MOTHERHOOD: INDOOR TODDLER ACTIVITIES

Winter in Ohio usually means lots of time indoors. And with COVID still running rampant, we have been spending an unusual amount of time indoors. I’m not going to lie that it’s been tricky keeping Lilly engaged and occupied. Some days we do great, finding creative ways to have fun, and other days it seems like all we want to do is lay on the couch and watch Moana.

In an effort to help other mamas who might need some new and fun creative activities, I’ve put together some ideas, as well as resources I use time and again when I need a new idea.

Indoor Toddler Activity Ideas

  • Baking: We’ve been doing this a LOT lately, but Lilly loves it and it’s great for developing fine and gross motor skills.
  • Playdough: Lilly likes me to make “pizza” with the playdough and then she has her puppets eat it. It turns into a game and she loves it.
  • Set up an indoor picnic: We dump all of our play kitchen food on a blanket, get out all of the stuffed animals and have a big picnic.
  • Painting (everything and anything!)
  • Stickers
  • Art easel: Lilly was gifted one for Christmas that has a dry erase board and a chalkboard. She loves it!
  • Hide and Seek
  • Build a fort with blankets and pillows
  • Kinetic Sand (I could play with this for hours)
  • Construction Paper: You can do soooo many arts and crafts with construction paper and glue. We just made mosaic paper hearts for Valentine’s Day and hung them on the window.
  • Indoor gym class
  • Puzzles
  • Alphabet games
  • Board games
  • Legos
  • Books
  • Sensory bins: We made one for Lilly with rice. It’s messy, but she loves it.
  • Drawing: We practice tracing our alphabet letters and numbers.
  • Cleaning: Yes this might be self-serving, but Lilly has her own set of brooms and mops and she loves to help me sweep the floors.
  • Doing the dishes: Again, maybe self-serving, but the girl loves to wash dishes and play in the sink.
  • Clean their toys
  • Meal Prep: Every day I have Lilly help me prep her lunch and dinner. Kids love to help in the kitchen.

There are so many different ways to keep your toddler engaged. Some days it may not seem like there is anything to do because a toddler’s attention span is about two minutes, but keep this list handy for days when the creativity is lacking and you’ll never run out of things to do. And if you need more ideas, check out the resources below!

Sweet and Simple Toddler Crafts:  A great resource for incredibly fun arts and crafts! 

Pinterest: Always a great resource.  Just search “toddler crafts” or follow me for ideas! 

Lottie & Lizzie Play:  I love this Instagram page and Etsy shop! If you are looking to help your toddler learn their alphabet, these letters are so fun and pretty! 

Samantha Lynch CCC-SLP: My friend Sam is a Pediatric SLP and she shares amazing content on her Instagram for engaging your child and helping them with their speech and communication skills. 

Busy Toddler: This Instagram page is amazing for toddler and kid inspired activities. 

Michaels and Target also have fun craft kits that are really inexpensive.  

I always find following and connecting with other mamas helps me find new ideas to try.  If you have some ideas I didn’t list, please share them in the comments below!

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: FAVORITE BOOKS FOR TODDLERS

“And what book are you reading?” Anyone who knows my Bobo (grandma) will know that this was always the first question she would ask you upon arrival to her house. Reading was very important to her, and although I may have laughed at the question as a young tween, I so appreciate her passion for reading as an adult. Every year for our birthdays she would give us a book, usually a classic, that was related to our passions and I’m grateful I have such a robust library because of her.

My parents and Rob’s family also love reading and it’s important to us that we share this gift with Lilly. From a very young age we started reading to Lilly. We used to read to her when she was just a wee infant, doing tummy time on her caterpillar. And I’m so happy that Lilly finds so much joy in reading. Some days we just sit in her playroom and read every book on her shelves and that makes my mama heart so full.

I truly believe you are never too young to start reading and appreciate the power of a good story. There are a few books that have been favorites for us recently and I’m so excited to be sharing them with you all. All of these books have a purpose, as well as a magical story. I hope at least one of these stories will resonate with one of you mamas (or dads) and your little one. And if you need more options, be sure to check out two of my friend’s blogs – Sarah at Cozy Little Joys and Stephanie at Linen and Littles. Both of these ladies have babies around Lilly’s age and there is nothing better than a bond forged by motherhood and books.

ABC’s What Can She Be

This is a relatively new book for us but we LOVE it.  This book has everything a toddler loves.    It teaches the alphabet in a bright and colorful way with eye-catching illustrations.  It encourages a little girl that she can be anything she wants to be – whether it’s a mechanic, zoologist, neurologist, or interior designer – there are so many options and possibilities.  But I think my favorite part about this book is the fact that all girls are represented.  This book celebrates color, shape, size, and ability.  It’s truly a wonderful book about diversity and encouraging girls to follow their dreams.  

You can shop this book for $12 here.

Baby Feminists

A timeless edition to any toddler book collection, Baby Feminists is probably our favorite book. Lilly LOVES this book. She loves it so much that we bought Baby Feminists II. This book offers such an inspiring message that anyone can grow up to make the world a better place for everyone. This is an interactive book that not only teaches you about famous women who have made a difference, but also shows them as a baby – which toddlers love. And to be honest, this series has taught me about important women who have shaped history, some of which I’m embarrassed to admit I knew very little about! This book is definitely a must have for anyone who wants to teach their children about inspirational individuals.

You can shop this book for $6 here.

My First Baby Signs

Since babies don’t begin communicating with words until around 18 months or later, it was important for me to teach Lilly sign language. My mom bought this book for us and it’s been amazing! I swear Lilly learned how to communicate “more,” “all done,” and “eat” from this book. Toddlers and babies love interactive books and this one has pull tabs that illustrates each important sign. We have read this book so many times that all the pull tabs have been ripped out (eeek!). It’s one of our most well worn and most well loved books.

You can shop this book for $17 here.

The Rainbow Fish

Such a classic children’s book. And really is there a more beautiful book to teach about the power of friendship and sharing? We love this book, but it’s been a relatively recent love. The past couple of months Lilly has really shown interest in the glitter pictures and the story. And now we read it every night before bed. This international best seller is a must for toddlers to start learning about how to be a friend and how to share.

You can shop this book for $8 here.

The Gift That I Can Give

My sister (who is Lilly’s godmother) gifted her this book for her Baptism and it’s so special. The beautifully written and illustrated story shares such an important message. It teaches that all children can make a difference and make a positive impact on others. Not only does this book celebrate your child’s gift – whether it’s the gift of song, dance, or sports – but it also encourages and celebrates empathy, kindness, gratitude, and encouragement. It’s a lovely read and one that all families should consider adding to their collection.

You can shop this book for $8 here.

Goodnight Ohio

And last not but not least, is a bonus book that is specific to our beloved state of Ohio! Goodnight Ohio celebreates the many wonderful sights and attractions that make up Ohio. From the Ohio State Buckeyes, to the Toledo Museum of Art, Lake Erie, Cedar Point, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is a classic toddler book that any native Ohioan should have in their library.

Shop this book for $7 here.

I hope these suggestions spark your interest, whatever they may be! Don’t forget the power that reading and sharing stories with your children has on developing their language skills, helping their mind grow, and their ability to listen. And as they get older, don’t forget to ask them, “And what book are you reading?”

Slainte,

Shannon