Sometimes parents and caregivers just run out of steam. But when you are there alone you have to find effective an speedy solutions. This page is jammed packed with infant & toddler play ideas as well as some suggestions of how to keep energized in healthy ways.
How to Get Energy Naturally and Quickly
Walk into any health store and you’ll see rows of supplements and drinks that say they can increase your energy. But you may be wondering how to get energy naturally and how to do it fast.
Taking care of the house. Working at your job. Running after your kids. Handling all your chores. You always have so much to do, and it feels like you never have enough time to do it. Especially if you’re tired.
Fortunately, there are several natural ways to increase energy. Read on to learn 10 tips on how to get energy naturally in just 10 minutes.
If you think yoga is only good for flexibility, think again. Studies have also shown that it improves posture, helps build strength, reduces stress, helps with breathing, can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and even fight fatigue.
You might already know that it’s easy to mistake hunger signals for thirst, but did you also know that sometimes fatigue is a sign of dehydration? If you’re feeling tired, a tall glass of water might be all you need to perk up again.
I admit I sometimes have a hard time remembering to drink enough water. That’s why I got this water bottle with time markers to make sure I’m hydrating enough throughout the day. Best of all? It’s glass, so I don’t have to worry about dealing with BPA or any other harmful chemicals from plastic.
I know I’m guilty of skipping breakfast if I’m feeling rushed in the morning and need to get out the door in a hurry. However, studies show that people who eat breakfast are in a better mood and have more energy throughout the day.
Of course, making sure you eat the RIGHT thing for breakfast is also important.
Yes, that pastry looks and tastes good, but that sweetness will only make your blood sugar spike before plummeting back down and leaving you feeling even more tired than before.
Instead, go for healthy and high-fiber foods, such as oatmeal, nut butter on whole grain bread, berries, or Greek yogurt.
I admit I love to sing. I also admit no one is going to be signing me to a record label any time soon. But that’s OK. I still run around the house singing the latest song stuck in my head.
It turns out that singing is helping me in multiple ways. Scientists say singing not only has a calming effect and is a natural antidepressant, but it’s also energizing. So if you’re feeling tired in the morning, don’t be afraid to belt out your favorite tune in the shower.
Of course, if you don’t want your coworkers giving you weird glances during the workday, you might want to leave your best performances for when you’re driving to and from work
5. Grab a Handful of Almonds
Sometimes you might be feeling lethargic because you’re low on some key vitamins and minerals. If you have a slight magnesium deficiency, you could find it difficult to get up and get moving.
Women should be getting around 300 milligrams of magnesium a day, and men should be consuming around 350 milligrams. If you’re feeling sluggish and want to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, almonds and peanuts are natural energy boosters.
If you’re looking to make your almond snack as healthy and eco-friendly as possible, consider Almond Lane products. I like Almond Lane because the nuts are grown in California using sustainable growing practices and the company uses steam pasteurization instead of chemical pasteurization.
6. Go for a Quick Walk
Even though it seems like moving around when you’re tired is only going to make you more tired, the exact opposite is true. Increasing physical activity when you feel tired, especially by going for a walk, is one of the great natural ways to boost energy.
When you take a walk, your heart starts pumping oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and brain, which increases your energy. Even something as simple as a 10-minute brisk walk will help.
In fact, as a study done at California State University by Robert Thayer, PhD shows, not only did a vigorous 10-minute walk immediately increase energy, but the effects also lasted up to two hours after the walk was over. When participants in the study continued the daily 10-minute walks for three weeks, their overall mood and energy levels were also lifted.
7. Talk to an Upbeat Friend
Emotions and moods are contagious. Think about it for a second. When you’re around someone who’s negative and grumpy, you also feel like all your energy is sapped and you’re in the dumps. On the other hand, when you hang around happy and positive people, your energy levels can get a real lift.
If you’re feeling tired in the middle of the afternoon, give your upbeat friend a quick call and chat for a few minutes.
8. Have a Snack
Your brain and body need fuel to get up and get moving, and they get this fuel from food. When your blood sugar level starts to drop because you haven’t eaten in a while, you’ll begin to feel distracted and fuzzy.
That’s when you need to grab a snack. Snacks that have protein and slow-burning carbs, such as granola with berries or banana slices with nut butter, are an excellent option.
9. Sniff a Cinnamon Stick
Smell is an incredibly powerful sense that can actually influence brain activity. A quick sniff of a cinnamon stick can help reduce fatigue and make you feel more alert.
If you don’t have a cinnamon stick handy, look for a peppermint. The candy’s sweet and minty scent are said to be another great fatigue fighter.
Just a few minutes of walking outside in the sunshine can improve your memory, put you in a better mood, and give you a boost of energy. If you can’t squeeze a couple minutes to take a quick walk outside, at least stand next to a sunny window.
You don’t have to go through your day feeling sluggish and worn down. You also don’t have to turn to unhealthy or unnatural energy boosters. With these tips, you can take advantage of natural energy boosters that will give you the pick-me-up you need in 10 minutes or less!
I have read that caffeine makes breastfeeding painful because it constricts your blood vessels. The pain may be sharp, shooting or stabbing. Yikes, we certainly don’t want that.
Personally, I’m not a big coffee or tea drinker simply because I want to adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you’re like me, here are a few caffeine-free alternatives for sleep-deprived mums:
Caffeine-free alternatives that are safe for both mum and baby
You are like, what?! Water? But it’s true, dehydration can lead to fatigue. Increasing water consumption is especially important for breastfeeding mothers. You should aim to drink a big glass of water before and after every nursing session. It’s also calorie-free!
To make water more palatable, you can infuse it with lemon, cucumber, mint, strawberry or rosemary.
Bananas are one of the best foods for energy. They are an excellent source of carbohydrates, potassium and vitamin B6, all of which can help boost energy levels in your body. That’s why many gym-goers have a banana before their workout.
I tend to reach for an apple as a snack. Apples can provide a slow and sustained energy release due to their rich content of natural sugars and fiber. It also contains a good number of vitamins and antioxidant. All good stuff for ourselves and babies!
I love hummus! It’s a great source of energy and fiber. It is made with all-natural ingredients such as chickpeas, sesame seed paste, olive oil and lemon. The combination of these ingredients makes hummus a good source of energy.
