Saturday, October 01, 2011

Activities with toddlers: more inside ideas

A big thank you to everyone for your awesome comments and ideas. So many fun activities to try - I can't wait! It's often hard for me to come up with a fresh, fun idea when I'm alone with my kids, so it certainly helps to have a go-to list in the back of my mind that take very little prep time. Some of your ideas are staples in our house, and I thought I'd elaborate on that a little:

We have made our fair share of impromptu forts, and always seem to end up with every soft toy animal under the sun piled up inside it. They love frolicking amongst a pile of soft toys.

It's a wonderful activity and one they enjoy greatly. Sometimes, the animals creep/crawl/slither/bound over the tent or fort and surprise the kids with a "boo" where they least expect it. Sometimes they make their "correct" sounds (hippo impression, anyone? anyone? Bueller?) before appearing, and sometimes they "fly" into the fort at high speed. We also play a guessing game when the kids are inside their play tent, because they can see the silhouette of each animal. On a few occasions, we've pitched our adult 2-man tent inside the house. Yes, we're that crazy.


Sometimes 30 minutes of fun is just a brainwave away. I often have to initiate a game, but then they run with it. They aren't really all that into building towers with anything except their mega blocks or nesting blocks, but I keep trying.

We recently acquired some of those awesome large cardboard bricks by Melissa & Doug. Our kids haven't really wanted to play with them yet. I started stacking them like "stairs" and invited a few soft toy animals to climb the "stairs" and voilĂ , a game was born. Every single animal in their collection ended up climbing "stairs" and sitting on "platforms" custom-built for them. Before I knew it, the kids were building with the bricks, having the animals walk up the stairs, feeding them, and having them walk down. This is a huge lesson to me not to write off any particular toy, but to "repurpose" it, or to think outside the box, if you will.


The kids have jumped on the guest room bed piled high with pillows, and frequently play in other "forbidden" (not fully childproofed) spaces for as long as my nerves can stand it. With triplet toddlers, you have to be hyper vigilant when they're not in a 100% childproofable space, so it's quite stressful for me, but for them.

It usually goes something like this, "Don't touch that! Don't put that in your mouth! Get down from there! Don't pull on that! No jumping on that! That's not a toy. *sigh* Okay, let's go somewhere else, so I can start saying 'Yes!' to you again. Let's go! Go! Go!"


Our girls LOVE receiving mail. Despite us unsubscribing from every known list on planet Earth, we still get enough neighborhood mailers. The kids even fight over them, depending on what is pictured. They now say, "Mail. ABCs!" when we retrieve the mail. I stuff opened envelopes with other pieces of paper, like receipts that would've been recycled.

We make paper airplanes from junkmail, crumple them to make lightweight balls, and we play a simple made-up game where I slowly approach a little hand holding an envelope or piece of paper and then quickly and unexpectedly "snatch" it from them without tearing it. This works great for multiples, because they never know who I'm going to target next and the anticipation is what makes this game fun for them.

They are so easy to entertain, *sometimes.* We have also accidentally stumbled on a fun game where I let a gazillion envelope-sized coupons "flutter" down on them. I stand and hold it above my head while they sit. It's similar to throwing leaves in the air, only it's cleaner and you can do it inside when it rains. ;-)


The girls have recently discovered their own shadows, so shadow puppets and flashlights are definitely a big hit.

Please keep those fantastic comments and ideas coming. It's awesome to be able to draw on your collective wisdom.

1 comment:

Chelle said...

I was nodding along when you were asking for a hippo noise and then cracked up when I read "beuler?" haha. Too funny!

I constantly move the furniture in my house and that keeps things fresh. When they don't want to spend too much time in their play room, I move it all around and they love exploring to see where I have hidden toys or put toys where they think they don't belong.

Can you believe your girls are going to be two!?? It's unreal to me sometimes. :)