Maybe you’re one of those people who have a child who can sit for hours on end working a puzzle or finding the hidden meaning and depth in a Pinterest activity. I am not. Like many before me, I long for a quiet hour to do things that don’t require my assistance in Play-Doh sculpting, like search for missing socks or starting that glass of water I poured six hours ago. Like most parents, I also turn to Pinterest looking for some help.
The following are suggested activities for toddlers that did not end well for my family (or cats):
1. Sensory Bin Using Rice
That day it rained rice forever and ever. Then, it rained rice some more, before they threw it at each other then ate it.
2. Art With Contact Paper
Instead of sticking things to the contact paper, my kids were using the contact paper to stick onto things, like the floor, the cats and their faces.
3. Putting Pom-Poms in Ice Cube Trays Using Tongs
First of all, if you give any toddler tongs, the last thing they’ll ever do is use them for “tonging” anything. It’s highly unlikely they’ll be using them to take the time to sort things, because it’s much more interesting to pinch themselves, a sibling, a pet and/or your thigh fat.
4. Chalkboard Art
Also known as, “scribbling on a chalkboard.” It’s all fun and games until someone realizes chalk is fun to crunch.
5. Placing Color-Coded Popsicle Sticks Into Color-Coded Cups
This activity requires a young toddler—who can’t even sit on the toilet long enough to finish peeing—to sort, match and place the Popsicle stick with a color dot into a cup with a matching color dot. Maybe your child does that. Mine did not.
6. Drop the Pom-Pom
This is where you engineer an elaborate contraption—made of what are basically low-quality hamster tunnels—using toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls and tape them to a wall. This is so your child can drop a marble or a pom-pom down and watch it roll out of various exits. I used a golf ball thinking it would roll faster, thus keeping their attention longer. Long story short, the cats have a new phobia, and I have a light bulb to replace.
If we never get any more stickers for the rest of our natural lives, it won’t be long enough. I’ve pulled stickers off the cats. I’ve found them up my pant leg. I had one peeking out of my shirt collar that a very nice lady removed for me in line at the bank.
8. Squish Bags
I loved the idea of this. I really wanted this to work. I reinforced this bag so that it could withstand re-entry into the atmosphere. What happened was my tiny toddler, who—according to Pinterest—should’ve been busy for at least an hour, managed to slice open the tape with his little baby fingernail shank in under 12 seconds. He did quietly watch me for five minutes while I cleaned the contents up.
9. Sorting Tray
This is more or less a game of who can slide the muffin tin across the table faster, creating the loudest crash, followed by a barrage of plastic toy animals sliding after, frantically searching for their “color.”
10. Glitter Jars
Also known as head injuries waiting to happen.
As I sit here and finish this, my littlest one has just spent the last 15 minutes putting a straw in a juice box carton and taking it back out again. Sure, there’s juice all over the floor and maybe he even ate part of the straw wrapper, but he’s been quiet. No, I didn’t find it on Pinterest. But maybe I’ll post it. You can find it in the tutorials with how to start that glass of water you poured yourself six hours ago.