Develop character, spend quality time and train your baby's mind with these money saving ideas from a mommy, babysitter and big sister.
10 Cheap Tips For Keeping Your Bored Toddler Busy During Hot Days
Running out of ideas? Here are some ways to NOT spend money and NOT let your toddler spend his or her days in front of the television.
Idea # 1 - $5-15 - SPRINKLERS!
Sprinkler attachments for your garden hose are a dime a dozen and can entertain a child for hours. Once she gets tired of running back and forth through the water stream you'll see that a plastic cup comes in pretty handy. A child with fill and refill a small container for hours without getting bored. Safe and cheap!
Idea #2 - FREE - Kitchen Pots and Pans
Steal a small pot from your kitchen- something to small for your baby to sit in so that we avoid the drowning risk - and fill it with water on your back porch. Plastic cup in hand, splashing and pouring will commence. This one is always a winner.
Idea #3 - FREE - Fold Laundry
Give the little angel a pile of brightly colored socks or washcloths and show them how to match pairs or fold the squares. It works best if you're folding the family laundry at the same time, but even if you aren't, having their own laundry basket and bright colors can keep them pretty busy. You can use this activity to teach them colors and counting, as well.
Idea #4 - $2 - Blow Bubbles
Let's face it. Laying out isn't all that fun. It's pretty boring, in fact. This one not only entertains your tot, but you! Get a big bottle of bubble solution and blow bubbles. You'll have fun and the kids will chase as many bubbles as you will blow. It's a win-win.
Idea #5 - $3 - Make A Smoothie
Let your baby peel a banana and pull the leaves off of strawberries and fill the blender with blueberries. This will last as long as you can drag it out. Giving your child one item at a time and having them drop each piece into the blender gives you a chance to teach them the names of fruits and colors. Little hands LOVE to be big helpers, so go ahead and hand them an ice cube at a time and a help them pour in a touch of milk. Use their hand to push the start button and give them the fruits of their labor in a sippee cup. A healthy snack and a 30 minute activity combined!
Idea #6 - FREE - Go To The Park
Get online and find a shady park, or a park with a fountain that people wade in. (We have two in our small city that have wade-able fountains) Getting under some shade trees makes being outside a lot more enjoyable, and a fountain to splash toes in makes it a solid hour's worth of entertainment. Don't forget the sunscreen!
Idea #7 -FREE/$2- Make Play-Dough
I'm not insane. It may be messy, but homemade playdough is super easy and cheap Here's a recipe that you can have your munchkin help with, then spend hours playing together with!
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Food Coloring
- 3 cups of flour
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- Mix salt, water, oil and food coloring in a medium size bowl until you have a smooth, bright color.
- Gradually add flour and cornstarch and knead by hand until smooth like bread dough.
- Store in a covered container and throw away if it starts smelling rancid!
Idea #8 - FREE - Library Activities
Local libraries offer all sorts of entertainment for little people. Everything from toys and puzzles to story and play time. Go walk your library's children's section and get a feel for what they do. Ask for a schedule of events and let your baby enjoy the perks they offer like board books and table top toys.
Idea #9 - FREE - Wash Dishes
Get a kitchen stool and tie an apron on your child. Fill your sink with lukewarm water, some sudsy bubble bath or hand soap that will be easy on their skin and give them plastic cups and containers to swish around. You'll have to sop up the kitchen floor when they're done, but the hour of giggles and oohs and aahhs is worth the trouble!
Idea #10 - FREE - Plant a Garden
If you have an empty pot or a small patch of dirt than dig it up to soften the dirt and sit for 20 minutes to show your child how to "plant" pebbles and sticks. It can be their garden to plant all summer long, and will be an attraction that they will return to time and time again.