The Shelter in Place has been brutal on parents. Therefore it is so important to have fun things to do at home with a toddler.
I’m imagining the child-free adults laying on the couch right now. They are running marathons of their favorite shows and eating junk food. Maybe I am just fantasizing over what I’d like to be doing as my toddler runs circles around me. Our junk food drawer is child proofed as opening it always becomes a point of contention.
After being pretty active with our now 27 month old Luca, the Shelter in Place was a bit of an adjustment. Luca and I used to go to playgrounds, join playgroups and try new classes. It was quite the shock when all of a sudden GOING OUTSIDE FELT UNSAFE.
In the beginning we started making one outing a day and Luca STAYED IN THE STROLLER the whole time. We turned the seat back so he was facing us again. The thought was that maybe it would be safer not having Luca face ongoing pedestrians. I even tried putting a rain cover with little success (he hated it).
11 Easy Ideas to keep it fun for your toddler Indoors.
My heart goes out to those families who are forced to work 9-4 jobs from home while caring for children. You have been put in an IMPOSSIBLE situation!
My husband bought this trike for Luca when he was one years old. We had seen other kids close to his age using them at the park and got excitetd. However, Luca has always been a cautious kid so it took a while to warm up. I’d say he didn’t get into it riding the trike until closer to two years old. It was helpful to have the trike around earlier though as he got used to it. He would play by pushing his toys around on the trike seat.
Once Luca got accustomed he started biking around the condo daily. It became a huge source of play for him. This trike has very wide wheels and no petals, which helps Luca to practice his balance. It comes in a few pieces that need to be assembled. It only took 10-15minutes once it was out of the box.
It’s compact enough that he’s not bumping into baseboards or scratching the walls and it’s also super easy to steer. Luca loves using it outside too. It’s very light weight making it easy for me to carry both him and the bike if he gets tiered. This trike fits comfortably at the bottom of our UppaBaby Vista stroller.
Bath time can be so more than just the nitty gritty of getting cleaned up. It can be a time of exploration, experimentation and plenty of pretend play. It is also a great opportunity to help your kid get comfortable with water. Work on gently pouring water on their bodies. Start with their tummy, then their shoulders, working your way up to their head and carefully wetting their face.
Luca is still not a big fan of getting his head wet. However, he does practice balancing on his arms now while letting his body float. This is something he started doing completely by his own initiative.
Once we started spending more time in the bathtub, I noticed that Luca’s bathing space was a bit bare. In order to make the experience more fun (for the both of us), I went to search for new toys.
There’s a lot of products out there! I suggest focusing on the following:
If you want to spruce up your kid’s tub experience, I hope the list below can help. It turned our bathroom into a magical time of pretend play and learning. The list below are the additional bathtub toys we ended up buying and Luca uses them on a daily basis.
Luca and I play a lot while at home. A favorite is exploring the inside / outside relationship of a blanket or sheet on the floor. The way it goes is, I sit under a blanket as Luca runs in and out. He often laughs uncontrollably during this game and pretend falls into my lap.
Sometimes he will sit inside with me and we just chat about how dark it is. Other times he’ll try to climb on top of me and tumble over (carefully) making for some rough play.
Eventually this leads to us getting the above blue tent which brought this game to the next level. We still play with sheets on the floor but the tent made it easier for independent play.
Another positive is hat now the sheets can be stored inside the tent when not used. Luca has a little house of his own to climb into as he manifests his toddler independence.
This tent might have changed the game a bit for us, but honestly it also made it easier for me. Reason being, I can lay inside more comfortably while Luca runs around.
Play-Doh + Accessories
Since spending more time indoors our life has been calmer. Also, Luca has stopped expecting multiple daily activists outside the house. I’ve noticed him more inclined to playing some slower pace seated games like for example play-doh.
I am not the type for projects that require too much prep work. Especially when dealing with a toddler age attention span. My 2 year old might end up playing for only 30 seconds so prep need to be short. (my mama’s out there know what I’m talking about). Play-Doh has been that perfect balance of crafty and easy prep/ cleanup. It’s been nice to take the time for more “crafty” seated games. Luca loves using all the cutting tools and shapes for the Play doh.
