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5 DIY activities to
discover the world with your curious tot

Your 20-month-old’s development is showing some serious game these days. From verbally labeling objects and animals to engaging in creative scribbling that would put Jackson Pollock to shame, your little one is discovering the world more and more each day—and discovering that he can interact with it,too!


If you are looking for some intriguing (but super-simple) ways to help your child discover the wide world, these 5 DIY activities will get your creative juices flowing (and won’t leave you totally drained come clean-up time). We could call them “lazy” activities, but we prefer the term “energy efficient.” ?

Make homemade play dough.

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Engage your little one in mixing up ½ cup flour, ½ tbsp. canola oil, ⅛ cup salt, ¼ cup boiling water, and 1 package Koolaid (or a bit of food coloring) for a baby-safe play dough with a rainbow of color options. Five ingredients you probably already have in the pantry? Yes, please.

The discovery and entertainment gleaned during and after this project will keep your tot enthralled for days.

Alternatively, if you have play dough at home that could use a bit of reviving, enlist the aid of your child in gradually kneading in a few drops of water to make dry play dough come alive again.

Cloud gazing.

The next time you spot a blue sky with cotton candy clouds, find a comfy spot to gaze for a few minutes with your little one. Point out shapes and textures and ask your child what objects and animals they notice in the clouds.

If your little one is engaged, chat about what different cloud colors and textures mean. No need to go into too much depth (who remembers what a cumulonimbus cloud looks like, anyway?), but just knowing that grey clouds sometimes signal rain may be enough to keep your tot’s eyes on the sky when you two are out and about.

If your child is the creative type, bring the clouds inside with toddler-friendly art projects consisting of cotton balls, rainbow pipe cleaners, and glue.

Bring on the bubbles.

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If your tot is anything like mine, there’s only one word that comes to mind when you bust out the bubbles: “More! More!”

If you want your little one to understand a little more about what goes into making bubbles, DIY bubbles are one of the easiest at-home activities to try out with your budding scientist. Simply mix 6 cups water with ½ cup light corn syrup and slowly stir in 1 cup of liquid dish soap. Et voila. Weeks of bubble delight!

Seashells by the seashore.

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The next time you and your tot stroll the beach, wait for low tide and go on a hunt for seashells!

Baby will get hands-on experience learning about the shapes and textures of different types of shells and you will get a chance to talk to your babe about different animals that once inhabited the shells.

While you are at it, dip those little tootsies in the water and give your little one some first-hand understanding of how the tides come in and out.

If you re-visit your sandy spot at high tide, you can point out that some of the beach (and shells) are now underwater!

Bake it up!

Nothing quite beats a discovery lesson that tastes yummy, too!

Toddler-friendly chemical reactions can be found in many recipes, such as biscuits and cookies. Your tot will enjoy watching (and helping) you mix ingredients and seeing them go in the oven in one state and coming out looking (and tasting) quite different.

Bonus: This is a perfectly educational justification to make chocolate chip cookies. Delish!

Protip: If your little one is struggling to participate because of counter height, check out this ingenious learning tower to give your tiny tot a bit more height in the kitchen and around the home.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

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