I really love involving Christopher in what I am doing, but that is not always practical. Sometimes I really just want something to keep him busy for a bit so I can do things around the house or do a quiet time. Here are some things I have Christopher do.
Pinto bean box – we buy beans and grains in bulk so one day when I was desperate I dumped 25 lbs of pinto beans in an under the bed box. Christopher loves it. Make sure the floor is swept before they play in it though, so you can just sweep the beans up and put them back.
Paint – I know there are lovely recipes for homemade finger paints but sometimes you don’t have dye. Cocoa powder mixed with water and a little bit of soap works great.
Pool? – Fill a storage tub with water and shampoo (for bubbles) and let them have at it! (I started this post while it was still really hot outside and I still used shampoo)
Take it outside – Take the work you need to do outside so your toddler can run around while you work. You can iron, fold clothes, and mend outside. Just lay a sheet on the ground to put the clothes on. If only I could cook outside!
Playdough- you probably have the stuff around your house to make playdough. You don’t have to make it smell or colored. If the playdough squishes, flattens, and breaks it’s fun!
Blanket Time – training your kid to play on a blanket quietly with one toy is really nice. I talk more about it here.
Reading Time – I’ve taught Christopher to do reading time also. He gets a pile of books and sits and reads them. I usually just give him about 10 and he’s busy, happy, and quiet for about 5-10 minutes. He has also reads books in a laundry basket. Don’t ask why that is more fun, but he LOVES sitting in laundry baskets.
Box painting and coloring – a big box, some old clothes, some paint (cocoa and water again) and markers keep a toddler busy for a while.
Swing – Christopher is under the weight limit of our baby swing. I let him sit in it and swing it manually.
Tape and Tupperware – A plastic tub plus some labels or bits of tape makes for some pretty fun entertainment. Show them they can take the bits of tape back off and pit them back. I use painters tape since it peels off easily.