With toddlers spending more time at home these days, keeping them busy and entertained indoor is top of mind for many parents around the globe.
To help working moms and dads get through this sudden routine shift, we talked to fellow Ruggable parents and rounded up some tried-and-true tips. From setting up your home for learning and creativity to coming up with activities your toddler will enjoy indoor, here are a few simple ways to infuse a little bit of fun and adventure in your every day right at home.
1. Create a craft zone.
Coloring books are often a hit with the little ones. But even if you don’t have coloring books readily available, setting up a place where they have access to blank pieces of paper, crayons, colored pens, and paint can keep them busy for hours.
“My kids aren’t huge on coloring, but if I draw a tractor for them, or sketch our family as stick figures, they are much more eager to grab the crayons and add some color,” shares Tal Halpern, mom to two toddlers.
If your child is more engaged with tactile activities, they might enjoy some paper folding activities, decorating cereal or old shoe boxes, or making toys out of empty toilet paper rolls. Another favorite is gluing some ripped up construction paper, newspaper, or magazine pages and creating homemade mosaics. The idea is to make crafts out of materials you already have in your home.
2. Make reading more fun.
A teepee is bound to inspire storytime. If you don’t have one handy, pile up the pillows and throw a blanket over them. Invite a few stuffed animal friends over and finish with a basket of your child’s favorite books. If your kid is more of an explorer, throw in some extra chairs and blankets to build a more “elaborate” fort, grab some flashlights, and call it your reading cave.
3. Plan mini family staycations.
Who says you need to go anywhere to have a vacation? Transform your backyard, deck, or patio into an instant campsite (tent, s’mores, and all). You can also turn your living room into a movie theater or an indoor playground once a week. “Hiking” around the block, working through a large puzzle, and dance parties are a few activities you could get your child to look forward to throughout your days at home.
4. Create a schedule for them.
Knowing what’s next helps your toddler have something to look forward to and feel a sense of accomplishment when you check items off.
“Having a schedule can work wonders, not just for my toddler, but also for me,” explains Gracee Tolentino, mom of one. “It makes the days seem more manageable and always leaves my daughter with another milestone to look forward to.”
To get your toddler more involved, write the schedule down on a poster board and draw some simple icons on it, like cookies or fruits right where it says “snack time” and bed for “nap time.”
5. Encourage imaginative play.
Role-playing and acting out stories and experiences are not only fun for your toddlers but also help them develop crucial cognitive, emotional, and social skills. The best part is that you don’t need an entire playset to help transform them into chefs, tea party hosts, doctors, or teachers. The key is to encourage them to use their imagination!
If needed, you can help them make their own props using clay, empty milk cartons, used paper bags, or scratch papers.
6. Let them get dirty.
Do a scavenger hunt, count roly-poly bugs, and create an obstacle course in your backyard. Playing outdoors and being close to nature not only give kids first-hand knowledge of the world around them but also inspire creativity and strengthen their immune system. Plus, what kid doesn’t like getting his or her hands dirty?
“Having some activities planned outside in the backyard has been great for my daughter,” says Bumsoo Kim, dad to a one-year-old. “I think it’s nice for her to have a change of scene and helps break up the day for us. We have a daily routine around that and you can tell she really looks forward to that time.”
Readers, what do you do to keep your toddler entertained at home? Tell us in the comments section below or tag #Ruggable in your Instagram posts for a chance to be featured!