50 sensory activities for 1-year-olds to help them learn by playing

These activities for 1-year-olds are super easy for moms to put together!

50 sensory activities for 1-year-olds to help them learn by playing
@haleymarie/Twenty20

*This article is sponsored by ParentPal. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

My youngest is quickly approaching his first birthday—which means he's still in the “I want to stick everything in my mouth" stage, but is also very eager to learn new things (potayto/potahto?). One thing I'm learning this second time around is that babies really don't need a lot of toys to stimulate them. My little guy is much more interested in an empty cardboard box than, say, a new toy with all the bells and whistles. I didn't realize before that with a little bit of creativity, it's not too hard to find fun sensory activities for 1-year-olds.

I'm often amazed by the senses that babies start to use at this age, especially the way they learn to touch and see things. They really start to focus and explore objects. So I want to provide him with easy crafts and activities that allow his little mind to soar!

To help support your baby's development and track routines like sleep and feeding, you can try an app like ParentPal™. ParentPal is the only all-in-one parenting app with everything you need to support, track, and celebrate your child's healthy development. Developed by Teaching Strategies, the leaders in early childhood development, and the creators of Baby Einstein, ParentPal provides trusted, research-based guidance and parenting tools at your fingertips. You can use the Daily Plan of age-appropriate activities, Milestones, Sleep, Health & Wellness Trackers, and a vast library of age-based resources for your middle-of-the-night parenting questions.*

Here are 50 sensory activities for 1-year-olds that encourage learning through play.


1. Discovery basket

Fill clear plastic containers you have around the house with little things that baby can explore. Place a lid on them, tape the lid if need be and let the little one spin them around to explore the contents.

2. Paper towel roll chute

Tape a cardboard paper towel roll to the wall (or a toilet paper roll) and encourage baby to drop cotton balls into it. Watch how quickly they catch on and have fun with this "into-the-chute" game!

3. Mess-free canvas art

Pick up a canvas from your local craft store, dab a few different colors of paint on it, wrap it in plastic wrap and let them push the paint around with their fingers. This little craft is safe, an easy clean up and a great new piece for the living room gallery wall!

4. Water bottle shakers

Empty a water bottle (drink up!) and then fill it with popcorn, rocks, rice, etc. Tape the cap on to be extra safe and you've got a homemade rattle.

Activities for 1 year olds

5. Hand and foot painting

There are so many fun handprint and footprint animals you can make with your little ones' hands or feet. Plus, the feeling of the cool paint on their hands and feet is a fun new sensation for toddlers.

6. Mess-free painting

Fill a plastic baggie with some different types of paint, seal it up, tape it to the highchair, floor or table and let baby push the paint around. Best of all, you can put it away and pull it out again for another day's entertainment.

7. Water painting

Let your little one paint a masterpiece on some colored construction paper with water and a paintbrush. Bonus: The cleanup is simple and easy!

8. Playing with food

You can “paint" a lot of fun things using yogurt or applesauce. And snack while you're at it. (There will be plenty of time to teach better table manners later.)

9. Sensory bottles

Add a few drops of food coloring to water bottles along with glitter and knickknacks like beads. Tape on the top and watch as your little one is amazed by tipping the bottle around.

10. Cereal necklaces

Let your little one string some Cheerios onto a piece of yarn and create a little necklace. This activity is great for fine motor skills!

11. Sand doodles

Take a small box, draw some squiggly or straight lines on the inside, pour sand over it and encourage your little one to trace along the lines.

12. Music makers

Take an empty tissue box, wrap a few rubber bands around it and you have a makeshift harp! Your little one will love plucking the rubber bands and listening to the sounds that come out.

13. Sorting balls with a spoon

Set out two bowls and fill one bowl with ping-pong or golf balls. Then let your little one work on transferring the balls with a slotted spoon to the empty bowl. This is a great activity for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

14. Sticky note peek-a-boo

Print off some pictures of family members and put a sticky note over the top. Then encourage baby to play “peek-a-boo" with the relatives!

15. Handprint keepsakes

Ornaments, wreaths, canvases... There are lots of cute crafts that let you capture those sweet little hands and toes while they grow. While the process of making handprints may seem messy, you'll look back one day and be glad that you did it!

