I recently went from having one busy toddler to having one busy toddler and a newborn. For the first few weeks LIFE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN. Don't get me wrong, it is amazing and happy and wonderful but OH MY GOODNESS having a toddler and a newborn is pure chaos. I learned quickly to keep the bathroom door closed while nursing or this will happen:
Sidenote, have you ever searched the hashtag #whileiwasnursing on Instagram? Because it is hilarious.
I also learned that if I don't have no-mess, safe options of entertainment my toddler will most likely find a way to destroy our apartment and quite possibly herself. So, the past two-ish months I've been experimenting and collecting activities that keep my little girlfriend happy and safe. I share these ideas with the hope that I save you, dear reader, from the clogged toilet, the self-given haircut, or worse. So without further ado and in no particular order: my list of proven hands-off, safe, entertaining activities to keep your toddler busy while you are busy with your newborn.
1. WATER PAINTING
Paintbrush, cup with only the tiniest bit of water so that if it spills it's no big deal, construction paper
Seriously, that's all you need. I hung up the construction paper with a magnet on the fridge and Girlfriend was entertained for hours. She painted and painted and painted and made no mess and didn't run out of paper because the water dries and you can do it over again. Genius.
2. WATER TABLE
This works for us because we are in an apartment so I have the Water Table on our balcony. I can sit on the couch and nurse my baby while Girlfriend is on the balcony splashing about safe and sound and happy and I have a clear view of her. Make sure to remove anything they can climb on and possibly fall from if you are using it on a balcony.
3. POT WITH WATER AND SOAP
Bowl or pot, very small amount of water, small amount of dishsoap, whisk or spoon, towel
This may sounds messy but it does not need to be! Lay a towel under the pot and make sure you only add a small amount of water and small amount of soap. Let your toddler go to town stirring it up! Girlfriend loves this. She gets so excited when the bubbles appear after stirring.
Paper or coloring book, crayons
Easy but if your toddler isn't to be trusted with crayons check out Crayola's Mess- Free Markers and Paper. It's awesome, the markers only show up on the special paper.
4. NOISE MAKER
2 paper plates, rice, stapler or glue gun, crayons
Simply put the rice on the paper plate, staple the other plate on top and viola! You have a noise maker that your toddler can decorate with crayons and dance around the room with.
5. ABC MAGNETS
We bought a Leapfrog version that will sound out each letter. Girlfriend is almost two and already knows all of her letters. I've worked with her but I don't think she would have learned them so quickly without having these fun magnets to play with. Plus, the fact that it sings means she can dance around while learning. We love it.
6. SPICE JAR AND Q TIPS
Empty spice jar (pepper shaker or any spice bottle will work), Q-tips
That's all! Just let your toddler go to town putting the Q-tips in and out of the holes
7. STRAINER WITH PIPE CLEANERS OR DRY NOODLES
Strainer, pipe cleaners or dry noodles
Once again, straight forward, let your toddler poke them in and out of the holes
8. VINYL STICKERS ON THE WINDOW
Vinyl stickers and a sliding glass door or window
These are great because they leave no residue so all you have to worry about is fingerprints. Your toddler can enjoy making scenes with the stickers while you attend to your newborn.
9. SIDEWALK CHALK
Sidewalk chalk and cement
Once again this works great because she can color on the balcony while I nurse on the couch.
10. MY FAVORITE: THE CARDBOARD HOUSE
Large cardboard box, scissors, stickers, crayons
Best thing ever. Cut a door and even some windows in your toddler's “house” and then send them inside armed with crayons and stickers. Girlfriend has had her box for a week and is still not sick of it. I LOVE IT. It contains the mess and keeps her happy.
shoes, scarves, shirts, costumes, etc.
My toddler will last quite some time if I bring out a pile of my shoes, scarves or other such items for her to try on. She LOVES dressing up!
There you have it. Now, what have you found that keeps your toddler busy while you are busy with your newborn?