Toddlers can be incredibly difficult when it comes to playing alone. They love to fiddle with their toys, flip through book pages and watch people passing by the window. Still, they get very emotional when the parents leave their sight, and while they don’t want parent’s participation in indoor kids activities, they prefer to play around their parents. It is only natural for kids to want to be close to their parents.The parent is a comfort zone that a toddler can return to if the outside world exploration does not go as planned. In that sense, the older your toddler gets the wider his comfort zone becomes until he is independent enough to play absolutely solo.
Nevertheless, solo play encourages independence, brings confidence and develops social skills. You won’t be able to leave your 1-year old for more than 15 minutes, but you can gradually stretch that time limit and teach him how to settle himself.
Finding the right type of indoor kids activities is an important part of that process. If the child is engaged and interested, he is less likely to seek his parents attention too soon.
Here is the list of indoor activities for kids when you need that bit of a break:
1. Sensory Bin. Sensory bins are awesome, easy to make tools that help your child develop language and body senses skills. A sensory bin is simply a container or a bin filled with fun staff. Other parents report that rice, beans, sand, aquarium rock, and birdseed are the best fillers with the two latter being the less messy option. After you fill up the bin with sensory goodness, prepare a couple of containers that can be used to empty the bin and fill it up again. There are lots of ideas online for sensory bins and their filling.
2. Building Blocks. Building blocks is a simple, engaging game, that can either have an educational connotation (if you buy special blocks that teach colors or alphabet) or there are also some wooden ones available too. You can also use paper cups as building blocks. Toddlers are not good at building towers but they still like to fiddle with them. You can build several towers and let your toddler knock them out – this way you will save a couple of minutes for yourself.
3. Watch TV. When parents are busy, TV is the first thing that comes to mind to entertain the kids. It is normal to let them watch TV for some time, just make sure to opt in for educational channels and watch the clock. After they are done watching the program ask questions about it to see if they remembered anything.
4. Sounds and Music. Have them explore different sounds with musical toys or real instruments such as drums, shakers, and bells. They can try comparing the sounds or even start learning how to play them. Interactive toys with lights, sounds, and buttons help your kids learn and entertain themselves, and they are tailored specifically for little hands.
5. Canvas. Hang a few sheets of paper on the wall or put them on the floor, give your toddler pens or markers and watch them paint and create amazing art pieces. Leave the canvas on the wall for prolonged period of time, so that the kids can paint it whenever they want – it adds a level of independence since they don’t have to ask for parent’s permission to play.
6. Read a book. They definitely won’t be able to read the book at that age, but they are very eager to explore its pages, especially if they contain colorful illustrations. Give them a book or two and watch them being all smart and engaged. You might then find out that they tore the book apart, but that’s exactly what first books were made for!
7. Coloring. Printable coloring pages for toddlers come in all shapes and sizes. You can even find an alphabet coloring book that helps children remember the letters. Toddlers love colors and easy coloring projects. Not only coloring is a great motor activity, but it also suitable for children of all ages.
8. Makeup and jewelry. Having seen her mom putting makeup on, she will get excited when she gains access to her own makeup collection. Collect old lipsticks, pencils, brushes and blushes and let her pretend to be a lady or a clown for 15 minutes.
9. Cardboard Boxes. The simplest and the best of all the activities for kids indoors, cardboard boxes are an unending source of creativity. She can stock them up and put one into another, or put toys and old jewelry pieces in them. With some additional props such as ropes and masking tape, she can even build a house or a castle.
10. Build a fort. They might need your help with the fort set up but once the blankets and chairs are gathered and the fort is built, they will be happy on their own, sitting in their newly constructed house, imagining they are on a deserted island in a shack or in a luxury villa.
11. Playdough. A type of sensory kids activities indoor, playdough games are simple, natural and perfect for solo entertainment. Educationally, playdough allows babies and toddlers to experience different forms and shapes with their own hands. For younger kids you might consider using cooked or edible playdough just to be on a safe side, however, you must still discourage kids from putting the play dough in their mouths.
12. Stickers. Last but not least, stickers are a great independent activity. You can buy special stickers at a toy store or use post-it notes. Stick multiple stickers onto the fridge or a whiteboard and have her pull them off and stick them back on. Add toys, paper sheets, and boxes to the game for her to put stickers on them too.
Include some solo playtime indoor activities for children into a daily routine and remember that this is a marathon not a sprint. She won’t be able to play by herself right away but after some time her love for self entertainment and solitude will develop. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t pan out as they are supposed to be. Toddlers are quite unpredictable – they can be well on their own one day and refuse to leave your sight even for a minute the next day. Keep giving them opportunities for solitary play and soon you’ll find out that your toddler is quietly playing in the room while you can enjoy a well deserved cup of coffee and a newspaper.
Once she is comfortable on her own, you two can leave the walls of the house and stretch the comfort zone a bit further by exploring the city’s indoor venues and playgrounds. The state of art playground equipment and the professional staff at indoor playgrounds provide the most fun experiences so that your kid can do what she does best: make new friends and play!