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How to Keep Your Toddler Busy and Feed Their Curiosity


The toddler years are full of learning opportunities for you and your child. Toddlers are naturally curious. They soak up their surroundings like a sponge so they can learn everything about them. This can be a joy to watch, but it can also be challenging as toddlers don’t have much impulse control, nor do they always understand when it’s ok to touch or get into things. As a parent of a toddler, you'll surely have moments when you need your little to be “contained" – of course those usually occur at the same time that your little one decides s/he wants to get into everything!

If you need a few ideas to keep your little one busy so you can get some things done, you'll love these three big tips for occupying toddlers!

1. Snacks

It’s hard to sit still when you are hungry, and your toddler is no different. If you need a few minutes to get something done (in the same room), or even if you are heading out to dinner and need them to sit still while you wait for dinner to arrive, bring some of their favorite snacks. Put the snack in a fun package to make it more ‘exciting’  their attention to the snack will last longer.  

2. Busy Bags

If you are a parent of a toddler and haven’t discovered busy bags, you don’t know what you are missing!  Busy bags are tiny bags full of various activities that will keep your little one entertained. As icing on the cake, they can also help develop important skills for your toddler. You can put several “bags” together with supplies you can grab at the dollar store. 

Here’s a few basic bag ideas to get you started:

  • Clothespins and pompoms: Fill a bag with a few clothespins and various colors of pompoms. Show your toddler how to pinch the clothespin to open and pinch the pompoms with them.  They can sort them by color or size, or just practice using their fine motor skills by picking up the pompoms. 
  • Strings and straws: Cut a few straws into three pieces (make sure the ends are not sharp) and have your toddler string the straw pieces. They can make a necklace to keep or use the same pieces over and over again. 
  • Rocks and construction vehicles: Find a few rocks of various sizes, a piece of brown construction paper, and some small toy construction vehicles. Place the rocks on the brown paper and have your toddler push the rocks around. They can sort the rocks by size, and learn the importance of boundaries by having to keep the rocks on the brown paper. 
  • Q-tips and a spice jar: If you have an empty spice jar that has a lid with holes in it, grab a few q-tips and have your toddler practice putting the tips in the jar. Finding the holes and placing the q-tips into the holes is a great way for toddlers to sharpen those fine motor skills. 

3. Physical Activity

It’s no secret that toddlers are full of energy. If you find that you are going to need some time to get things done around the house, or you are headed to a location where you will need your toddler to sit still for some time, get them outside for some fresh air and a walk beforehand. If you are out to dinner and notice your little one is getting restless, head out for a quick walk. Let them know you are heading back to the table and they will need to sit still and color (or use a busy bag). Giving your kids the chance to burn a little energy will go a long way.  

The toddler years seem like they will last forever when you are in the middle of them, trying to get your little one to remain calm and out of trouble, but they don’t last forever! The days are long, but the years are short  enjoy your toddler's curiosity and wonder as much as you can!  

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