In my third trimester, I began to slow way down (read "waddle"). My usual munchkin-energy-burning tricks of going on walks, amusement parks, and field trips became a thing of the past. I had to get creative, quick! Pinterest to the rescue:) Here's a list of a bunch of stuff we have done, and stuff I'm planning to do, to keep my 2 1/2 year old occupied and out of trouble while I am parked on the couch!
We built ours using a table, Queen size sheet, and crib mattress. Andrew added in his blankets and stuffed animals from his bed. It's his place of choice for snack time, and he would keep going back to it during the day to hide from Mama. Also a great trick if you're trying to make dinner with little ones running around the kitchen.
This week I saw Michael's had packs of glow sticks in their dollar area, 12 for $1! I scooped up several packs and dumped them in the bath that night. We turned off the lights, and he went crazy! We just needed a little disco music to complete the moment.
Shaving cream + Plastic Table cloth
Growing a Jeweled Rose shared this idea. This would work if we had a lawn, but I think we'll modify this to shaving cream in the bathtub!
Andrew LOVES water. In all forms. I hand Andrew the hose and he goes to town filling up a plastic bucket with water, "washing" the patio furniture and his toys, and just about any other thing he can think of. I give him a water balloon nozzle and sprinkler nozzle to hold on the end of the hose for "showers". Pants are entirely optional.
I want to try:
Pouring with Water
Like this idea from Hands On as we Grow. I have some leftover plastic cups and a pitcher for him to fill. Might even help with his fine motor skills!
Thankfully our local indoor playground has couches where Mama can sit and watch as Andrew burns off energy, run around and explore. We also frequent Chick-fil-a play place. Like a lot.
I've made my own collection thanks to this idea from Apartment Therapy! A cheap alternative to play food- I cut out the covers of cardboard food boxes before I toss them in the recycle bin, and let Munchkin pretend he's eating the real thing!
I have this weird thing against liquid bubble solution. It's too sticky and slick and itchy for me. I don't want it to touch me! So instead of blowing bubbles outside, I filled up the sink with water and dish soap with the faucet on high. Then skimmed off the foamy bubbles and poured them onto Andrew's high chair tray. I gave him some small bowls, spoons, and measuring cups too. It worked! Also a good one for dinner cooking time.
I want to try:
Magnets + Pipe Cleaners
I'm inspired by this idea from Frugal Fun 4 Boys. I need to get me some pipe cleaners!
Packing Peanuts in the bath
I modified this idea from Toddler Approved. I saved the packing peanuts from a large package we received, and one afternoon dumped them into the bath tub (wasn't about to clean this stuff up from all over the house!). It was safe and minimally messy. Andrew loved stomping, pouring, and making it "snow" all over himself. I did have to get Jason to use the shop vac to clean up the aftermath. Small price to pay!
Cardboard Box + markers
Worked great! Even after he destroyed the box and crushed it flat, it became a slide off of the ottoman!!
I like this idea from Creative with Kids. Whenever I'm at the 99 Cent store I pick up cheap stickers and coloring books. This is an almost daily quiet time staple for us.
I can sit out on our patio for a good bit while Andrew draws Cookie Monster, Elmo, and rainbows for me on the concrete.
This is a great idea from Blue Bird Kisses! 99 Cent stores carry kid themed chalkboard sets in the toy dept. Ours came with chalk and a sponge eraser, so Andrew can draw "Olaf" for me and then erase him, and start all over again. Toddlers love a new medium to explore:)
Kitchen in a box
I filled an empty laundry basket with odds and ends from my kitchen cabinets, stuff he normally isn't allowed to get into. I grabbed a baby bottle, powdered drink mixer, colander, hot pads, potato masher, tongs, cupcake liners, and chip clip (the tongs and metal colander were a particularly loud fav).This one lasted on and off all day long!
A Life Sustained shared how she keeps her munchkins busy, with stuff from the thrift store! Give them a dry erase board, markers, and a cloth to erase, and they're off! Our dry erase board has lines to write, and I will show Andrew how to make A,B,Cs. He shows me how to make "tornadoes".
For perpetually sunny Orange County, CA, this is a year round activity for us. We have a few public fountains I can let Andrew splash in, watching from a comfy bench close by:)
Pool Noodle in the bath
Bath Activities for Kids has lots of ideas to spice up bath time. We have an old pool noodle, and I want to cut it up and dump it in the bath. I think this would work without water too, like our packing peanuts experience.
The "M" word
I hereby grant you permission not to feel guilty for simply putting on a movie, or two, or three! Your kid's brains won't turn to mush in a day, and you might even be able to sneak in a coveted nap! Andrew loves anything Pixar, and this one time when I turned on Toy Story, he grabbed his Woody and Buzz and hugged them during the show. *heart melting...
I want to try:
Masking tape roads, mazes
Next on my list (like Monday) is this classic idea from Modern Parents Messy Kids. Although I think Andrew would have more fun peeling off the tape and sticking it other places rather than driving cars on it. I don't care! Painter's tape is restickable and non damaging, great for our laminate floors.
Toddler Approved proves toddlers are crazy about balloons! We draw funny faces on ours and Andrew bats them around the house. This could be done with one balloon...
or 450! Isn't this an epic pic (and super mom)? Sadly, I couldn't find the link:(
Going to the Movies
As a special treat we went and saw Frozen. Then we saw it again. An hour and a half of quiet, sitting in the dark? Yes ma'am. And 2 year olds are free!
Now it's your turn! Let's keep the ideas flowing, what are you secret tricks to keeping toddlers out of trouble when you can't get off the couch?
Have a great weekend! We're off to celebrate my nephew's 3rd bday, and my smart sister in law rented a bounce house to keep all the cousins (11 kids, 12 and under!) busy. I should add that to my list, lol!