Now that O is 14 months old I find I have to be more creative with the ways that I keep her entertained. We’re at that slightly awkward stage where she wants to be able to do a lot more than she is physically able to, so we have a lot of frustration to deal with on her part, particularly when she’s a bit tired. The best solution I’ve found is to keep her busy with activities that she enjoys – some of which stretch her physically and mentally and others that are quite simple (for when she’s particularly tired and grumpy!)
We’re busy working on her sleep at the moment, and have seen great improvements since moving her into a toddler bed (if anyone is interested in seeing a post about that leave me a comment below…) Along side that we’re trying out a new routine, which involves getting out and about first thing then coming home for lunch and a nap before focusing on home-based activities in the afternoon. I have to confess it’s the home-based ideas that I find the hardest to come up with, but as ever Pinterest is a brilliant source of inspiration.
I thought I’d share our favourite things to do with you today, in the hope that it might inspire some of you too.
14 ways to keep a 14 month old entertained:
1) Yoghurt painting.
This is one of our current favourites as O loves painting, but this way we don’t have to have a falling out when she puts the paint and brushes in her mouth. Essentially, all you do is dump a yoghurt on their highchair tray, give them clean brushes and sponges (or whatever you fancy) for them to ‘paint’ with and go from there. In our hosue the game ends once all the yoghurt has been eaten.
2) Water play.
This is great for sunny days where you can get out in the garden (or the kitchen floor works just as well if it’s not outside weather). Get a washing up bowl half filled with warm water, lots of toys – some that float and osme that sink are best – and then have a whale of time splashing about! You can take it to another level if you make some ice cubes with food colouring in them to melt in the bowl, which is always a huge hit here
3) Den building.
Need I say more?
4) Car spotting.
O is currently obsessed with cars and will point them out at any opportunity. If it’s dry we tend to sit on the front door step and listen for cars, guessing how long until they will drive past. It’s also a good position for dog and bird spotting too, and getting some waving practice in.
5) Swimming or soft play.
These are our favourite ‘paid for’ activities and try to go once a week. Both are not only brilliant for physical development, but also guaranteed to tire her out.
6) The park.
We aim to go to the park most days as we’re lucky enough to have a lovely clean one walking distance from our house. The swings are O’s current favourite, but she also loves the slides and the various things you can sit on and have a bounce. The park also means other children and dogs – two of O’s best things. The blast of fresh air does us both the world of good too and I really notice the difference if we haven’t been for a couple of days.
It’s pretty obvious already that O is going to be musical like her Daddy (and very unlike her Mummy!) We go to an organized class run by Caterpillar Music each week, but lots of libraries run them too. The basic idea is lots of singing, puppets, bubbles and dancing. Both B and I spend a lot of time singing and dancing with O at home too, which she loves, so it isn’t something you need to spend any money on. Look up some nursery rhymes and songs online to refresh your memory and have a lovely sing together. Alternatively, turn up the radio and have a little dance party in the privacy of your kitchen!
8) Sorting games.
O loves sorting anything and everything – especially things you don’t really want her to! I just get out a couple of containers and give her some pegs or counters and away she goes. Her favourite at the moment is putting Connect Four counters into a water bottle that has had the neck cut off and turning it into a rattle – the counters flying everywhere is the best bit as far as she’s concerned!
9) Baked bean / spaghetti squish.
Much like with the yoghurt painting, just put the beans or tinned spaghetti onto a highchair tray and let the mess begin!
10) Assault courses.
Turn cardboard boxes into tunnels and put sofa cushions down on the floor for climbing or walking over. You can then also turn it into a game of hide and seek or peepo, which should earn you extra brownie points.
O loves drawing and will grab any bit of paper and pen we’ve left lying around before gleefully scribbling all over it. She’s got these first crayons, but as she’s a bit of a chewer I recently bought this little etchasketch type thing, which is a massive hit with us both. It even comes on car journeys with us and keeps her entertained for quite some time.
This kid is obsessed and I couldn’t be happier about it! I’ve found she’s much more engaged if I let her choose the book, which does mean lots of repeatition for us, but regularly rotating the books we keep within her reach helps with that. Her current favourites are Each Peach Pear Plum, Peepo! and Dear Zoo.
13) Miss Independent.
The frustrations I mentioned often arise if she isn’t allowed to do something she wants to (i.e. something dangerous). Instead we encourage her to do ‘grown up’ things she can manage like eating with a fork and spoon (seriously messy, but she loves it), drinking from a cup rather than beaker, choosing some of her clothes for the day and climbing the stairs.
14) Peppa Pig.
Sometimes I have to admit defeat and realize that only an episode or three of Peppa Pig will cut it for both our sanity.
What are your favourite activites for keeping your toddler entertained?
P.S. you can find lots more ideas on my Pinterest board here.