Having a tough time keeping your active , highly spirited (read -naughty) toddler busy? Just imagine my scenario because guess what, I have two of the same age (yes , twins!).
My husband is an eye surgeon , so he does not allow kids any screen time, yes , ZERO screen time. Hence , I have found many ways to keep them busy while I get my chores done.
Here are few ways you can keep your ever energetic toddler occupied without handing him a screen.
Touch and Feel Books :
Books with textures, flaps, textiles and bright colors are extremely attractive to kids. For the initial one or two times you may need to get them involved and interested in them , however later they will themselves enjoy spending time with the book learning through the abundant tactile stimulation such books provide. A few Touch and Feel books my twins love are : Ladybird Baby Touch Peekaboo andScholastic First Steps Touch and Feel .Among Lift the Flap books , a few recommendations are : Dear Zoo, Karen Katz’ Where is baby’s Belly Button?and Peek and Play Rhymes ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ by Pat-a-Cake . Always keep books next to the toys so that they can choose either of them as per their choice.
Music and nursery rhymes on radio/ music player:
I realised the power of music when twins were just 4 months old as I used it to soothe them when they got cranky . While music and nursery rhymes are proven ways to keep kids busy but lately parents have started using mobiles / You tube/ TV as the means . I resisted the temptation and kept it to Audio-only. Hence I invested in a Radio /Music player by Ducasso (available on amazon at reasonable price) with decent speaker and kept it in the living room/play area where kids spend most of the time. This has helped kids find an alternate interest in music and have learnt to enjoy on their own. This is the most commonly used hack by me when I am busy in the kitchen. When I am travelling with kids, I play music in my car or on my phone using the Saavn App as it is audio only. Saavn app has a variety of nursery rhymes to choose from.
Ball pool :
An indoor ball pool or a ball pit is an excellent activity for toddlers. Though it is not an enclosure but kids love to play with balls and roll around in it. It is also a fun game to play when cousins come over. With twins, I find this a good option which keeps both kids busy.I have bought one from Hamleys India.
Ride on horse :
Instead of splurging on the massive battery operated cars/bikes , I highly recommend a Ride On Horse which sways to and fro on its own . A toddler can easily board the horse and swing it on his own without your assistance. It is one the most wanted toys in our house and usually my twins end up fighting for it as we just have one of them.
This is the most pocket friendly way to keep kids busy. Hand them a bowl or two with spoons and some sliced fruit. They will eat some, play with some, bang the spoons, stack the bowls, basically keep themselves engrossed. You can seat the kid in their high chair and give them the utensils and get busy with your task at hand. It is also a great way to make them have fruit snacks on their own.
Tents are easily available in toys shops and on Amazon. They are economical and do not need batteries. Choose any design but prefer the ones with two way exit so that the child can do more than just sit in them . Playing peek-a-boo while inside the tent is my twins favorite past time.
Park time :
There is nothing better for your child than outdoor activity. However, this thing requires supervision. Spending time outdoors greatly benefits kids’ eyesight as they can see distant objects. Such stimulation is not available indoors . You can take the child to the park yourself and get some physical activity yourself or ask a grandparent to do it for you.If you have a pet, this is a must-do.
Sometimes it is not feasible to take the child outdoors due to weather or busy schedule. Hence often I opt to make them spend time in the balcony area. I put their high chairs in the balcony, fasten them in their chair and show them birds and trees . You can also give them a few stacking toys and let them play it on the tray of the highchair and use this time to read a book yourself . (This is how I read my Sunday Newspaper 😉
Besides the above activities, you can read a book to them, actively dance with them on your favorite music( I recently taught Bhangra to my twins since I love foot tapping punjabi songs) , get them busy on a play mat with wooden blocks , shape sorting toys or stacking cups. Musical instruments like a whistle or drums (not battery operated) are also one of my twins’ favorite toys. As your kids get older, arrange some child sized table and chair for them and keep them busy with colors and drawing books.
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