Boredom Busters for the Madly Bored Toddler (Part II)
Cabin Fever Busting Games on the Cheap: Part II
For those of you who read it, I really hope you and your toddler had fun playing and bonding over balloons and forts as much as we did while being stuck indoors during the latest winter snow storm. If you missed it, check out Cabin Fever Cures that Work – Bored Toddler Edition, Part I. And don’t forget, the activities you’ll find in these series are not only perfect for a snow day, they are also great for those gloomy, rainy days, sick days, or days you just want to spend the day at home.
Continuing with our indoor play theme we have two more fun activities to try with your bored little one. Enjoy!
Book Club Games
Read to toddler.
This is a simple but great way to spend time when the weather outside is frightful. Especially if you have a little bookworm. So head over to your home library and grab a handful of books and get reading.
Story by Toddler
Sure they don’t quite know how to say words or recognize most letters for that matter but they sure have something cooking in their already imaginative minds about what they are seeing. My expressive almost 2 year old loves this activity. Her hands twirl and clap wildly . Her shoulders shrug in suspense. Her head bobs and eyes wander in anticipation. She exclaims with eager excitement at the turn of each page. She points wisely to explain to me exactly what the story is about to make sure I don’t miss a thing. They may skip pages, bend them along the way, dribble a bit of drool here and there but the outcome is an adorable little story told by your toddler in a language we will never be able to completely translate but understand wholly.
Skip the Reading Altogether
Bossy likes to find the shapes, colors, objects, numbers, letters that she knows. She’s quick to pick out an A, T, O, M, E. Quick to point the horses, click her tongue, and giggle, hurriedly changing the page. We go through the sounds of the animals and the letters the start with and the sounds that those letters make.
Use your imagination to create a whole new story from the pictures in your books. But only use the pictures for reference. Make sure you give the characters new names, backgrounds, and adventures! You might be the future children’s best seller. Just let your imagination go. Toddlers don’t judge. I’ll be honest, I struggle with this one. So if you’re working on this too, we’re working together! I like that.
Book I Spy
As you go through the pages of your favorite children’s books play i spy. In your head, pick something out on a page and give your toddler clues about what it is. Is it black and white? Wears a red and white striped hat? Has a friend named Fish. Likes to “Go, go, go on an adventure!” Why yes, it’s the Cat in the Hat. Have your toddler play along (mine isn’t yet there) if they are old enough.
Unsand Bin Party (everything but the sand sensory play)
Okay, so maybe I am being too one sided here. I hate sand. Thus the “unsand” party. I’m, what they call a ‘hater’ when it comes to the stuff. Of course, you are free to use sand or water if you’re feeling brave or if you have access to the outdoors but since this post is in regards to being stuck indoors, I chose to skip those. There are so many other fillers to play with, I promise, you won’t miss sand or water. We’ll discuss those in just a sec.
Choose Your Container
I need something big enough to put filler (ie. rice), fun filler surprises (lego)Plastic drawers from home organizing . We use a drawer from one of those plastic organizers. Here’s an example of what I mean: So far, it’s been serving pretty well with my wild child. I like that the sides are high enough for some toddler fun flexibility while keeping most of the contents inside. or —
The toy bins from her toy organizer seem like they’d do the job. The big ones measure about 12×18 inches. It’s not huge (our drawer container is about 4 times the size) but it’ll get the fun started. Just make sure you put down a plastic liner (cut up garbage bag) for easy cleanup. Oh, you could probably use two of the toy bin containers for two (or 4) different themes going on at the same time. or —
Summer Play Table.
Over the summer, grandma had bought this lovely piece of backyard fun. And though you might think it’s currently in hibernation (that’s today’s Sesame Street’s word of the day) it’s alive and well serving as a play table. The table, however, entices my toddler way too much to tempt the laws of gravity by throwing all of its contents onto the floor and exclaim, “Oh-ooooh!” … We stick with the drawer.
Choose Your Theme
Themes are clever ways of getting your toddler into the spirit of the fun.
It could be anything your little ones like.
- Book characters bin (Winnie the Pooh or
- Tea party bin
- Dinosaur world bin
- Train set bin. Trains and planes
- Construction site bin (boys might have trucks and cars they’d want to use in this bin to scoop up and dig up the filler.
- Nature bin (we always have eggcorns, pinecones, and pebbles on hand)
- Lego bin
- Jungle or farm animal bin (our bathtub animals work perfect for this)
It could be something educational.
- Colors and Shapes bin (for the younger ones). We use the magnets from the fridge. You can also use scrabble chips. It’s fun to call them out and have her catch on. What a little miracle to watch her form the word with her own little spin on it.
- Letters and Numbers bin (little ones can just find and identify; older ones can see if they can spell a word with found letters or count how many pieces they found all together.
- Geography bin (world’s countries, their shapes and names, languages spoken (for the older toddlers/preschoolers))
- Seasons bin (start with one season at a time, then, mix them together and ask the little one to tell you what season an item belongs with (sunglasses,
- Under the Sea bin (what lives in the ocean?)
Or something else entirely.
- Birthday bin
- Holiday bin
If you need ideas for themes or wonder where to get the actual items try your local craft stores or shop on Amazon for things like Mini Wild Animals, Under the Sea Creatures, Mini Dinosaurs. Also, check out the queen of sensory bins for kids – Sarah (LittleBinsforLittleHands.com).
Choose Your Filler
- Uncooked rice (some folks dye it; we stick with the regular kind).
- Dried beans (get all sorts and mix them up as you like or use one by one for variation from bin to bin)
- Sand (and water for that matter are a ‘do at your own risk’ kind of bin; personally I don’t recommend indoors)
- Uncooked oatmeal. Oatmeal is a great filler in case the little one decides to taste the bin as they so often do with everything. It’s a great starter filler.
- Uncooked buckwheat. Totally different texture and color for the little hands.
- Water beads. Disclaimer, we never played with these but they looked fun when I came across them on the world wide web.
- Dried corn. A popular filler that’s easy to clean up.
- Aquarium rocks. Sooooo many colors!!!
- Snow!!! (we did this one today)
Choose Toddler Tools
Scoopers, mini shovels, and rakes, big and small containers that they can fill, sifters, spoons, funnels, all work great and a little toddler brain engaged.
Lay out plastic under the bin for easy clean up when you wrap it up.
Some items in these activities are small and may be a choking hazard. Make sure your kids are supervised at all times by a responsible adult.
Visit LittleBinsforLittleHands.com. This site will blow your mind with ideas on creating amazingly awesome sensory bins. I’ve discovered this fabulous site after I ran out of my own ideas I had mentioned in this post. Sarah has really put together an extensive and creative site for endless fun you can have with your toddler while encouraging them to love to learn and discover. There’s a lot to take in, have fun!
Together, they explore the topics of gentle parenting, healthy eating, grateful thinking, yoga bending, nifty hacking, green living, soul searching, and mindfulness practicing.
She has lived many lives. She has seen great beauty and utter darkness. It makes her whole. She is strong and with your presence, support, and love right here, right now ever stronger!!!
Read more about her by visiting the Meet the Bee page or email her right now!
We hope you enjoy the adventures of Chewy & Bossy!