16. Sock puppets

Grab a few old socks, draw faces on the tops with a fabric marker and have a puppet show with your babe! You can let them slide the socks on their hands to use, too.

17. Paper window mosaics

Tissue paper and press-n-seal plastic wrap make for great (temporary!) window mosaics. Cut up some pieces of paper, craft a mosaic and stick it to a window that gets a lot of sunlight. Your little one will love watching the colors shine through the house.

18. A life-size portrait

Most home office stores print large, life-size photos for just a few bucks. Print one of your babe, hang it on the wall and encourage them to explore themselves and find their eyes, nose, etc.

19. Cardboard tunnel

Save those Amazon boxes and craft a tunnel for baby to crawl through.

20. Wipe dispenser sensory box

Save your empty wipe dispensers to fill with fabric scraps. You little one will love pulling the scraps out and putting them back in. It's like a mini laundry basket for them! (See, you really can get little ones started on “chores.")

21. Whipped cream painting

Spray a little whipped cream on a highchair tray or table and let your little one paint pictures in it.

22. DIY ball pit

Pull out that plastic pool and fill it with inexpensive plastic balls—or use your pack 'n' play! Either one will do the trick and keep baby entertained for hours.

23. Polkadot sticker art

Using labeling “dot" stickers, let baby create a masterpiece by sticking stickers to a blank piece of paper. They will love figuring out how the stickers work.

24. Sensory rice play

Fill an empty tub with dry rice and let them dig around with fingers, spoons and scoops. (Just be sure to keep a close eye so they don't down any of the uncooked rice.)

25. Touch-and-feel board

Cover a poster board with different types of things that baby can touch, such as fake fur, sandpaper, bubble wrap and aluminum foil.

26. Plastic egg play

Put those leftover plastic Easter eggs to use by taking them apart and stacking them—and then encouraging baby to try, too.

27. Stack cups

Make cup towers with plastic cups and watch your little one knock them down and rebuild them! (Or just knock them down...)

28. Sort toys in muffin tins

Place an assortment of different balls into muffin tins and let baby play with them. Colored cotton balls are especially fun for older tots interested in sorting by colors.

29. Bottle peek-a-boo

Put a rolled-up piece of paper in an empty water bottle so it covers the bottom portion. Then, stick a cotton ball or rock through the paper roll and show baby how the ball appears when you lift up the paper.

30. Clothes pin drop box

Cut a hole in the plastic lid of an empty coffee can that's big enough for a clothes pin to go through. Then place the lid on the empty tin and show baby how to place the clothes pin inside. Get their little minds thinking by asking questions like, “Where did it go?"

31. Texture walk

Help your little one take a grassy nature walk with bare feet—or bring a few crunchy leaves inside to let them stomp on.

32. Spaghetti play

Boil a package of noodles, cool and let baby play with them. While you're supervising, go ahead and join in on the fun, too—who doesn't love to play with noodles?

33. Kitchen rock band

Let baby safely explore your kitchen by setting some different utensils and bowls on the floor to explore. My little guy loves measuring spoons, spatulas and plastic bowls.

34. Pretend animal play

Show baby pictures of a few different animals and then act out their sounds and motions, such as a cat meowing and licking her paws.

35. Ring some bells

Browse through your holiday décor for some bells and let the little one ring away!

36. Vegetable peel play

While making dinner, let baby play with those leftover potato, zucchini and carrot peels. They will love the different textures and smells.

37. Tub drums

Flip over a few tubs or buckets and you've got some makeshift hand drums!

38. Hanging loofas

Grab a few loofas from the store (they are dirt cheap) and string them on some yarn. Then hang them off of a table or the handles of your refrigerator to let your little one bat at.

39. Sensory bags

Sensory bags are a great way to let babies explore and safely touch things that they normally couldn't because of choking hazards or the mess factor. I usually toss things like cotton balls, crayons and other textured items into a plastic bag, zip and tape the top and then tape it to a wall. This leads to hours of entertainment!

Learning activities for 1 year olds

40. Noodle necklaces

Similar to cheerio necklaces, let your toddler experiment with threading different dried pasta shapes on string.