It’s a bit of work but I prefer to make my own at home because the store-bought ones are quite expensive and may contain preservatives.
BRAND’S Essence of Chicken
You probably know this one from your school days when your mum tried to load you up during exam seasons. It turns out that our mums were right all along. BRAND’S Essence of Chicken is great for easing fatigue because of many reasons:
By now, you should have discovered that pregnancy brain tends to linger long after the actual pregnancy. Most new mums are just as forgetful as their pregnant counterparts. Maybe it’s due to hormonal changes, lack of sleep or maybe it’s a combination of both.
Whenever I find myself losing concentration, I reach for a bottle of BRAND’S Essence of Chicken. I’m not sure whether is a psychological effect, but I do feel better afterwards and able to carry on with the task at hand.
Studies show that BRAND’S Essence of Chicken improves blood flow to the brain, especially to the Prefrontal Cortex – the part of our brains which is responsible for problem-solving, decision making, attention, working memory and planning. More oxygen and nutrients in our blood to this are area = better concentration.
Studies have also shown that those who consumed BRAND’S Essence of Chicken for an extended amount of time were more alert and able to respond quicker than those who didn’t.
Having three kids and juggling work from home at the same time, I must say I’m pretty good at multi-tasking and switching between tasks efficiently.
I sleep for an average of 6 hours every night. It’s not ideal but I’m glad that BRAND’S Essence of Chicken has helped to increase my metabolic rate, thus boosting my energy levels. This is similar to taking caffeine, without having the side effects.
It’s actually the opposite, drinking BRAND’S Essence of Chicken can help to manage stress levels and lowers stress hormones resulting in less anxiety!
Improved Quality of Breastmilk
Breastfeeding mums would love this one. Besides keeping you alert, BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken can also promote early milk secretion and improves milk production while maintaining your breastmilk quality. This benefits the overall immunity and gastrointestinal development of your baby.
ON THE DAYS WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THE PARENT ANYMORE…
“Why does my child hate me?” “Will anything ever go right?” “I wish this was different.” “I just want to give up.” “I thought this would be better.” “Why is this so darn hard?” “I don’t want to do this anymore!” “Why isn’t this easy?” “Shouldn’t this be fun at least some of the time?” “I hate this life.” “Why did I have kids?”
This is a part of parenting that people don’t want to talk about. How do you verbalize when your child is literally sucking the life (and the FUN!) out of you and your parenting journey with them?
It’s almost like a secret club no one wants to belong to or even admit they’re in.
I TOTALLY GET IT.
I spent about 9 months hoping we were going to be a kind and gentle parent. When you throw daily tasks in the mix, it can seem like all of your life stinks too. You keep your house semi-organized and clean, laundry is done, food is purchased, meals are cooked, and keep the kids alive.
Doing all of this with your sanity intact can be a big feat some days.I want to start by saying every parent will go through a period where parenting just stinks. Everything is a phase and each phase comes and goes. It’s what we do during this phase that makes all the difference.What can you do when you don’t want to be the parent anymore?
These 12 ways will get you back on track when you don’t want to be the parent anymore.
9 times out of 10 if I’m feeling worn down it’s because I feel like I’m giving my all to the family and I don’t feel appreciated. (Lack of appreciation for your hard work is a whole other ball game and I’ll discuss it next.) If I’m doing things for myself it allows me to be filled up beyond needing anyone else’s appreciation and thanks. When I take good care of myself, it shows the entire family that I also matter.
We spend so much time doing things for everyone else and often we get left in the dust. Do things for yourself.
Go out to lunch with a friend, go for a walk, read a book, get your hair done, go on a trip, or stay in a hotel for a night. Sometimes self-care is hard for us to do. Women, especially, are hard-wired to be nurturing and take care of others. If we don’t have anything that belongs to just us, it’s easy to have resentment of the people who have things beyond their family.We begrudge the mom who has the family to watch her kids so she can get out for a run or we grumble over the woman who hires a sitter so she can go shopping. But here’s the truth: we often resent them because we don’t feel we can do those things for ourselves.
Now, I do know some people don’t have access to babysitters or have family available to help (or you don’t want them to!). In those cases, find a good friend to switch services with. If you have a child you know when another child comes over it is often more helpful. It changes the dynamic in your house, the kids stay busy, they usually don’t fight because they’re not kids who are always together, and they’re happy to be together.Take the leap and schedule something for yourself.
I know this may sound funny to read. Often we spend every day making sure every person in the house has what they need to be complete and happy. While that is a great thing to do, it’s not helping anyone in the long run and it drains YOU.
When kids need to do things for themselves, they tend to get more organized and be more responsible. Kids rise to our expectations. Give them responsibility and teach them how to handle it.
Here’s a true story: A few weeks ago, the girls were all running around the house before school. They were playing, screaming, and not getting ready. It was 7:50 am and lunches weren’t made. I love when our kids laugh and play together. I like it even more if they do it after they’re ready so it doesn’t prevent them from getting ready. I called them all into the family room and once they all finally trickled in I let them know we need to leave every morning at 8 am. Then I told them they had 10 minutes to finish getting dressed and make their own lunches. If they were late to school they would have to let the office know why.If Matt isn’t traveling he tends to make their lunches. He loves doing this for them and I think it’s almost a way for him to better connect with them when he’s home. If we’re running late and it’s my fault, I will always make their lunch and help them get ready. However, Matt was out of town and since they were choosing to run around and play, I wasn’t about to spend time making their lunches for them when I was still getting ready. I left the room to finish getting what I needed for the day.
We spend every night getting ready for a successful morning so I knew their school bags were packed. I knew they could pack their own lunches and I knew leaving at 8 am gave us a good cushion to get to school if they were still running late or if there was traffic.
Our kids moved like they have never moved before. They worked together to get their lunches packed, school bags loaded up in the car, and grab breakfast. Someone even took the dog out before we left. We made it to school in plenty of time and the rest of the week they played after we were completely ready for school.
4. MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR PRIORITIES FOR A WHILE
I had to put my business on hold. I had to step back and realize it could wait. When I slow down publishing blog posts and teaching courses it means I am working hard to keep my family at the forefront.
My work is the easiest part of my life that I can put on hold and it allows me to step back and take care of myself. It gave me more time for self-care and allowed me to work harder on connecting with them.
5. CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY
Connecting with your family is tricky when you don’t want to do it. When you’re exhausted from being a parent and a partner, you don’t feel like you have anything left to give at the end of the day.
This is when it’s important to connect in a way that is fun.The truth is if you are feeling disconnected from your family, they’re also feeling disconnected from you. This disconnect is a vicious cycle that continues until someone breaks it. We can’t expect our kids to know how to break it (they’re kids after all!) so it needs to be us. We need to be the adults.I like to do individual dates with the kids or do a fun family outing that is low stress. For me, I prefer going to a park. I try to find a park we haven’t been to before and we take the whole family there. Because it’s a new park to us, there won’t be as many complaints because it’s exciting to explore. I unplug during this time (I actually leave my phone in the car) and just focus on playing and having fun. I go down the slides and swing on the swings. I teach my kids how to swing on the monkey bars and watch as they climb everything in sight.When I let go and focus on the fun, it automatically connects us.
6. GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS
When I get overwhelmed it’s easy to close myself in and not want to go out and do things and see people. While this feels good in the moment, it truly fills my soul to spend time with other people. If you’re unable to physically get out of the house to see someone, use the phone. The phone is a great way to connect with the sanity of friendship. You could even invite your children’s friends and parents around to your house. Have the children play out in the garden, any babies or toddlers could play on a baby swing whilst the parents are talking. (See the babygearspecialist.com list of the best outdoor baby swings) This would help you to stop thinking about your children in a negative way as you will be with your child’s friends as well as yours.
7. MAKE A LIST OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
I did this before the start of the school year for the girls and then realized I needed to do it for myself. Making a list of what makes you happy allows you to go back to the list when you’re not. For some reason, the color yellow is making me happy lately. So I went out and bought 2 yellow shirts and wear them whenever I’m feeling down. As a matter of fact, I wore the same shirt 2 days in a row last week because I needed the color yellow in my line of sight. I didn’t care that it was dirty. I didn’t care that people may have noticed. It was what I needed and what I need is important.
8. BETTER HEALTH
When I eat junk, I feel like junk. It tastes great in the moment but then I feel terrible for days. It’s time I focus on fueling my body just like I teach the kids it’s important to do. This also includes working out. I’ll be honest, I hate working out. When I do it I can get into a good habit but generally, I hate it. I hate getting sweaty and dirty and having to wash my hair every day. But again, just like I tell my kids, sometimes we have to do things we hate to make ourselves better. In this case, I try to go for a bike ride at least once a week. I ride about 6-8 miles, either alone or with friends, and while my legs feel like jelly afterward, it really gets my blood pumping and endorphins running.
9. OUTSIDE INTERESTS
I feel smothered when I don’t have anything going on outside of my family. I’m introverted so that means I recharge by being alone. However, I need to do activities and have interests that I don’t share with anyone else. I share almost every aspect of my life with my family: bike riding, sewing, watching tv, reading, hiking, cooking, playing with the dog, etc. It’s important I keep some things to myself. This is why I belong to a book club and volunteer at school and in our community. It gives me something I don’t have to share with them and allows me to keep my identity intact. I am not just a mother and wife. I am a person.
10. AVOIDING SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is a blessing and a curse. It makes it easy for us to stay connected but also exposes us to the negativity that lives and breeds on the internet. I’ve been staying off of social media more and more lately and I realize it’s making me happier. Sure, I miss some things but my well being is more important than being up to date on everyone all the time.11. SLEEPLack of sleep is a huge trigger for me. If I feel tired I snap quicker at my kids. My bad mood can spiral faster than a balloon can float away from a little kid with a loose grip. I try my hardest to get into bed by 9pm and fall asleep by 10. This doesn’t always happen. My ADHD makes it difficult for my brain to shut down so I work extra hard to help myself fall asleep. Still, getting into bed (without a device like my phone or iPad) helps me get a head start.
12. STOP TRYING TO DO IT ALL
As humans, we can’t do it all. It’s impossible. If we made a list of all the things we wanted and needed to do and then actually accomplished it, we’d only add more to the list.
Pick and choose what’s important to you and your family and do only those things first. Pass up on what’s not necessary during this time. It can be hard to let things slide and it may give you more work eventually (I’m specifically thinking of laundry).
However, your state of mind is more important than clean laundry. Remember that dirty shirt I wore two days in a row? That’s okay. Give yourself a break and some grace.
It’s also important for us to evaluate our definition of parenting. Parenting isn’t doing the laundry or cooking dinner. Those are things we do because we’re adults, but they aren’t actual parenting.
Parenting is how we treat our children. It’s teaching them instead of punishing them. It’s giving them hugs and kisses before bedtime. It’s making them feel safe after they have a bad dream. It’s helping to patch up boo boos. Parenting is love.
Parenthood can easily squeeze the life out of you. Our sweet children can easily make us feel worthless and make us dread each and every day.
While this post doesn’t address how to get THEM back on track, it does focus on how to get yourself back on track. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can ever do for yourself and your children.
More Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Now that you know how to get energy naturally, are you ready to discover even more excellent tips to live a more eco-friendly life? Check out some of our other popular posts:
I have seen lots of new moms struggle with which activities are suggested for their childs age, So, I decided to compile this list as a helpful guide to share different activities for infants and toddlers that are mom tested and baby approved. If you stay at home with your child like I do, the days can seem to drag along. Hopefully these ideas are helpful and educational! Remember that just because something is listed for a certain age, doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial for other ages as well!
Activities for 0-3 Months
Go for a walk outdoors. My baby did not like to be laid down, so I wore him in a carrier all the time. Babywearing is great for your baby to get tummy time practice and still be close to you. You can do things with your hands, and your arms won’t get tired from holding a sleeping baby in one position. You can also take your baby for a walk in a stroller. It is nice to get some exercise and fresh air.
Tummy time is great for building your newborns’ neck and head muscles. My baby didn’t love laying on his belly, but most babies love to lay on their parents’ chests. You can put a fun toy in front of your baby to give them something to look at while they practice.
My baby loved plastic bag painting. We put a canvas inside a bag with different colors of paint, and he kicked and hit it creating his first piece of art. We still have it in his room hanging, and he loves to look at it and feel the texture now as a toddler.
