187 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler

The internet abounds with blog posts about how to keep your toddler occupied on a rainy day.  Every day I see more of these on Pinterest, and they look so enticing!  I frantically pour over them looking for the magic activity that will keep Gus occupied for a bit of time, but it seems like a lot of these lists are more appropriate for older toddlers.  What about my curious and adventurous 19-month-old?  What can be done with a little one who wants to experiment, but isn’t quite ready for color-sorting and sit-down crafts?

A rare glimpse of Gus sitting down

A rare glimpse of Gus sitting down

I’ve tried several suggested activities, such as edible finger painting, baking soda and vinegar experiments, home-made play-dough.  These have held his attention for about 2 minutes before he wanted to move on.  2 minutes is not much time when a busy mommy needs to chop vegetables or unload the dishwasher.  I have found a couple things that do keep him happily engaged:

  • Washing Dishes:  Give him some running water and a bunch of safe dishes, and Gus is happy as a clam for as long as the water runs.  The floor and counters will get flooded, and the dishes won’t actually be washed, but it’s worth a few towels and rewashing everything for the time I get to prepare dinner.  Plus, I know he won’t get dehydrated since he insists on drinking water from every dish being “washed”.
  • Drumming: Boy, I think Gus could sit at his daddy’s drum set for hours, especially if he gets his hot, little hands on the drum key.  Now, if only the drum set was located where I could keep an eye on him while doing something productive.  Since the drum set is in the basement, I’m limited to laundry while Gus is drumming, but getting that laundry folded can be nice!

Wow, is that it?  Two activities?  I am racking my brain, but that’s all I have found that will keep Gus independently playing long enough for me to do something.  Everything else we do involves us playing together (like hide-and-seek) or my direct supervision (like running around the backyard).

There are a few more activities that I’d like to try, such as a scavenger hunt (Gus is pretty good about going and finding something when I ask for it), play-dough balloons, and sensory activities using dried beans, rice, or pasta.  I’m still a little worried about him trying to eat everything, but I won’t know until we try.  I also think he’d enjoy playing with anything that has switches, button, or dials so I may hit up Goodwill for some old telephones or radios that he could play with.  Maybe a treasure box of gadgets?

What kind of activities have worked magic for your little one?  Leave your comments – if something you suggest gives me time to make dinner, I’ll buy you a drink at the next girls’ night out!

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2 Responses to 187 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler

  1. Inga says:

    hmmm, what do they call those Chinese finger trap things, kiddie sized handcuffs… Oh, you mean activities he would actually enjoy, Doh!

    How about shredding the recycling, hosing down the deck with a squirtgun or balancing on 1 foot for extended periods of time? >^..^<

  2. admin says:

    Haha! I can imagine the result of chinese finger cuffs. Maybe not. :)

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