If you’re anything like me, you live somewhere in between “Pinterest-worthy-Montessori-esque art projects with organic, free range chicken and a side of arugula” and “Here’s the remote, enjoy your nuggets and fries”. Life (especially with two toddlers) is about striking a balance between insanity and survival. Enter stage left: Easy, low prep toddler activities. ESPECIALLY when you need to do something like a load of laundry or meal prep!
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Today’s emphasis is on the words EASY and LOW PREP because let’s be honest: Nobody has time for prepping, am I right?! The best part– you most likely already have these items in your home (or it will be a one-time purchase).
Activity #1: Water Play
What is it about kiddos and water? Once I got over my hang ups/fears about water play in the house, we were set for life. I plop a bunch of towels on the kitchen floor, place a large storage container on top of them, fill with water, throw in a few toys and…voilà! Instant fun. To make things interesting, I sometimes add ice cubes to the water (which my children end up eating, LOL).
My girls LOOOOOOOVE this play sink so much. I love that the water just gets repumped over and over again!
As far as water toys go, honestly, you can use whatever you have laying around your kitchen. These are some of our favorites:
Just know going into this that there WILL be a mess, you WILL need to do a wardrobe change (for yourself as well, possibly), and, most importantly, fun WILL be had! Just make sure to supervise at all times. 🙂
Activity #2: Painting
Even though I am a former teacher, I had a bit of anxiety when it came to introducing paint to my little ones. After enrolling Nugget in a local painting class, I realized how easy it was to paint together at home. All I needed was to see it in action first!
My favorite part about painting is the freedom it gives the girls to just explore.
Nugget happens to be a very neat child, so we don’t even bother with an apron. I do, however, make sure that she is wearing an old shirt! I seat her at the table with the following supplies: a paintbrush, a cup of water, and a palette with paint. Usually, I set out a piece of construction paper but the other day, I had a “Eureka!” moment. We get a ton of boxes from Amazon per day (Gee, I wonder why…*ahem*…). Why not paint…THE BOX?!
These are my favorite paints because they are non-toxic, come in classic colors, and are washable. A little goes a long way, so be a little conservative when pouring into the palette. Also, I love that this is a 2 pack and includes paintbrushes! Mama LOVES a good deal. (I’ve also included bibs for those of you who’d like to preserve your children’s clothing.)
Peanut (who is 15 months old) is not quite ready to paint with a paintbrush yet (we tried it and all she wanted to do was eat it) so…
I found this “paint in a bag” activity instead, from meaningfulmama.com. Here are our fun results:
So much fun AND mess free!
Activity #3: Blocks
There are soooo many different kinds of blocks nowadays! Take your pick. I like to rotate ours so they seem interesting and new to the girls. These are our most treasured ones:
The beautiful thing about blocks is that they are perfect for open-ended play. The wooden ones are the simplest. Bristle Blocks and Mega Bloks connect. Magnetic blocks are SO cool and are MAGNETIC! These are Nugget’s favorite by far. The possibilities for all of these are endless. A word of warning, though. These HURT when stepped on! All of them.
Activity #4: Balls
Depending on the ages of your littles and whether or not you have a fairly childproofed space in the house, you may or may not want to save this one for outdoors. That being said, these are our favorite balls at the moment:
Balls are fun to roll around on the floor, roll down homemade ramps, hide under blankets or other toys, toss in the air, and kick!
Activity #5: Puzzles
Puzzles are so much fun and are awesome for hand-eye coordination! We have so many at our house. Again, I like to rotate them to keep things fresh. We love these:
We have a wide array of puzzles to meet the needs of a 1 year old and a 2 year old!
Truth be told, the activities we engage in vary from day to day. Some days, we are obsessed with a certain toy/activity…other days, we cannot be bothered. It really depends on the mood and the day! Hopefully, these can be added into your rotation and provide your little one with hours of fun.
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Need more ideas? Head on over to my Magnetic Alphabet Match.
Here’s hoping you have lots of fun,
Water play saved us on many days when my kiddos were little. And we’ve always loved Melissa and Doug puzzles! My kids are now 12 and 14 but we babysit a toddler regularly and these ideas are perfect for him. 🙂
Water play is our go-to, especially on rough days. 🙂