Find some paper, and let your baby tear away! It was right around this age for my baby’s first Christmas, and he loved opening the wrapping paper more than the gifts themselves.
Shine a flashlight in a dark room. A lot of time is spent sleeping these days, so make light of it before a nap or bedtime. Your baby will love seeing the shadows and exploring light and dark.
Activities for 7-9 Months
Blow bubbles! This is one of the most fun and simple activities for infants and toddlers. You can find bubbles for a dollar at dollar tree or make your own. Bubbles provide amusement for days as your child will love to watch them float around.
Look in the mirror together. Your baby will get a kick out of seeing his/her reflection. Although, at this stage he/she probably won’t recognize the image as being his/her self. It is fun to make silly faces or play peek a boo.
Look at pictures of familiar faces. You can create your own cards by printing photos of your family members and friends. Then, I would suggest laminating them, because we all know how much babies love to put everything in their mouths. Plus, this helps keep the pictures from being torn or soaked with water. You can even take it a step further by gluing them to card stock, so they will be nice and firm to resist being bent.
Play with the steering wheel or explore in the car. This remains one of my toddlers favorite activities. Any time we are in the car, he likes to navigate through the back seat and press all of the buttons.
Look out the window. You can talk to your baby about what you see. They will love seeing birds, cars, people, and more! Sometimes they may even catch their reflection on the glass.
Roll a ball back and forth. This is one of the activities for infants and toddlers that helps their gross motor skills and hand eye coordination. My toddler giggles when we play with balls as they are his favorite.
Activities for 10-12 Months
Put balls in a muffin tin (teaches one to one correspondence). This activity can be done with any small balls you have. Most people should be able to find a muffin tin in their kitchens. If you don’t have one, children love to play with anything you have that isn’t a toy. My baby loves to play with bowls and spoons, pounding on them to make noise or rolling his ball around inside. Some of the best activities for infants and toddlers are just talking to them and involving them in your everyday activities.
Velcropuff ball activity: I love this idea! I found it when creating this blog, and it sounds so fun and easy. You just need velcro and puff balls, and your baby can enjoy sticking the puff balls on the velcro and pulling them off.Pull your baby around in a basket. The majority of people have laundry baskets in their homes. It isn’t the most comfortable for the parent, but babies get a kick of riding around the house in a basket. If you don’t have a basket you could use a large box.
Buy some magnets and let your baby place them on the refrigerator. My mom made DIY magnets by gluing little magnets on wooden animals from a craft store. Then, she put them in a metal container to carry for on the go enjoyment. This can be handy for road trips or while running errands to keep your child busy even at an older age.
Stacking games are great and can be done with everyday household objects like cups and bowls. Here is a post that talks about all of the benefits of these activities for infants and toddlers.
Create an obstacle course for your baby with pillows. He/she can have a great time just crawling over and around the mounds.
Activities For One Year Olds
Read board books. In my opinion this is one of the most beneficial activities for infants and toddlers, better yet children of all ages. We love to borrow books from our library. At this age I’ve found that board books are best, so you don’t have to worry about the pages getting torn. My toddler loves reading this book.
Play on the playground. Children need to spend time outdoors and get all of their energy out. This is one of the essential everyday activities for infants and toddlers. You should be able to find a playground near you that you can visit for free and your toddler can climb to his/her heart’s content!
Go on a walk in the stroller. If you don’t have a stroller, find a trail near you and let your toddler run around! They will love to explore nature and have the freedom without being told not to get into things they don’t belong in.
Dance! Put on some music and sing along. You can even dance without any music. Make up motions and sing nursery rhymes.
Make animal noises. My toddler is obsessed with all things animals. He loves to say the noises and sing old mc donald. These cards include amazing photos of animals.
Talk about body parts and get your child to point to them. It is never to early to practice naming different body parts. Toddlers love to show their smarts. Some of the best activities for infants and toddlers just require you being present, interacting, and engaging with your child.
Water play outside with bowls, spoons, and things to scoop. They can also have a fun time playing in the bath tub or sink with water. We got our toddler a water table that is great for all kinds of sensory play.
Tape streamers across the hallway. This is such an easy activity that you can throw together in a minute. Perfect for long rainy days stuck indoors or if you need to keep your toddler occupied for a little while. If you want to live on the wild side give them the streamer roll.
Poke a hole in a box and put ribbon through it for your toddler to pull. It will be exciting for them to see how much ribbon continues to come out. Have fun with these activities for infants and toddlers creating new games.
Create a DIY felt peekaboo house. This is such a cute idea. Similar to the familiar faces book I discussed earlier, except this plays on how much children love peek a boo. Your toddler should enjoy getting to open and close the felt flaps.
Make a ramp out of a book. We need to try this activity. I’m sure my toddler would have a lot of fun watching different toys roll and slide down differently. As you can see, a lot of activities for infants and toddlers don’t require that you buy a ton of toys.
I’m not sure how this DIY ball drop would hold up to my rough toddler. I tried creating something similar before, and he just ripped it off the wall. Ideally this would be a fun activity where your child can drop balls down a cardboard tube.
My toddler loves to just play in giant boxes that we get deliveries in. He drags them around, crawls inside, and has pretend play for days. This is one of the easiest activities for infants and toddlers.
We got this butcher paper and these non-toxic crayons. You can tape the butcher paper to the floor or a table. It is great to use for all art activities and coloring. This is a great open ended option on this list of activities for infants and toddlers.
Another activity I plan to try with my toddler that I think he would enjoy involves construction and contact paper. Your toddler can tear the construction paper and stick it to the contact paper to create their own work of art.
Here is a list of amazing montessori activities that are perfect for toddlers.
Play By Age Toddler Version
Activities For Two Year Olds
I plan to make this gluten and dye free playdough with my toddler. Clay is also great for molding and building your child’s fine motor skills. I love the activities for infants and toddlers that you can do with everyday items you have on hand at home.
This DIY feelings board book is so helpful for children at this age when they are dealing with so many big feelings frequently. It will be fun to make and get your child to pose for the photos. Then, you can refer back to it to help your child be able to recognize and label their feelings.
Create homemade nontoxic paint to finger paint with. My toddler would love the sensory experience. Your child will also have the piece of art that they make to cherish and be proud of.
