With the weather warming up and your child home from preschool, normally you’d be taking full advantage of the sunny days and filling them with trips to the zoo, playdates, hours spent in the park, and frequent walks to the library. Of course, the world isn’t exactly normal right now, and these activities that would entertain your toddler for hours on end are out of the question. Instead of just checking out and letting a tablet or kids program babysit for you, use this as a chance to spend quality time with your little one try these fun, creative ways to avoid going stir crazy while stuck at home.
Have a dance party
Kids, no matter how old, love to let loose and dance around the house to their favorite jams. Better yet, join in with them and spend some time unleashing that pent up energy with your toddler.
Get creative with musical instruments
Speaking of music…though your child may still be too young to start formal music lessons, it is never too early to start teaching rhythm and melody. Numerous studies support musical development in preschool-age children for emotional and mental development, so this activity isn’t just fun and time-filling, it is educational and enriching as well.
Let your child joint your workouts
Since most gyms are closed right now, you are probably (hopefully) continuing to do at-home workouts through some sort of online yoga, pilates, or strength training videos. Instead of sitting your child in front of the TV or tablet so that you can work out in peace, allow them to join in with you! They will love “working out” with mommy or daddy and will have a blast doing tumbles or toddler gymnastics on the carpet.
Though it may be hard to find staples like flour and sugar right now, if you have the ingredients around the house, taking on a baking project with your toddler can be a fun, messy, and delicious project. Grab a stool and teach them to stir or whisk the batter and watch their eyes light up as their creation transforms in the oven. You can even use this as an opportunity to teach them how to crack an egg, (if you have a slightly older child) just be forewarned that you may lose some eggs in the process.
Make a schedule
Making a weekly or daily schedule will help you maintain your child’s routine in the midst of self-isolation. Even though it will likely have to be altered, it is still a good sense of normalcy and will help prevent sleep disruptions, temper tantrums, and behavioral issues. Plus, it will allow you to get a good overview of the day and schedule whatever work you need to get done around your toddler’s nap time or quiet time.
Keep in touch with family
Just as it is important for you to stay in touch with family and friends during this pandemic, it is also essential that your child has that connection as well. Grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles will love talking to you and your child over facetime, zoom, or skype, and kids will get a kick out of the silly filters they can use to change their face. You could even arrange a virtual play date with another child so that your kid can still see peers and preschool friends.
Take walks outside
Though many outdoor activities are restricted, exercise around your home and while still following proper social distancing is absolutely fine. Get out with your little one for a nature walk or just a stroll around the neighborhood to help expend some of their extra energy and get some much-needed vitamin D. You can use the walk as an educational opportunity as well. If your child is still learning the names of certain plants and animals, try pointing them out and helping your child’s vocabulary grow.
Color or draw
Music is a great creative outlet for kids, but drawing can be equally important and entertaining. Spread a large piece of paper (you can buy it in rolls) over the table, give your toddler some crayons and watch the magic. Even if they just draw swirly lines, they are beginning to develop more hand-eye coordination and starting to learn shapes. You can also print out a coloring page and work on coloring in the lines if your child is ready for a challenge. Sidewalk chalk is another fun activity and will help eradicate some of that cabin fever.
Spend time in the garden
With grocery stores facing issues with supply and demand and the spring planting season at hand, there’s no time like the present to buy some seeds and grow your own food or flowers. Plus, it is the perfect opportunity to help your child realize the value of gardening, patience, and the rewards that come along with hard work. Give them a little patch of garden space or a raised bed or pot that they can plant, water, and tend, and they’ll love seeing the sprouts pop up and grow into full-blown plants.
Reading before bedtime (or any time of the day) is one of the best things you can do with your toddler. Get them involved in the book by asking them to help turn the pages or identify shapes on the page or pick out which book they want to read. Board books are also an excellent activity for quiet solo time, and many kids will love just looking at pictures and flipping through their favorite books.