As the Coronavirus marches on, we’ve all been trying to find our new normal. Part of that for so many families has been trying to find ways to entertain our kids. For myself that meant indulging in a whole lot of online shopping. Amazon is my lord and savior (yes I’m very embarrassed by that sentence; No I won’t be taking it back). Over the last almost 3 months I’ve bought a number of items to make our days a little easier and more interesting. Does it work? Sometimes!
Here’s my list of favs to entertain toddlers from our time stuck together 24/7 no breaks:
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American Toddler Warrior
My kid is a climber. Most three-year-olds are I think. But with parks closed and a desert yard full of gravel, we don’t have the ideal situation for her to get that itch scratched. So she was climbing our furniture ALL. THE. TIME. (Please imagine clapping hands emojis here instead of periods).
We first bought this wooden A-frame climbing structure (pictured above). Perfect for really little kids to get their climb on. It can also act as a fort.
Then we added a trampoline, and my husband rigged what is basically a tiny trapeze swing with two sticks he had from martial arts and some rope that they like to put in different combinations. She calls it the butterfly swing. I have no idea why but it’s adorable. Makes for the perfect set up to do a toddler obstacle course that she can move around and play with for hours in our garage. My husband already had a big mat set up for his martial arts practice.
Does it always work? No, it means that she has to be watched pretty closely, but it’s the best way to get out her energy giving us a solidly exhausted kid by bedtime. That way I can sit in peace and stare into the distance of my living room while quietly contemplating what existence even means anymore after 8 pm.
I also like that these items can be moved easily around our house to create different play areas. However my husband almost lost his mind putting both together and it didn’t even seem that hard.
Rating: 4/5 half eaten cookies
Positives: Physical play needs are met.
Negatives: You have to like really watch your kid, and you have to put it together which may test your marriage.
We purchased this adorable BPA-free tea set. It’s been a fun toy used daily and perfect to entertain toddlers. She doesn’t eat a meal without it, and I’m pretty sure it’s how she gets any water in her system at this point. It’s also really really cute. However, your child will demand you play tea many many times a day spilling “tea” all over you in the process. If you are a good parent though you’ll just say, “no way kid, play with your dollies,” and they’ll be a perfect child and do so. We are not that family so it ends with a lot of spilled water.
Rating: 4 Frozen Two fruit snacks
Positives: Great for motor skills and independent imaginative play.
Negatives: When I say “sis spill the tea” this is not what I pictured.
Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News
This kit is actually one of my absolute favorite purchases. It does have the same issues as the rest, which is my kid makes me play too. However, I think the lessons we are learning with it far outweigh my laziness (is it just me or does 20 minutes feel like an hour when playing with a toddler?).
This doctor set has allowed so many conversations. We have had some amount of issues with my daughter being scared to go out, asking why we wear masks, and talking about COVID-19. This set has enabled those hard conversations to happen through playing pretend. She started wearing her mask with this play time activity, which made when we do have to go out so much easier because she was used to it.
Craft It Up!
I’ve bought a few craft sets. From dinosaurs you can paint, to a jewelry-making kit. The dinosaurs last about 20 minutes but are cute around the house. She can also paint rocks with the craft paint left over and I’ve set up a table full of supplies for her to use whenever she wants. Look at me I’m homeschooling!
The necklace-making set was a pain because she couldn’t do bead the chains well, so essentially I’m making the freaking necklace. I don’t even want a mermaid necklace! WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF!?
Anyway my favorite thing to entertain toddlers so far has been this busy box. It comes with all the pieces to make the alphabet and she can basically do these activities independently since there is no cutting involved. You just pop out the pieces and glue them on or use the stickers provided. This set lasted us at least a month. Which is huge when you want educational activities but are also trying to do a thousand things while you’re kid is home.
Dinosaurs Rating: 3 stolen cheetos
Positives: Looks really cute.
Negatives: Doesn’t last long as an activity.
Jewelry-Making Kit Rating: 2 crushed goldfish you find at the bottom of your purse
Positives: She still wears them around the house!
Negatives: I had to make them and I don’t even like princesses.
Busy Box Rating: The entire hidden bag of candy you keep in the back of the cabinet!
Positives: Lasts for a long time. Comes with all required materials. Mostly able to be done independently while I clean the kitchen for the 3rd time that day.
So that’s it. Some of my favorite purchases to entertain toddlers that have gotten us through the past few months. We also got a play house, a bubble machine, and more extra craft supplies than I can count. But these are the ones that really have actually helped keep her busy and I feel like benefit all of us.
Good luck in there parents, quarantine with kids is wild! What have you purchased that has helped you to survive?