Practice counting things around you. The more you expose your child to number the more comfortable they will be. This teaches them basic math skills through their natural environment. This is another one of the activities for infants and toddlers that can grow with your child.
Help clean up and organize. At this age children love to be involved and mimic what the adults around them do. Use this to your advantage and make cleaning a game.
Look at family photos. Children love to see themselves and look back on family memories. These activities for infants and toddlers are fun for the whole family. It’s nice to remember the past and review photos together.
Sticker sorting is your go to quick and easy activity for toddlers. You just need paper and an assortment of related stickers. This allows your child to practice classifying and grouping colors or whatever you choose to sort the sticker by.
Sticker line up is a fun activity for your toddler to hone in on their fine motor skills placing the sticker in a line.
Sensory Activities from Newborn to Early Toddlerhood
Baby sensory activities do not have to be elaborate or even messy. Parents and caretakers can take a developmentally appropriate activity and turn it into a wondrous sensory play experience.
Babies and young toddlers are in a stage of play developmentwhere the goal is to learn about their bodies and environment through the sense. Basically, everything is sensory play.
Take time to appreciate how small changes to tummy time or an extra few minutes at a meal can be turned into sensory play. That means do not spend too much time planning or setting up sensory experiences. In fact, most of these sensory activities are no mess, no fuss.
At What Age Should You Start Sensory Play?
Sensory play activities can start when a baby is born. For newborns and very young infants, sensory play activities are very simple, such as touching the fabric of their clothing or listening to a parent sing. Most babies will seek the sensory experience of feeling their caregiver’s skin and warmth.
Even mouthing toys is a sensory activity for babies. Babies love to put things in their mouths because while they do not have great control of their hands and fingers to explore, they can use all the nerves in their mouths.
Sensory activities will become more complex as a baby gets older.
How To Do Sensory Play With Babies?
Sensory play for babies is honestly super simple. Start with a developmentally-appropriate activity (hint: it isn’t screen time).
Next, think about how that activity could stimulate one or more senses.
Here is where I need to mention that there are two more senses: vestibular and proprioceptive, in addition to the 5 senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight. I still love to geek out on that.
Then consider the individual interests and skills of your baby. Adjust the experience to meet your baby’s interests or connect to their current learning.
Are they starting to roll over?
Do they love to shake toys or crinkle paper?
Do they dislike getting wet?
Have they started trying new foods?
Find a sensory activity that your baby adores. You can feel confident in doing that activity over and over again. As your baby develops new skills, you can modify the activity. If your baby is engaged, they will keep learning each time.
Always, always supervise babies during sensory play. Babies are constantly learning and developing new skills. You might not be able to anticipate how a baby will engage with a particular material.
Create a tummy-time space on the floor with layers of blankets and pillows. Babies can explore each item’s different colors, textures, and weight. Babies who are rolling or starting to crawl can work around the lumps of pillows. Adjust the space if your baby seems overly frustrated or tired trying to move around.
Senses: touch, sight, vestibular, proprioceptive
Exploring Weather: Step Outdoors In The Wind, Rain, Snow, Humidity, Or Fog
Senses: touch, smell, hearing, sight
Expert Tip: You can avoid getting lightheaded, out-of-breath by investing in a bubble machine.
Senses: sight, touch
Wet + Dry Sponges
Offer your baby two or more sponges, some wet and some dry. They can explore the different sensations of wet versus dry. You can also put a small amount of water on a tray and offer your baby a dry sponge that will slowly soak up the water.
Senses: sight, touch, taste, proprioceptive
8 To 14 Months (Sitting, Crawling, Cruising, Walking)
Touching cold windows
2 sensory bottles – one with ice water and one with warm water
Chilling teething toys or ice packs in the fridge
Water play with two trays of different water temperatures
Offer your baby a cup of cool water to pour while they are in the bathtub
Cut out 12″ by 12″ squares of contact paper and bubble wrap. Tape each square to the floor with masking tape. Encourage your baby to crawl or walk across the different materials. For a sensory bonus, do the activity barefoot.
Once your baby can sit up, it’s safe to slowly introduce drinking from an open cup. This is a great learning experience and a sensory activity all in one. For more sensory play, give your baby a dry washcloth that they can use to start wiping up spills.
Senses: taste, touch, proprioceptive
Exploring Light + Shadow
Rope lights or string lights
Cover lamps with scarves
Explore shadows outdoors during dusk or nighttime
Senses: sight, touch
Encourage your baby to roll, dance, or turn upside down. Or you can gently perform these moves with your baby.
Senses: vestibular, proprioceptive
Under + Through
If you don’t have a pop-up tunnel, you can create your own with chairs or by draping blankets.
A great way to incorporate sensory play into your home is by using loose parts. Exploring objects is an engaging, developmentally appropriate sensory activity during a baby’s first year.
Loose parts are items that babies can safely manipulate, mouth, and explore. Objects with various textures, colors, weights, and sounds create a sensory experience.
Many of the activities above could fall into loose parts play. Still, I want to highlight some of my favorite loose parts materials for babies.
Themed Treasure Baskets (find ideas in the ultimate guide linked below)
Fabric: scarves, felt pieces, fabric squares
Shaker Bottles: made with plastic bottles or empty spice bottles
Cardboard + Felt Cutouts
Lids + Containers
Sponges + Loofahs
Why Babies Need Sensory Play
Sensory play is an essential part of development for babies. Young children need to experience the world through the senses to develop their motor skills, sensory processing, and cognition skills. For babies, sensory activities are an introduction to emergent science skills.
Water play is so fun for toddlers Click here for Information On Water Tables
20 Best Forms Of Water Play For Toddlers
Ivana Davies October 21, 2020
Water play for toddlers is probably the most fun you can have your little ones doing out in the hot summer sun.
That’s because when it comes to water play, it’s one of the most flexible areas for fun play ideas to develop and your kids to enjoy without ever getting bored.
You’d be surprised at the amount of fun activities that you can perform with just a garden hose, a sprinkler, or a simple tub of water.
Not to mention that swimming pools or even kiddie pools are classed as the best places for some of the most fun water play activities for toddlers – as long as your little ones are under proper supervision at all times, of course.