41. Mini sandbox

Grab an empty tub from the attic or the garage and fill it with sand, a few toys, shells, rocks or anything else your little one might like. This is great for the indoors especially in the cooler months. (Just put a garbage bag or towel beneath the tub to help with clean-up.)

42. Snow globes

Using small jars or bottles, glue one of your baby's small animal trinkets upside down to the lid, fill the jar portion with water and glitter and place the lid back on tightly. You now have a homemade snow globe!

43. Stringing pipe cleaners

Poke holes in an old egg carton and loop pipe cleaners through the holes. Baby can pull these out, place them back in and so forth.

44. Magnetic tubs

Fill a small plastic container with things that are magnetic—such as washers, bolts, etc. Place a lid on it and tape it up really well. Then, using a magnetic stick, let them pull the different things around the container safely!

45. Edible slime

There are tons of edible slime recipes that are baby-safe. Make one and let your babe have some fun squishing it in their hands. Who doesn't love slime?

46. Foam window letters

Those foam bathtub letters also work great on windows—and baby doesn't turn into a prune to use them!

47. Busy board

Grab some latches, zippers, locks and anything else that you could place on a wooden board for your little one to safely explore. Busy boards make for awesome little homemade gifts as well.

48. Touch and feel frames

Remove the glass from empty picture frames, then tape sensory objects to the back portion of the frame. Great items to use are sponges, dusting cloths, sandpaper, bubble wrap, etc. Place the frame back around it, close it up and set them out for baby to try!

49. Bathtub painting

Stick baby in a water-free tub with some washable paint and let them get creative. When they are done, rinse the bathtub out and give the little one a quick wash.

50. Busy basket

I use a busy basket almost every day with my little guy. I keep it tucked away so when I pull it out, it's all new and fresh to him. It's filled with odds and ends, such as blocks, baby-safe kitchen utensils, sensory bottles, music makers and more.

The beauty of these activities is that they promote brain development, let baby have fun—and usually give mama a few moments to have her hands to herself!

Looking for fun ways to engage their senses? We've stocked the Motherly Shop with some of our favorite tools and activities for little ones.

Plan Toys sand play set

Plan Toys sand play set

Made from repurposed rubber wood, this engaging set is perfect for sandboxes, trips to the beach, or even the bathtub or water table!

$30

Janod how to count game

Janod how to count game

It's more than Math, mama. The how to count game aids in development, discovery, and experimentation. This wooden board comes with 12 patterns, 14 graduated bars of bright colors and varying sizes, and two ways of play to accommodate mathematicians at all skill levels.

$33

Habbi Habbi mini set (mom careers): bilingual book & reading wand (English-Spanish)

Habbi Habbi starter set (English - Spanish)

Introduce your little one to the language of Spanish! Using the magic wand, kids can hear the text that accompanies the vibrant illustrations. This book is supreme in stimulating all of the senses and planting the seeds of big dreams.

$110

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Helping your 2-month-old thrive: Tips and activities

Routines create a foundation for learning how to love and developing good self-esteem as baby grows.

*This article is sponsored by ParentPal. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Your life may still feel like a blur of feedings, diaper changes and short spurts of sleep. That new baby fog means you usually have no clue what day it is or why the car keys are in the fridge. But this month is the perfect time to actually start a routine. Having a basic schedule helps the day flow, which is good for you and baby.

According to Dr. Tovah Klein, head of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of How Toddlers Thrive, routines help even 2-month-olds anticipate what's going to happen next. She explains:

Bath? Check. Song? Check? Feeding? Check. Zzzz.

This kind of predictability helps her feel safe, calm and trusting of parents and caregivers. This creates a foundation for learning how to love the important people in her life and developing good self-esteem as she grows.

