Toddlers are quite a handful, especially during the holidays and weekends. If you're wondering how to engage your toddler without losing your mind, you're reading the right article
By Aarthi Arun
Another weekend or a holiday has come, and you're breaking your head to come up with ideas to engage your toddler? Going to the mall may seem like the best bet — the safety and comfort of the indoors may be inviting, and you can get to shop and relax. But is it fun for your toddler? Does it count as quality time?
“To a child love is spelled T-I-M-E,” said the American author and motivational speaker, Zig Zigler. How profound! No expensive toy can replace the comfort of your lap for your toddler. Do you know you have only 940 weekends before your child turns 18? That's not a lot! So, hurry up now, don't waste a minute. We are giving fun activities that you can do with your toddler to bond and connect.
The name says it all — indulge your child in a messy play. The messier, the merrier. If you're put off by the cleaning up, remember, messy play is one of the best ways for your child to explore and learn. Toddlers learn through their senses, by touching and feeling. Your child's chubby fingers also develop through messy play. What's more? Getting your hands dirty along with your child is an excellent way to unwind, relax and spend quality time.
How: Offer your child household items like flour, dry pasta, rice, lentils, water and ice to play. Add a few drops of food colouring for more fun. Your child can scoop, pour, mix and explore them with her fingers. Add accessories like cars and animal figures to encourage her imagination to soar high. A big tub with an old sheet/newspaper underneath can minimise the cleanup later on. Watch out for the choking hazards when you're offering items like pasta and lentils.
No, you don't have to pack your bags and visit an exotic location. You can camp right in your living room to cosy up with your little explorer.
How: Pull a couple of chairs and cover them with a blanket to create a makeshift tent. Now, sit inside your 'camp', have a tea party, enjoy a special snack and read your munchkin's favourite book. For an added thrill, bring a torchlight inside your camp to play shadow games.
Treasure hunts are such fun, but if you're thinking of a proper treasure hunt, hold that thought right there. Your toddler is too young to go for treasure hunting. Instead, take him outdoors and let him collect his own treasures.
How: Go to a nearby park, zoo, or a beach, and ask your curious George to collect stones, twigs, leaves or shells. Bring them home and use them for creating artworks. Hear birdsongs, chase butterflies, dig bugs and feel the sand underneath your feet along with your tot. You can also teach him to identify bugs, birds, plants and trees through this special outing.
Can there be anything as exciting as your toddler's oohs and aahs? Create something with your child and gift her the sense of pride and accomplishment. Unlike adults, your toddler is oblivious to the rules, and she is not self-conscious of the outcome. Just let your child enjoy the process, and heartily praise her for the efforts. The bonus? You're also boosting her self-confidence.
How: Make a book with your little artist's artworks. Adding sticks, stones, beads and googly eyes to it will take your little artist's creativity to another level. Or, feel free to dump all the building blocks and create marvellous architecture with your budding engineer. Banging pots and pans to make novel music, singing silly rhymes and making up tall tales are also considered masterpieces.
Your child is going to reach for the stars — no doubt. For starters, show him the beauty of the moon and stars by soaking in the tranquility of the night sky.
How: Pick a mat and head to your terrace with your little astronaut in tow. Lie down on your mat, snuggle up and start counting the stars. (Good luck with the counting!) Help your child identify shapes and constellations. If possible, have an exclusive moonlight dinner with your little darling.
At around 18 months, your toddler realises that he is a person on his own. He will sprint at every opportunity to test his independence. Use this time to teach important skills and help him channel his energy productively.
How: Give your child simple chores to do. Take time to show her how to water the plants, fold napkins, put away toys or feed the pets. Ask your child to help you with your chores. She can help crack an egg or arrange socks in pairs. Don't forget to chat while doing so. It could prolong the process, but the experience will stay in both of your memory banks forever.
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