15 Ways to Spend the Day With Your Toddler

toddler craft
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When my son was born I brought him home looking forward to the fun-filled and fantastic years ahead. I looked forward to cuddling, reading, and playing. I didn't imagine that I'd ever be bored, but within the first few weeks I realized that there really weren’t many activities suited to a newborn. As much as I loved his newborn snuggles, I spent many more hours of my day than I realized I would being bored. As he's gotten older, though, he’s grown into being able to participate in all sorts of activities. Now, at 2 and a half years old, I'd never describe our time together as boring! When you have a toddler and long day ahead, check out the suggestions below for activities to keep your day interesting.

At home
When weather, finances, or lack of transportation keep you at home, you can keep the day interesting by doing the following activities with your toddler:

1. Bake cookies or prepare lunch or dinner
Cooking with your toddler can be messy, it can also be tons of fun. Since you’re probably already preparing food, take a few extra minutes and let your little one join in. Toddlers are fantastic pourers, stirrers, and shakers and, as a bonus for parents of picky eaters, most kids are more likely to eat anything they help make.

2. Read, read, read
Even if you only have a few books, reading with your toddler can be an impactful and important way to spend your time. Most toddlers don't mind repetition and will be happy to listen to the same stories more than once. As you read, you can feel good knowing that you're helping them develop their early literacy skills, prepare for school, and get ready to be successful in life.

3. Pull out the art supplies
Even if you're not particularly crafty, you and your tot can have a fantastic time making art together. Young children often enjoy tactile art project. They like the feeling of paint between their fingers and the pull and tug of stickers moving from one sheet to the next. Spread out some newspaper so you won’t stress about the mess and let your toddler get busy. As they color, paint, or craft, try to connect with your artistic side to ensure you have fun as well.

4. Facetime relatives or friends
Sometimes, when you can't get out of the house, the lack of connection with other adults can be draining. As tough as it is for you, many toddlers also miss the connection with others. Make sure you and your tot stay connected by calling or Facetiming with someone you love when you can’t see them in person. Even if the call only lasts ten minutes, you and your little one will be in a better mood and feel more ready to face the rest of the day!

5. Play hide and seek
Hide and seek, flashlight tag, and shadow puppets are all games you can play indoors and in small spaces. Keep your toddler active by indulging in as much physical play as your home and space will allow.

Many parents love getting outdoors with their toddler to explore new places and burn some serious energy. Check out the ideas for outdoor fun on the next page:

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15 Ways to Spend the Day With Your Toddler

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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