To help support your baby's development and track routines like sleep and feeding, you can try an app like ParentPal™. ParentPal is the only all-in-one parenting app with everything you need to support, track, and celebrate your child's healthy development. Developed by Teaching Strategies, the leaders in early childhood development, and the creators of Baby Einstein, ParentPal provides trusted, research-based guidance and parenting tools at your fingertips. You can use the Daily Plan of age-appropriate activities, Milestones, Sleep, Health & Wellness Trackers, and a vast library of age-based resources for your middle-of-the-night parenting questions.*

Week-by-week activities

And speaking of learning, this month your kiddo is becoming more interested in pictures and objects. You'll see the beginning of hand-eye coordination, too. (You're still her primary focus, so keep up the talking, singing and silly faces.) From story time to play time, these week-by-week tips from child development psychologist Dr. Holly Ruhl will help you navigate the month:

Week 1

Instilling an early love of reading can strengthen language skills and parent-child relationships. Squeeze in that oh-so-important 20 minutes of reading by visiting your local library or bookstore for story time. This activity will deepen your tot's love of books and promote mama-baby bonding.

Week 2

Infants have an innate love of gazing at faces. Spend a few minutes each day attending to baby's favorite faces: the ones staring back in the mirror! Make silly faces and label baby's facial features. Gazing in the mirror may promote baby's sense of self-recognition. This understanding will appear slightly later and is the basis for baby's later self-confidence.

Week 3

Your little bundle is developing rudimentary hand-eye coordination. Promote coordination by fostering interaction with baby's fascinating surroundings. Help your tot gently stroke household pets. Dangle a textured, crinkly toy for those little hands to swat. Lay baby on an activity gym and soak in the baby bliss as your little one intently reaches for toys overhead.

Week 4

Are family and friends antsy to cuddle with the new addition? Take baby to visit loved ones for exposure to new faces, voices and styles of play. Plus, social support from friends and relatives around 3 months can help you be a more responsive mama and give baby supplemental support, leading to more secure attachment by 12 months.

Baby

One of the greatest joys of parenting is getting to introduce your baby to the great, big world. Even from a young age, travel can open our eyes to new environments, teach resilience and adaptability and create a meaningful bond between family members.

The problem? The logistics of traveling with a baby can be, well, challenging. For too long, one of the biggest obstacles standing between parents and their traveling plans has been the hassle of managing an infant car seat on our journey.

The new Nuna PIPA lite rx is changing all that. The Nuna PIPA lite rx is an infant car seat made for everyday life and more enjoyable adventures. With a combination of features that make travel easier, you can skip the question of "how" to go with your baby and move onto asking "where" to go.

From trips around the corner to trips across the country, the new Nuna PIPA lite rx car seat solves so many pain points of traveling with a baby. Here's why you'll love it...

It is amazingly light-weight

We're all for a good workout—just not every time we need to carry the car seat. Weighing in at just 6.9 lbs., the PIPA lite rx truly earns the title of lightweight champion. Combined with a luxe leatherette handle for comfortably carrying in your hand or the crook of your arm, this dreamy travel car seat is great at getting from Point A to Point B—whether you're in the car or not.

It is incredibly safe and secure from day one

With an additional GOTS™ certified infant insert and harness covers, 7-position height-adjustable no-rethread headrest, Aeroflex™ foam and side-impact protection, you can travel with the confidence that your baby is well-protected from your baby's first ride and beyond. And because any parent knows the trickiest part of travel is getting baby in and out of the car seat, the PIPA lite rx simplifies the task: The 5-point no-rethread harness can be held to the side with magnetic buckle holders while you're getting your baby in or out of the seat. (Meaning no more searching for straps under a wiggly baby!)

Your baby will be cozy for longer excursions

When it comes to keeping your little travel companion content, comfort is the name of the game. With foam cushions and a memory foam headrest, your little explorer will have the best seat in the car when buckled in. For a little extra privacy, pull down the breathable Dream Drape and quietly attach it to the side of the car seat with magnets. Or, enjoy some time in the sun without concerns about harsh rays with the full-coverage UPF 50+ canopy.

Base or belt... the decision is yours

The Nuna PIPA lite rx offers two ways to secure the seat to the car: with the (included) PIPA RELX base or by buckling in through the belt path on the infant car seat with the vehicle's seat belt, meaning one less thing to take along when you travel by taxi or airplane. Better yet, the car seat securely installs in just seconds so you can get on with the adventure.