While the key is to have as much fun as possible, it doesn’t mean that water play can’t also be a time where your tots establish and refine some of their key developmental traits like fine motor skills, creativity, and general problem-solving skills.
But with so many possibilities to choose from, which indoor and outdoor water play ideas are the best? Well, follow along down this list I put together and see which of these best fit your child’s preferences.
Water Play Ideas For Toddlers And Preschoolers
A note before I start: If you’re planning on doing some outdoor water activities with your kiddo, make sure to cover him in the proper SPF sunscreen to protect his sensitive little body so he can enjoy his fun water time fully.
With that said, let’s delve into some easy, fun ideas involving water.
1. Make a kiddie pool into a watery ball pit
Undoubtedly one of the most entertaining activities and the simplest to set up. Just buy a bunch of plastic balls, fill the pool up with water, scatter the balls around your tot’s little pool play area, and watch him have the time of his life.
A swimming pool can also do the trick, but only if your child has learned how to swim and you’re around to watch him just in case.
2. Sensory bins
While sensory bins can be anything and everything, water generally makes for some of the most fun ones, sometimes even better than your little one squishing play dough in his hands.
Anything from fake snow and ice cubes to wet pom-poms, water beads, and similar. You can make a whole water table of sensory play with water bins alone.
It’s a cheap and effective way to make use of water in a fun way all through DIY techniques.
3. Painting the driveway
This one may seem a bit odd, but it’s super fun to do and easy to execute. All you need is a tub of water, some clean paintbrushes, and a paved or concrete area.
Soak the brushes and then drag them across the driveway to make your masterpiece. It’s a lot safer than regular paint – for one, there’s no mess to clean up, plus also there’s no issue if your child happens to lick the brush out of curiosity.
Water is a great non-permanent way to have a whole load of fantastic fun.
4. Water balloon fight
While it might be a bit unfair for you to challenge your 3-year-old kid, you can always pit him against his friends for a bit of harmless shenanigans.
Just prepare a bunch of water balloons for them to be able to use as ammo.
If you’d like to spice it up a bit more, you can go out of your way to create a whole battlefield for them and adding a few squirt guns and/or spray bottles into the mix.
You can even add water hazards in the form of a sprinkler or two and a few inflatable water toys to serve as cover. This way you get to make it a really memorable experience. Let the water games begin!
5. Food coloring ice cubes
It’s as simple as a toddler water activity gets. Simply get your ice cube tray and fill it with water, then put some food coloring into each individual one and freeze for an array of color options.
Once they’re frozen, take them out and place them in a bowl of clear water. Your toddler will be fascinated by how it melts and the color spreads. The more you put in, the crazier the color combinations are going to become.
Just make sure to not overdo it and ruin the charm of it by going all out at once.
6. Paper boat sailing
Here’s yet another fun activity for your water play table. Teach your kid how to make a sturdy paper boat out of a sheet of A4 paper or some old newspapers.
It’ll take a bit of trial and error, but it’s simple enough for preschoolers to grasp the concept. That said, if your child is having trouble, just make the boat for him. I doubt he’ll mind.
While you’re in the process, you may as well make him a silly paper hat too.
After that’s done, head over to your swimming pool, kiddie pool, or bathtub if nothing else, fill it with water, and let the boats sail along. Your kiddo won’t be able to contain his excitement, trust me.
Even to this day, my 5-year-old son really enjoys making his own boats and seeing them sail down a creek or any body of water for that matter. It is a delight to see.
7. DIY squirt guns
Even though I’ve touched upon them earlier in the water balloon bit, nothing is stopping you from giving your child a different version of the scenario, though this time with squirt guns alone.
Squirt guns can easily be made out of some old and empty glue or ketchup bottles that you may have lying around. Simply make sure you clean them out properly before filling them with water. Nobody likes a jammed gun, after all.
Then presto, you’ve got your very own budget squirt gun.
And it doesn’t have to be a water war against others; your child can simply use it to doodle on the wall or driveway with a bit more precision than a paintbrush.
8. Water display
While I trust that you yourself can flex your creative juices, do let your child be the star of this neat water play for toddlers activity.
Grab some buckets, fill them with water, and arrange them as your child sees fit. Do make sure that they’re all differently colored if you can to give your child more options in display construction.
If you want to make the display even more eye-catching, grab some bath toys or LEGOs and watch your busy toddler assemble his desired display.
This is one of those summer activities that seems bland on the surface yet both fun and educational to do, as your child learns some basic gross motor skills like scooping water in and out of specific buckets and transferring it over.
9. Foam blocks and sponges
The principle of this one is simple. Just fill up a pool and grab some foam blocks, put them in, let them soak up water, and let your tot have fun constructing his own shapes.
With the blocks wet, they’ll stick to each other a lot better, allowing for all sorts of crazy combinations.
The sponge works in a similar manner (though not as sturdy when wet), but it’s more for the satisfying sensation your little gets when squeezing the water out of it rather than building stuff with it.
10. Water slide
Everyone remembers the first time they ever went slip-sliding down a water slide. It’s always a fun experience and a classic way of water play for toddlers and adults alike.
Simply grab a large plastic tarp or plastic sheeting (even a couple of patched-together garbage bags will work) and set it across your lawn. Then provide a steady flow of water atop it to make sure it’s always wet.
After that, just let your kids get a nice run up and slide down the thing. It’s guaranteed to keep them busy and entertained for at least an hour or two.
11. DIY water wall
Image via happyhooligans.ca
A bit more obscure than a water slide is a water wall – a setup of various funnels, pipes, and bottles that lead the water around in potentially unexpected places.
Honestly it’s a rather simple idea, but one that kids love as they simply love seeing water in motion for some reason.
All you need to do is find a nice vertical surface to attach all these components onto and run some water through it for your kids to have a whale of a time. I’ve found that grated surfaces work the best as they have a lot of flexibility with attaching things to it.
And if you’re looking to kick it up a notch, you can even add food coloring to the water as you pour it down for a more visually spectacular event, or you could make the design more intricate and more like a little maze.
This way your kids get to learn some problem solving by figuring out which route leads the water all the way to the end.
You can also add some noise makers inside the contraption to even become a feast for both ears eyes. Heck, it might end up so awesome that you choose to make it a permanent installment in your backyard.
12. Garden soup
Do note that by no means should you have your child eat any of this “soup.”
