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As soon as I was old enough (probably on the day) I signed up for the CPR babysitting course. I still remember feeling so grown up at the mall all day learning CPR, the Heimlich and other safety measures that would make me more desirable as a babysitter. Little did I know it would be my ability to make things fun and play with the kids that would be my specialty.
There was no Pinterest when I was babysitting, not much online in general. I got my ideas from experience, magazines my grandma bought me and craft books from the library. Toddlers though were always my favorite. They didn’t need special toys or equipment. EVERYTHING is interesting, especially the everyday tools and items the people around them are using.
My niece was over for the SuperBowl (around 18 months old) and I love playing with her. We were outside and I saw the bucket so we invented this little game. She’d run to the planter we have of little pebbles, pick one up with her little pincher grab and then run barefoot through the grass to the other end of the yard to drop the rock into the bucket with a satisfying clink.
This simple little game kept her busy for quite some time (and some on and off) which is pretty darn good for this age when everything is a distraction. You don’t need special equipment or toys to keep toddlers busy, just lots of supervision because heaven knows they get themselves into everything!
Here are some ideas to keep your toddlers busy (keeping in mind that everything should be supervised):
- Any version of the game above using whatever you have. Adding things like barefoot in the grass, running, grabbing, noise helps keep the activity fun.
- Let them help. Have them take things to the trash for you one by one or put laundry in piece by piece.
- Let them explore your safe kitchen tools, put something in a Tupperware container and show them to see if they can figure out how to get it out or put more in. The pipe cleaners in a strainer is fun too!
- Show them how different things make noise.
- Give them a cup of water with some paintbrushes and let them “paint” the concrete or outside wall.
- Pretend to trip and fall with a basket full of stuffed animals (they’ll think your hysterical) and then let them help pick them all up. Be warned that they’ll either pretend to do the same or want you to do it over again.
This age is SO much fun, just super busy! What are your sure-fire ways to keep toddlers entertained (and supervised)? If you’re looking for some toy ideas check out this list of the Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds from Rookie Moms.