Since we are quarantining currently for the Coronavirus crisis in Los Angeles, we have had to adjust our daily schedule. Below are some of the things we have been doing this past week that have gone well with my 16-month-old daughter. These are things that you can do with your toddler in your house or apartment. We are currently quarantined in our apartment with my 1-year-old toddler so we don’t have outdoor space and can’t play for hours in a yard (Oh how I wish we could!) but nevertheless I have found some activities that work.
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Even with the Safer-at-Home statewide order, you are allowed to go on walks so long as you stay six feet away from other people. Whenever it hasn’t been raining, we have been going out on walks. Added benefit: it’s good for your mental and physical health too. My daughter enjoys riding in her stroller, but she also has a push car she enjoys riding in, and picking up random treasures out of the grass in front of our house.
If you have a backyard space, a water table is entertaining for toddlers. Our friend has one and when we visited a few weeks ago, it entertained both our toddlers for two hours. In the world of a one year old, that’s basically an eternity. In our apartment we don’t have one, but I will definitely look into it once we have our house!
We have this ball pit and my daughter loved it around 9 months old. We put it away when she got a push car and stroller for Christmas due to space. However, it sits in a storage bag in her closet and she pulled it out this week to play with the balls so I set it up for her and she enjoyed playing in it again.
My daughter loves her baby dolls and has recently been including them in all of her activities. She shares her sippy cup with them, shares her snacks with them, and now they open the pages of her books when we read them together. She also loves her little people farm and house. We make animal noises, and they travel around the living room daily.
We read books several times a day. She loves her Pooh Bear books, but also lift-the-flap books and pop-up books. We act out Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe. See my tips for reading to baby here.
Puzzles and shape sorters.
We are starting to work on puzzles and shape sorter toys. She’s had them for months, but is starting to grasp that certain things only go in certain places. She can do her Pooh Bear puzzle and match the characters to their corresponding spots. Last week I started pointing out which hole to place each shape into, and this week she has started placing some of them into the right spot herself.
I bought these special crayons that are supposed to be easier for toddlers to hold, and have been gradually introducing them to her. She learned that if she puts them in her mouth, they get put away. Her favorite thing to do with them is to stack them, but she will color a little bit too when we pull them out.
Stickers or Reusable Sticker Pads
Lily enjoys putting stickers on paper and once my stash of old/free stickers runs out, I plan on buying these reusable sticker pads. I have seen several moms recommend them and I don’t want to spend money on stickers that will be used once.
When my daughter seems to be getting bored with all her toys, I start putting her toys away in their bins and shelves. She tends to help me, which is entertainment for a little bit, and sometimes we discover a toy she wants to play with. When we’re done cleaning up, she likes to immediately take everything back out again, but she is engaged and entertained again, so mission accomplished. I talk about this more here.
Livestream an Aquarium or Zoo.
Since we can’t visit any animals, I have been livestreaming the National Aquarium onto our TV and she enjoys watching the fish. This is the link to their livestream: https://www.aqua.org/Experience/live#pcr I know other zoos and aquariums have livestreams as well, but this one worked best for us. Monterey Bay Aquarium also has a few livestreams from 7am-7pm PST: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIm4vB8IzI6AIVhsVkCh2UEQEzEAAYASAAEgKbFfD_BwE
Do not feel guilty, mama, to have your baby watch TV and movies. If you need to do it for your mental health, by all means, go for it. I am currently pregnant, and by the late afternoon, I’m tired and irritable so we have been watching Winnie the Pooh almost every day (so thankful for Disney+). When the movie’s over, we have dinner and play with Dad for a little bit before bath and bedtime. I try not to do it every day, but better to watch a movie than to have Mama yelling.