Now that that’s clear, making garden soup is still a very entertaining activity, especially if you have a vibrant garden full of different plants and flowers that you don’t mind getting a petal or two plucked from.
The idea behind it is to get a container of water, preferably something like a bucket or similar, and have your kids fill it up with grass, flowers, berries, and the like, then have them stir and mix it to create this weirdly pleasing display in the water that vaguely resembles a form of garden soup.
While it may seem simple and cute, this activity helps your toddlers learn about the stirring motion, thus improving on their gross motor skills.
13. Little scientists
Again, a deceptively simple activity that will get lots of laughs, squeals, and giggles from your little one.
All you have to do is position your toddler in a wading pool and arm him with a bunch of different objects and toys so he can place them in the pool to see if they sink or swim. Make sure to ask him every time before he puts one in to see if he gets it right.
If he does, prepare a small reward, that’ll ensure that he tries his best and retains that knowledge in his memory.
14. Water table
While a bit more expensive than any of the methods of water play for toddlers mentioned above, a water table is worth every penny and there are plenty to choose from on Amazon.
What a water play table for toddlers does is that it essentially combines a large number of the aforementioned activities in one place and allows your child to swap seamlessly between them.
I got this one by Step2 for my own kids and they’ve used it to great effect, though I’ve given it away to one of my fellow mamas a year ago after my youngest grew out of it.
That said, it still provided both my kids with countless hours of fun and I wholeheartedly recommend getting one if it’s within your budget to do so.
15. Mixing water and chalk
Here’s one that helps spice up the usual chalk scribbling on the driveway. The process is just as simple too.
First you have your little rascals draw what they want with chalk and afterwards you dip a paintbrush into a bucket of water before running it along the drawings.
This moistens the chalk up, making it softer and allowing it to blend with the surrounding colors, creating a more “watercolory” feel to the whole masterpiece. A rather delightful sight and a fun thing to try every now and again.
16. A good ol’ sprinkler
Sometimes all your kids need to have the time of their lives is for you to attach a garden quality sprinkler to the end of a hose, stick it in the ground, and supply the water.
The rest is on them to make their own fun by jumping over it or trying to avoid the water curtains.
17. Make a rainbow
This one is a rather simple trick – you don’t really need any of those special sprayer attachments for your hose (though they help a lot).
You can simply put your thumb over the end of the hose to make a spray and point it toward direct sunlight to manifest a neat little rainbow effect that your kids are sure to love.
18. Coloring water
While watching those colored cubes melt in water is fun, coloring a big tub of water directly is entertaining on its own. Simply get some harmless food coloring or an inkwell and dab a few drops onto the water’s surface.
Your preschooler will be captivated by the way it spreads through the liquid environment and is sure to experiment with it on his own.
19. Clean-up crew
It may sound silly that kids would find cleaning dirty items fun, but there’s an odd sense of satisfaction when you blast dirt off with a hose and your children are likely to think so too.
Just make sure it’s on a low pressure setting if you have a powerful extension, else the hose is gonna go wild.
20. Blow some bubbles
And finally, one of the activities I remember fondly from my own childhood days is grabbing some dish soap, mixing it with water, and making giant soap sud bubbles.
While not a form of water play with toddlers that will get him entirely soaked, it’ll still keep him running around the place full of energy and trying his best to make and pop the biggest balloon he can.
Make sure to have the camera ready for when he does though as those bubbles pop real fast.
The Importance Of Water Safety
Now, all of these activities may be fun and all, but there’s one aspect they share that each and every parent must adopt and follow, and that’s to keep your kids under constant supervision when they participate in water-based activities.
While most of the stuff I’m describing here is non-toxic for consumption, the water itself can cause problems, with potential drowning on the list of the most horrible.
To avoid this, make sure you have your kids within eyesight at all times and be attentive to any cries for help.
There are many forms of water play for toddlers – some simple, some a little more intricate – but all are effective at keeping your kid cooled down and entertained during a hot summers’ day.
If you’re having trouble deciding on which new water play activity to do with your kids, simply make a printable copy of all the activities that they like, place it on your fridge, and cycle through them.
The Best Toddler Activities
You may be surprised at the simplicity of some these toddler activities!
But toddlers are so easily excited and taken with things because it’s all brand new to them!
Some of these activities are better suited to toddlers who do like sitting down and figuring something out. Some of the activities are great for those wild and rambunctious toddlers (like my son)!
I guarantee you will find something for YOUR toddler that will bring some laughs, excitement and possibly a break for you, momma ?
It’s not a great outdoor day. You’ve hit the afternoon slump where you are kinda sorta d.o.n.e. and you need a break or something for your crazy toddler to do!
So what do you do?
Hit up Pinterest for some awesome ideas ’cause you don’t want to turn on Paw Patrol (yet again)!
Lucky you, you found this post! These activities are all TV/screen free, will get your child either moving or engaged! Enjoy the ULTIMATE LIST OF TODDLER ACTIVITIES!
Whoever invented this deserves an award. What a GREAT way to get tons of physical activity, learn their physical body boundaries and build some muscles! All without having to go outside. I do recommend one with a handle (like this one) for younger toddlers though!
PIPE CLEANER CHALLENGE
So I was dubious until I actually tried this with my 2 year old. Here’s the instructions:
Or kinetic sand, sensory sand, whatever you want to call it! Be forewarned- this one is messy and requires some prep and cleaning! It’s super easy to make, you can check out the tutorials below to DIY. Or, if you’d rather not, this kind of kinetic sand is inexpensive and comes with 5lbs meaning tons of play 🙂
This recipe from Twitchetts is taste safe if you are still in that phase (are they ever out of it?)
Do you have an extremely active toddler like mine? Perhaps they are prone to trips, slips and falls (like mine)! This is a great option for all those wild childs out there! Soft and exciting for them to build what they want with it.
Water coloring books are some of my all time favorite toddler activities. NO MESS, NO WORRIES! We use these at home, in the car, on trips, anywhere! If you haven’t tried these yet, they’re pretty amazing. You might actually steal one from the kids when they’re not looking…
OIL+WATER SENSORY BAG
Have you heard of these before? Super easy! Throw some oil and water in a freezer bag with food coloring and you have an awesome sensory bag! Check out the tutorial from Everyday Chaos and Calm!
