Cheap and Easy Non-Toy Toddler Amusements (Except for the Dog, Who Is, To Be Honest, Neither)

reading

This probably goes without saying, but after putting up my most recent post about toddler toys I was thinking about how what keeps Harper occupied most of the time, especially during these cold and dark winter days when we spend so much time inside, isn’t any toy at all.  For example, we spend a lot of time reading.  Harper will entertain herself by “reading” books, while I watch soaps and eat bon bons.  Kidding!  I read too!

coloring

Another great love of hers is making art projects.  She’s almost always down for plain old coloring (especially if there are “new crayons!! new markers!!”), but every once in a while we get fancy.  During a playdate today we tried an idea I stole from the “Get Messy” art class we go to at the Y — shaving cream and food dye.  Tempting to taste, but fun, and helpful for if your toddler has any embarrassing stray stubble. Other big hits have been: decorating felt gingerbread men, making paper Christmas tree ornaments, and collages.  Water colors have met with mixed reviews, and pom poms were sort of a disaster.

shaving cream art

She’s also OBSESSED with stickers these days.  She doesn’t seem to care what happens to them once they’re off the backing, which explains why we frequently find them in our pockets and shoes.  Stickers are also proving helpful as bribery for using the potty.  I mean, wouldn’t you go for a shiny new stickie?

stickers

A helpful discovery during this season of shipped items has been that empty cardboard boxes make amazing toys, play buses, space ships, and such.  Plus this saves us the trouble of taking out our recycling.  Score!

box

She’s also quite into baking projects, especially ones that involve mashing bananas.  And then afterwards she eats the product with great satisfaction, saying “Harper mash bananas” and such.  The only downfall here is the whole “hot and interesting stove” stage. Eep.

top toddler chef

So some blueberries were tested and then spat back into the dough. So what.

Not pictured because Harper has woken up from her nap and I have to scoot are: playing in the sink, the classic playing with pots and pans and spoons and such, and having awesome dance parties with her parents that will never seem embarrassing.  Oh and of course, her favorite amusement and object of torture and excessive affection: the dog.

toddlers and dogs

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