Toddler time – playing with your baby, toddler or pre-school child.

Young children find it hard to play alone. They need attention from someone who can play with them. In time, they will learn to entertain themselves for some of the time, allowing you to get on with that endless list of jobs.

Fortunately, children learn from everything that’s going on around them and even some of the mundane jobs that we do can be fun to a toddler.Toddler time – playing with your baby, toddler or pre-school child

So why not give them their own washing up, i.e. their own plastic bowls and cups and even the saucepan lids and wooden spoons! They will love the bubbles and sponge.

It’s a good idea to set up their own little table, with a tea towel on the floor. Make sure you do the washing up at the same time, that way they will feel happy that they are doing the same as mummy and daddy, and it all helps develop those co-ordination skills.

This works with many household chores, e.g. dusting, brushing the floors and tidying up their toys. As long as you make them feel clever and do it with them, they will be entertained and you will get those little jobs done. Even when you sort that pile of clean socks into pairs, it can teach them about sorting and colours! Just remember to make it fun!

Make some time to give all your attention to what your child wants to do. If you get stuck for something different to try, here are a few of our ideas.

Play Dough

(from about 18 Months)

• ½  cup of salt 
• 1 cup of flour
• 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
• 1 tablespoon of oil
• I cup of boiling water (from the kettle)
   mixed with some food colouring.

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then mix vigorously with the hot water. Add glitter for that extra touch! Storing it in plastic sandwich bags in the fridge will make it last for ages.

Pretend cooking

(from about 18 Months)

Measure out small amounts of real ingredients (flour, lentils, rice, sugar, custard powder etc). Put out into small bowls or eggcups. Let them mix with water to create some fantastic concoctions!

Old Wallpaper drawing

(from about 18 Months)

A great use for those left over rolls of wallpaper. Wallpaper is usually quite strong and great for rolling out on the floor and drawing on the back! The whole family can join in at the same time. Use it for feet & hand painting or even potato stamping. Once dry, you can just roll it up and add to it another day!

Junk modelling

(from about 30 Months)

As we are in the age of recycling, why not keep a selection of yoghurt pots, paper plates, cardboard boxes etc. for your child to create some masterpieces. All they need is a P.V.A glue pot and brush, crayons, washable felt tips or paint.

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