Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun Activities with a 13-Month-Old

As fortunate as I am to be able to spend all of this time with Nathan at home, I definitely need help keeping the little guy entertained. I have been trying to come up with various ways to keep the little guy entertained and hopefully help him learn to explore more on his own. Here are a few activities to keep a young toddler entertained.

Put in/Take Out
Around the one-year mark (or earlier) kids begin to take an interest in placing things inside a container and removing them from it again. Whether it be a random shoe box  a toy bin, or a cabinet; it can be great fun for a little one to practice putting stuff in and out of it. Another good thing about this is that it can evolve into teaching your children to clean up after themselves. Make a game out of tossing toys into the toy bin (or whatever) and encourage your toddler to do the same.

Toddler Cabinet
So I'm not the most creative activity/object namer. But basically, if you have a spare cabinet, you can fill it with toddler-friendly objects and allow your child to play around in it while you do other things. Sometimes this can help give you a chance to prepare a meal, if your cabinet is off to the side in the kitchen. Since toddlers go through stages of separation anxiety, keeping you nearby/in site can help them stay comfortable and mildly independent.

Mystery Basket
This is less of an activity and more of a surprise assortment of items your toddler may not always get to play with. It can range from various tupperware containers to mismatched socks to blocks. Anything that he or she can safely play with. The idea behind this is to give the child something they don't often interact with. This can give them a distraction for you to be able to get some work done or take a few minutes for yourself.

A Walk Around the Block
If your toddler has started walking then this can be a great time to help him practice on rougher terrain. It always keeps Nathan's attention to see the different surroundings, and I love that he holds my hand while we walk! Try not to be too ambitious the first few times - even a walk to the mail box and back can be a big adventure and take some time. If the little guy or girl isn't yet walking, or is tired, a walk with the stroller is also nice. This time of year with the leaves fluttering about will be the visual stimulus needed to provide for a nice distraction as well. I like to narrate what we see, even if Nathan seems more interested in trying to grab his toes from around the stroller tray.

Finger Painting
While you can buy non-toxic finger paints and do your best to prevent ingestion, if your child is like mine then every chance they get they will try to eat that stuff. So I recommend using jello, or pudding, or even jam to "finger paint" with. Anything colorful they can smear across their high chair tray. It could be even more fun and easier to clean up if you have finger painting time in the bath tub! Start them off already naked and you don't even need to worry about laundry!

Stack up and Knock Down
This game has so far been mostly me stacking up and Nathan knocking down - but it is still fun! Especially since I've begun to teach Nathan what "Wait" means and he will barely be able to hold back (but will still wait) while I try to race and stack the blocks up as high as they will go. He gets so excited to finally be able to knock them down. Hilarious!

Singing and Dancing
Who am I kidding? This isn't just for toddlers, this is for everyone.

Peek-a-boo/Hide and Seek
We've upgraded our old peek-a-boo game into more of a hide and seek thing. Nathan loves it! Never tires of it. Just go off and hide some where easy, and if they still can't find you just keep calling to them and peeking out. Once Nathan finds me I jump out and he squeals with excitement. That never gets old! I love it.

I know there are a bunch of other activities out there. What are some of your favorite ways to have fun with your little (or not so little) one?

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