, invest in smocks, or just take their shirts off.  oh!  use cool whip or shaving cream for fun texture play! jello is a fun texture activity, too - they can make some to eat for dessert tonight tomorrow, but another color they can play with.  and if they eat it, who cares?  if they still put lots of things in their mouths or are apt to get it on their faces (smearing faces is fun!) then you should use cool whip rather than shaving cream.... the whipped cream from the spray can is the most fun because of the fun way it comes out of the can.  also, getting that edge gel that changes from green gel to shaving cream when you touch it with wet hands is FUN! again, only if they won't rub it in their eyes or eat it... oh, you can also paint on tinfoil, wax paper, fingerpaint paper, sand paper for another texture - the paint works differently on different surfaces. oh, and outside, you can paint with plain old water on the house, wall, sidewalk, anywhere - it's just water so it dries but it's cool! Posted by CT-DC[/QUOTE] This. Is. Awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time/making the effort to share these fabulous ideas!
     
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    Re: At home activities for toddlers

    <---- ordering a ton of stuff onliner per CTDC's instruction. THANNNK YOU!
     

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