We’re currently trying to cut down or eliminate The Child’s afternoon naps, because they translate to an 11pm bedtime. Which is highly uncool. Lots of afternoon activities to keep a tired and cranky toddler occupied are now required, because as tempting as it is to just stick Frozen, Despicable Me, Tangled, or Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on for a rest, I can’t really do that for too many hours in the day.
We did the bookstore. We did the Disney store. We did the charity shop specialising in toys. Guess which one I found hardest to remove my one and only precious little angel (hint: rhymes with kis-ney). So I had to: one, bribe her with sips of Juicy Water; and two, promise water play at home.
(In case you were wondering, I was actually prepared ahead of time on this occasion.)
Cut large oval holes out of the body of plastic drinks bottles using a box cutter or Stanley knife.
Get a plastic box or basin and fill part-way with water. Add some scoops or cups. Get some tape. I used cheap masking tape, which is what made it extra temporary. I expect electrical tape might work better. The Husband says I need to tape it to something smooth, like a plastic board.
Bring everything to an outdoor location that can get wet without issue (in our case, it’s our car port because we live in a flat).
Tape the bottles to the wall in a staggered pattern. Having your toddler help hold the bottles up might mean it takes, er, a bit longer than you anticipate.
Pour water. Yay!
Then it all degenerated into flinging water everywhere and a big tantrum because there was no more water in the box.
Some children refuse to drink plain water. The Child pretty much just hardly drank anything. I tried putting a piece of cut or crushed fruit into her drinking water to give it a little flavour. It helps that she loves fruit so much my teeny weeny white lie — about how she couldn’t reach the fruit on the bottom unless she finished all the water above it — worked a grand total of two times.
(Although a very hot summer holiday in Canada probably contributed more to her discovering water ain’t so bad than my feeble attempts to encourage more consumption of dihydrogen monoxide.)
The Child sleeps a grand total of eight or nine hours a night, which translates to a long nap in the middle of the day. Which also means it’s kind of pointless to organise any play dates or activities from lunchtime onwards. Which means she’s been watching a little more television and Youtube (or, “Yo Gabba Gabba bugs!! Ask nicely??!!”) than I’d like, because I’m pretty burned out by the time she wakes, too.
Here’s an easy (and practically free) thing to do with your toddler, assuming you have these four items to hand:
Magazine (ours is a free commmunity publication)
Envelopes (from mail we have received)
You can do one or both of these activities, depending on how comfortable you are with your toddler handling scissors.
Cut images out from your magazine pages and hand them, along with a glue stick, to your toddler to stick to your used pre-loved envelopes. I found myself playing catch up a bit as I had done no preparation at all (in the same way we built a robot) — I had what passes for a brain wave these days and suggested doing some ‘sticking’ because I didn’t want her to watch television all afternoon.
We then moved on to scissor practice. If your child is anything like mine, they will be oddly attracted to scissors. I let her use the scissors to cut a few remaining pages of the magazine — these are real grown-up scissors, so she was supervised at all times. (We do have plastic safety scissors, but they’re not good for cutting anything much beyond play dough.)
The result was a lovely pile of paper scraps and very sticky, colourful envelopes that have made a valuable contribution to the fortnight’s recycling. And The Child had fun.
Instead of buying silicone ice cube trays to make your own rainbow crayons (read: danger of the trays melting in the oven), go to a pound shop and buy silicone cake pop moulds. True, the resulting shape isn’t that interesting, but it isn’t going to melt on you.