Tips and tricks for engaging your 2-year-old
Mama! Mommy! Mama! We have all heard it. The yelling of our names that we earned yet sometimes wish we could hide and pretend it wasn’t ours. How do you contain the crazy? Here are some tips and tricks for engaging your 2-year-old! These have all been tested however remember that each child is unique in their own kind of crazy.
1. Sensory Bins
What are Sensory Bins?
Bins or boxes full of items that are soft or have a fun texture. Below are some examples of my favorite Sensory Bins.
with food coloring. Tip: Use just the primary colors. This way the children can mix the colors themselves and find all new ways of making different colors. Warning, in the end ALL the water will be brown! Just use different pitchers, jars, or Tupperware dishes and play away.
has a fun texture to it and is fun to hide items in the bin. The child can use cups to pour the rice and shovels to “dig” out the fun items inside. Examples of some things to put inside are little plastic animals and foam or magnet letters. Also, BusyToddler has this awesome way of dying her rice!
is also a fun sensory bin. It takes a little flour (5 cups) and baby oil (1 Cup) and you will be in for hours of play. Add some sand molds and buckets and it works better than sand!
worked great with our farm unit. We had a great time finding the farm animals. We also loaded corn up in a tractor and drove it all around. Click here for our fun farm unit!
is also a great sensory bin item. Just dump a container in and add some odds and ends in. I use Melissa & Doug’ s ABC puzzle. We dig out the letters and place them on the puzzle. Great way to introduce letters AND practice fine motor skills.
Songs are a great way to get kids moving and burn off some energy. Even if you don’t have the best singing voice the kids won’t know that. They will love that you are joining in and signing for fun. Don’t be afraid to add some fun dance moves. Check out my list of Fall Songs for some great ones to teach. Also, don’t be afraid to rely on some good oldies like Old McDonald and Twinkle Twinkle.
Okay so before you start hating me and turn off the computer with annoyance, stickers are not… horrible. They can be annoying when they get stuck on EVERYTHING. Trust me I still have one I am working with googone on after 2 years.
However, when used with purpose they can be amazing.
Buy a pack of the stars and have your child sort them out by color. You could also get a special notebook and just a pad of stickers and have them put them on the line. Stickers are an amazing fine motor activity. Plus, it is a real time killer when you need to get something done.
4. Board Books/ Books with lots of pictures
My kiddos love just looking at books. Get a little basket and put a few in there each week. They will be able to just look through these books. I normally have a few centered around what we are talking about that week. Such as apple books on apple week. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and the Very Hungry Caterpillar are my girls’ favorite books.
I know we talked about singing and again don’t hate me. There is something fun about putting on some music and just getting your boogie on. My girls love this. It is a time to act silly and get out some energy. They sometimes get on their dresses and just twirl. This is one of the things they both ask for the most and love to do. One of my favorite kid band groups is GOFISH. They are awesome!
6. Being Active
I have these little ABC movement preschool cards. The girls love these and they come up with some crazy moves for each item. It is a fun time killer activity, but you could also look up some yoga poses an teach those. Also, look around your area, our local gymnastic places have open gym days for a low cost and the girls can just run and play.
Routines are not something that you do necessarily, but they are almost as important as breathing it seems when talking about kids. I am the first one to give up a routine for something fun but when talking about the day to day, routine is a must. Children focus better when they know what to prepare for during the week. Nap times, play times and eating times are important to help keep them from getting cranky. If you need help with routines check out mine here!
This is something I just recently started. The goal is to walk outside for 30 minutes. Distance does not matter, just being outside and walking. The first day we walked my oldest held the dogs’ leash for the first time. She was so proud. The next day we walked with a friend. We have seen cats, bunnies, a few amazing spider webs and even deer. Being outside and walking is just such a favor to your body and your children. Really challenge yourself and don’t take your phone and just have conversation (if your child is talking). Or take it and put on some neat jams to walk to.
9. Come up with fun ways to get to the car or place you are going
My 2-year-old is very active and has a mind of her own (like most) so it can sometimes be difficult to get her where I want her to go. One thing I do that my daughter adores and now my oldest does is coming up with fun ways to walk. If you are having difficulty getting in the car have the child hop, or stomp or even twirl to the place. Melody will often say let’s be airplanes and we must fly to the room to get our socks. It truly does help get them moving to where you want them to be in that moment.
10. Invite them to Cook or Bake with you
This is my daughters’ favorite activity to do with me. At one years old I put them up on the kitchen counter and start having them help. At 2-year-old they start helping with small things. I have noticed three things by doing this. The first is that often they will try new foods while I am cooking that they would NEVER try just at dinner. The second is that some dishes have turned out a little better by having them add it in. The third is that now that my oldest is four she can make cookies by herself. She knows the rules of the kitchen and really, I can trust her to work the measuring cups and get the correct ingredients. However, I say this to add it will be messy. If you are a person who CAN NOT handle mess I would not recommend this. My philosophy is that messes can be cleaned, and both my girls 2 & 4 can clean up well. Not sure how to get them in the kitchen or worried about it? Check out my post about surviving cooking with kids!
I have really started to craft a lot with my two year old! It has been so much fun and we do simple, fun crafts that foster motor skills and independence! If you are not a crafter and need some help subscribe below to my crafts for a year! 52 simple crafts sent to your inbox each week! (Check out the 10 must have supplies needed for crafting!)
Sum it up..
There you go! Some tips and tricks to engaging your 2-year-old. I hope you enjoy making memories with your babes and enjoy your time with them. Always remember that it is fleeting. So, though I joke about messes and crazy these are moments I hold dear. Have fun and do not worry about being perfect. Some of our greatest memories are times when it all went wrong.
What are some ways you engage your 2-year-old and are making memories today? Or better yet which of these are you excited to try out for yourself?
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