We love our babies and genuinely enjoy watching them learn, play and grow, but let’s face it, keeping toddlers constantly entertained can be a full-time job. And although we want to be able to be by their side during all of these moments, we still have stuff to do. Whether it’s cooking, laundry, cleaning, or driving, we cannot always be completely hands-on while they are engaging in play. Therefore, we must rely on toys, gear, and activities to keep them entertained while we tend to our other daily responsibilities. This does not have to be hard if you are prepared and have designated areas properly set up to keep your little one occupied. From the playroom or play area inside your home to the car, we have a few tips that can help not only entertain your child, but free up a little of your time. These suggestions are easy, cheap, and device-free.
Entertainment at Home
Sensory bins are very popular right now for toddlers. Sensory bins give children the opportunity to touch various textures. Yes, they can be messy but can provide entertainment for children in numerous ways. Not only are they touching and feeling the materials but giving them tools to scoop, cut, or spread the textures can help develop fine motor skills. There are tons of different sensory bins that are quick and easy to make. Go for the smaller, clear bins with lids that you can easily store multiple and quickly switch out to reuse. Some examples of easy sensory bins to make include:
- Kinetic Sand
- Dried Beans
- Uncooked Pasta
- Cooked and cooled spaghetti (sauceless)
- Shaving Cream
- Play Dough
This art table is the perfect size for your toddler to play either sitting or standing. It is adjustable with a small place in the middle to keep toys organized while playing. If you need something that will guarantee your child will be entertained while keeping them in one spot, this activity table amazingly transforms into an activity center.
It is so easy to completely change this item into something completely different by simply popping out the center of the table and replacing it with the provided seat ring that will keep your child in place while surrounded by attachable toys that lock onto the table. One of the best things about this product is that it is truly space-saving. Rather than having separate items taking up space in your play area, the Exersaucer gives you the entertainment of an activity center with the bonus benefit of an art table. When you’re ready to let your child play freely, making the switch back into an art table literally takes seconds.
Do your kids love stickers but you hate having to around trying to peel them off places they shouldn’t be? Try window clings! They don’t have to be just on windows. Window clings give your children that satisfaction of sticking and peeling that they get from stickers without all the mess. They can be reused over and over and travel with you from the playroom to the car.
Now this may seem like a no brainer, give them some blocks to play with. But no, there are so many things that can be done with a simple set of blocks. These activities will depend on the age and skill level of your child but giving them different tasks to do with a toy like blocks will keep them busy while they are learning.
- Balancing (stacking blocks into towers)
- Sorting (matching the different colors into categories)
- Ordering (placing the letters in order of the alphabet)
- Counting (counting how many blocks total or in different groupings)
- Matching (sorting the different letters of the alphabet into groups)
- Stamping (spelling out words by stamping the blocks into molds like playdough)
- Filling (draw shapes and have the child fill in the shapes using the blocks)
Entertainment in the Car
When you are not at home with your child, a good amount of time is spent in your car traveling to and from your destinations. Now you are faced with the extra task of keeping your little one busy during car rides without having all of your go-to toys and activities that are at your fingertips when at home. To make car rides more bearable for that child that may dislike being in a car seat, make their area of the vehicle somewhat of a playroom on wheels. Have the toys and activities easily accessible for them to avoid you taking your eyes off the road to hand it to them.
First let’s talk about safety. Although your goal is to make the trip enjoyable and scream-free for all your passengers, safety should be your top priority. This starts with the carseat. Once your toddler has grown out of an infant car seat, it is time to switch to a convertible car seat. The Evenflo Stratos Convertible Car Seat is one of our top choices when trying to select a safe and reliable car seat for our children. The Stratos can be installed both rear and forward facing and will hold up to a 65 pound child.
A bonus in addition to the safety features of this car seat is the comfort that it will provide for you toddler for both short car rides or long road trips. You don’t want your child to be wiggling around and trying to escape the seat because they are uncomfortable and hurting so choosing a car seat that strives to provide comfort to their riders is key. The Evenflo Stratos Car Seat has a built-in ventilation systems that gives a steady airflow making your child comfortable during all times of the year. In addition, the Stratos provides ample padding to surround your child from top to bottom.
The goal is to keep their hands preoccupied to avoid them from trying to unbuckle themselves and move about the car while you are driving. However, even with giving your child plenty to do, this can still happen. Luckily, Evenflo has given us an invaluable tool to alert us when this does happen. The true bonus feature to this perfect car seat is the Sensorsafe Technology that it is equipped with. By simply installing the sensor directly into your car, the car seat will wireless sound an alert if the chest clip becomes unclipped while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, the sensor will chime as soon as the ignition is turned off to remind you to remove your child from the car. Sadly, one child dies every nine days from being left in a motor vehicle. Evenflo has made it a priority to prevent any more tragedies like this.
Once you have your Evenflo Car Seat installed, we are going to stock the surrounding area with toys and activities to allow your toddler to be self-entertained. Keeping with the importance of safety, it is crucial to use only soft toys that won’t cause injury in transit. We do not recommend attaching toys to the actual car seat but instead just have them close enough for the child to reach on their own without requiring you to hand something to them in the backseat while driving.
To avoid total chaos, you need to have some form of organization to house the toys and activities that you are keeping available for car riding time. For this, think outside the box and use some items that you may already have at home or search the dollar store for cheaper, available options.
With no table available to use while riding in the car, use something that is soft but firm to place in their lap giving them a place to color or play games. Some options for this are a foam mat or even something like a foam kickboard that you use for swimming.
There are several safe, time occupying, and fun activities that your child can do to pass the time while in the car. Make a car kit of these activities that can always stay in the vehicle so you do not have to constantly move them from the house to the vehicle. A list of items that you can provide for your child while they are in the car include:
- Plush Toys
- Coloring Books or Activity Books
- Window Clings
- Felt Pad
- Foam blocks
- Reading Books
- Silicone Molds
- Road trip Bingo
- Sensory Water Bottle
Exersaucer 2 in 1 Activity Center and Art Table | Evenflo Stratos Convertible Car Seat
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Source: Safety Technology
Picture Credit: Sasha Staton