Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keeping Toddlers Busy

It's been a while since we last had a toddler around. I'm not sure what I did to entertain the little ones in the past. I guess it was easier because the other children always had a playmate close to their age. Since there is a four and a half year differnce between our little Cracker Jack and the previous "baby", I've had to come up with some creative ways to keep him busy while his older siblings are busy learning.

One of his favorite activities is finger painting. He's never been one to put things in his mouth, but just to be safe I use ketchup and mustard. He likes this twice as much because he has fun smearing it and he gets a little treat.  His masterpieces aren't really suitable for keeping (in fact, they are usually nothing more than a smear of "paint" that soaked in before he could eat it), but he has fun and it keeps him out of trouble.

Another thing which will keep him entertained for at least a half hour is a container of water, a spoon, and a few of his plastic animals. After he is through splashing, I give him a towel and he wipes up all the drips. This is a good activity to do after finger painting because the water washes up the paint mess.

He also enjoys putting coins into his piggy bank. It is way for him to practice manual dexterity and, since I tell him the names of the coins as he drops them in the bank, he is learning something about money. I haven't used this during school hours, though I suppose a roll of pennies could keep him busy while I helped the younger children with lapbooks or something that we could do while we sat by him at a table.

We also try to include him in as many things as we can. He loves snuggling, so I can usually get him to sit quietly in my lap while we are reading. And when he won't sit still, one of the older children will sometimes take him into his bedroom to play while they sit on his bed and do their reading.

What do you do to keep your toddlers busy?

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