Having a baby and a toddler in the house is no less than a daily adventure. They are an inseparable duo – always wanting to be around each other, play with each other and fight with each other. While I give a high five to myself everytime they are busy together, there is a time everyday when I want them to stay apart and quietly so. Yea… Nap time!!
My younger one is 9 months and needs his afternoon naps. He’s also at a stage when he is easily distracted even by a fly in the room. Keeping my daughter away and quiet while I try and put the baby to bed has been my greatest challenge lately.
Then there are times one just needs the house to be quiet – when hubby is taking an official call from home or one of us needs a nap or I am catching up with a friend and need uninterrupted time on phone.
So I racked my brains for some quiet games VMJ can play by herself and came up with the following list:
- Blocks: One of the most evergreen games ever! We have a few sets of building blocks and Legos which my daughter enjoys on most days. There’s a special set which has blocks of several colors and is also the biggest set we have at home. Whenever I need some quiet time I take those out and ask VMJ to make the tallest tower she can. She happily obliges and since the tower ends up much taller than her it falls and breaks often in the process, keeping her busy for a LONG time.
- Puzzles: Off late VMJ has started showing much interest in puzzles and we have more than a few at home. They are also a great way to keep her out of my hair for a while.
- Easel: Forget toddlers, even grown ups an spend a good time doodling and drawing on an easel without getting bored. Colorful chalks will keep them there longer.
- Teddy bear tea party: VMJ’S most favorite game these days…. She arranges a table cloth, sets cushions around it, places her teddies and then has a tea party. The meticulous arrangement, the conversations with the teddies, tea…. They all keep her engaged for a long time.
- Sorting: Any kind of sorting is fun for toddlers, be it sorting objects by color or shapes. We sometimes use colorful beads or pompoms.
- Beading and lacing: It says fun all the way while also aiding gross motor development. Making necklaces matching her dress, beading one color at a time, making patterns with colors…. And if you have beads of different shapes as well you have multiple play options.
- Rice box/sand box: It’s a great sensory play tool for toddlers. They can go hours pouring, filling, squeezing, making hills etc. You can make colorful rice by adding a little food color and letting it dry before giving to the child. Throw in old plastic bottles, cutlery, random plastic toys that can be filled for extra punch.
- Figurines – dolls, teddy bears, soldiers, animals, cars…: If your kid is crazy about something chances are you will have more than a few figurines of it in the house. Your child can go a fairly long time playing with the bear family, fighting wars with soldiers, racing the cars. You can make the play time last longer if you give a special touch to his games… Like racing flags for the cars (can be made by sticking paper triangles on a toothpick), swords/bombs for the soldiers (toothpick or beads), some dry snacks for the dolls and teddy bears…
- Balls: VMJ has been crazy for balls ever since she was a baby so I have a fairly decent collection of them in various sizes and textures. Sometimes when we are not playing the traditional ball games, I ask her to throw them one by one in a box from a distance. Not only its fun it also helps with hand eye coordination.
- Play dough: When we bought the first box of play dough for VMJ I was more excited to play with it. There is something very therapeutic about rolling and kneading the dough and creating different shapes with it. It also qualifies as a great sensory activity.
- Scissors: Its a great idea to buy a pair of child safe scissors and give them old newspapers and magazines to cut. You can draw straight, curved and zig-zag lines on the paper to give them a more complex activity.
- Art & Craft activities: Most toddlers love art and craft activities and VMJ is no different. I usually keep a stock craft supplies at home and sometimes let her play with it to keep her busy. Today itself I gave her strips of rhinestone stickers and drew shapes on a plain paper. You can see in the picture below how she kept herself busy for the next half an hour. Not only is this activity creatively satisfying, it aids in development of fine motor skills as well.
- Eating her fav snack: Sometimes I and VMJ make a fruity garden…. it makes her happy and ensures that she finishes her fruit plate. The quiet time comes as a bonus!
Do share the quiet play ideas that work for your kiddo.