My children’s toddler years have been some of my favorite
thus far. I loved watching both of my kids’ personalities and interests
develop. But that time period can also be an incredibly difficult one for
parents as we try to figure out how to educate and entertain our kids, while
also staying involved and interested ourselves.
There are many great typical
toddler activities that are critically important for development, but I often
found that those weren’t the most interesting to me personally. Plus, baby yoga
doesn’t take all day!
As I share in my new book, Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids
That You’ll Actually Enjoy, I’ve found that one of the best ways to
help young kids develop their own interests is to actually start with
activities that interest you as a
parent. Then as you watch your kids develop their own ideas of fun, you can
I understand that one- and two-year-olds aren’t just going to pipe up and tell
you about their burgeoning interest in pop art, but these suggestions for
activities should get you started!
Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing.
Parents constantly feel pressure to compete and
Think about what you like to do and start doing them with your
One of my favorite things to do is visit modern art museums and I
found our kids really enjoyed going with me even as toddlers.
Pro tip: Take a pack of crayons and some
paper along and let them make their own art afterwards in the café or roam
about a sculpture garden while you get your art fix.
Aim for a variety of activities to expose your child to different things.
Mix it up with activities both in and outside of
the home, and get outside of your own comfort zone.
I love art, but history is
not high up on my list. However, I learned early on that I have two little
history buffs, so I take them to all kinds of historical places, many of which
have programs for even very young kids. And if not, it’s another good place to
let them practice those walking skills.
Also, you just might learn something
Keep things simple.
Toddlers have a limited attention span and
behavioral needs that usually require smaller scale activities. If you plan
something elaborate, chances are you’ll be disappointed.
I favored very basic
art projects when my kids were toddlers—set them up to have fun and explore
with something like finger-painting or basic printmaking with paint.
Don’t underestimate them.
Be realistic, but see what happens when you
stretch your kiddos a little.
I love to do outdoor activities with my kids. And
while they couldn’t tackle a huge hike in the woods, they could certainly
handle a paved looped trail close to a nature center. Give it a try!
Balance being engaged with encouraging independent activities.
You do not always have to be on, mama.
learn valuable lessons from small periods of independent play time. Prioritize
safety and oversee them, but don’t feel obligated to actively entertain them
I loved to set my kids up in a highchair with a few containers of colored
water they could mix and play with. It gave them the confidence to entertain
themselves and gave me the time to make my 500th cup of coffee for
the day. ☕