Parents of both a toddler and a baby, will know how challenging it can be to come up with activities that both of them can enjoy. Toddlers and babies have different developmental needs, and it's important to find activities that are safe and age-appropriate for both of them. In this article, we'll share some activities that have worked well for my family, and that can entertain a toddler and a baby playing together.
Singing and dancing
Toddlers and babies love music, and singing and dancing is a great way to engage both of them. You can sing nursery rhymes, children's songs, or play some upbeat music and let them dance together. Encourage your toddler to teach the baby some simple dance moves, and watch them have fun together.
Sensory play is an excellent way to engage both a toddler and a baby. You can set up a sensory bin filled with rice, beans, or other materials that they can explore with their hands. You can also set up a water table or a small pool and let them splash around together.
Here are three sensory play ideas that you can try:
Sensory Bin with Rice: Fill a bin or container with uncooked rice and add small toys, scoops, and cups for your child to play with. The texture of the rice and the different objects can provide a stimulating sensory experience for your child's hands and fingers.
Finger Painting: Set up a finger painting station with washable paint and paper. Encourage your child to use their fingers to create different shapes and patterns. The paint's texture and colors can provide a fun and engaging sensory experience for your child's sense of touch and sight.
Sensory Bottles: Create sensory bottles by filling clear plastic bottles with a variety of materials such as water, glitter, beads, or sequins. Seal the bottles tightly and let your child explore the contents by shaking, rolling, and turning them. The different colors, shapes, and textures of the materials can provide a soothing and calming sensory experience for your child.
Reading books is a great way to entertain both a toddler and a baby. You can read picture books that have simple words and bright colors to keep the toddler engaged, while the baby can enjoy the rhythm and sound of your voice. You can also use interactive books with textures or lift-the-flap features that can engage both of them.
Block play is a great activity for toddlers and babies to play together. You can set up a large area with soft blocks, and let them build and knock down structures together. You can encourage your toddler to build simple structures for the baby to knock down, and they can take turns playing the role of the builder and the demolisher.
Here are three block play ideas:
Block Stacking and Sorting: Encourage your child to sort blocks by size, shape, or color, and stack them to create towers or structures. This activity helps develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.
Block Patterning: Create patterns using blocks of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Encourage your child to replicate the patterns or create their own. This activity promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
Block Imaginary Play: Encourage your child to use blocks to create imaginary scenarios such as building a house, a farm, or a city. Add figurines or toy animals to enhance the play experience. This activity promotes imagination, social skills, and language development as your child describes and narrates their play scenarios.
5. Play dough
Playing with play dough is an excellent way to engage both a toddler and a baby. You can make your own play dough or purchase it from a store, and set up a small table or area for them to play. You can give them different tools and toys to play with, such as cookie cutters, rolling pins, and plastic animals.
Here's a recipe for homemade play dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- Food coloring (optional)
- In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
- Add the vegetable oil and water to the saucepan and stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Heat the saucepan over medium heat and stir the mixture constantly until it thickens and forms a ball (this should take about 5 minutes).
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool.
- Knead the play dough until it is smooth and pliable. If you want colored play dough, add a few drops of food coloring and knead until the color is evenly distributed.
- Store the play dough in an airtight container or a ziplock bag.
Note: This recipe makes a large batch of play dough, so you can divide it into smaller portions and make different colors if desired. The play dough can last for several weeks if stored properly. If the dough becomes too dry, add a small amount of water and knead it until it becomes pliable again.
Going for a nature walk is an excellent way to entertain both a toddler and a baby. You can take a stroller or baby carrier for the baby and let the toddler explore the outdoors. You can point out different things you see, such as birds, trees, and flowers, and encourage your toddler to explain what they see to the baby.
Blowing bubbles is a simple but fun activity that can entertain both a toddler and a baby. You can use a bubble machine or blow bubbles with a wand, and let them try to catch the bubbles together. This activity can help improve their hand-eye coordination and is a lot of fun for both of them.
In conclusion, there are many activities that can entertain a toddler and a baby playing together. Singing and dancing, sensory play, reading books, block play, playing with play dough, going for a nature walk, and bubble play are all excellent options. It's important to find activities that are safe, age-appropriate, and engaging for both of them. With a little creativity and planning, you can help your toddler and baby build a strong bond while having fun together.
We hope these activity ideas have been helpful for other parents with toddlers and babies. It can be challenging to find activities that work for both age groups, but it's worth the effort to see them playing and having fun together. By engaging in activities that both of them enjoy, we can help strengthen their bond and create lasting memories for our family.