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One thing that you will always be told is how fast the first year of parenthood goes. It’s a blur of learning, loving and caffeine. However, as a first-time mum, I have found the second stage of early motherhood even more challenging than the first.
Though my world still revolves around keeping a tiny human alive, now that I’m in the throes of toddlerhood I have found a growing importance to stimulate my daughter's mind, help her in her journey to learn new things and keep her as entertained as possible to save my own sanity. I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but a toddler is no joke.
Everyone warns you about newborns. They warn you of the change, the nappies, breastfeeding and the lack of sleep. But no one warns you about the time that comes after. No one reminds you that on the other side of that wonderful first year, you then are faced with a sassy, independent, knowledge-hungry little kid.
Like so many other busy mums, I’m always looking for the next thing that I can use to keep my daughter entertained, particularly during the winter months.
So, you've been warned. But you're not alone! I've managed to search the web for some ideas.
Here are some of my favourite finds on toddler-friendly activities/new products for your active little toddler, guaranteed to be a hit with even the fussiest or outgoing toddler:
1. DIY Playdough
An oldie, but a goodie. I've been making playdough at home since I was a child. I remember doing this with my mum and siblings almose every school holiday. It really doesn't get old, just a little bit messy. You can find the recipe here.
2. Sensory Balloon Animals
It's all about sensory play these days! This is a great, cost-effective option. Please be careful with this activity especially if your child puts a lot of objects in their mouth, this may not be a good activity for them.
You can find a step-by-step guide be Teaching Mama here.
3. Indoor Dance Party
It doesn’t get much easier than a dance party. All you need is some fun music to play! If you want an activity that will burn a ton of energy and provide some good laughs this is the activity for your family.
If you're like me and find it hard to fit in a workout, why not join in and burn some calories yourself. Pop on an activity tracker and see the results!
4. My Creative Box - Monthly subscription for $35.95 delivered on the 20th of each month
In our household, we love to craft. My daughter might only be 18 months old, but since she was old enough to hold a paintbrush or a crayon she was immersed in some type of crafting activity.
My Creative Box was created in 2016 by a mother named Leanne. She’s an early childhood educator and mother of three! They offer a no commitment, monthly subscription which is hand-picked and packaged to suit your toddler or preschooler.
Each box has a different set of activities which allow your child to discover their inner artist through a variety of different activities. I find that each box is varied enough to keep my daughter entertained long enough for me to get stuff done around the house. It’s a perfect activity through these rainy and cold winter months.
5. MUtable 2.0: The All In One Children’s Play Table - from $357.00 through Kickstarter
A stylish and functional alternative to your toddlers everyday play table, the MUtable is one of my favourite new products about to enter the market. It offers a variety of different play options for your child including a puzzle base, blackboard, whiteboard, lego duplo base, classic lego base, world landscape, city landscape and a number of optional games.
The all in one design means you can get rid of all the different kid activities that are currently taking up space throughout the house. The table is adjustable to four height options which allows it to grow with your child from one through to eight.
6. Dough My Dear Play Dough - from $5 a jar.
If you don't want to make your own Play Dough. Dough my Dear make seriously beautiful, instagrammable play dough.
Founded just over a year ago, Dough My Dear is another new toddler product that caught my eye. Their play dough is made of household ingredients with a wide range of colours and scents. It provides your child with the perfect avenue to explore with all their senses. It lasts between four and six months when stored correctly and has no added nasties which means it’s safe if it makes its way into your little one's mouth.
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