I am a mother of a toddler, and I have lived in the U.K. for the last 20 years.
At the age of 18 months to 2 years, things start to get really exciting for your child (and even more as they grow). They are now much more mobile and are starting to gain confidence in themselves that they can go and explore the world. They are stronger, they are probably walking on their own, and they are even starting to reach things/shelves/drawers that they have not been able to reach in the past. That is a lot of energy, and it can be difficult to find a way to keep them entertained.
Because kids grow at variable rates and they are unique, some of the suggestions here might suit some toddlers but not others. Here is a list of a few fun things to do with toddlers at home that I thought of and tried myself:
- Organizing their toys/room/clothes or making up their bed. Some kids see their rooms as their small private world, and you will need to get them interested in either cleaning their room or giving it a "new look".
- Cleaning the toys. For example, bathing the dolls. It is good for health and children like doing it.
- Make some art. Create something, paint, or draw. It is going to be fun but messy, so be prepared. You can try to get them some child safe material and drawing books and try to supervise them. Some of the painting books are educational, about letters and numbers, etc. Youtube is full of ideas of DIY art for children that is easy to create. When your children create something, frame and hang it, celebrate it together and encourage them.
Here is a piece of art my daughter created in one of the messy play sessions we had in a children's center when she was younger, they are very simpler ideas and can easily be done at home.
I can't really mention creating or building without mentioning Lego. I like the features of this play table and will be getting one soon! I like the fact that more than one kid can use it. They can use it for playing, drawing, building things and Lego shapes, but, you can also fill it with water for some fun outdoor play.
If you have some space, you can use a small slide! Please make sure the children are in a safe environment and are supervised. My daughter loved hers in no time and was even managing to climb the slide on her own without me needing to be on her side.
I have put a link below to the slide we have at home, there are other ones you could choose from as well. This one is for children older than 12 months. I find that on those days when my daughter is full of energy but I can't take her out because of the weather or I'm tired, playing on the slide is a perfect solution.
I am not sure why but there is something very exciting about sliding for kids! she can spend a long time sliding and sliding. She sometimes also lets her teddy bear or other toys slide on it. The good thing about this particular slide is that it is both light but also sturdy. It is stable and I have not had any issues. I was initially worries about falling but because it has a wide base, it would not fall as long as it is used as intended.
Another advantage is its size and weight. I tend to take with me if I'm going to my parents to put it in their garden. If easily fits in the boot of our car even when the pushchair is there.
- Puzzles: buying a suitable puzzle for their age can take sometime (and give you time to rest). You can even use some cardboard and create a DIY puzzle and it can include painting something then creating a puzzle out of it as well.
- The outdoors: If you have a garden or a backyard, it could have some space for an inflatable bath. play area, or even a DIY water slide, great in the summer!
- Play hide-and-seek: As a baby, your child was probably fascinated by peek-a-boo, and now they get over-excited if you invited them to play along. Around the age of 18 months, some parents feel their children are going through separation anxiety. One of the ways experts recommend using fir children at this stage is to focus on some types of play like hide and seek.
The reason this is suggested by child mental health professionals is that if you disappear, your child thinks they will never see you again. That is why they suddenly freak out and start screaming. Playing hide and seek helps your child realize (after a long time playing) that people and objects can actually disappear temporarily and that they might come back. Specially if thee are clear rules and everyone is committed.
My Favorite Activity
- You never run out of things to do when you have books! Reading to children is an art in itself. It is about the emotional connection you develop with them. Try to act out a story or a book and make it interesting by changing your voice and facial expressions. Imagine you are part of the story and help them create a fantasy. Watch this video about how to make reading fun and interesting, I found it really funny and inspiring at the same time:
One Last Idea
- Let them give you a hand doing simple things around the house. This could be just tidying up or making a simple drink or meal. Please make sure they are supervised and not near any sharp or dangerous items and away from the hob/oven or anything hot. Simple things to think of would be a fruit salad or a smoothie.
I hope you found this helpful and please let me know in the comments what sort of fun activities or games you do with your toddler when you are indoors.
Thanks for reading this far!