It is no simple task trying to keep a toddler captivated, since he started crawling at around 9 months old, Asher has always been more keen in exploring than sitting down to complete activities. They should put a warning on these toy packagings. I mean, they often show these happy babies expertly stacking rings. I bought him a similar toy too, expecting him to do the same but he never had much regard for the toy except to toss the rings around the house.
Soon, I learnt that toys weren’t enough. And that was when I started googling for activities to keep him occupied and stumbled upon all these pinterest-worthy activities online. “Sensory play” is a phrase that often popped up whenever I was searching for new activities. Sensory play refers to play that involves and stimulates the five senses; (the senses of touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing), as this is how young children explores the world around them.
I started out with a mini ball pit that had other toys of different textures thrown into the mix, then we had a spaghetti sensory play that I never repeated because of the amount of work involved and Mocha eating most of the blue pasta up. His favorite was the water sensory play activity and now we even have a mini sand basin (no space for a sand pit) in the house. Noticed that all these activities mostly stimulate sight and touch? For hearing, we have a container full of musical instrument toys that he sometimes brings out to make some noise. We are still working on smell & taste.
Some of you who follow my instagram probably know that I love children books and we have quite a collection for Asher. In the past, he used to be able to sit with me while I read to him. We could do three to five books on a good day but now, it’s a miracle if I manage to finish just one book. And that usually involves me reading aloud to him while he is all over the place.
So in order to make reading a more fun and interactive experience, I have decided to incorporate props during our sessions. You can also find ideas for your storytelling props by googling. Etsy and Ebay sell some readymade props for popular children books but it is cheaper if you decide to DIY instead.
I try to make each play activity I do with him a fun and yet educational one. We tried 3D matching using animal figurines and flashcards. It did not go too well but I guess I shall try again another time. Let me emphasize that I’m not trying to do a tiger mum here else I would have sent him for right-brain training classes at the age of 6 months old. I just felt it would be good to be stimulate his mind through such fun games. After all, he is not attending childcare or enrichment classes. Just a 2 hour playgroup we started in May where I do not expect him to learn much from there but more of social interaction with other kids his age.
Since a few months ago, Asher started showing interest in writing and drawing. He now has an art corner that is stocked with jumbo crayons, finger paint (lots of it), markers and a whole stack of art paper. It’s no surprise that there’s not much space left on our fridge for his masterpieces.
Our latest addition to the activity panel would be Play-doh because I was too lazy to create my own dough. But there are lots of recipes you can find online on how to make your own dough if you are adventurous enough.
Asher loves manipulating the play-doh in his hands into different shapes. He is always asking me to make him a ball or a duck. This makes another great sensory activity for sight and touch especially.
I hope my lengthy blog post has been of some help to you if you were searching for ideas on how to entertain your toddler. Below are the websites I have gotten these great activity ideas from.