My son is turning 18 months old next week and we are hitting our toddler groove! He’s been walking for quite some time, destroys my home on a regular basis and is 100% B-O-Y. I’ve kept my eye out lately for the things that he loves and capture his very short attention span. And because sharing is caring I am passing along these little hacks to you mamas out there! This phase with a busy bodied babe will make your head spin and I’m going to need this bag of tricks (literally) to stay sane.
Book Basket – New is better! My son is always enthralled with other kids’ toys when we go on play dates at someone else’s house. While we have tons of board books already, checking out new books from the library is usually a big hit and holds his attention a bit longer. We choose 5 brightly colored, indestructible board books and I keep them in a basket on the book shelf.
Smoothies – This has been my favorite trick in the battle against picky eaters! If my son says no to everything on his plate, he will typically still gobble down a smoothie. I keep a giant bag of frozen berries from Costco in my freezer and usually throw in whatever else I have on hand. We started this well before his first birthday, and I have tricked him into eating tons of spinach this way. And don’t underestimate the novelty of a cool smoothie cup. This neat cup is always my son’s favorite to drink from and it makes smoothies mess free – win, win!
Playdough Party – No need to worry about your kid eating the playdough, with this edible playdough recipe! Ingredients: 2 cups of water, 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 3 tbsp of vegetable oil, 3 tbsp of lime juice and 1 packet of drink mix for color. Boil the water, mix into the other ingredients, knead the dough. I often microwave the dough for 2-6 minutes until I get the perfect playdough consistency. Store in the fridge after each use.
Sticker Books – Stickers keep my son engaged much longer than the coloring page and crayons at restaurants. Right now, Target has little coloring and sticker packs in all sorts of cute themes in their dollar spot. So I stocked up on those! But honestly you could just buy a sticker book and rip out a page at a time to bring along to the restaurant. After your toddlers has filled a page with stickers use the creation to play a game of I SPY. There’s also more ideas and a whole run down on how to make eating out with kids work — if you’re struggling with this, then take a look!
Open Shelving – Ready to cut your clean up time in half? Choosing open shelving in both my son’s room and our living room has been a choice I do not regret. When storing toys in your child’s room it’s so important for them to have easy access in order to promote independent play. I don’t want to constantly be stuck cleaning up his endless mess or helping him find a certain toy buried in the bottom of a basket. We chose a small, short book shelf and a cubby style piece of furniture. We store toys so that they are easy to see and easy to access. Tubs or deep containers create more clutter and toddlers can’t see what items are inside. If you have too many toys to store in open shelving give toy rotation a try.
Multi-use Toys – A little secret for less clutter and more fun. My toddler is currently loving a simple wooden push cart toy we picked up at IKEA. The amazing thing is when we play pretend, this cart has endless possibilities. When he’s in the kitchen it serves as a shopping cart, take it for a spin outside as a lawnmower, throw in his baby doll and the cart becomes a stroller. That’s THREE large toys that would be taking up more space in his room and he’s also getting to use his imagination! What multiuse toys do you own? I’m on the lookout now!