I get in funks. Really bad funks. Especially when I was pregnant with Henry and was suuper tired. We would just sit at home all day, doing the same thing one day after the other, and we would drive each other crazy! Part of it was the winter weather, which limited the amount of outdoor activities we could do, but mostly it was just me not being able to think of ideas. But we've been working really hard at it and it has been going SO MUCH BETTER! We try to do something different almost every day, before and/or after nap to switch things up. We have both been a lot happier AND I've really enjoyed watching Emmet learn new things! Win win win win win win.
It is really hard to think of new ideas when you are in a rut though, so here is a round up of all of Emmet and I's favorite activities (aka things to do with your toddler):
1. Go on walks - Get shoes on and get out the door even if it is just around the block once. A little fresh air and time away from home is good for everyone. Plus you can even switch it up by walking on foot, with a wagon, stroller, trike, bike, scooter OR go on walks with a purpose; like to a destination, or a nature walk, or throw your rubber boots on after a good rain and go puddle jumping.
2. Go to the Park - We have a little park that is just a block away from our house that we LOVE to go to! We walk there all of the time. Bonus- there might be other kids there and that can be even more entertaining (depending on who it is...). Switch it up by finding other parks in town or in surrounding towns!
3. Make some Art - The awesome thing about art is that it can be different every single time you do it. Draw with pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils. Paint with acrylics (but be cautious!), washable tempera paints, watercolors. Cut with scissors, make collages...
4. Play with play Dough - Emmet has eaten some, but we get through it. Get all of the fancy tools or just let them pinch little pieces and practice taking it out of the container and putting it back in. Cut it with scissors, roll it out flat with a rolling pin, use cookie cutters.. let them play freely with it.
5. Play in the Yard - Chase the dog, turn on the sprinkler, draw with sidewalk chalk, ride around in a cozy coupe or on trikes and scooters, play in a sandbox or water table, play in the baby pool, blow bubbles, look for bugs, draw in the dirt...
6. Start a Garden Together - Emmet loves watering the plants! Have them dig holes for seeds and place the seeds in, fill pots with soil, water with the hose, water the pots with a watering can.
7. Read - Read all the time. Read story books, abc books, counting books, potty books, animal books, all kinds of books. Have them read on their own or read to them.
8. Play with Toys - Lord knows you probably have a ton of them! Play with them and show them how to use them or let them play alone and see what they come up with. I plan to make a list of our favorites by age. But right now we are loving our play kitchen, blocks, cars, pretend broom and mop set.
9. Screen Time - You are not a bad person for playing videos, TV shows, and movies. I remember feeling such guilt about this one. Do I try to limit it? Yes. Does Emmet ask for them? Of course. I try to use them either when he is really cranky or when I really need to get something done. We love Sesame Street, Moana, Coco, and Frozen over here.
10. Go to the Pool or a Splash Park - A change of scenery is always good. Plus giant pools over water or water shooting out of the ground is really fun. Especially when it is hot.
11. Play Groups - Get together with other kids! We asked Emmet's future preschool if we could attend their summer playgroups and they were totally cool with it as long as I go with him. Emmet gets to hang out with other kids, we get out of the house, he gets to play with other toys, AND he gets to learn from one of the most amazing women I know? Best thing ever.
12. Go to the Library - Pick out new books or just play with the toys they have on hand. Check out what story times and other activities they have going on and attend those too!
13. Zoo, Museums, Discovery Centers, Botanical Gardens, Etc - Look and see what is available in your town or in a neighboring town. Emmet and I had SO much fun at the zoo the other day and can't wait to explore and see what else there is to do!
14. Plant Nurseries - Not even kidding you, we go to a local nursery almost every other week to look at plants. We pick one out or a new planter, or landscaping rocks anything. Just go and look at the plants and talk about them together.
15. Take a Bath - Emmet now takes baths at the most random times of day. Because we get dirty, or we take one before bed, OR we just need something fun to do so I pop him on in there!
16. Teach them new things - Use books, flashcards, crayons, etc and work on letters, colors, shapes, animals, animal sounds, etc with them.
17. Listen to Music and Dance - Emmet LOVES music. We turn it on on our google home and dance around the living room. Sometimes I let him lead, sometimes I teach him new dance moves. Sometimes we sing songs together and learn new nursery rhymes.
18. Bake Something - Get out a cookbook and bake some cookies. Have them help you dump in the ingredients and stir it up! Bonus points, you've got snack time covered. Don't want to eat them all? Drop them off on a neighbors porch or take them to your workplace or a family members work place and teach them about doing nice things for others in the process.
19. Go get something sweet to eat - Emmet, Henry, and I go get coffee and cookies together all. the. time. Find somewhere you are comfortable going with your kids and go and make those memories together.
20. Snuggle - Cuddle them while they still want to be cuddled. Play on the bed and under the blankets. Play peekaboo, tickle, or just talk and whisper together in a comfy place.