The summer is coming to an end and for some of you it’s been way too long. Your toddler is bored to tears; you’ve taken him or her to every activity you could think of. Now what? While blowing bubbles outside can be fun, it gets old, really fast! There are so many other fun activities. And I bet you don’t realize how many fun things you have in your house to chase away that boredom.
Here are some of my favorite DIY activities without spending a dime.
The Empty Spray Bottle:
- Fill it with a little water and give your toddler a clean cloth. Let him spray his toys, the table, or anything else in your house that could use a cleaning. Show him how to wipe the water off with his cloth.
- Show him how to water the plants using the spray bottle.
- This bottle also works great when you’re at the beach. A few sprays to get the sand off your toddler’s hands and feet will do the trick.
Empty plastic condiment bottles:
- Fill the bottle with a small amount of water. Put your toddler in his bathing suit, take him outside and let him squirt away. This is also a fun activity for the pool or beach.
- For another outside activity, fill the bottle with a small amount of water and 2 drops of food coloring. Put your toddler in his bathing suit, take him outside and let him color the sidewalk. Be sure to have wipes with you to clean those little hands when he’s finished.
- Fill the bottle with a little water and some baby shampoo (it won’t hurt the eyes). Again, dress your toddler in his bathing suit and take him outside to play with the bubbles. But remember, the sidewalk may be slippery when wet, so close supervision and no running.
Empty Egg cartons
- These cartons are perfect small toy carriers for matchbox cars, make-believe keys, and favorite age-appropriate small toys.
- Play the counting game. Put crackers or dry cereal in each section and count them as you put them in the carton.
- Play the color game. Using colored goldfish crackers, cereal, berries, etc. and place in the sections. Then ask your toddler to find a specific color cracker or put a certain color in each section and time to eat. A great teaching tool as well as a fun snack. And this can be a fun activity for plane travel when your toddler has to sit still. (And you can cut the carton in half so you have less to carry)
- If you have an older toddler, you will need pasta with holes, (spirals, elbows, etc.) and some yarn. Place the pasta in each section of the carton, cut a piece of yarn long enough to fit your toddler as a necklace that can slip over his head. Tie a knot on one end and let him string the pasta tying a knot on the other end when he is finished. (To make colored pasta, put a small amount of pasta in a plastic sandwich bag, add 2-3 drops of food coloring, seal the bag and let your toddler shake it. Spread on a paper plate to dry and “voila” – fun, colored pasta)
Empty paper towel rolls
- Yes, it’s noisy, but these make great horns and toddlers love to make noise!
- How about a fun make-believe telescope.
- Your toddler can decorate the outside using crayons, markers, stickers and even glue and paper cut in different shapes. Most toddlers love to use glue sticks. With your supervision of course.
- Wrap the paper towel rolI in orange tissue paper and let your toddler secure it with tape. (Good for fine motor practice). Let him stuff the inside with green tissue paper flowing out of the bottom and he has a make-believe carrot! But no eating please!
The Cardboard Box
- Mom or Dad, choose a medium size box. Turn the box upside down and cut a door and two windows out of the cardboard. Let your toddler decorate the box with stickers, markers and crayons. With your toddler’s imagination, this will be the perfect house for toy cars and trucks or small dolls.
- Use the box as a small table for coloring, eating snacks or reading books. (I bought my grandson a small plastic chair at Walmart for $5.00. It is the perfect height if you use a medium box)
These are just a few of my favorites that I know your toddler will love too! Have fun!
*My use of gender is for ease of reading, as my activities apply to all toddlers.