Be prepared that with toddlers its all on their terms. They might be uninterested to play when you set it up, but then spend an hour with it later.
More Family Time
We spend more time winding down for bedtime and naps now. In the evening my husband and I always lay down on Luca’s floor bed together at around 6pm. Luca jumps around on us or will lay on his belly next to Papi (my husband) to look at the images he’s scrolling through on Instagram.
This is a great way to wind down as a family. When Papi leaves, Luca will focus a bit on falling asleep (although he often doesn’t go down until 7:30pm- 8pm now). You can read about our co sleeping set up here.
Screen time has increased but with YouTube kids I can control some of the content. I like that Luca feels empowered choosing what videos to watch on the iPad. His motor control has increased significantly since learning how to maneuver screen. That is one of the positives aspects of screen time during the day.
For multi lingual families YouTube Kids can be an opportunity to have your kids listen to other desired languages. I’ve customized his YouTube kids to have an Italian channel with select videos only in Italian. He can easily switch between the two channels and will often pick the Italian channel.
On the iPad I can lock the screen so that Luca can’t go away from You Tube kids. Otherwise he would easily click away and not be able to find his way back. If there is a video that I don’t love, I can easily block it. Afterwards, it won’t show up anymore in his playlist.
Screen time is one of those hot topics and has a different affect on children based on their personality. In Luca’s case a moderate amount of screen time can settle him. As long as he is getting a good amount of playtime during the day I don’t mind letting him enjoy some quiet time with his iPad.
Explore Explore Explore
If you live in a condominium, exploring its premises can be a great way to get out of your home without actually going outside. It is a nice change of scenery. Luca and I first explored areas of our building like the mail boxes and seating areas. Later on we would explore the garage as well as the bike storage room which Luca always thinks is very exciting.
Snuggling on the Couch
As many breastfeeding mamas might know, the shelter in place resulted in a non stop nursing frenzy. Nurse marathon! Nursing on stereoids! Luca was not an exception. It was frustrating and draining, but at times it was also relaxing and bonding.
I could easily just lay on the couch with him and scroll through my phone uninterrupted for 5-10 minutes and Luca got a chance to unwind or as I call it “reboot” if he was feeling a bit dysregulated.
A Good Size Carpet
I am forever grateful that we invested in this carpet just before the shelter in place happened. We had just re-done our living room and purchased a good size carpet for Luca to play on!
He will almost 80% of the time play within the boundary of this carpet and bring his toys here. I highly recommend having the carpet close to your couch which makes for a great play surface. It adds to soften the space, increasing everyone’s comfort!
Get that music going! We use Apple Music subscription, check out their 3 Months Free Trial here. You can search anything and save the albums you like. I love using our Apple Subscription to listen to music instead of YouTube. Its easier to stay screen free for a bit and its very easy to save your favorite songs and albums.
Some of our favorite Albums are:
Click above image to get your 3 moths free trial!
We got this stepping stool to encourage more independence by the sink for Luca. We were hoping that the stool would make washing hands and brushing teeth more enjoyable (semi-worked). Its also is an opportunity for Luca to help out in the kitchen.
The reality though has him primarily playing by the sink for long periods of time. Sometimes it includes washing hands (not always). It can be hard to get him down from the stool as well, I guess in some ways it means it’s a hit!
I see this stool as a long-term investment into his development. Once he is ready to be more involved in daily self-care, it will be there for him.
This stepping stool is a bit heavy but feels very sturdy.
Sometimes Less really is More
As time went by our days stopped feeling so long. We fell into a routine that has been quite enjoyable.
We stopped rushing and took our time with every part of our day. It did mean that instead of falling asleep at 6-6:30pm he started to fall asleep at 7:30pm-8pm, but it’s been well worth it. Like they say sometimes less is more and it most definitely has applied to us.
Almost 4 months into the Stay at Home order, I am starting to see the impact of a different routine. Although we were forced to quit doing a lot of things, we started doing other activities that were equally fun. These new activities have left us less busy and more peaceful at home.
Do you want more toy ideas for toddler 24-36 months old? Click Here