If you read his 1-Year Update, you know that George is now 14 months and officially a walker. He’s changed so much over the last few months and let’s just say keeping him entertained is harder than when he was a baby. He definitely likes to be on the move and switching things up constantly. And now that we’re all at home and trying to work while entertaining him, I’ve tried just about every activity suggested to keep him entertained. If you’re a mama to a child around George’s age, I thought it would be helpful to compile what’s worked best for us.
Here are some ideas that I’ve found from trial and error, through girlfriends, through my time as a teacher, and on the internet. Please let me know if you have other ideas. I’m all ears at this point!
Anything with water
George, like most kids I’ve seen at this age, loves the water. Sometimes we’ll take 2 baths a day just to switch it up, especially if it’s too hot to play outside. He’s also obsessed with this play sink and baby pool! Sometimes even a couple of plastic cups, ice cubes, and a bowl of water do the trick, too (obviously when we’re outside on the patio and I’m watching closely with the ice cube situation).
Books he can reach
We’ve been reading to George since he was an infant and he is very into books. Something I learned a while back was to have an area where kids can easily access their own books and pick and choose what they want to read for a silent, independent activity. We have a couple of bookshelves set up that George can grab from and this usually keeps him occupied for about 15 minutes at a time. The key is easy access so baskets work well, too. This book is his current favorite.
If you have a kid-friendly area in your house, try setting up “stations” for this age. It can be as simple as leaving some books and stickers out on one table, these cars in another area, and a water area if you’re outside. I’ve noticed that George loves the independence of moving from station to station.
George has this ball pit which he’s a big fan of and lately, I’ve also been blowing up a few balloons to toss in there. He loves chasing the balloons around the house and sort of playing fetch, and that definitely wears him down! Plus, it’s a very affordable form of entertainment. (Side note: If you don’t have a ball pit, I’ve also seen mamas put their child in their bathtub (without water) and toss in some toys or balls, which is helpful if you need to get ready.)
Switching out toys
A friend of mine suggested switching out toys in 5 Women On How They’re Balancing Motherhood During Quarantine and we’ve been doing it ever since. It’s nice because you don’t have to buy new toys but the kids still get re-engaged after not seeing them for a week or two. We swap in a different basket within this indoor play yard and it keeps him contained if I’m cooking dinner or whatever.
Yep, I’m at the point where I’m entertaining George with food. We’re starting to work on his fork and spoon skills which is entertainment on its own but we’ve also begun “hiding” certain foods in one of these snack carriers. I’ll throw in a few strawberries (which he loves!) along with O’s or another snack and he digs around for the strawberries. Sounds simple but it’s working for us!
Music + instruments
This set has got to be one of his most-used toys at this point. I’ll also swap items from the set in and out since it comes with so many pieces and that seems to keep his interest even longer. We turn on the music and he likes to dance and play along which is pretty adorable.
We haven’t tried this tip yet but a girlfriend recently suggested it since a lot of facilities are closed here in Dallas. I know I’d be a nervous mama with George using something like this indoor climber but the reviews are great and I know I’d be able to help him. Doesn’t hurt that it’s aesthetically pleasing. Think I might have to try it… does anyone have something similar? I’ve also seen that laying out pillows and comforters can be equally as entertaining since they have to crawl over them, etc.