Stroll on with the full travel system

Compatible with Nuna's extensive line of strollers, the Nuna PIPA lite rx lets you create a travel system that works for your lifestyle. From single strollers to rides that can grow with your family, you can click the Nuna PIPA lite rx into place and go—wherever your travels might take you.

The Nuna PIPA lite rx is available now in two color options. Take a closer look at this fully featured infant seat on nunababy.com.

This article is sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
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10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

$19.99

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

$139

Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Sand play set

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

$17.95

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$19.95

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$79.99

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$24.75

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

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@myeverydaytable/TikTok

Doesn't it seem like the older a child gets, the pickier they become about what they eat? (Just one of the ways babies can be easier than toddlers. Sigh.) And that's OK, because hey, you like what you like, right? Having a "picky eater" can still be frustrating, however.

This viral TikTok answers every parent's age-old question: How do I avoid making separate meals for my kids?


"There are two problems when you fix them something else," TikTok user @myeverydaytable begins in her video, which is a response to a parent who asked this exact question. "One, it sets you up as a short-order cook, and no one wants that job. And two, it doesn't help expose them to new foods and new flavors."

So what do we do with our picky eaters?

Well, the answer is so simple and makes so much sense, you'll shake your head because you didn't think of it on your own. (But that's why TikTok can be so helpful—other parents think of these things for us!)

"So you're going to decide what the meal is," she explains. "And make sure you're serving it with one to two items you know they will eat." She says in her house, it's usually bread and butter and milk. In our house, for example, it's apple slices/bread and butter/cucumbers.

"And then they decide what to eat off their plate." And maybe this isn't a foolproof guarantee, but more often than not, kids will eat the main meal—or at least try some of it and learn what they like about it and what they don't like about it. Which is important!

The initial question that this video is in response to was a comment on an earlier video from @myeverydaytable, and it's also got some valuable information for parents and caregivers of tiny humans.

Here's why she says saying things like "Just three more bites!" is wrong:

Many nutrition experts agree that we don't want to teach our children not to trust their bodies. When they say they're full, believe that they're full. Plus, she says, pressuring kids to eat isn't an enjoyable mealtime for anyone.

The more you know!

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TODAY host Dylan Dreyer shares that her water broke 6 weeks early

In her latest Instagram post, Dreyer says that doctors are working to keep her third baby "on the inside a little longer."

Dylan Dreyer/Instagram

TODAY host Dylan Dreyer is currently in the hospital because she says her water broke six weeks early. Dreyer, who is pregnant with her third child, shared the news via Instagram on Tuesday.

"Just a little update as you won't be seeing me on @todayshow or @3rdhourtoday for a while," Dreyer, who is the meteorologist and 3rd hour co-host, wrote on Instagram. In the post, she shared two hospital room photos.


"My water broke Sunday evening and I've been hanging at the hospital. Our little guy is anxious to get out and meet us!" she continues. "Doctors are closely monitoring both of us and trying to keep him on the inside for a little while longer to get stronger."

Dreyer and her husband, Brian Fichera, are already parents to sons Calvin, 4, and Oliver, 1. Back in May, she announced she was expecting her third baby—and blamed the show Bridgerton for getting pregnant (which, relatable). In an Instagram post at the time, Fichera shared an ultrasound photo, which he captioned, "When two people are quarantined together for over a year and Bridgerton is on..."

As for their third bundle of joy, Dreyer says her youngest son will likely make his appearance later this week despite being so early.

"All is well! I'm in great hands and I have the best person to keep me calm and comfortable," she writes. "Looks like we'll be getting to meet our littlest boy sometime this week…6 weeks early! Guess he couldn't handle being left out of all the fun his brothers have been having!"

Dreyer has also been candid about her experience with secondary infertility—she suffered a miscarriage in 2019 while trying to have a second child.

"So many women are going through their own fertility issues, and I want to open up the conversation to get us all talking instead of sneaking onto that baby chat room and scrolling endlessly through the comments hoping to stumble upon someone going through a similar situation as us," she wrote at the time.

As for her current situation, she remains confident that she's receiving the best care possible, but she still has one request:

"We'll gladly take any extra prayers you have."

Consider it done. ❤️

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