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Entertaining Toddlers: It's the Simple Things

By Emily |

As I sit here typing, my son is playing independently and peacefully at the coffee table with nothing more than a few bowls, a spoon, a measuring cup and some dried beans. And he’s been at it for almost 20 minutes.

Moms of toddlers, you know how huge that is! Usually getting your toddler to stay involved with something for 5 minutes straight is good.

I am totally with my fellow bloggers Lori and Danielle when they say that working at home with a toddler is hard stuff. But, I am reminded today that I have often found it’s the simple things that help to make life a little bit easier.

So, maybe you’re a WAHM who needs some time to write or send emails, or you’re a mom of a toddler who, like the rest of us, just needs a few minutes to regain your sanity or throw something together for dinner, I have had great success with getting my kids started with something simple and then leaving them to entertain themselves.

Whether you put together toddler busy bags that you can bring out when you are in desperate need of some quiet time, or you pull out one of these ideas for indoor playtime, I think the key is to sit down and spend a few minutes, five at the most, doing the activity with your child. Then, you can step away and let them continue to play on their own, and they will usually stay engaged for a longer amount of time.

It’s that simple act of finding something that they are excited to play with, and then getting them engaged in the activity, instead of just leaving them to their own devices, that will buy you those extra few minutes of independent play time.

Now, I don’t guarantee that this will always work in every situation, or with every child, but I have found it to be effective when I use it with my kids at our house.

What is your best simple trick for keeping your toddler engaged in independent play?

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About Emily



Emily McClements is passionate about caring for creation while saving money at the same time. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family's journey toward natural and green living on a budget at Live Renewed. Read bio and latest posts → Read Emily's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “Entertaining Toddlers: It's the Simple Things

  1. Christine says:

    I can totally relate to this!!!

    My husband and I were doing our annual day of baking pumpkin bread. 18 loaves – 12 batches. It takes several hours to build it all. I had to keep my toddler out of my hair somehow. So I gave her a few cups of flour and an extra bowl and measuring devices and let her go to town. Oh the mess it made. But she was in heaven, “helping” mommy and daddy.

  2. Dana says:

    I’m with Christine on this one…kids love making messes. I have put my 4 year old on the kitchen floor with play doh and a rolling pin and cookie cutters and bought myself a few minutes plenty of times!

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