'Toddlers; like a blender suddenly on full speed and you can't find the lid!'
This saying always makes me smile and nod. It is a great summation of life with a toddler. Things can go from calm to catastrophic in a matter of seconds.
Your little bundle, all of a sudden has understanding, language and a cyclonic will power that would leave Road Runner coughing dust in their wake.
So what do you do to get through a day with a toddler? They need stimulation but don't yet have the ability to concentrate on a task for long periods of time and many of the 'classes' available are more suited to 3 year olds.
Below are three quick 'go to' activities that require little or no prep and can buy you a little bit of sanity. And the added plus is that they are educational and FUN!
1. Crunchy Leaf Fun:
Make a quick stop off at a park or grassed area, collect some dry autumn leaves and take them home. There are still lots around even though it's winter, so keep a look out.
Put them in a large laundry tub and let your toddler enjoy crunching, scrunching and throwing them up/watching them fall. There is a whole lot of sensory learning fun to be had with this activity. You can even show your toddler how to hold the stem and make the leaf flap, this is a great way to develop finger and thumb grip for pre-writing strength.
2. Paper Plate Bat:
This one is an entertainer for the whole family. Grab a paper plate and attach plastic utensil to the end to make it into a paddle (if doing this activity with a young toddler then just have the paper plate on its own, for safety reasons). Collect a whole lot of different sized soft balls, or make some by blowing up balloons/scrunching up newspaper. Show your toddler how to use the paddle like a bat to 'hit' things and make them roll along the floor. You can use simple language to describe the action like 'tap' or 'hit' and repeat it every time you perform the action. Before you know it your toddler will be labelling the action themselves.
3. Tupperware Time:
Pull out a basket of tupperware and some plastic baby utensils. Hide some inside different containers and let your toddler find them. If your toddler is happy to explore the basket, then sit back and let them... support their exploration by labelling their playing for them. If they put on a lid then say 'on' and help them pull it off so that you can label the action with 'off'. You may just be surprised at how long they will spend exploring the containers. Tip: try to include some things that might roll and demonstrate it for your toddler so they can have a try too. This starts their comprehension of shape attributes for early numeracy concepts.
Happy playing and remember it's not just you, the toddler stage can be trying and hilariously entertaining, all at once, no matter how calm a bub you had.
But, it passes... and then you have a threenager to look forward to : )