Homemade play-doh is the bomb! We love to make it all together and I love not having to worry about running to the store if we run out. The only ingredient you may end up needing to buy is cream of tar tar! I do recommend buying it in bulk if you plan on making Play-doh regularly, it’s a lot less expensive that way 🙂
This tutorial from Kids Activities is 5 minutes from start to finish and uses Kool-Aid for the dye!
Living Well Mom has a recipe I’ve personally tried and it is AWESOME! Check out the tutorial here.
Have you built a truly epic fort with your kids yet? Usually if it’s a really good one, they’ll play in there for hours. They’ll ask for snacks and bring their favorite toys into their new ‘special’ hideaway! Blankets, pillows, chairs.
If we’re feeling really adventurous we’ll place the loveseat and sofa facing each other with a giant blanket or sheet over top!
Have you seen these fort building kits before? I wasn’t sold until I saw what they can do- you can build a fort in any shape and they blankets/sheets actually stay in place.
So this one is better done in the evening when it’s dark outside! Grab some glow sticks, crack them and throw them in the bath! So much fun for the kids, they are absolutely enthralled.
Having a dance party is not only fun for your kids, it can actually help you get into a better mood too! Try yelling when the Hamster Dance song is on, dare ya ?
Scavenger hunts are awesome either indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. For outdoor ones we will draw super simple pictures on a sheet of paper and have the kids find them! For instance a rock, leaf, flower, lady bug, etc.
For indoor, we will usually do by colors. Find something blue, green, red, etc.
As a parent you give your children a good start in life—you nurture, protect and guide them. Parenting is a process that prepares your child for independence. As your child grows and develops, there are many things you can do to help your child. These links will help you learn more about your child’s development, positive parenting, safety, and health at each stage of your child’s life.
Information about developmental milestones and tips for things that parents can do to help their children during each stage
“Learn the Signs. Act Early” Program CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need.CDC has fact sheets, milestone checklists and products, brochures, and more in English, Spanish, simplified Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. CDC has fact sheets, posters, a growth chart, and more in English and Spanish.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) FASDs are a group of conditions that can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. CDC has materials in English and Spanish for families, health professionals, and others on FASDs.
Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common known cause of inherited intellectual disability. CDC has materials in English and Spanish for families and researchers
Hearing Loss in Children A hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear is not working in the usual way. CDC has brochures, fact sheets, and other educational materials in English and Spanish for families and health professionals.
Hemophilia Hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. CDC has brochures, fact sheets, tips, and guides for families and health professionals.
Sickle Cell Disease Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. CDC has tip sheets for people living with sickle cell disease.
Spina Bifida Spina bifida is a major birth defect of a person’s spine. CDC has brochures, fact sheets, and other educational materials in English and Spanish.
Tourette Syndrome Tourette Syndrome causes people to have “tics”. Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly. CDC has brochures, fact sheets, and other educational materials.
Health Information for Parents of Infants & Toddlers (Approximate Ages 0-3)
The early years of a child’s life are very important for later health and development. One of the main reasons is how fast the brain grows starting before birth and continuing into early childhood. Although the brain continues to develop and change into adulthood, the first 8 years can build a foundation for future learning, health and life success.
How well a brain develops depends on many factors in addition to genes, such as:
Proper nutrition starting in pregnancy
Exposure to toxins or infections
The child’s experiences with other people and the world
Nurturing and responsive care for the child’s body and mind is the key to supporting healthy brain development. Positive or negative experiences can add up to shape a child’s development and can have lifelong effects. To nurture their child’s body and mind, parents and caregivers need support and the right resources. The right care for children, starting before birth and continuing through childhood, ensures that the child’s brain grows well and reaches its full potential. CDC is working to protect children so that their brains have a healthy start.
The importance of early childhood experiences for brain development
Children are born ready to learn, and have many skills to learn over many years. They depend on parents, family members, and other caregivers as their first teachers to develop the right skills to become independent and lead healthy and successful lives. How the brain grows is strongly affected by the child’s experiences with other people and the world. Nurturing care for the mind is critical for brain growth. Children grow and learn best in a safe environment where they are protected from neglect and from extreme or chronic stress with plenty of opportunities to play and explore.
Parents and other caregivers can support healthy brain growth by speaking to, playing with, and caring for their child. Children learn best when parents take turns when talking and playing, and build on their child’s skills and interests. Nurturing a child by understanding their needs and responding sensitively helps to protect children’s brains from stress. Speaking with children and exposing them to books, stories, and songs helps strengthen children’s language and communication, which puts them on a path towards learning and succeeding in school.
Exposure to stress and trauma can have long-term negative consequences for the child’s brain, whereas talking, reading, and playing can stimulate brain growth. Ensuring that parents, caregivers, and early childhood care providers have the resources and skills to provide safe, stable, nurturing, and stimulating care is an important public health goal.
When children are at risk, tracking children’s development and making sure they reach developmental milestones can help ensure that any problems are detected early and children can receive the intervention they may need.
Learn more about supporting early childhood experiences:
To learn and grow appropriately, a baby’s brain has to be healthy and protected from diseases and other risks. Promoting the development of a healthy brain can start even before pregnancy. For example, a healthy diet and the right nutrients like sufficient folic acid will promote a healthy pregnancy and a healthy nervous system in the growing baby. Vaccinations can protect pregnant women from infections that can harm the brain of the unborn baby.
During pregnancy, the brain can be affected by many types of risks, such as by infectious diseases like Cytomegalovirus or Zika virus, by exposure to toxins, including from smoking or alcohol, or when pregnant mothers experience stress, trauma, or mental health conditions like depression. Regular health care during pregnancy can help prevent complications, including premature birth, which can affect the baby’s brain. Newborn screening can detect conditions that are potentially dangerous to the child’s brain, like phenylketonuria (PKU).
Healthy brain growth in infancy continues to depend on the right care and nutrition. Because children’s brains are still growing, they are especially vulnerable to traumatic head injuries, infections, or toxins, such as lead. Childhood vaccines, such as the measles vaccine, can protect children from dangerous complications like swelling of the brain. Ensuring that parents and caregivers have access to healthy foods and places to live and play that are healthy and safe for their child can help them provide more nurturing care.