New week, new to do lists! This post has been a long time coming. I originally had every intention of sharing this for summer break activity ideas, but here we are — almost halfway through September!
Most days I let myself get caught up in the hustle & bustle of Laney’s school schedule, grocery shopping, working in a weekly MyGym class for Laney, other errands, paying bills, cleaning the house, doing the laundry and more. In between these things I am busy answering lots of Laney’s questions, handing out snacks and chasing after a quick crawling Morgan. Did you know that kids ask an average of 300 questions a day? I can attest to this. And speaking of Morgan, she is now 11 months old as of this past Monday, September 9. She still has zero interest in trying to say ‘Mama’ and also won’t leave bows in her hair. I can’t believe she will be 1 in less than a month!
Today I’m sharing some of my favorite activities to do with Laney. Some things Morgan can enjoy too! I’ve linked what I can, but you may have some of this stuff just laying around the house.
I came across a similar idea from another mom who homeschools her two little girls and thought it would be something Laney and I would enjoy doing together. I didn’t have to buy anything to put together this basket. For the longest time we had a basket of magazines in our bathroom that did nothing but collect dust. So I threw the stack of magazines in the recycling bin and voila!, I had a basket ready to be filled. From there I went through our playroom, family room toy bin and the books in Laney’s room to figure out what I wanted to fill it with. The choice is yours as to how you want to theme it and what you want to put in it. I switch out the items every month. Reading the same books and doing the same things over and over may seem redundant to an adult, but this repetition is so good for toddlers and their development. I also like to include holiday related items if the particular month I’m building the basket for has one. So this month has a couple of Halloween books that I just pulled out with my fall decor and I’ll swap them for a few other Halloween books we own next month. Here is what we have in our basket for September (pictures are linked in case you want to include these things in your basket too):
Every morning after breakfast (as long as we don’t have to run out the door somewhere), Laney grabs the basket and we do whatever she selects to do out of it for 1 hour. It may just be to read the books. Another day she may want to read one book and then color the rest of the time. Sometimes it could just be the flashcards. On the days we can’t do it in the morning, it becomes our Afternoon Activity Basket. This helps me to not just plop her in front of the TV so that I can keep get things crossed off of my to do list and time we can focus on spending together. Have fun!
Ever since Laney was a little over 1, she has loved to finger paint! Finger painting has slowly evolved to painting with brushes and we recently started dot painting. This Minnie Dot-to-Dot Art Activity Kit looked fun so I ordered it for her. Dot painting allows for several learning opportunities: color recognition, counting, shapes, following directions to dot within the lines, etc. You can also purchase dot paint pens on their own and you can find free printables on Pinterest.
Indoor Color Run
I don’t know about you, but most afternoons are spent doing a mad dash around the house during nap time to load the dishwasher, move laundry from the washer to the dryer, return toys to their bins and just pick up anything else that is out of place. Then before you know it, the kids are up and you just had your first opportunity to sit down. I introduce to you the Indoor Color Run game. It’s super simple. Grab several pieces of construction paper (different colors) and tape them around at toddler height. I’ve always done this in our family room, but you can spread it out between other rooms or keep it contained within a playroom. Then take a seat with your sheet of stickers. I will then select a sticker, ask Laney what color it is and then she will run to go match it to wherever that color paper is on the wall. I typically just do this until she no longer wants to play but feel free to make up your own rules to increase the excitement.
I originally bought this Necklace Activity Kit for Laney when we joined Brad on a business trip so that we would have something to pass the time in the hotel room. Even if you just have some string and random beads at home, the act of picking them up and stringing them is a great motor skills exercise! We have since pulled this kit out when Laney is sick as an easy, quiet, non-messy craft as well as just any time she is willing. You can also get different variations of this kit including Disney princesses, My Little Pony, Spirit and Trolls.
Do you have an upcoming vacation that everyone is excited about? As a kid I LOVED making paper countdown chains and have passed that love on to Laney. Earlier this summer, she was so excited to go to the beach and kept asking if it was time to go. Queue the lightbulb going off in my head. We grabbed some construction paper, markers, crayons and stickers and sat down at her table to decorate the pages. I then cut them into strips and we taped the chain together. We found the best area to hang our countdown chain was over a big clock in our family room. But you can also put it over your fridge or anywhere you choose. Laney was so excited to tear a ring off each day and watch the chain get shorter and shorter. Visually, this helped her see how much longer it was until we got to go to the beach and limited the number of times she asked me that question. Win win!
Once we were back home from the beach, I knew it would be fun to repeat this process and make a countdown chain for our October Disney trip. We leave 5 weeks from today and are so excited!
Laney was gifted a Water Table from her aunt and uncle for her first Christmas a couple of years ago. Still not quite steady on her feet, we put it away until she was ready … and then forgot about it still boxed up in the corner of our playroom. Oops! We put it together this summer and she has absolutely loved it! These tables don’t have to just be for water either — you can fill them with sand or rice with different toys to make it a sensory experience, whatever you want! With our mild weather late into the year, we will be able to continue to play with Laney’s water table and I know she won’t object. I won’t either as I sit and watch her play!
Do you a library near where you live? We are so blessed to have such a great library system in our area. We have several around us that we can enjoy because each of them offer their own unique events and activities including Story Time, Hands on Art and more. And the best part is, they’re FREE! All of our libraries also recently went through some renovations and upgrading within the last few years so we can also enjoy interactive play areas, building blocks, magnetic tiles, puzzles and so much more! We love going and create a schedule around some of these activities when Laney isn’t in school. Also, once the fall schedule is released, I’m looking forward to taking Morgan to Story Time one-on-one while Laney is at school.
Search your local library’s website. I bet it will surprise you what they have to offer!
I hope you have fun with some of these ideas! Happy Fall, y’all!