January 7, 2013

so what do you do with a two year old?

my friend annemarie and i were at the park one day chatting about what to do with one-to-two year olds. our boys were at a stage where they needed help on the playground, they weren't getting a ton out of going to the zoo, didn't understand playdough... then on twitter the other day, my friend anna said, "I would like to meet the toddlers who can be "entertained for hours" by pinterest activities. At this point I think they're fake." Right?? This age between baby and preschooler can be kind of awkward. here's what we're up to (beyond the usual toys, books, and balls), at least before i say, "fine, go ahead and play cars for three straight hours."
1. stamping. when i tell cruz that it's time for stamping, he gets a crazy look in his eyes and says, "stamping! stamping! staaaaamping!!" stamp with whatever you have! we stamp with peppers, potatoes, apples, and our melissa & doug animal stamps. 

2. visit the free zoo! our local pet shop is next door to trader joes and is one of our favorite places to visit. cruz runs right to the back and then announces to everyone we see, "hamsters drinking water!" it never gets old, i guess.

3. water and paint brushes. we could do this alllll day. we draw shapes, letters, our names. we fling the water from the brushes to make splatters. easiest activity ever.

4. painters tape road.

5. play in boxes of all kinds. i think the boxes were cruz's favorite parts of christmas. i don't decorate the box beforehand to look like an animal or a car. sometimes cruz will put stickers on a box, but this is pinterest-free, folks! no pre-planning needed.

6. we take art prrrettyyyy seriously around here. i mean... look at that concentration! art supplies are the kind of toy that are "always available" to play with at home. cruz draws in a bound sketch book, which keeps all of the paper together. then i label it with the months he used it, and we have a nice keepsake!

7. i've told you this before, and i'll tell you this again: all my best parenting ideas come from my friend ashley. this bulldozing station is no exception. hours, my friends. HOURS of fun spent here. and then hours of sweeping up all the macaronis before we mercilessly crush them with our feet. cruz calls this "pasta pan." 


  1. Great post! I have little guy who will be 3 in March and I am always trying to think of activities. I think 1-2 is the TOUGHEST age. I have 3 kids and before we had our third one of the biggest considerations (above having to go thru pregnancy and labour again) was 'could I have a 1 year old again?' Exhausting!
    We also LOVE the petstore (ours happens to be close to big bookstore with a Starbucks, so that's a good and free outing).
    I will try the painters tape roads and maybe even the bulldozer macaroni.
    Another thing my little guy loves: taking all the pillows and blankets and putting them on floor and jumping off the couch on to them. Good times and easy to clean up ;)

  2. Oh, I love these ideas! I am forever looking at lists on pinterest (and then imagining my 16mth old covered the walls in paint or eating the macaroni instead of stringing it on a necklace lol). I know he'd LOVE the bulldozer pit, great one!

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  4. Another great free outing is the public library - my son and I went weekly from ages 2 to 4. Sometimes there are story hours, but he loved to "rent" a
    movie on DVD and get his books.


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