Family Day Activities for Busy Toddlers
Written by: Cathy Armstrong, Retired Kindergarten teacher, Mom to two daughters (including Dr. Amy!) and Grandma to three busy grandchildren
When you have a young family, Family Day weekend doesn’t have to mean travel and large amounts of money spent. It can simply be a time to unwind and relax around home with the ones you love. But who can relax with a toddler around? A successful day with a toddler means keeping them busy and challenged, but not overly stimulated! These suggestions for indoor fun are simple, even obvious, but also tried and true.
Playdough is easy to make, and offers an amazing creative outlet for children of all ages. Worried about mess? Use a couple of plastic placemats. It will make clean up easy, and provide a workspace so that will contain the worst of it! Add some plastic cups, cookie cutters, a cardboard toilet roll or small cardboard box, some plastic animals or other plastic toys and you will engage even the wiggliest little ones.
When extreme cold weather warnings make it impossible to get your toddler outdoors, let your inner diva shine! Put on the music and sing and dance along. Try blowing bubbles, adding some scarves or even some glow sticks to increase the fun. (Obviously, scarves and glow sticks are not appropriate toddler toys, so close supervision is necessary)
It’s not too early to introduce your toddler to very simple board games and card games. You will find it necessary to modify the game and forget about the rules at first. For example, use a memory game in a kind of “hide and seek” fashion, hiding all the blue fish and overturning the cards to find them. Introduce board games by sorting game pieces by colour or shape. Roll the dice and count aloud together. Hello early math skills!! This game time will evolve into your child learning to wait for a turn, follow a set procedure and eventually win and lose at an activity.
However you choose to spend your time Family Day Weekend, being engaged with your toddler is the best gift you will ever give them.