I’m going to let you in on a BIG secret when it comes to parenting toddlers. They are the MOST difficult when they are bored. Seriously. If you are in the middle of a crazy part of the day with your toddler it’s because they are bored (disclaimer: unless they haven’t slept or eaten!). When they start doing things like this…
When they start tearing your house apart one room at a time, they’re BORED. Throwing tantrums as you chase them around grabbing picture frames and coloring on the walls or eating brand new EOS chapstick that you had no idea they could open….yup, BORED. (True story, unfortunately.)
So what to do? You can’t exactly occupy their every move all day long and I wouldn’t recommend that even if you could. Free play is essential to the well-being of any child. Kids need to be able to play on their own, unplugged, simply using their imagination. My 16 month old usually does well playing on her own but in the afternoon she gets bored, simply put. Usually while I’m trying to get a million things done. Toddlers are all about independence, exploration, and creating a sense of “self”. (i.e. learning likes, dislikes and how to express feelings) It’s our job to acknowledge they need something constructive and offer them an age appropriate activity for them to channel that energy and feed their sponge-like need for learning.
I love this sensory activity for toddlers because it’s simple, cheap and fun! All you need is some good ole’ fashion contact paper (I used the matte version from Wal-Mart) along with some cotton balls and Q-tips.
I put the non-stick part of the contact paper and against our back door window at Emma’s height and taped it to the window. I peeled the outside of the contact paper off exposing the sticky part. I then gave the bowl to my Emma and let her go to town sticking them all over the contact paper. We used the cotton balls and Q-tips to focus on snow, since snow has been such a non-stop subject around here this Winter! We talked about the textures between the softness of the cotton ball and the stickiness of the paper. We used the Q-tips to make little snow flakes among the “snow balls”. Then I stepped back to watch her explore and not intervene while she played (and learned!) with this simple and fun sensory activity! Try it out, clean up is a breeze and it will keep the kids busy for a few minutes! For older kids, cut out letters and have them create/read words!
Now that you have a roll of contact paper you could easily change it up to stick letters, colors, animals – any thing you could cut out and stick on! Enjoy and happy playing!