A friend of mine made a comment about seeing hardly any toys for the ages from 2 to 3 years of age. I noticed this, too, years ago. But, I wasn’t discouraged. I believe there’s a reason for this.
The ‘fun’ age between 2 and 3 is the most interesting age for me. ‘Terrible Two’s’, people would say. ‘That’s the worst age’, some would complain. I beg to differ.
This is the age that our children learn the most. And how do they do that, you my ask? By touching and getting into EVERYTHING!! Parents are sometimes quick to say NO. NO, NO, NO! Don’t touch that. Don’t get into that. Stop tugging at that. And stop climbing up on that. If you have children…you no exactly what I’m talking about.
Toys…pshhh. They don’t need many toys at this age. There are many, many things around the house (or for very cheap), I guarantee will hold their interest longer than a $40 toy at Toys R Us. Here are a few examples that I hope will help you enjoy this time with your ….very curious…little one.
Two bowls, a cup, a spoon, a little bit of water and you can even add in a little bit of cut up fruit. (A little water drenched fruit won’t hurt them.) They will pour the water back and forth, scoop it with the cup and stir around the fruit for a long, long time. ‘Are you cooking something for Momma? What are you making? That looks good? Do you need more water? More fruit?’ I’m telling you. They will be so happy and proud of themselves and feel like they’re actually doing something to help you out.
Boxes. Big, huge boxes. Itty bitty small boxes. (They prefer the big ones more, though.) Line it with a blanket, throw in a book and a couple toys. Drag them around the room a few times and you will have them giggling like crazy. (We get diapers by the box, and those are perfect for our little ones.)
Pots, pans and a wooden spoon. I’m sure many of you have heard of this, but just in case you haven’t.
Your old make up powder container. (Please make sure you wash it out first.) You can even go to the Dollar Store and buy some little make up pads to go in it. (They’ll definitely end up in their mouths, so, please don’t give them yours.) They will open and shut it over and over and stare at themselves in the mirror. (Please make sure that if they end up dropping it on the floor, you check for any cracks or missing pieces of glass. I’ve never had one break, yet, but you never know…)
Tents. And I’m not talking about the cute ones that you can spend all sorts of money on and buy at the store. I’m talking about the good ol’ fashion, pitching up a blanket and letting them play inside.
Dollar Store little bowls and plastic spoon. You can, also, throw some dry cereal in some of them.
People are always talking about letting them watch and help you cook in the kitchen. I, every once in a while, will let them stir something, but in my house…I do not let the kids in the kitchen while I’m cooking. Not supper anyway. It’s too dangerous and it’s difficult for me, cooking for 8, to keep a good eye on the lil’ one. I worry about tripping over them when I’m moving back and forth in the cabinets or to the sink. There’s usually something boiling on the stove or/and something baking in the oven. You may do that, but with 6 hungry kids, I usually don’t have the time, nor does the other kids have the patience, for me to stop and teach the little one how to cook when they’re ‘starving’. Breakfast, maybe. But lunch..sandwiches, cheese and crackers, chips…this…this they can help me with. 🙂
Of course, these are only a few inexpensive ideas. But again, this is the reason why I think that a lot of stores lack for toys in this age group. They want to play with stuff that YOU use. They want to touch things that YOU touch. Of course, there are things that are off limits to them and you need to install that in them immediately….like outlets (just get covers, please) or the stove….even if its not on. They aren’t going to know whether its hot or not, so you make sure you firm with them when telling them they they can not touch the stove….ever.
I hope some of these ideas help you in search of something for your toddler to do besides stress you out. If any others have fun ideas that they like to share that’s inexpensive and that their toddlers enjoy (or enjoyed)….please feel free to share them. I have a two year old and one that’s going to be one soon, so I’m always up for new ideas! 🙂