School is over and the sun is starting to be hotter than ever, right? Some parents go ahead and enroll their children in camps during the summer. Others select a mix between weekly camps and stay-at-home weeks. Maybe they are with you every day. The question becomes: How do I keep a toddler entertained when they are not in camp? Toddlers learn through playing and using their senses (i.e. touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste). What does this mean?
To keep a toddler entertained, we have to appeal to their senses. Toddlers are naturally curious as they are learning about the world. Research has shown that children can learn from most activities when they are introduced in a way that is fun and easy for them to follow. So, in between nap times, feeding times, and other day-to-day routines, plan out short activities.
Why short activities?
Toddlers don’t have long attention spans. Up until a child is 4 years old, a toddler usually won’t focus on an activity for more than 10 minutes at a time. So pick a few activities from below for each day, and mix it up with free play. Children benefit from a balance of structured activities as well as free play.
Here are some indoor activities for those days where the rain won’t stop, but also some outdoors activities where your toddler can have lots of fun!
- Play-Doh: Prepare an area at home where your child can freely play with Play-Doh. Get some shapes from your favorite retailer and let the fun begin!
- Bubbles: Prepare your toddler to take a shower and let him/her plays with bubbles. You can add his/her favorite color to it and the excitement will be endlessly.
- Greeting Cards for Family Members: Put together stickers, glue, crayons, and paper. Let your toddler pick his/her design and help with the writing. Let it dry as needed. When the weather gets better, put it in the mail and give a surprise to your relatives.
- Paint and Coloring: Get some water proof paints, crayons, and markers and allow your child to experiment using each type of coloring device.
- Music Time: Play music and encourage your child to sing along and dance! Children love music. They will naturally be inclined to dance, and at around age 2, they get interested in learning lyrics. So playing the same songs regularly is great for them to do so!
- Reading Educational Books: Books are a great way for children to learn visually. Some children’s books today incorporate multiple sensory interactive components where toddlers are encouraged to touch different textures and experience different smells. You may read to your children, and you can also put books out for them to “read” on their own. It is quite fun to hear your child making up stories and remembering the story from previous times you read it together.
- Have Different Foods: Cut up some different fruits and vegetables, and encourage your child to try different flavors and learn their names and colors. You can also do this with different snacks.
- Play Dates with Other Mommies: Spend time with other moms. Toddlers are always fascinated to play with other children’s toys!
- Museums, such as the Young at Art Museum: Located in Broward County, the Young at Art Museum offers children the possibility to discover a new world. Currently there is a China Exhibition to learn more about the Chinese culture. Also, the museum offers classes and art camps for children older than 3.
- The Park, such as the Playground at ArtsPark: You may visit the closest park by your house, or also try different ones for an adventure! The ArtsPark is located in downtown Hollywood. This park has a playground that is attractive to toddlers. Prepare a picnic basket and be ready to have a great afternoon in the park.
- The Beach, such as the Hollywood Oceanfront Boardwalk: The beach is always a nice choice! The Hollywood OceanFront Boardwalk has restaurants and bathrooms close by, which is always convenient.
- Toddler Gyms: There are several new baby and toddler gyms emerging in the area. These offer one hour mommy-and-me classes as well as free play time. It is a great time to connect with your toddler as well as meet other moms in the neighborhood.
- Wash the car: Washing the car is a lot of fun for toddlers as they enjoy the soap, getting wet, and helping. Toddlers like to feel important and helping their parents gives them a lot of satisfaction.
- Run through the sprinklers: Toddlers absolutely love getting wet and running through the water.
I hope you have a fun summer with your children!
To your family success,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to those seeking to enhance their relationships, in her private practice, located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her bachelor and master degrees in marriage and family therapy, and in business administration. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). Sofia is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy in her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population, and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about Sofia at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com and follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/infinitetherapy/