Do you know why moms end up with so many toddler toys when their kids are little? It’s because all moms know that a new toy equals roughly an hour of peace and quiet. My husband would always bemoan the amount of plastic junk in my house when my kids were little, and it’s because he didn’t understand that if toddlers have something new to play with, that moms get to do extra glamourous things like clean the refrigerator and change the furnace filter. Keeping little ones occupied means you get to take care of business and even though we all love playing the HOT AND COLD game with our toddlers for the gazillionth time, sometimes you just want to keep them out of your hair for a spell. Because you have stuff to do, and that can be anything from mopping the floors to watching Orange Is the New Black (I only have ONE episode left!!! SAD). So here is a list of junk you can do to keep the kids busy, and I hope some of these may get you a little bit of free time.
The Empty Milk Gallon And Clothespin Game
Have you guys ever done this? I think my own mother INVENTED this. You take an empty milk gallon and wash it out (like doy) and give your kids some wooden clothespins and they stand above the milk gallon and DROP THEM IN. It’s SO stupid! But for some reasons, little kids LOVE this shit. Tell them “I want to see how many you can get in” and they will go to town. Depending on their age, you can have them stand on a stool or sturdy kitchen chair but I don’t wanna hear any complaining if your dumb kid falls down. I swear, I think my daughter would even love playing this stupid game now and she is eight. It’s magic! And you probably have wooden clothespins and an empty gallon of milk in your house.
Dining Table Blanket Fort
I’m so obsessed with blanket forts lately. I have been trying to convince Koa Beck to change her work station into a blanket fort and haul her computer underneath her work table but no dice. Even though I’m all obsessed with the fancy adult versions, I think with kids you can just wake them from a nap and show them how you have draped sheets all over your dining room or kitchen table and placed some pillows and coloring books and crayons, as well as a few favorite stuffed animals under there and let them hide from you for an hour or two. I’m convinced blanket forts make EVERYTHING better.
This Brilliant Pipe Cleaner Colander BUSY TIME Whatever It Is
(Image Pinterest via Happy Home Fairy)
What sort of mad genius is this? You obviously just give your kid some pipe cleaners and a colander and let them thread the pipe cleaners through the holes. I can see this totally giving you enough time to organize your pantry! I found this via Pinterest and the link led me to a really fantastic blog filled with many fun things to do with kids, so after you do this, you can find some other fun things. Brilliant.
Masking Tape Hot Wheels Track
UGH, parents are so clever! I want to play with this! I don’t know if masking tape would leave a sticky residue or not so maybe put it on your not-very-best sofa, you know, the ones the kids use that you are always finding stray Goldfish crackers and Barbie shoes in.
A Box Monster That Eats EVERYTHING
UGH I love this, and I think it would make an excellent way to get your toddler to help you clean up too. Get a box, add an angry face and voila. BOX MONSTER! Arghhhhhhh!
Put Fingerpaints In A Ziploc
(Pinterest via No1hasmorefun)
Another totally brilliant idea I found on Pinterest via a blog called No1hasmorefun. This mom deserves some sort of award for coming up with this one. You simply put finger paints in a heavy duty ziploc, zip it shut, and tape it to a window or wall. No mess, and your toddler will probably be amused long enough for you to pluck your eyebrows.
Make Some EDIBLE Fingerpaint
(Image: Wizards and Fairies via Pinterest)
Did you guys know you can make EDIBLE fingerpaint? I did not but this amazing mom from this blog did. I think this would be super great for a smaller kid who wants to paint but is still in that sticking-everything-in-their-mouth phase.
Give Them A Bin Of Water
Here’s another one my own mom used to do with us when we were little, and I did it with my own kids when I was making dinner or cleaning the kitchen. Throw some old towels on the floor, give them a plastic bin of water and some toys and measuring cups and spoons, and let them splash. Of course, you should never leave little ones alone with water because little kids can even drown in a soup bowl, but with slight supervision they can mix and dump while you construct a Baked Alaska.
Have Them Sort Socks
(Image via Pinterest)
Bonus points if they sort them into something that looks like a monster with eyes. Kids are dumb, you gotta admit, and pairing socks is a drag, which is why you should leave the totally boring manual labor to the little ones. The best part? They have NO idea they are working and they think it is FUN.
Stick Stuff In Other Stuff
I have seen this done with everything from rice to cheerios to beans to oatmeal. Fill a bowl with a dry substance and like the water above, let the kids dig for buried treasure like little plastic animals or GUYS or bouncy balls. It is sure to keep them amused for at least 30 minutes which is more than enough time for you to read the latest issue of Elle Decor.
The best part about all of these is that they are either cheap or free and it will save you from one more plastic monstrosity taking up valuable floor space in your play room. And you deserve a few minutes of peace and quiet because no matter how adorable they are, toddlers can drive you utterly insane.