11 December, 2012

Play-Do Time

A few months ago, I was chatting with my sweet friend and cousin Catie. Hi Catie :) We were talking about how different toddler boys and girls can be. She is a momma of three cute girls and they can sit and color for like forty-five minutes. Just sit there coloring. And chatting. It's amazing. I don't think I'm alone in that I couldn't pay Gage in M&Ms to sit and color for that long. Four minutes? Totally. Longer than that? It would be torture. The dude needs to run. 

But lately Daddy's been gone a lot for work and I've been needing time to wrap presents, clean, take care of Kjel and a multitude of other tasks that are almost impossible to do with a leaping, bounding, accident-prone Gage needing attention.

I decided to go to the mattresses and researched my guts out (by research I mean looked a lot on Pinterest) to find activities that a toddler boy would enjoy that would take up about twenty minutes and keep him engaged without a ton of parental intervention.

I found nothing. Either the activities were expensive, insanely messy, super boring or just straight up weird. So we went to the mattresses once more and opted to try our old friend Play-Do again. I say again because he loved playing with it at Steven's parents' house but always with an adult close by, scraping it off of the table and intervening when he tried to sneak little mountains of it into Kjel's mouth or belly button.

This is what we ended up with:

One can of Play-Do (.35 cents on Black Friday at Walmart)
One cookie sheet that I don't really care about ($1.00 at the Dollar Store)
One can opener that isn't dangerous (the sharp edge is covered with Gorilla tape so he can't cut himself and he loves being able to play with something that appears so high-tech, also $1.00)
A wooden spoon and a measuring cup and he's good to go!

We had everything lying in the kitchen already, so there wasn't any special cost associated with this activity.

Clean up is a breeze because the only rule is that the Play-Do has to stay on the cookie sheet, as do the utensils. This rule eliminates a host of other issues (like feeding it to KJ). I think it also gives him a sense of purpose, which keeps him engaged longer.

We've been having "play-do time" every day for about two weeks now and it's a guaranteed twenty minutes of freedom focused play time for me Gage.

I need more ideas, though. If I could have like four or five of these activities that keep him focused, don't need much supervision, and don't involve running around/doing flips, I would get so much more done.

How do you entertain your toddlers (is a three-year-old considered a toddler?)?


  1. Lucas isn't quite two yet, but I think some of the activities he does older boys could do too. One thing that keeps him entertained for a while is playing with letter puzzles. He loves putting the letters in and out and he practices trying to sing the ABCs. They are usually fairly inexpensive and really good training for pre-school. The other thing that keeps him entertained for a while is manipulatives like buttons, paperclips, erasers. (You just have to make sure you get ones big enough that it's not a choking hazard for KJ). I've gotten some at dollar stores that are different shapes and colors. I give Lucas different sized containers like a box, tupperware, or basket and he puts them in and out of the different containers. He loves it, and usually keeps him entertained for about 20 minutes. Thanks for sharing your ideas, good luck!!

  2. Glad the Play-do is working so well! Legos and blocks worked well 30 years ago ....

  3. Well unfortunately I'm not much help with this one, but it looks fun and we miss you guys!! Looking forward to catching up with week. :)

  4. and the best part about play-do is it's fun for all ages. never gets boring and smells awesome!

  5. butcher paper taped to the table goes a long way. :) I'm not sure if that's the exact name, but at many teacher stores you can get these large rolls of paper. put the whole thing over your table and for an extra special treat let him sit ON the table and color.
    Also, we have a large (like it can hold a dead body) tupperware container. Every once in a while, I pull that baby out and it entertains a very active 6 yr old and my 3 year old. Sometimes it's a boat or table or cave or who knows what else...
    Lego guys = love. I'm not sure what it is about those little yellow guys, but man my boys lOVE them! give them the lego guys and a huge box... all around every one is happy.

  6. ha ha. I couldn't help but laugh while reading this post. SERIOUSLY. I can relate. Little toddler aged boys are NOT the same as little toddler aged girls. The differences are quite obvious. My boys get very antsy too. Running, jumping, and leaping is just something instilled in little boys' DNA make up.

    The butcher paper is a good idea. Large empty boxes are good for forts and such. My boys love balls, cars, and blocks for the most part. Big foamed puzzles are fun... we got a large 3'X6' one at Salvation army for a few bucks.

    Also I've considered getting one of those little rebounder trampolines. They are small and boys can get out lots of energy inside the house. Sometimes you see them at yard sales or can find them online on craigslist. Good luck! :)

  7. Haha, thank you all!! Katherine, you always make me laugh.

  8. Oops, that was me, not Steven :)


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