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Old 09-17-2009, 11:38 PM   #1
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How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

DS is 2 years old and we are stuck in a horrible routine! He watches about 2 disney movies a day plus a few t.v. shows here and there. I am feeling incredibly guilty lately because this is not what I want for him. One day I tried to limit his movie time, and it ended with me almost in tears because I realized that I just don't know how to play with my son. We've had a rough year as DS2 was stillborn in March and I feel like I haven't been there for DS1 and have let the t.v. babysit him far too much while dealing with my grief. I don't know what a 2-year old should be playing with. Should I go out and buy more toys? I try not to buy him a lot of toys because I don't want to spoil him and it seems like when he does get a new toy he plays with it for a day or two and then forgets about it. I have made attempts at introducing new things--we painted with watercolors one day and another day I took him to the local children's museum. He does like books and we read to him every night. I've thought about enrolling him in a preschool type setting just for a couple hours a day so he can get some social interaction and learn new things. I guess I'd just like some ideas on ways I could entertain/teach/interact with him at home.

Please help me!! Thanks...


*28 year old mama to Josiah Liam, born 05.19.2007, Jonas Elliot, my dove in heaven, stillborn at 40 weeks 03.12.2009* , and my rainbow baby Julien Reese 11.04.2010 *Married to Zac 06.11.2005*
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:21 AM   #2
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

So sorry mama. My 20 month old is really into playdoh at the moment... she loves it! You can buy lots of little sets and they're not expensive, i would recommend just buying the playdoh with some of the cookie cutters, my daughter loves playing with it with me and it's great for stimulating their imagination as you can make your own things. Just one suggestion, I also find it really hard to play with my daughter sometimes. We also recently bought and made some play food and a play microwave and we have little tea parties and cook things with her dolls. What about a gymnastics class or something like that?
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:54 AM   #3
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

The next time you go to the children's museum, try and watch what your LO is interested in, and ask him questions about whatever he's doing so that you can get a feel for what to do at home. Also, it sounds like he's gotten used to your in-home routine, so you may need to change environments for a while to get where he won't expect 2 movies a day.

You can also watch the other kids your LOs age and see what they naturally do on their own. Play does not need to be parent-led.

You can also ask the staff or other parents at places like the children's museum...they might have some good do the parents here!

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Old 09-18-2009, 01:38 AM   #4
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

One of my dd favorite things in when I fill up pots and bowls with water and food coloring and put them outside(it does make a mess)Then I give her measuring cups and spoons and we will spend hours outside with that.My boys are starting to get into it now.She loves mixing all the colors.
Amanda wife to JonathanMama to Emma Marietwins Tyler and PrestonOwen Lucille Grace(Fall 2013)
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:42 AM   #5
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

I totally know how that feels. Don't beat yourself up too much, mama - we all have to cope with our difficulties at some point, and it sounds like now you are feeling more up to getting back into the groove. It takes time to learn how to play with the little people (I'm still learning myself), so don't expect perfection the first time or even the second or third (or fourth or fifth)!

Limiting TV is hard, especially when it's such an easy solution. For me and my girls (2 yrs and 3 mos), having a pretty strict routine makes us all really happy. Every day we have set times to go to the park (we walk), go on an errand or two (or to the library, whatever), nap, snacks, meals, an evening walk...and yes, movie time. Knowing what to expect during the day (and when) helps us all stay sane.

Toys are fun but really, when I think about my happiest times with my 2 yr old, they're the times that we were just reading books or singing songs or chasing each other around the park...simple things that don't need a big investment of money.

Good luck, mama!
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:03 AM   #6
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

Push a chair up to the sink (which has been cleaned out, and obviously nothing harmful in reach) and let him play in the water with some plastic kitchenware.

Bath with tub crayons (or soap body paints, or foam shapes/letters) and the time to play all he wants.

Playdoh! with kitchen utensils, cookie cutters, plastic dishes, etc. My DD always liked to play with little people figures.


Sidewalk chalk, or paint brushes and a bowl of water on the driveway.

Sprinklers if you have a yard and nice weather.

Magnets on the fridge.

Drawing/coloring/scribbling - dry erase markers and a big board, crayons, markers, notebooks, cardboard, stickers, whatever.

Read books, but don't "read". Just sit together and flip through the pages and discuss the pictures. Two-year-olds like this much better than listening to the story.

Include him in whatever chore you're doing - he can put away utensils (they won't be in the right spots, but they'll be in the drawer), help you sort laundry, load the washer (pull a chair up so he can watch it agitate... might be hard to get him away, though), fold. Let him play with the vaccuum hose (suction his shirt, skin, etc. Great fun!).

Turn on loud music and dance your hearts out.

Wrestle with him - tickle, roll, lift him up high, let him ride on your back like a pony.

Go shopping, but with NO goal in mind so it's not stressful. Buy some animal crackers and look at Halloween costumes or something.

Observe him. Learn about HIM and his likes/dislikes. Don't let too many more of these precious days pass you by! Hugs to you!!
-Kelli, single mama to 12 y/o Callista and 7 y/o Rickson.

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Old 09-18-2009, 04:54 AM   #7
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

If he likes to read, read to him more in the day.

Water play is huge here.... The foam bath letters don't work for my girls, btw. Even my non-mouther (as a baby) STILL wants to chew on them at 3.5!
Mama to E 3/06 and M 7/08
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:07 AM   #8
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

My 2 year old enjoys:
play w/ play-doh
I printed him some matching of the computer (or when I go to a museum I get 2 brochures, cut out the pics of animals glue them on paper, then cut out the other brochure, laminate the picture for him to match them up with)
playing with Kinex
looking at flash cards w/ animals, insects, etc.
nature walks
dry erase board coloring
gluing things I cut out for him onto paper (I take Subnday's pet store sale ad & cut out animals for him to glue onto paper)

Some of these are things I do w/ him while I homeschool my oldest. (The nature walk we do altogehter)

A blog I love is chasing cheerios - she has a great variety of things you cold do. Just google it.

Go on Yahoo under groups & look for a playgroup in your area for him to get the socialization as well as socialization for yourself! I always did that & I loved it! Now we are in homeschool groups.

Go to your local library & see if they have storytime for his age.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:10 PM   #9
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

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Old 09-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #10
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Re: How do you entertain your toddler? Help please!

Maybe search around and see if anywhere close by to you offers free toddler classes. I take my son to about 3 a week and they make a huge difference because I'm not a great "player". I've found it hard in the summer (100+ degrees here) he watches too many videos (he only likes Signing Time though) and it makes me feel guilty. When it's cooler we will go back to playing in the backyard and lots of park trips. Getting out of the house for a while seems to make all the difference in the world.
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& Adam (3.28.10) Brothers born 27 months (to the minute) apart!
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